Book Series Adventures
You’ve published a book series! A true accomplishment, regardless of whether you planned it or not. But while you were promised great things would emerge at this point in your writing career, you are facing a few challenges. Allow me to tell you about issues I’ve confronted during publication of Murder on Mokulua Drive, the second Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian mystery…
Beyond avoiding copyright violation in the chapter-opening quotes I use, I guard against repetition. During pre-publication review of Murder on Mokulua Drive, I discovered I’d reused a quote from Prospect for Murder. My pages of aphorisms now indicate when and where a quote is used.
Character and locale Parity
- Initially, I had a male protagonist. Whoops…my writers’ salon found that “voice” more appropriate to a woman.
- Names, their spellings, descriptions, and pronunciation must all be checked. Imagine my chagrin in realizing I’d changed a name’s pronunciation mid-way through PFM’s audio edition!
- While my protagonist thinks in whole words, she speaks with contractions. I now begin each book by reviewing my chart of persons, places, and their characteristics.
Promotional text highlighting aspects of a single book must encompass each title in a series. Having multiple titles often means having different editions. For PFM, I had hardcover, softcover, Ebook, and physical and digital audio editions. MOMD is currently available in only hardcover and Ebook. Softcover and audio references (like “Audible.com”) are omitted when describing the second book.
If you have a publisher or literary agent, they may have guidelines for presenting yourself personally, online, and in traditional and social media. If you’ve never been in the public eye, you may be grateful for suggestions about wardrobe, hair, accessories, and makeup [yes, men sometimes require makeup].
What you say and how you relate it will shift, depending on the media or venue. I’m not suggesting you become a shape-shifting chameleon, but envisioning each audience helps you see yourself as they will.
Regardless of who directs your marketing, examine media kit samples to see what you should prepare. This will include bios, photos, sample media releases, and relatable stories, covering:
- Background [family, education, career]
- Daily Life [home, work, writing locale, pets, hobbies]
- Writing Methodology [research, writing, editing]
- Influential People [affecting your work and life]
- Author Experiences
- Changes in Your Writing
Were you initially described as a debut author? That’s no longer relevant. What other life changes will impact your self-description. Are you in a new professional position? Where do you live, or travel for research, sales, and presentations?
Elastic Promotional Text
Periodically (and in varying length), you’ll need to restructure text for:
- Media releases about books, awards, appearances
- Bios for ads, event programs, introductions
- Submission of your work for reviews and contests
- Website discussions of your life and authorship
- Social media posts, comments, and event announcements
Gather images to stimulate the interest of colleagues, readers, listeners, and the general public including:
- You and your surroundings
- Events in which you participate
- Images attracting your interest
- Organizational and community involvement
- Images relevant to characters, scenery, and activity in your writing
Inviting Websites and Blogs
Working alone or with a web master, there are many aspects to consider. First, you may have a website from before becoming an author. Some elements may be recyclable. With bios, book synopses, and pertinent images available, much of your material is ready for upload. You just need to weave it all together to appropriately reveal your and your work.
- Styles appealing to your target market [realism, art deco, country kitch…]
- Colors [you like and wear; those describing your work]
- Shapes reflecting your style and work [linear or curved]
- Textures, natural or man-made [wood, silk, metal, stone, plastic]
Well, there’s nothing final about the process of writing…or of marketing your work. As with your compositions, keeping electronic and hard copy samples of your promotional material, will help you shape attractive representations of your unfolding life’s work!
Wishing you the best,
Jeanne Burrows-Johnson, wordsmith and design consultant
Tips on research, composition, and marketing your work available at: