All blogs are property of authors and copying is not permitted.

Monday, October 19, 2015

WRITING SERIES AND KEEPING IT FRESH AND SNAPPY

Writing my books in series is something that has come quite naturally. When I create a world, whether it be a brotherhood of hunky Navy SEALs in my fictional SEAL Team 3, or my Golden Vampires of Tuscany series, or Guardian Angels, that world gets enhanced as I bring in new characters and plots in subsequent books. The trick is to make a stand-alone book, and at the same time rewarding returning loyal readers.

With the thousands of new books coming on the market in any given day, I find having a series gives people a reason to go to my website or Amazon page. They might remember something they'd read a year ago, may not be on social media that much and just wonder, by searching the series title, if there are new books out.

Some people say that long strings of series are not a good thing, that reviewers will not review a Book 8, for instance, because they don't want to have to read the first seven. Well, that may be the case for professional book bloggers who have a limited amount of time to review and post their findings. If you have to read seven books to get sufficient background for Book eight, and, especially if all those books must also be read in order, I think that book or series, unless highly recommended, might be skipped.

Early on with my SEAL Brotherhood books, the first four in the Series were better off read in order. After book 5, Cruisin' For A SEAL, I paid more and more attention to a book being stand-alone, and today, that's all I write. I like calling little subseries like Band of Bachelors, or True Navy Blue instead of saying Books 11, #12 or #13. The latter books can be read in any order.

I also weave in characters from previous books. When I have holes in the series, I can write a novella. I can bundle them, add bonus material, change backmatter and do all manner of other things to my books. The hero and heroine in one book is a strong secondary couple in the next one, and so on. This way I achieve a high degree of variety, but the overall story arc is intact.  It seems so wrong to destroy or ignore a world I've taken such time to begin.

And I'm just about to add another series: Nashville SEALs. Some of my characters
from Band of Bachelors: Lucas, spend half their time on a mission in Nashville, so it's only natural they stop by and watch a young up-and-coming star perform in front of a packed house of ladies. Little did any of them know that fateful night would change all of their lives forever.

Using the same narrator for all the audio books is very smart because, if he's good, he'll draw the readers in who might not have found my print books ever. Having someone, especially someone you can count on to sound the same book after book after book, holds the story together. Your narrator becomes a character in your books, so this thread of consistency will also help strengthen your readership.

Today, we're celebrating Book 1 in my new series, Band of Bachelors: Lucas. Here's the brand new You Tube video trailer, just out today:

https://youtu.be/nrKpKXaq1WE



I'd really like to hear what you think. One commenter will get a pink camo tee shirt.




6 comments:

jean hart stewart said...

I love series books. Have written three myself, and although keeping track of the characters as they grow can get messy, it's actually fun. Good luck with yours...

Melissa Keir said...

Congrats! I love series books. They are about all I read. I feel as a reader, I've spent time falling in love with a book, I want more! But I agree about the bigger series. I'm currently reading a series that is in book 20+... It's hard to keep the stories fresh. Sometimes I feel like we are replaying the same story over and over again!

Sharon Hamilton said...

Jean, I agree, I love keeping track of characters. And readers want to know if they had children, got sick, or what happens with them. People like novellas to give them more background information.

Melissa, I agree with you sometimes in a series that can be a lot. BUT if the books are written or released quickly, you get a good sense of it and the length of the series doesn't matter as much. Part of the problem with Outlander for me is that it takes so long to get the next book, and I have to re-read a book that is 1000 pages. Of course, she's a great writer.

julie beasley said...

I like books that branch out of series but still keep former characters in. I also love to know what happens to them. Did they have children change jobs etc. I absolutely hate cliff hangers and having to wait 6 months for the outcome. I like a good happy ever after.

Karen Henderson said...

Your books don't feel like a series in the traditional sense. We get to see old friends but the main story is also centered around the two main characters. I love how tell us these amazing stories. Adding your amazing narrator JD to the mix is just an extra special element to your stories

Sharon Hamilton said...

Ahhhh, thank you Julie. So great to see you here. I think it helps the writer stay focused too, to have old characters pop in. thanks for being there for me every step of the way!


Karen, So glad you say that. I've worked very hard to make each one stand alone, but still reward readers for their loyalty by giving them tidbits of other stories and continuation of previous themes. Requires I keep a good Book Bible!

Share buttons