Self-Publishing Fiction: How To Go From Bust To Boom

Struggling with your self-publishing venture? Take heart. After 2020, many authors are in similar straits. They don’t have thousands of dollars to invest in advertising, so their publishing slows, then stops.

If you’re in a “bust” situation, you can turn it around into a BOOM, without spending huge sums on advertising.

Self-publishing fiction? How to build your own BOOM

Listen up. Bestselling authors write series.

I’ve lost the link, but a few years ago, on a forum, we discussed series and bestsellers. One member pointed out that bestselling authors all had series—some with dozens of books in each series.

The major benefit of a series is that each book sells the others. You don’t have to waste time and energy on advertising, just use the front and back matter of each book to promote your series.

Think that creating a series is a lot of work?

You never know—you may have kickstarted your series already. Look at what you’ve published, or what’s on your hard drive.

Start with what you have: you may have created a bestseller already

I’ve been rereading The Virginian (free from Project Gutenberg, and elsewhere). The novel is by Owen Wister; it’s been called the first “true” Western.

Wister adapted the novel from a series of short stories he wrote for magazines. If you need a laugh, read The Virginian. It’s a wonderful Western–and a wonderful novel.

You’ll love Emily, the hen:

Did I ever tell you about a hen Emily we had here? She was venturesome to an extent I have not seen in other hens only she had poor judgement and would make no family ties.

Look through your archives, at previously-published material. You may find a character like the Virginian to kickstart a bestselling series. (Now you know why I urge you to write short stories: creativity builds more creativity.)

Once you’ve decided on a series, you need to decide on your series’ style.

Choose your series’ style: standalones, or an overarching plot?

This post, Write A Series: 3 Fiction Writing Tips To Get Inspired, suggested:

When you write a series, decide whether you’ll write books which are standalones, or which are more episodic—that is, they have an overarching plot which isn’t resolved until the final book.

Choose wisely.

Several years ago, a ghostwriting client asked me to create a fiction trilogy. I roughed out an overarching plot (it was a fantasy fairy tale retelling), but he changed his mind, opting for a mystery series instead.

My fairy tale retelling plot appealed to me; I wrote it under a pen name. Unfortunately, I stuck with the overarching plot.

That sound you hear is me, banging my head on my desk. Here’s why… Six months after I completed the trilogy, publishing each novel individually, then publishing them as a bundle too, the series took off.

Finally, I sold the trilogy to another author, because I became annoyed whenever I looked at the sales. Why, oh why, hadn’t I left the series open-ended? That taught me a lesson, because you never know.

When you create a series with an overarching plot, leave yourself wiggle room. Think about ways you could continue the series if it does well.

Make self-publishing work for you, whether you’re a newbie or pro

Think about creating a series. You never know, you may be developing your own franchise.


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