Self-Publishing – How Many Books We Talking Here?

Self-Publishing is a series of posts that follows my desperate attempts at developing, writing, and eventually self-publishing my own book. Follow along if you dare, or if you are just really bored.

I’ve talked previously about the desire to turn my story idea into a series of books but I haven’t delved into how long this series is going to go. I have always been a fan of series because I love a large over-arcing storyline and watching as the characters change over a long period of time. What I DON’T like is when a series goes on for too long. I don’t want to go into specific series because even though I don’t like how a series goes, those writers are much more talented then I am. With that said I’m sure most of you have a series that you followed where it seemed like a book came out where not a whole lot happened.

My goal in determining the amount of books was determining what I needed to happen in the story. As the first book was being outlined I had a specific ending in mind and I knew in order to get to that ending a lot of different things needed to happen. In my series there is more than just a single character so I needed to make sure that I had a place that I wanted each character to be at the end of their storyline. From there it was filling in the blanks.

Now I might make it sound simple enough but in all honesty this process kind of kicked my butt. One of the characters was very easy to plot out a series of events for, the others I struggled with. Not due to a lack of ideas but more-so making these events mean something to the character and making sure they came naturally to the story. This wasn’t a one day process, or even a week/month long process. This is something that is still being revised to this day. I am to the point now where I have a general idea of how long it will take to tell an over arcing story that does all the characters justice and that is…7 books.

7 books seems like a lot and in some ways is & is not.  As I continue to tinker with the later outlines there are things I have added and things I’ve had to modify or remove completely.  With that said I do have a beginning, a semi-clear middle, and a clear ending.  Now I just have to write it…

@TheTAWilliams

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Self-Publishing – How Many Books We Talking Here?

  1. Understood. In my own case, my Para-Earth Series is going to be kind of open-ended. However, the characters involved in each book will be changing from book to book. Supporting characters from one book may be the focus in another down the road. Other times I’ll be using entirely new characters all around. The ‘Link’ between all the books will be where they are taking place.

    In the meantime I try to complete an entire story in each novel so that it can stand alone with a door open at the end so I can use the people again in another story down the road.

    I don’t envy what lies ahead for you, but I’m looking forward to seeing where you go with your series. Good luck.

  2. That my friend is ambitious!
    I love open-ended series because, if done correctly, it presents a vast world with endless stories. Each book is just a glimpse at a certain time and in certain place of the world. You’ve got my attention & good luck to yourself as well!!

  3. I like to plot and outline before I write, too. Glad you have your ideas planned out, and have fun writing them!

  4. DigitalFable

    Being a huge fantasy fan there is nothing I love better then sinking into a big series. But in my opinion there are far too many who’s books are filled with ‘fluff’ to pad out a novel to hit publication deadlines. The beauty of being a self-published author is that you won’t have the pressure from publishers to get your book out according to their time frame. If you ensure that all content in the book is relevant and that the majority of the book is not spent summarizing what happened in the previous books (as some authors are prone to do) then I don’t see why a large series won’t be a success!

    • Great point!
      And there have been a couple of series I have started where there are several books where nothing happens! That is a big reason why I outlined everything out before I committed to a specific book count!
      Appreciate the support!

  5. I’m sort of having a hard time with my series. I’ve got the first two done and the third is 1/3 of the way. I’ve outlined books 4 and 5.

    But I want to write book 5 now! Only it will make no sense since it relies on things from other books I haven’t written.

    Since you have 7 outlined, do you ever feel like you want to skip ahead?

  6. Great question!
    There are a couple of storylines, and characters, that I can’t wait to jump into! But with that said the characters I have now need to grow naturally with the story and the only accurate way I can determine where they should be in those later stories is to progress with them through their journey. I know WHERE I want them to be but it is quite possible I don’t fully know WHO they will be.
    So while there are a couple of storylines I can’t wait to tackle, I know it would not be doing my overall story justice if I jumped directly into them.
    But I feel your pain!!!!

  7. Definitely good to plot out the series with an outline (which of course, should remain flexible). I started the first book in my series without even realizing I was going to end up writing a series…but hey, that’s what revision is for. Once I figured out the book could work into a series, I outlined it (6 books) and worked elements into the first book that will carry the “through-line” conflict of the 6 books. Good luck and keep writing!

  8. Pingback: Self-Publishing – At The Eve Of Launch | Nothing To Read Here

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