It is generally regarded that the key to publishing success on Amazon lies in writing a series of novels. Readers love a series and it also has the added bonus of an inbuilt marketing plan whereby the author can make the first book free (known as a loss leader) in order to attract more downloads, of which a large part will hopefully convert to paid sales of the other novels in the series. This is all very well if what you choose to write about cannot be told in just one book. Unfortunately for me, my writing thus far has been based around standalone titles, so I have been unable to take advantage of these supposed benefits.
However, after The Outback and Stealing Asia, my third book has provided me with the opportunity to take the story further. Thus far, I have plans to convert it into a trilogy. Of course, with this, there comes certain considerations that I did not need to take into account with the standalone novels. This will be most felt during the editing process. The books need not only be self consistent, but they must also be consistent across the entire series. When then should I publish - one book at a time or wait until all are completed before publishing the first?
After some consideration, I have decided to go ahead and publish the first of the trilogy, Diamond Sky, as soon as it has completed the editing process. Having looked at some successful trilogies, I have noticed certain patterns emerging. As evidenced in movies like Star Wars and The Matrix, the first of a trilogy is often a standalone in its own right. They have endings that are tidy and satisfying, but leave space for further exploration without the need for an unresolved cliffhanger. Diamond Sky fits in with this style.
Books two and three of the series however, are a different prospect. Like with The Empire Strikes Back, my sequel will be left with an unresolved ending (ie - the battle is finished, but the war is far from over) and like the Matrix sequels, I will be writing them back to back. This way, if complications arise in part three, I will have the luxury of adapting part two to suit any unexpected story developments. In terms of release dates, this will place me under pressure, but the most important thing is always and always will be the story. The moment I compromise my art is the moment that I have no further right to call myself an artist.
Diamond Sky is due for release this Christmas and (hopefully) the sequels will be ready for spring and summer of next year, respectively.
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