Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Indie Life

It's the second Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for the Indie Life bloghop, a chance for indie authors to post about indie life, find each other, offer support, encouragement, news, helpful hints, and anything else that makes life as an indie author a little easier.

I posted before that I would like to self-publish the first installment of my trilogy before the end of the year. However, I was inspired to write this post by a commenter (thank you Shah) who advised me that I ought to have the other parts of the series at least drafted out before releasing the first one. In these days of instant gratification, people don't want to hang about too long waiting for the follow-up(s).

Well, of course I hope readers will be enamoured of my story enough to be champing at the bit to read more. But surely building up a bit of healthy anticipation can also be a good thing? I was thinking of leaving perhaps a year between episodes, but is that too long? At the moment, Part One is a fairly quick read at just over 50,000 words. The others may be longer, but I'm not sure at the moment. A long gap might be preferable if they were of Game of Thrones proportions, but perhaps not in the case of shorter books.

It's also in the hands of some lovely betas at the moment - I was going to wait until I heard back from them before starting to draft Part Two, but perhaps that isn't necessary. I already implemented most of the suggestions offered at critique stage, so I'm hoping there won't be too many major changes needed which would then mean adjustments to the follow-up draft. After Shah's advice I feel ready to get on with it. I planned to start this week, but life seems to be chockablock with various other events, so Monday will be the day.

What do you think? Does it matter how long the gap is between books in a series? If you have published a series, did you have the entire thing mapped out before publishing Part One, or did you pants your way through? (I've always been a bit of both - I have plenty of ideas for the rest of the series, but I'm open to change as things progress.)

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20 comments:

Ellie Garratt said...

First of all, congratulations on making the decision to Indie publish. It's scary, but so worth it.

Personally, I think it is vital you have the next book in the series nearly completed before you publish the first. In the world of traditional publishing, and the giants of writing such as Stephen King, readers will wait a year or more to read the next novel. However, with an indie-published series, the readers want the next installment yesterday. This is even more so with eBook readers.

I'm working on two series at the moment. I intend to publish the books with a 4-6 month gap. Before I publish the first, the second must be written and at the beta/editing stage. I will also have a good idea of where I'm taking the series. So as I'm writing the next book, I have one published and one about to be.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good stuff, Nick! Go ahead and write the second part. You'll want to stay ahead.

Stephanie Faris said...

I think a year is too long, especially since you have control over it. That said, the work of promoting a book is exhausting--so I'd leave a little time in between to stop promoting the first book and start promoting the next. I'm just now winding down publicity on 30 Days...I'd say three months would have been perfect to shift focus to the next...

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Nick,

To answer your question, no, I didn't plan to have more than one book when I wrote the first in the series.

I agree with Shah that you should go ahead and work like mad on the second book. I've had readers contact me on Facebook to as when the next book is going to be out. I think a year is definitely too long to wait for another book. In this era of instant gratification, it's easy for readers to forget and move on.

Congrats on making a bold move. You can do it!

Jean Davis said...

Not that I've published a series, but I read a lot of them. A year is a long time in this fast-paced world we currently inhabit. Six months would be better, or if the whole thing is written and ready to go when the first releases, a shorter span would be fine too, but as was already mentioned, you'll probably want a marketing break to catch your breath before the second one meets the masses.

As far writing one, I did write the full sequel to one of my novels before sending that one out to look for an agent/publisher, and I'm glad I did. I'm a pantser and yes, that meant I had to tweak several things in book one for book two to work once I really got into writing the sequel.

Start planning and writing that second one now.

Crystal Collier said...

Industry standard: For indies you should plan to publish something new every 3 to 9 months. Traditional publishing is 1 a year. Personally, I think if you go longer than that you're going to lose some readership. The best time to get them to buy more is right after they've finished something else you wrote. Personally, I don't usually start a series until at least 3 books are out, usually. I hate waiting.

Melissa said...

I don't like to wait. I would want 3-6 months max for a next in a series. But I'm impatient.

Anyhow, good for you! :D

debi o'neille said...

