Lesson 5 of 6

Series Are Not for Everyone

There are pitfalls to writing a series:

  • If you’re traditionally published and book one doesn’t sell, you may find your contract cancelled, or you could find yourself contractually obliged to write the second or third book of a series that has no reader base. That time could be better spent writing something new.

  • You might want to continue the series, but the publisher loses interest due to poor sales. (Remember however, poor sales can often be more of a reflection of poor marketing.)

  • You might fall out of love with your series. Writing for the same characters and situations can take its toll and there’s a possibility that you will lose interest. 

  • If you are someone who likes new shiny plot lines with new protagonists and have a list of 100 books you want to write, you will have to really dig deep and focus if you want to start, and more importantly finish, a series.

  • Each book will need to work as a story in its own right. Writers have been known to simply split their books into three in order to offer a trilogy. Some will end on a cliffhanger that will assume the reader will buy book two, or worse; wait a year for the next instalment. This can frustrate the reader, who wants a complete reading experience with each book. There is a skill to creating a trilogy or a series where each part is its own story.


Planning an epic novel? Don’t write a 200,000 word book. Break it into a three-part series. The key is to think of satisfying endings for the reader for each book, and also to leave them wanting more.