Watched planning your series for NaNo

Watched PLANNING YOUR BOOK SERIES (for NaNoWriMo) from YouTube

Our Preptober continues with a discussion of how to plan for NaNoWriMo when you’re writing a series. Whether you’re on the very first book or you’re deeper i…

Tone should stay consistent between books — think about what emotional experience you want your reader to feel

Keep your ideal reader in mind — meet their expectations with consistency in the books in the series

In your Story Bible, take note of where each character left off in the last book / last we saw them — and what arc they’ve already experienced so you don’t repeat it

Track *all* of your characters not just POV, and consider who makes sense to show up in this book

Keep track of which questions remain open and which have been closed so far, and consider which you want to close in this book

Consider whether you need to “bring new people to town” to set up future POV characters


The first book in a successful series

Liked Planning a Series by Zoe YorkZoe York (

Rule #1: Make the first book the most universally enjoyable trope possible from your list of ideas.


Watched How to Plan a Series: Arcs

Watched How To Plan And Write A Series Video #2: Character Arcs, Story Arcs, & Series Arcs from YouTube

Welcome back to Part 2 of an 8-Part series on “How To Plan & Write A Series”. In today’s video, we’re going to discuss the differences between character arcs, story arcs, and series arcs. We’ll also discuss what each element is and how it plays into an overall series.

  • Wound or “ghost” in their past –> the lie they believe about themselves –> the false self they present
  • “Mirror moment” – ‘what have I become?’ at midpoint –> transformation –> true self

Common story archetypes:

  • quest
  • overcome the monster
  • rags to riches
  • voyage and return
  • rebirth

Series arc = story arc over multiple books

Can have multiple series arcs in a series

Don’t *have* to have a series arc in an episodic series


Watched How to Plan a Series: Planning

Art and Design Culture Society

Article pairing: the monotony of modern culture

Why Culture Sucks by John Ganz

There’s something very slight and unsatisfying about recent film, television, art, architecture, design, fashion, cuisine—you name it… It often feels like we’re being fed the cultural equivalent of Soylent, a kind of nutrient-rich goo that we’re supposed to believe does the same thing as food.

In place of art, we have “content,” which in its very conception makes cultural products totally interchangeable, just stuff to fill up space.

See also: The Homogeneity of Millenial Design

20th century modernist avant-garde movements implicitly understood the experience of world-loss and their projects were often about reinvesting the lifeworld with an aesthetic character. They built world-views as much as artworks, trying to come up with new entire styles of architecture, design, novels, poetry, painting, and sculpture.

(Emphasis mine)


Pop Culture has Become an Oligopoly by Adam Mastroianni

In every corner of pop culture––movies, TV, music, books, and video games––a smaller and smaller cartel of superstars is claiming a larger and larger share of the market. What used to be winners-take-some has grown into winners-take-most and is now verging on winners-take-all.

See also: Where did the long tail go? by Ted Gioia

As options multiply, choosing gets harder. You can’t possibly evaluate everything, so you start relying on cues like “this movie has Tom Hanks in it” or “I liked Red Dead Redemption, so I’ll probably like Red Dead Redemption II,” which makes you less and less likely to pick something unfamiliar.

Another way to think about it: more opportunities means higher opportunity costs, which could lead to lower risk tolerance.

A couple years back I had an art project that sold shirts, and posted for some advice in a t-shirt forum. The other sellers wished me luck selling original designs: the only thing people wanted to buy, in their experience, were IP that they liked. (I suspect that’s partly true, but also that discoverability is a problem. If you just want a cool t-shirt, it’s a lot of searching and browsing to find something totally new that you like versus looking for a Star Wars shirt.)

Movies, TV, music, books, and video games should expand our consciousness, jumpstart our imaginations, and introduce us to new worlds and stories and feelings. They should alienate us sometimes, or make us mad, or make us think. But they can’t do any of that if they only feed us sequels and spinoffs…

We haven’t fully reckoned with what the cultural oligopoly might be doing to us.

See also: Book industry insights from Penguin Random House merger trial

It’s like anti-entropy: culture converges when profit is the sole motivator, and efficiency is nirvana. Why take risks when the formula works?

