Raise your hand if you've ever fallen in love with a fictional character. I'll raise two. We've all encountered a character who's left an indelible impression on our hearts. They are the type of characters we want to follow long after reading the last page of a beloved novel.
Sometimes, it’s hard to accept that we’ve come to the end of a character’s story and want more. That’s why book series are so popular.
A book series allows you to keep the adventure going.
But I can already feel your hesitation. A book series?! It’s hard enough to write one book, let alone three or more!
While writing a bookis a huge undertaking, and a series of books is an even more considerable energy investment, it’s worth the effort. In this post, we’ll explore the top reasons why you should get started on a series.
Increase Book Sales
One of the most significant benefits of writing a book series is making more money. This fact may seem obvious, but it’s still worth mentioning. When you write multiple books, you increase your earning potential.
It may surprise you, however, that it's not just because you will have three books in publication. It's actually because the more books you write following a particular set of characters, the more invested your audience will be in continuing the journey. The same readers will stick with the characters you've written. If you only write one book, your potential sales are one book per person. Instead of earning from just one book sale a person, you’ll earn from the same reader purchasing multiple books.
In addition to making sales from loyal readers who eagerly devour book after book, you can also make additional sales by bundling your books. One popular strategy is to create box book sets for a completed series. You can offer these as special editions, allowing you to make money even from the same readers who purchase your book the first time.
Build Your Fan Base
It's all about the reader. For an author, the relationship with the reader is nearly sacred. One of the greatest gifts you will ever receive as an author is a group of loyal fans, and one of the easiest ways to build a fanbase quickly is by creating a book series.
Not only have readers given you money by purchasing your book, but they've also given you something even more valuable—their attention. With a book series, you invite the same reader to come back repeatedly. Holding the reader's attention for one book is fantastic, but keeping your reader's attention across multiple books is a feat that very few humans ever accomplish. However, if you can achieve this feat, you can build a fanatic group of readers. Once they're on the hook, these superfans will pre-order the next book in the series (guaranteed sales) and tell others to buy your book (guaranteed marketing for free).
Buy Into Binge Reading Culture
We live in a culture that loves to consume. Instead of focusing on a one-book magnum opus, you can extend your greatest achievement throughout multiple books. By doing so, you can also lean into our binge-reading culture.
Consumers these days don't want to read one-off books. They prefer following along with a band of characters as they navigate adversity and adventure. Give the people what they want. Earn a spot as a fan favorite by churning out quality content. People will enjoy plowing through multiple books in your series because it allows them to form genuine attachments to your characters and stay immersed in the world you create.
Explore the Story in Depth
Just as a book is better than a movie based on it, a book series is better than a single book. Consider this: With a single book, you have a limited amount of space to explore different elements of your story, such as your characters, the setting, and the deep roots of a conflict.
When you create a series of books, however, you can flesh out all of these elements. There’s no rush to develop them or on how thoroughly you choose to do so. You can explore the strange new world that you've created. You can dive deep into characterization, enrich the story with plots and subplots, and weave the theme with greater mastery. When trying to cram everything within 70,000 words or less, there’s only so much you can do. Simply put, when you write a series, you are limitless.
Develop Your Writing
Writing a book series will also challenge you as a writer. Because you have more space to expand on characterization or build a bigger plot, you will be required to write better in every way.
It may seem ironic because writing a series gives you a ton of space to explore. But that doesn’t mean that you can write lazily. You must challenge yourself to write a tighter narrative to keep your reader engaged. That won't happen if you dawdle and meander through your text. To write a successful series, you’ll have to write well.
Here’s how to plan a book series from scratch.
Build Your World
When writing a book series, you can build a richer world. You can design the physical location of your world, including how it looks, sounds, and smells. You can also determine the rules of your society, including what they value. You can go in-depth about their history, giving readers a glimpse into the protagonist's background. You can spend a little more time describing the day-to-day life unless it negatively affects the pace of your storytelling.
By the time your reader has dived through multiple books, they’ll know your world just as well as your characters, which makes for an enjoyable and familiar reading experience.
Make a Name for Yourself
One of the most satisfying perks of writing a book series is that you can build authority for yourself as a writer. Having one book is impressive, but it doesn't hold the same gravitas as having written multiple books. It will also increase the number of times your name appears on physical and digital bookshelves. There are several more one-off authors than there are series authors. When a potential reader comes across an author’s name more than once, they take note.
Dominate in Your Chosen Genre
Writing a book series does confine you to one genre. However, don't look at this as a limitation. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to deep-dive into the mechanics of that genre. With each book in your series, you have another chance to explore the different aspects of your genre and to get better at writing within the genre’s conventions. Make a name for yourself within the genre, and you could become synonymous with it.
Easier to Start Writing
Here's a not-so-obvious reason to write a book series: When you write a book series, it's easier to get started. Because you’ve already done the research, you’re familiar with the characters, and you’ve already set the stage, it's easier for you to jump in and start writing the story. It makes it easier to throw your characters into the water beyond their depth and see how they respond. You already know your characters, so you won't have to do the same amount of character analysis and internal motivation work you did in the beginning.
Because you already know the setting and history of your created world, you can devote yourself to fleshing out the story and building more substantial plots. Design one and work off of the foundation that you’ve already created.
You're Able to Follow Characters You Love
Like your readers, you also love the characters you've made. With a book series, your characters can continue to live on as you follow their stories and see them evolve, mature, win, or fail. And because you'll spend more time with them, you'll be able to develop deeper and more nuanced characters.
Improve Your Chances of Getting a Publishing Deal
While this may not always be the case, writing a book series is one proven way to get a publishing deal. When shopping for a literary agent or a publisher, let them know that you're thinking of turning the book into a series. Both agents and publishers like the prospect of book series because book series make money. Working with you may be more appealing if they know there will be more opportunities to make money from the same characters down the road.
Should you write a book series? It’s definitely worth considering. While not every story needs to become a series, many stories would flourish if allowed to breathe over multiple books. And even better—Once you create one book series, it’ll be easier to make another and continue to reap the above benefits.