Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Field Trip #13: Trilogy & Series - What’s the Order?

Morgan says: Have you noticed a growing trend in requests for stories with trilogy (or longer) story arches?  From Twilight to The Hunger Games, readers are gobbling up stories that feature the same characters across multiple books.
From a reader’s perspective, this trend makes perfect sense.  Remember, your readers want an experience.  They want to escape into the world that you created.  Writing multiple books that take place in the same small town, family, space ship, dimension, or planet fulfills that escapist need. 
Last week, we experimented with an online workshop to help Jessa Slade revamp her website design.  Ms. Slade’s Marked Souls Series currently has four books.  One of the folks who posted a comment, stated that they had difficulty finding the order of the books in the series.  (Ms. Slade has since made the book order more clear.)  This comment made me wonder:  How do other authors designate the order in which their series books should be read?  Of course there is the publication list at the front of each book, but how do they capture this list on their website?
I did some research on the internet and here is what I found:
George R.R. Martin has written several standalone books, but the HBO series Game of Thrones has sparked a renewed interest in his A Song of Fire and Ice series.  Notice how he lists his books in order as bullets and sub-bullets on his bibliography page.
An excerpt from George R. R. Martin's bibliography page.

J. R. Ward highlights the latest release in her series at the top of her “The Books” page working backwards to the first book in the series.  In the book description she provides, she tells you the:
  • Publisher
  • ISBN numbers
  • Publication date
  • Number of the book in the series
  • Main character focus (i.e., Qhuinn and Blaylock's Story) - BRILLIANT!!
  • Book blurb
One of J. R. Ward's books listed on her "The Books" webpage.
Beyond your website, there are several ways that you can make the order clear.  For example, Melissa Marr showcased her Wicked Lovely covers on a bookmark.  Now her new readers can easily identify which books precede her latest release.
Melissa Marr Wicked Lovely bookmark.

This week, we want you to go your own Cyber Safari Field Trip and answer the following questions:
  • How does your favorite series author list their books on their website?
  • Is it easy to know the order in which the books should be read?
  • If you write a series, how can you make the book order clear on your website?
  • How can you better showcase your series in other forms of marketing? (i.e., bookmarks, brochures, posters, etc.)

1 comment:

  1. One thing fellow RCRW author, Paty Jager, does is she lists each series under a separate tab. and in order. If you click on the genre only, she displays the book covers in order. However, she does not put series numbers or dates of publication which I would like.

    Another favorite author, Roxanne St. Claire, clearly puts Book #1, Book #2 etc. with her series books. Check out her booklist. I like how the cover is the main eye-catching presentation, but still the ability to order is immediate.

    I also like how Roxanne, who is writing in three genres now, lists the latest book in each one right on her front page

    As the only series I current have is my Sweetwater Canyon books, and only two of them at the moment, I haven't been marketing them separately yet in terms of bookmarks, brochures, etc. Though I have run a couple of ads that show the two books together.