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Wednesday, 3 June 2020

#IWSG post - Lynda Young gives us the goss on WRITING SERIES and PROMOTION based on her super-successful 'Wielder's...' series.

Hi all! Welcome to June's IWSG! Here we support and encourage each other. Share our experiences. This month I've asked 'real-life' blogger buddy, Lynda Young, to spell out some of her secrets to writing series. This fits in well with the June question: What are one or two of your secrets, something readers would never know from your work. 

I hope you're encouraged by her words, especially if you write series. I asked her for this post as it's something I want to learn more about before I unleash my series onto the unsuspecting public.

Alex's awesome co-hosts for the June 3 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia, J.Q. Rose, and Natalie Aguirre! Be sure to visit!

Take it away, Lynda!

Guest: Elle Cardy on Writing a Series

Thanks for having me, Denise.
Denise asked me to share what I’ve learned about writing, publishing and promoting, particularly a series. So here goes!

Writing the series:
When I wrote book 1, Wielder’s Prize, I didn’t plan a series. I wrote a standalone with the potential for a series. This was when I wanted to get an agent and publish traditionally. I didn’t think it was worth the time to write a full series if I couldn’t sell the first book to an agent.

When I took control of my writing career, I realized indie publishing suited me better. I liked having the power to choose my own titles, to design and create my own covers, to be responsible for every aspect of the book, with my own timing.

Why a series?
I needed a full series to get the most out of indie publishing. If a reader loved book 1 then I wanted them to buy the next one and the next. And I didn’t want them to wait too long either. That meant writing Wielder’s Curse and Wielder’s Fire before hitting ‘publish’ on book one. But, of course, I didn’t wait until they were completely finished. I have a terrible habit of misjudging the time it takes to edit and market. And then there was that wretched learning curve that needed straightening.

Pro Tip:
Amazon loves new books. For ninety days, Amazon will help you promote your new book. Once you slip out of that window, unless you’ve got a strong following or a large backlist, that book is set aside for the next shiny new book. This is another good reason to write a series. Each new book in the series promotes all other books in the series.

Because of the pandemic distractions, I let my final book slip outside my 90 day period between books. Wow, did I notice a difference in sales for books 1 and 2. Now that book 3 is out, sales have picked up again for the whole series. Phew!

So, important advice before you publish for the first time: WAIT!
When just starting out, make sure all your ducks are in that proverbial row before you send them out, quacking into the world. When everything is new, give yourself time to breathe, because it can quickly get overwhelming. Remember to enjoy yourself. Remember to celebrate. And remember that ninety day window.

How to create a series:
There are so many schools of thought on how best to write a book and create a series. First person, third? Three acts or Four? How long? How many books? Plot it or just write by the seat of your pants?

To answer these questions, research your chosen genre and listen to your story.

Fantasies are often serials, also known as dynamic series. Think Harry Potter, Game of Thrones. Lots of character development. Each book with a distinct story or theme of its own but with a larger storyline running across the series. This is my Wielder’s Storm trilogy.

Crimes tend to be episodic series, also known as static. Think Sherlock Holmes. Same main characters, different adventures. Not a lot of character development.

And then you have anthology series where the books are bound by an element other than a set of the same characters eg. a world, a location, a theme. Many romances are like this.

Did I plan the rest of the series?
Nope. I love stories with twists, and I get the best twists when I don’t plan. I had a vague inkling how book 2 would end and an even vaguer inkling how book 3 would end. After an ah-ha moment, I finished the first draft of 3 before I finished the first draft of 2. I don’t recommend that, but book 3 insisted.

Helpful tip for writing a series:
Write a document with your character names, character descriptions, place names and other little details you may need to reference throughout the series. That way you keep everything consistent.

What’s more important: The writing or the story?
The story. Every time.

If you have interesting characters in an engaging story with a good pace, then you probably have a winner. It’s that simple.

Yes, you need to learn the craft of writing. You need to read widely within your genre and outside it too. You need to understand your market. And then you need to let your baby go so others can enjoy it too.

