If you are reading this then you are in one of two places. Either you have an idea for a series or you have a standalone manuscript that needs to become a fiction series in five easy steps. Regardless of which position you find yourself, new author or indie author needing a plan for a series, we will take you right to the point of publishing your series on Amazon KDP.
Step 1: Choose the Genre for Your Fiction Series
Choosing the genre may sound difficult, but it really does not have to be that tricky at all. If you have no idea where your story should fit in, read about the 5 Explosively Popular Book Genres and why you should write in them first—perhaps your story already fits into one of those.
Genres do not have to be overwhelming; remember that it is simply a categorization for your book. They also have writing style, rules and particular elements that make them what they are. Do not stress about the rules, not all writers have kept to them, and many have become famous for breaking them.
We would not advise breaking the rules before you have put pen to paper, but if that idea of yours is hounding you to break free into the world… Why not?
Step 2: The Map and Characters of a Book Series
One of the most important steps in creating any fiction series that sells is building the characters and working out the plan of action. The secret sauce in a book series is creating characters that last. They must be as close to reality as possible with real-life needs and desires.
Your characters also need to experience both internal and external conflict. However, it is the careful manipulation of reality and added difference that makes characters memorable. There are a few ways below to easily design a character’s personality as well as the path that they will take in your books:
- Use the Myers-Briggs personality test to work out your characters' different personalities.
- If so inclined, use the tarot to devise a plan of action. Do a six month tarot spread for each of the characters and use the information as a path of action.
- Setting aside time for brainstorming your story is imperative so you can allow your mind to work through problems, find solutions, connect ideas and formulate a birds eye view through mind-mapping.
- Look at heroes of the past. These do not have to be superheroes—they can be tribal leaders or people who really made a difference because of their spirited personality or strength of character. Here is a list of courageous women who could become a character in your next book series.
Step 3: Should My Book Be a Series?
The real question is do you want your book to be a series or not. Think of it this way, our lives continue through our children and through our bloodlines. If you believe your story is interesting to you, you love your characters, and want the legacy that they leave to continue into a book series, then go for it.
Think of how J.R.R. Tolkien wrote Lord of the Rings as well as The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. While The Hobbit was written first, Tolkien decided to release the trilogy before a more historical account, The Silmarillion, which detailed the features, families, and migration of the people of Middle Earth.
While not every indie author will see fame like Tolkien, you may just find fame like Amanda Hocking has. There are thousands of people who find fame through Amazon KDP self publishing and thousands of new authors who dive into the fiction series race because of how lucrative it is.
Step 4: Writing, Editing, Polishing
All authors know that a standalone book is like a child, a book series is like twins, triplets or even quadruplets. You are giving birth to your idea. It needs to be nurtured and cared for, polished and pristine when you present it to the world. It is not an overnight type of business, and it takes a lot of work, practice and editing.
The writing needs to work in such a way that you either know where the story is going and you have planned so well that you are prepared for all series to follow. Or, you have years of practice in writing and you can bring a series from a standalone book. It does take courage and it takes work.
It is good for a new author to write everything down. Do not edit the first round. Simply write. Write until your fingers cramp, write every day, every night until that story is out of you.
When you have done this, leave it for three days and then begin reading your work from an observer's point of view. If you have a trusted friend, let them read it and comment. If you have no idea where to begin with editing, let professional editors do the work for you.
Understand that while the writing is thought to be the most important, or else you would not have a story, the editing is equally important. A well edited book on Amazon KDP commands respect and will see you have more readers.
Of course if you have the idea, you’ve started writing, and do not know how to eat this entire thing one bite at a time, let a professional ghostwriter who is bound by a strict contract do the hard slogging for you. Simply send them your idea and what you have written, and let them continue. Thousands of indie authors and well known authors use ghostwriters and are reaping the rewards and royalties for it for years after.
Step 5: Let’s Get You Published!
Self-publishing isn’t difficult; it has a path and specific practice. Millions of new authors turn to Amazon KDP because of how simple the process is. Publishing a standalone is also simple, but a book series has added benefits:
- Amazon automatically recommends your next book in your series to your readers before any other book.
- Your series page on Amazon has no advertising on it, therefore the reader only sees your book.
- Readers can buy your entire series with Amazon’s 1-click button. One click, one payment, an entire series bought.
- Publishing on Amazon KDP is free, and they also publish in hardcover. Of course, a certain amount comes off the sales, but there is no startup cost.
If you have not created an Amazon KDP account, make sure to do that right away, even before you have started writing, or thinking about your book. After that is done, sign in to your account.
When you have done this, head over to the ‘Bookshelf Tab’.
Click on ‘add a new series’.
Then, simply follow the prompts.
There are some things which are very important to remember, such as marketing, and there are marketing whizzes who guide new authors publishing book series for the first time, like David Gaughran. He even has a free course on the topic.
Before You Begin Writing
Remember something before you write, or begin planning: fiction series writing is not child’s play, but it is like a child. The more love, attention, care, and time you give it, the greater it will become. When we have a day job and a family to look after, then walking the self-publishing route may seem like a pipe dream; however, perhaps all you need is someone to help you see the path in front of you, show you the ropes and do the hard work.
Believe us, once you have that first book up, and you can officially call yourself an indie author of the 21st century, you will never wonder whether you can or cannot reach your dreams again. The important part is that you believe in your dream of being an author, and you will reach that dream!
And when you doubt yourself, remember that you have something in common with every author in the history of the world. You have something in common with Stephen King, J.R.R Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Agatha Christie and even with Kahlil Gibran, and that is, that each author starts with the first word… how you reach the end successfully is simply a matter of which path you choose to walk.
So, before roaming the internet, why not pick up a pen or pencil and begin jotting down your ideas, and then either begin the writing journey, or delegate the work to get done for you.
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