If you are an author or planning to be, you should plan to write a book series, right from the start. There are multiple reasons why this makes sense. Here are five of the most important reasons to consider a series instead of a single title:
1. A book series builds your fame in the long term. While a single book can make you famous, a series of books builds your reputation over a longer period of time. Instead of being a “one hit wonder” you can become an established author.
Whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, when you write a book series it helps you build momentum. How many best-selling authors can you think of who only wrote one book? Very few. Because they recognize that each subsequent book is easier to write, easier to promote and more profitable.
2. A book series takes the pressure off of you to put everything into one book. Too many authors have taken too long to publish their book because they wanted to be sure they included everything ever needed in it. With a single book, you don’t have a way to follow up the information.
However, with a series of books you can add to the readers’ knowledge with subsequent books. This often makes the amount of information (or story) faster and easier to read, leaving them wanting more.
3. A book series lets you test your market and your marketing. Particularly with non-fiction, you can start with a basic level book and easily build momentum into the more complex information in later volumes.
This also lets your readers select the level that they are comfortable with. Most will start with the basics and build their skills as you write your books. Others will join mid-level. And still others will only choose the advanced levels of books.
Throughout the book series you will be testing different mechanisms for marketing, so that with each book you can refine your marketing. This allows you to spend your time and dollars in the most productive ways for your book market.
4. Your readers have more input in a series of books, particularly if you provide feedback mechanisms for them. In addition to the traditional book reviews you may offer live interaction via teleseminars, webinars and Google hangouts. Plus you can give them a comment form on your book site where they can ask questions and offer suggestions on an ongoing basis.
By involving your readers in the creation and direction of the series, you can more easily market your books – because they meet your market’s needs. Readers love feeling like they had a “say” in the next book!
5. A book series lets you cross-promote each of the books. At the end of each book offer a sample of the next book in the series, plus a list of all of the books in the series.
This is particularly easy in today’s digital publishing world. All you need to do is upload your original book with the added sample chapter. Current book owners will be notified of the updated version and subsequent buyers will automatically get the new version with the sample chapter.
Likewise, format the book series covers so that it’s clear they are part of a series. You can even number them if that fits your format. People enjoy collecting the full set.
Overall there are multiple reasons to write a series of books. In the long run it makes it easier for you, relieving the pressure of being perfect with your first book. At the same time, a series of books helps you build momentum and gives your readers time to contribute. Is it any wonder that you need to consider writing a series of books?
Dr. Jeanette Cates is the author of the Teach Online series of books. Start at the beginning with Teach Online: Design Your First Online Course