I'd definitely have the second one near finished when you put the first one out there. Why, because as a reader, when I read a book by an author I've never tried before, and I love the book, I'll buy his next one the second I'm done with the first. but if I have to wait any length of time, I'll have been introduced to a dozen other new authors during the wait, and if they have their second books ready, I'll be so busy reading I may forget about yours when that year is up. It happens. This is not the case once an author already has a half dozen novels out there, and I've read and liked them all. They can put number seven out as far as they want to, and I'll be watching for it.
Best,
Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

M Pax said...

Congrats on your decision.

Yes, I have experience and advice.

First, avoid November. Do NOT release in November. Wait until mid December if you must publish after October.

I recommend starting a new series with a one-two punch by releasing the second book shortly after the first. I did this for Backworlds - first free, 2nd released 3 months after. I didn't do this for my Hetty series. Backworlds sells, she doesn't.

I will repeat for my new series I'm starting this summer, 1st free & 2nd released within 3 months after... probably 6-8 weeks.

I publish 1-2 sequels a year. I don't have great success, but have some mild success.

But then look at George RR Martin, right? He takes forever.

Anyway, the above formula worked for me. I'm rinsing and repeating.

Donna B. McNicol said...

Not an easy decision...I have two in my mystery series and people are clamoring for book three. I really hope to get 3 & 4 done this year but the tough part may be the editing. I've bookmarked your editing page! ;)

D.B. McNicol
Romance & Mystery...writing my life

Jennifer said...

I personally don't see myself writing any series, so I may not be the best judge of this. But it seems from what I've seen, most people with series publish at least one installment a year. Every six months would probably be better, because once you've got the readers hooked, they're going to want more. Even if you go with the longer intervals, you really should have at least the first draft of the next book done. That way you can start generating that buzz early.

Botanist said...

Firstly, congrats on the decision and good luck with it. It is scary (I should know!) but great to be in control of things.

Most of the comments seem to be in favor of having the next part(s) lined up and ready to roll in quick order, from the point of view of the impatient reader. I'd like to throw in a writer's perspective in favor: when you write later parts, you will likely find details you want to drop into earlier books to foreshadow events. Those kinds of linkages will help bring the series together into a whole.

Leigh Covington said...

I wish I had the expertise to advise you on the timing between each book release, but I do agree about holding on to your first book until you have the others at least drafted. Especially if it is a big hit, you don't want to get stuck and have the added pressure of coming up with book 2. It's so hard to be patient, but I think that's a smart move. And I like what "Botanist" mentioned in his comment. Good tips. :)

Shelley Sly said...

I think others have given much better advice than I could, since I haven't written a series, but I just wanted to wish you best of luck! Can't wait to check it out!

Sherry Ellis said...

I'm writing a series (no set number of books), and I have three books ready now. For a new author, I think it's good to put out a book in a series every six months. If you have a set number in your series, I think you should pretty much have all of them ready before you start publishing.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I think it is probably wise to have the next installment in your back pocket when you publish your first. However, I am not that wise. :) I had my rough draft of my second ready . . . and then completely changed it a few times so now it's been over a year between the first and second book releases for the trilogy. I've heard that many authors find success in shorter wait times, but I haven't found out yet. :)
Best wishes with whichever method you choose!

Kim said...

Fun to read through these comments. I'm sensing a general theme :) I'm sure it's hard to wait to publish when you have the first one ready to go. No one other than writers understands how much time goes into writing a novel :) Best of luck with whatever you decided to do, Nick :)

Christine Rains said...

Congratulations on your decision! I agree that it's helpful to at least have the other books in the series mapped out before you release the first one. I winged it with the 13th Floor series, but I won't ever do it again. Too much pressure! As for novels, I think a year between each book in the series is acceptable, but if you can manage it, six months is better.

Dawn Malone said...

Just wanted to say congrats on deciding to self-publish!

Nicole said...

Kudos on deciding to get your work out there! As a reader, the gaps between books in a series don't bother me at all. If I love Book 1, I'll wait YEARS for the subsequent books because I just HAVE to know what happens to the characters. ;)

As a writer, though, I like to have at least a full draft of Book 2 before I think about shopping or publishing Book 1. That let's me take a few more months for editing and polish, without making readers wait too long. Plus, it usually means I have a better idea of Books 3-4+ by that point too.