by Sharon Hamilton
There has been a lot of discussion on writing series lately. Some writers do it very well. Others struggle. These are just some thoughts I had when I look at the success of my SEAL Brotherhood Series, where it all began for me.
It helps if you really love the genre. I happened to fall in love with my SEALs because of my family experience with them. They became the books of my heart, and probably always will be. I write in other genres too, but I am focusing on what the readers want to determine what project I do next.
Darynda Jones once said, “Don’t chase the market but find something in the market that you can write.” I think that was probably the best piece of advice I’ve ever heard.
I group my books into sub-series. I have the original SEAL Brotherhood books, but then I did the next three as the Bad Boys of SEAL Team 3, with their own logo (yes, even their own custom condoms as SWAG), slightly different look on the cover, about men who didn’t start out with a silver spoon in their mouth. Then I created the Band of Bachelors, all still part of the same SEAL Team 3, but divorced men finding a second chance at love. I have my True Blue SEALs about wounded men coming home, learning to deal with their disabilities.
Throughout each of these series, I blend in old characters that have appeared previously, since my world stays the same. We get to see different sides of them as their families grow, as they become part of the team and perhaps move out to do something else in life.
If I ever get tired writing SEALs, I will stop. That’s not likely to happen any time soon. I’ve heard advice given that might have worked for some and would have been disastrous for me (and yes, sadly I took some of it too, just being honest). For every “ism” and kernel of advice there are those that have proven those gems wrong. This is not a one-size fits all approach to writing, or even writing series. So my advice, for what it’s worth?
- Write what you are comfortable writing and you love. If you don’t love it, stop.
- Write series if you like to write that way. Write stand-alone if you prefer that. Do both if you can (and then don’t look back). Do what’s natural for you to do and listen to your own internal advice first.
- Just because everyone else is doing something, consider doing something different. But don’t bet the farm on it.
- Pay attention to the market. Just remember you don’t have to do ALL the things everyone else is doing.
- If you make it big, save your money for a rainy day. There are ups and downs in this business. Planning for them will keep you sane in the end and keep your butt in the chair.
- There are new fans coming up through the ranks every day, just like there are new writers hitting the market. Just keep writing. Focus on the stories in your head, learn to reach out effectively to promote them, stay the course and it will all work out.
I promise. I believe in Happily Ever Afters, don’t you know?