Thanks so much for hosting me and my new release on your blog today, Jean!
I’ve been writing fiction “seriously” for about ten years now, and have about a dozen book published – YA and contemporary romance and romantic suspense and paranormal romance… all the genres I also like to read, so it works out pretty well. My YA books are all in a series, and in the past I’ve participated in a Valentine series for The Wild Rose Press (the Candy Heart series) and an indie anthology entitled “Hunks to the Rescue” where all the heroes were in some sort of rescue profession (mine was an undercover cop.)
Last year I was invited to join another series, this one with a different kind of twist. Eight authors writing standalone stories, eight strangers who were affected by the same natural disaster, and how each of them dealt with and came to terms with their grief.
The idea intrigued me, and I jumped at the chance. I’m really excited about my release today – it’s Book 5 of the series, with a new story releasing every two week since New Year’s Day. My hero is a rock star, who lost the rest of his band in the hurricane that ties the series together.
As a writer, how do you get to be part of a series, and what are the advantages?
Well, the first path is to write the whole series yourself. (Obviously.) I do that with my young adult series about the mermaids who summer off the coast of my Cape Cod hometown. It’s a commitment, but it can be totally worth it. The downside is that like a standalone, you’re the only author doing the promotion. The upside? If readers like the first book, it’s almost a given that they’ll buy the second. And the third.
The second way is to send in a query when a publisher, like The Wild Rose Press, is announcing a series and looking for authors. Some are limited (like Candy Hearts) and some are more ongoing (like The Deerbourne Inn series)…the opportunities are there if you read the materials and send in your idea for a story. You need to keep your eye out for the calls for submissions, and then the important part is to thoroughly read the guidelines. The upsides? If it’s a publisher who you’ve already worked with, you may not have to turn in a complete manuscript to get the initial nod – and you also have a team of authors you may already be familiar with writing in the same series to work with for promotions and parties. The downside? Readers know it’s not a “real” series and love of one story may not translate into sales of others. This kind of hinges on the marketing, both from the publisher and the authors as a group.
Another path is being invited by another author you’ve befriended previously. Author loops, RWA local groups, online communities, Facebook pages… the opportunities to connect are endless if you think about it. Make friends. Write reviews for other authors. Get to know them. First, however, you need to prove you can write a good story. And that you can help promote for others.
The upside to this indie-type box-set or series? Each author is committed to the promotion, and shares access to their newsletters, their graphic abilities, and more. Most of the indie authors I know online first got their “best selling author” credentials by being part of a box set or anthology.
The bottom line? Start by writing the best story that you can. Whether it’s inspired by a series theme or not, if it’s not a good story to start with, why bother?
Short Excerpt from QUINN’S RESOLUTION:
On the open-air stage in Times Square, Quinn MacDonald was making a very different resolution for the fast-approaching new year. As he stood there with a fake smile plastered on his face, listening to Wiz Khalifa spout on about some after-party, Quinn vowed he would never sing on stage in public again. No matter what the fucking studio executives said, they couldn’t make him do this. Rock stars don’t cry on national television, for fuck’s sake.
He felt raw. Exposed. Alone.
And the duet with Demi Lovato? Someone had to have planned that ahead of time without telling him a thing. There’s no such thing as spontaneous singing for television cameras. Certainly not on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. So let’s add feeling “used” into the mix.
He didn’t like it. It was… wrong.
Sure, he’d promote the album. It was part of the contract he signed. He owed that much to the memory of his friends, and to their families. But as far as Quinn was concerned, the music died in the hurricane along with the rest of his band.