What would I do differently?
·       I would’ve gone independent sooner. It’s truly awesome and empowering.
·       I probably would’ve waited before releasing my series. Just for the sanity and breathing space to concentrate more on the marketing. But then again, there is no faster way to learn than to get on with it.
·       I would’ve built up my newsletter earlier.
·       After getting my first fan letter, I would’ve made Wielder’s Storm a longer series. I still can, actually. Hmmm…. ;)

Biggest advice:
·       Know your market.
·       Finish your story.
·       Get it professionally edited.
·       Don’t skimp on the cover. And make sure it fits your genre and your series.
·       Get your book description right. It’s so very important. And it’s different to a synopsis.
·       Reviews are super important and not so easy to get. You’ll need to send out more advanced copies than you’d think.
·       Don’t keep tweaking multiple details of your published book at the same time. If you change anything, make it only one thing, then wait for the data to come in.
·       Remember this is a long game. Don’t expect overnight success.
·       Keep reading and keep writing.

What do you love about reading a series? If you’ve written a series, what other tips would you add?

Wielder’s Fire is the thrilling conclusion to the sweeping Wielder’s Storm trilogy.
Marooned on an island, stripped of her magic, Jasmine must find a way to mend her heart and defeat the oncoming storm.

Her secrets have been laid bare. The one who was supposed to love her, stripped her of her magic. Now she’s shipwrecked on a forsaken island with nothing but her anger and determination to keep her warm at night. Alone and defenseless against a powerful enemy, she must find a way to survive.
She will get her magic back.
She will escape the island.
She will face the enemy and defeat it once and for all.
But how can she when her heart is blistered to a crisp? One fierce step at a time.
For fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, who love exciting tales with dark secrets and unexpected twists.

Lose yourself in this epic fantasy adventure set on the high seas by clicking here: Wielder’s Fire. Or start with Wielder’s Prize, then Wielder’s Curse. They are also free to read via Kindle Unlimited.
Where to find Elle Cardy:


Join @LyndaRYoung @ElleCardy #WRITING SERIES #SERIES #BOOKPROMOTION #PROMOTION https://dencovey.blogspot.com/2020/06/iwsg-post-lynda-young-gives-us-goss-on.html #fantasy #GuestPost #amwriting @DeniseCCovey

Today we post our WEP June 1 - put-your-thinking-caps on post for the challenge, URBAN NIGHTMARE. Go HERE to get ideas on how to approach this prompt. Or just go with your gut.

Thanks for coming by today. I hope you enjoyed Lynda's guest post. 
I hope you'll consider writing for WEP - either again, or for the first time.


  1. Replies
    1. My pleasure. Love your post. I'm sure we'll all learn something new! Thanks.

  2. Thank you both.
    As a reader I am endlessly fascinated by learning more about writer's craft. And awed by the workload.

    1. The workload can be hefty, but also hugely satisfying and fun.

  3. Anymore the books have to come out close together. You were wise to have them finished. at least mostly, before beginning to send them out.
    And I'd have to say I'm a big believer in a series!

    1. I have to be more patient with my next series. And yes, series are great for authors and readers!

  4. Those are all such great tips, Lynda. Even if you get published traditionally, I think it's important to get a good start on writing the other books in the series. I wouldn't want the pressure of completely writing them on a deadline. Congrats on your new book!

  5. A 90 day window? I need to prompt my authors to write faster.

    Yes, professional editing is a MUST for those who self-publish.

  6. I have never considered writing a series. I know I would get all the details wrong like blue eyes switch to brown eyes, the setting, oh so much to remember! All of my books are stand alones. I may have to go back and pick out one of my characters and try writing a second one. But what story? I like all of them! LOL Congratulations on your third in the series and in your independence in publishing.
    JQ Rose

    1. Getting those details right is important. That's why I recommend setting up a document with those details in it, something to easily reference.

  7. Great post. Very informative. Must take some of this advice into serious considersation.

  8. I didn't know about the 90 day thing! Hmmm.
    I'm a bit of a control freak so I like the Indie publishing. I also wrote some of my series out of order and I'm still working on book 4 while book 5 is already drafted :)

  9. Gosh, Lynda, I wish I had known this much before I went ahead with my books. So many mistakes, so much to learn. Great post! Thank you! I wish you all success, and I love the premis. Another series for the list!

    Hi, Denise, I hope you are still writing up a storm!

    1. I've made my fair share of mistakes too. It's all part of the learning process. I think we sometimes have to make them. Thanks, Yolanda.

