That’s Emerson, by the way.
I read a post recently about keeping a “series bible” so you’d always get the minutiae right as you add more books to the series.
I take a different perspective. I’ll meander toward it.
First, an excerpt from my very first book The Commonsense Entrepreneur. It’s about musicians, but in most ways it applies to authors as well:
… more … “A Foolish Consistency?”
I’ve finished 3 mysteries, with a solid first draft of a fourth and half a draft of another. The first, Through the Fog, was a solo project, a lark, a few years ago. This year, I got more serious with A Long, Hard Look and dug a little deeper for Into the Fog, the second of my foggy Irish mysteries.
The first editing note Tom Bentley sent regarding Into the Fog mentioned that its protagonist sounded a lot like the chap in A Long, Hard Look.
All I could think was, wait ’til he reads anodyne.
All three protagonists (wait; there’s a fourth, a woman) speak with my voice. There are subtle differences, but I’ve made the mistake of allowing my writer’s voice to overwhelm these characters’ individuality.
They’re all too much me. I guess I have so many faces I want to use them all. But that’s confusing for readers.
O woe is me. How to fix?
Tom’s first suggestion sounded familiar. That’s because I’ve been recommending it to my business coaching clients since before I wrote The Commonsense Entrepreneur in 2008.
This is why we hire others: so they can help us see, over here, what we’ve been doing for 6 long years over here.
What Who You Know
I’d like to introduce you to Eileen Thomasina Armstrong, 36. (She sure doesn’t like her middle name.) Here are some things you might like to know about her: … more … “Snowflake People: Backstory to the Rescue”
If first books were universally priced at 99¢, the only folks who’d lose are authors who won’t write or can’t sell a second book. I say, let’s set that expectation!
99¢ is a good price for a single “taster” book so folks can be sure if they like your books. If so, they’ll pay full boat for the others. If not, you don’t have a frustrated reader who feels ripped off, you just have someone who quietly goes away. Folks who pay $12 for a book they hated are far more vocal than folks who only paid 99¢.
Be clear with your readers that’s exactly what you’re doing. “This book is the taster sample. If you like it, here are 6 more!”
Everyone in traditional publishing mourns the loss of the gatekeepers. This is built-in thresholding. Don’t set the bar artificially from the outside, set the bar at “Do you want to write a book badly enough that you’re willing to sell it for 99¢ because you know you’ll be writing more?”