We all know that one of the big temptations as a self-publishing author is to publish too soon, before our books are the best they can be, simply because the technology makes it so easy to launch a book at the touch of a button. But could you muster enough patience to wait till you've written two more books before you publish the first? If you're writing a series, holding back till you've got the first three books ready to roll can be a real winner, marketing-wise. K T Lee is joining us today to explain how and why she did just that with her new Calculated series. Her thoughtful list of the pros and cons of her approach will help you decide the best course of action for your books.
Why I Waited to Publish Until I'd Written Three Books
It’s a bit unconventional, I know. To write a book you intend to publish and then hang onto it. For years, even. However, before I even finished writing Calculated Deception, I knew I wanted my characters’ story to extend beyond one book.
- In traditional publishing, this is a huge no-no – planning for future books before your first one has sold is putting the cart before the horse, and all of that.
- In indie publishing, releasing a series is highly recommended.
As a debut author, I decided to wait until I had three books written before launching my series. I can’t tell you what will work best for you and your novels, but I can share a few pros and cons of this approach that I’ve learned along the way.
Pros and Cons of Launching the First Three Books in a Series
- Pros: Writing a series forced me to come into the world of publishing with a business plan and marketing strategy. One unspoken reason writers don’t become indie authors is the start-up cost of turning a manuscript into a book. While uploading is free, the services you will likely need to produce a professional product are not. Editing, copyright, cover design, ISBNs, formatting (oh my!).
- Cons: I had much higher start-up costs than an author releasing one book. However, I was able to release a free prequel novella with the knowledge I had two books right behind it, ready for readers who enjoyed the free book.
- Pros: When I realized I wanted to change something about a character in a previous book, I could go back and fix it. Minor plothole repair, we’ll call it, for fellow pun-addicted authors.
- Cons: The endless ability to edit books that are “done” means that it can be hard to stop tinkering with the prose.
- Pros: Volume discounts, consistency, expediency. Ripping off the proverbial band-aid! Getting to see three books that all work together on your author page, right away.
- Cons: Great cover design is hard, ya’ll. That’s why I left it to a professional who helped shape my blurry vision into a beautiful product. However, it was an extra challenge to make three distinct covers that all played nice together. I formatted the interior of the book, which meant I had all the headaches that come along with formatting, times three. Using a template helped a ton (5 stars, highly recommend) but didn’t fully eliminate my own learning curve.
- Mental energy/stress:
- Pros: Promoting my work is something I will always have to work at. Releasing multiple books made it easier for me to talk with potential readers about my work. It also allowed me to have three mini book releases to announce instead of just one.
- Cons: Three books! In two months! Excuse me while I go find a paper bag to breathe into.
Regardless of your release strategy, the most important thing I’ve learned from this process is that you must believe in what you are doing.
A sense of purpose will get you through the bumps and headaches that come along on this crazy publishing journey. I focused on putting women in the sciences at the heart of page-turning thrillers with a dash of romance.
As an indie author, I love that I get to write my own unique twist on my favorite types of books. That would be true whether I was releasing one book or ten.
OVER TO YOU If you're a series author, which approach do you prefer, and why? Do you have any pros and cons to add to K T's great list? We'd love to hear them!#Authors - #writing a series? Consider launching the first 3 all at once, as @KTLeeWrites' case study here Click To Tweet
RELATED POSTS ABOUT WRITING AND SELF-PUBLISHING SERIES OF BOOKS
From the ALLi Author Advice Center Archive