  10. Interesting advice. I have an idea for a series percolating in my brain, but there are a couple of other novels ahead of it in the que. You'd think I'd have more time with the world shut down to write, but it's actually the opposite. The kidlings are super-needy, as is the cat, and with no one leaving the house, that quiet time to focus is gone, gone, gone. Maybe I should become a vampire and write in the middle of the night.

    1. Haha, yeah I thought the same when the world shut down. Way too many distractions. I'm only now getting back into the groove. Being a vampire would be handy...

  11. Lots of stuff in this interview I nodded along with you. Me too--about didn't plan a series but now it's going to be one. Interestingly, when I looked back at the end of the book-that-wasn't-a-series, it ended on a cliffhanger. And yep--don't skimp on the cover! I assume if the cover is amateurish, so too is the writing.

    Didn't know about Amazon's 90-day window.

    1. They have a 30 day window and a 90 day window. Readers can click on those options to see the latest releases, which gives your book a step up above the others.

  12. I'm just starting out writing a series. A few people told me to try to have something new come out every three months, and now I know why. Thanks for that info!

    1. Yeah, I'd heard that too but didn't realise how much impact it had.

  13. I have never considered writing a series, but sometimes I do wonder what happened to my characters after I "closed the book" on them...

  14. I have written a series, which to this day still surprises me. I hadn't started out to write a series, but it developed into 3 books. I am truly enjoying reading Lynda's Wielder series!!

  15. Congrats on getting the final instalment out! This has been a great series. It's very satisfying when you can get that overarching character arc and for readers to be invested in that.

    1. It's not always easy to achieve, but definitely satisfying.

  16. So many good tips here, Lynda! Thanks for sharing them.

  17. The surprise for me was that a series is way more than just "more than one book". Great tips here.

  18. Great post, Lynda. Lots of useful advice. I've never heard about the 90 days window on Amazon. Now, I know, thanks to you.

  19. Good tips, especially the reminder that this is a long game!

  20. Wow - what a lot of great advice for those of us waiting in the wings! I'm taking to heart the 'patience' advice and am working on a crime-related non-fiction book to put the brakes on my intense desire to publish my fiction too soon.

  21. Thanks for featuring Lynda, Denise. What an excellent post, so full of helpful information!

    1. I’m glad you’re finding some good info!

  22. Hi Denise! Hi Lynda!

    Well, that was certainly a very interesting and informative post. I like you reasons for self publishing, Lynda. They are solid and honest. And you advice about have the other books in the series almost finished is an excellent idea. I didn't know that Amazon did that for new books. That is a definite PLUS. I am not sure if I would ever Indie publish, but you do have some great suggestions why you should. Thanks. All the best with your trilogy!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. There are tips in there even for writers who plan to go traditional.

    2. Hi Michael. Everyone must follow their heart on this. Many of the reasons most of us preferred traditional publishing don't exist any longer. And they certainly shy from publishing new authors, preferring to stay with their tried and true.

  23. My 1st book wasn’t supposed to be the beginning of a series, either. I love writing a series. The world is there, so are the characters. I love adding or developing characters, and enlarging the world. I love your series.

    1. It's a whole lot easier to write a series than to build a whole new world.
      Thanks, Diane

  24. Hi Denise - I've been thinking about Urban Jungle - had forgotten it's Urban Nightmare ... still my idea will adapt.

    Hi Lynda - it's great that you've worked out the best route for you and your books - and I'm so pleased you're getting fan letters ... that's really inspiring.

    Congratulations to you both - and see you around ... stay safe and take care - Hilary

    1. Thanks Hilary. Looking forward to seeing your Urban Jungle, er, Nightmare.

  25. Thank you Denise for the tips on the WEP challenge this month, cooking ....
    Thank you Lynda for sharing your publishing adventure of your series. Very interesting and helpful. The storyline definitely appeals to me, any chance you’ll publish in paperback ?
    Wishing you both an inspired month of reading and writing. Take care, stay safe. Are you in Australia too Lynda ?

    1. Thanks Susan. Glad you’re doing the challenge this month. The reading and writing is going well with me. Hopefully with you too.

  26. Wow- I really loved all the advice. I didn't realize that about Amazon and marketing new books. So helpful to know.

    Lynda- Did you do your own book formatting or did you pay a service to set up each book?

    Wishing Lynda all the best! :) This series looks amazing!


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