I love reading book series, reading one book about those sets of characters with a snippet of a new character and then off I go and read their story too and so on.
With the Geary Brothers Series, it started out as one 11,000 word short story, that then grew into Charming Olivia and then came Loving Lilly and now I am writing Breaking Jane. I am reasonably sure that the series will end there but who knows.
So, what have I learned about writing a series?
Concentrate on those characters in that book and only that book.
It was really tempting to write about everyone, but I resisted. There can be supporting characters, of course, but keep the details about them to a minimum unless you know where their story is going. At the same time give them some flesh so that your readers will want to know more about them. If you know their back story fully then hint at it. If you are not 100% sure what it is then say nothing. I hadn’t fully decided on Mickey’s childhood so I have left it open.
Have a theme It doesn’t have to be a big theme, but there still needs to be one, something that centres them all. It could be location, everything centres around a local café or an item of clothing. It could be a profession or in my case, the Geary family and the passion, secrets, revelations and, of course, love. It’s a series after all.
Keep timelines loose, avoid saying dates and years to keep things open for other stories.
Man alive I wish I had paid attention to this one. You never know you might want to write a prequel book in the series. I did that with mine, Charming Olivia was released second but is first on the timeline. But I went with what I had already said and it worked out ok, next time I will follow this advice.
Try to write each book as a stand alone. How the hell do you do that? I’m not sure if I have pulled that off to be honest. There are no loose ends in Charming Olivia, but Loving Lily has unfinished business, not in a cliff hanger way, but there are questions about supporting characters which I tie up in Breaking Jane. I’m not sure that is what you are supposed to do in a series. If you only wanted to read one of my books in the series, then all ends are tied with the main characters.
Keep the covers similar in the series. I’ve not done that at all unless I am going to make my own covers its really tricky to find a cover artist who will be able to keep the covers flowing and stick to deadlines. I used self-pub book covers for all my covers and chose the cover I was drawn to with the story. The three covers as you will see do not follow. I did this deliberately as I wanted these books to be read as standalone.
Do it your way
There are suggestions and guidelines and loves and hates with readers but ultimately do it your way. If a series had legs, then run with it.
Thanks for reading
Harper’s Motto: You will not be everybody’s favourite flavour, but that’s ok, because they will not always be your favourite flavour. Be who you want to be and you will attract the people who will support you no matter what.