There’s always the old standalone versus series debate and whether it’s better to write one standalone novel as opposed to a multiple-book novel series.
While there’s nothing wrong with writing standalone, authors wishing to earn steady passive income should always opt to write a series as it can do things standalones can’t.
Here is a quick-hit list of five benefits writing a series can bring you.
No Reinvention of the Wheel
You already have your characters and while there’s definitely need for more as the series progresses, you have a main cast who will likely see the series through.
For that reason, you can say good-bye to reinventing a whole new cast of characters. This will save you a lot of time in the beginning stages of each new work.
Also, readers have become close to specific characters and by the end of each novel should be craving to find their eventual fates throughout each book and the series finale, whenever you should choose to write one.
You just saw two benefits with only the first headline.
So, what are some of the others?
Let’s find out.
Yes, you already have a readership with a series. As shown in Reason One, readers come close to the characters.
However, they might become close to the plot elements themselves.
Look at Northern Knights, where there are so many themes related to the work, such as 1) Libertarianism, 2) National Sovereignty, 3) Voluntarism, 4) Bill of Rights, 5) Anti-Police, 6) Anti-Intervention, 7) Anarchocapitalism, the list goes on and on.
I’ve often stated I loved Harry Potter not because of J.K. Rowling or the characters, but the overall plot elements running through the entire series, the themes, and the messages.
Reading the work sparked positivity in me because I agreed with many of the messages whether it was Rowling’s intention or not.
So, your readers might be close to the characters but others will be in love with the messages stemming from your plot.
You’re building an active readership in all avenues with one single series.
Rather than writing standalones, which might make a case for finding a new reading audience, you can keep your audience time and again with however many books you decide to write in one series.
A Series Creates a Brand
Yes, you can brand yourself as an author but you can also brand a series. While I’ve read many articles advocating against this, including articles from my favorite indie-authors, I’ve come to disagree.
In doing so, I created this web site for my Lord of Columbia Series.
A series can be a brand of its own and from experience of successful indie-authors utilizing this tactic is where I rest my case. While I still advocate for authors to brand themselves, it still is wise to brand the series.
Readers will read a series if they’re interested in it.
For instance, they will say they love Game of Thrones, not that they love George R.R. Martin.
Ditto for Tolkien, Rowling, C.S. Lewis, etc.
It’s going to be Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Chronicles of Narnia over the authors themselves.
Again, these authors, well, the modern ones anyway, will always have their own brand, but they all realize the series brand will take them so much farther than their own, personal author brand.
Additional Cash Flows
No one’s going to wear a t-shirt with your face on it, but they might wear one with your characters’.
A series is a potential gold mine that goes farther than just books; you can build an entire franchise around it unlike a standalone. While possible, it would be way harder to build around a standalone work unlike what it would be like to build around a series.
T-shirts, apparel, memorabilia, the possibilities here are endless.
For instance, if I wanted to sell tees with the Lord of Columbia Series characters on them, I could do so easily, which will likely come in due time.
Some readers might be close to the Columbian coalition, or whatever, and by designing shirts with the logo and colors, they will trek to an online shop.
Again, a standalone can do this, but it’s easier when people know a series. With Harry Potter, I see people wearing merchandise of their Hogwarts House time and again, which is just one of many examples in Harry Potter.
Your franchise doesn’t have to be that big, but it can and will be beneficial enough to make a full-time living doing so in time.
Yes, we live in a culture these days where people want everything this instant. It’s why Netflix is so popular.
It’s why people spend entire days watching marathons. The same goes for books.
The more books you have available in a single series, the higher the potential of you selling them in bulk.
If a reader or readers find your book covers and work captivating, you just found an audience willing to buy every single book you have available in that series.
Just like your marathon viewers, readers will be spending days (or weeks) reading your work.
Have five books out in a series and each are priced at $4.99 in e-book format? That’s $25 and after the 70% royalty from Amazon gives you about $17.50 in profits.
Compare that to just one standalone.
Or, if your reader prefers paperback and each are priced at $15 apiece, you just earned $75 before royalties and deductions for production costs, which for Amazon equals about $3.50 in profits per book, or $17.50 altogether.
Thousands binge, so the potential, especially in today’s global market, is endless.