Book series are one of the best ways to build hype and momentum surrounding your book launch and continued marketing efforts.
But something people don’t think about is that not only does each book in your series have to be a standalone, meaning it must be a complete story in itself, but it must also adhere to the overarching series plot. That’s what makes writing a series a little more difficult than a regular standalone.
WHAT IS YOUR SERIES PLOT STRUCTURE?
Just like you outline each novel, you should outline your series, too. This way, you’ll understand the overarching plot of your series and can then build upon that overarching plot with each novel’s plot and subplots.
Each of your novels should build upon your story and act as a stepping stone towards the series plot resolution. But it should also be its own story, so when people pick up the second book without reading the first, they aren’t entirely lost.
WHAT TYPE OF SERIES WILL YOU WRITE?
When we think “series” we often think about the Harry Potter Series or the Series of Unfortunate Events. And when we think about each of these series, while they are all standalone novels, they’re basically one big story broken into smaller bits.
Another option for your series is to write completely standalone books with a different setting, voice and tone, and characters. Many serial mysteries are written like this, so you’ll have to decide if this type is for you and your story.
The last type we’ll cover is the cross-genre type, where your series begins in one genre and then shifts into another as the story and characters progress. The main reason these are so rare is that a reader typically chooses a book because they know what they’re getting themselves into.
If they know they like paranormal, they’ll pick up a paranormal series. If they love romance, they’ll pick up a romance series.
But the fact that it’s not the norm doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it out. It might become your thing.
Don’t rehash the same stuff.
People and characters, plot and subplots… they don’t remain the same throughout the entire novel. You should strike a balance between familiar information and new developments to keep your readers interested. Because bored readers put books down.
The key to a successful series is to have enough content to justify more than one book.
If you’re having trouble writing a 50,000-word novel, you’ll need a ton of planning and plotting to write a series. Even if the length is on the short side—let’s say, fifty-thousand words—you’ll need to have enough content for a minimum of three times that for a trilogy.
And that’s on the short side. Most novels are upwards of 70,000 words, with fantasy being between 90,000 to 125,000 for each installment.
But the question you should be asking your is: Does your idea require **that much story?**Remember, not every book or idea has to be a series.
TD;LR Writing a series is scary and tedious, but don’t shy away from it because of a little hard work. Here, we’ll talk about basic plot and series structure to ensure you’re headed in the right direction with your series. I’ll also offer my tips, which include planning NOW, spreading out the exposition, and updating your series bible to ensure none of the little details are forgotten.