Entrepreneurship Marketing Writing

Listened to Starting a Series from Scratch

Listened SFA 105 – How We Would Start from Scratch Writing/Publishing Books Today by LindsayLindsay from

On this week’s show, Andrea, Jo, and Lindsay shared what each of them would do if they were new authors starting from scratch today with the knowledge and experience they’ve gained over their ten-plus-year publishing.

If you write across genres / with different pen names, be careful about telling the other genre readers to not ruin your “also boughts” and ARC early reviews

Try to write a reader magnet that will relate to all the books in the series

Write first three books before releasing — especially useful in sci-fi with extensive worldbuilding

Series of three 65-75k books (maybe on shorter side) — rapid release, 3+ weeks apart (or 1 week then 3 weeks) — then release another set of series with a slightly different look / angle to see what works better

Be sure to pick genre that length works

Research keywords to see what people are looking for

Research tropes of the genre and what people like (focus on what readers like rather than what you like)

Don’t do cliffhanger, but have a throughline mystery / story — maybe plan for six book series

Consider single POV for faster writing

At end of book, ask for review, promote newsletter with freebie

Prequel novella — free via newsletter — book funnel

Six-email automation series: freebie, followup to make sure they got it, invite to Facebook group, let them know about next book, ask for a review, invite to ARC team, could have preview chapter for next book

Website – page for each book with a sample chapter

Worth hiring editors — early books maybe do light editing to save money — spend a lot of time getting the story and writing in a good place

Website and newsletter most important marketing pieces when first starting out, could focus on those before social media

Advertising really important now, Amazon really competitive

Pricing strategies: Permafree tie-in story after three books? Permafree first book and two at full price ($3.99 probably for 80k book)? 99c first book, full price next books? 99c current release, full price other books in the series?

Just because you do rapid release doesn’t mean you’ll instantly have success

Marketing Writing

Listened to Writing Series That Sell

Listened SFA 060 – Writing Series That Sell with Sara Rosett by LindsayLindsay from

We talked about the types of series, how many books to write in a series, and how to market it depending on whether you’re in all the bookstores or exclusive to Amazon.

Batch writing books can let you make lots of connections and drop clues in the books

Duets = two book series, basically only in romance

Cliffhangers – readers hate them but do increase read-through – best to only do if you can either have the next book on preorder or can say you’re working on it and will be out at x date

Can think of longer series as sets of linked trilogies, do smaller arcs within them, change themes

Trello can be used for story bible

Not that expensive to hire someone to create a story bible for you

If series isn’t going well after three books maybe wrap it up

Long pre-orders to judge interest (can compare btw books if pre-order length is similar)

Also can use demand for Goodreads giveaways (20-30% read-through on free books is good)

Market series that must be read in order by promoting book 1, sales or permafree

Bundles – could bundle books 1-3 once books 4-6 are out; could bundle your whole series once all books are out; could bundle all your related short stories and novellas; could bundle all your book 1’s

Entrepreneurship Marketing Writing

Listened to How to Launch a Successful Book Series

Listened SFA 125 – How to Launch a Successful Book Series by LindsayLindsay from

For this week’s show, we’re going back to the basics to talk about how to launch a successful book series. 

We broke down launching into several topics to discuss:

Helpful things to consider when planning a successful series.
Writing blurbs and choosing cover art that will sell books.
Preparing bonus material to entice newsletter sign-ups and get new readers to buy your books.
Some thoughts on pricing.
Having a consistent publishing schedule for the series.
Continuing to promote your books and checking in with readers between installments.

5 books in a series good target — but can plan yourself an early out at three books if it’s not selling well, and have a plan to extend it to eight if it is doing well

The beginning is slow until you can build up a backlist: don’t panic, keep releasing free things that get email signups (multi-author projects, reader magnets, extra material in your newsletter)

Consistency is the most important thing, even if you can only write one book a year — aim to release at the same time of year

Reader magnets and your newsletter (and continuing to write more books) are your path towards growing your readership

Newsletter content ideas: research / inspiration, cut scenes, character interviews

Also to listen:

SFA 105 – How We Would Start from Scratch Writing/Publishing Books Today