I wanted to try something different with The Skyward Saga – a title which I’ll either italicize or capitalize depending on the amount of coffee I’ve had while writing the post, you guess which means what – namely, writing almost all of the books in advance before publishing a single one.
This has a couple of advantages, and disadvantages, but on the whole, it’s kinda nice being stuck in the vacuum of your own story for months on end without any sort of outside input.
- You get to mold just about everything without fear of a deadline or outside feedback. For some, this might be a double-edged sword; gotta have that pressure if you’re going to get anything done. For me, it meant the chance to be creative with the plot, the characters and the galaxy without needing to press things into a tight form from the get-go. Because book 1 was still a flexible document on my computer, I could toss in a reference that would matter in book 4 without a second thought. In other words, the story stayed malleable.
- When you’re done, you get a steady stream of releases to put out while buying yourself time to produce the next one. Yeah, if you just pounded shot after shot of espresso and typed until your fingers fell off, you could get the same steady release without the build-up, but this is one way of buying yourself future time by holding back completed work in the present. If you have the income flexibility to try it, I would.
- Last pro I’m going to list here – from a marketing angle, the dark side of selling stories, it’s far easier to build ads and such around a series that releases on a monthly (or even faster) basis. You’re going to have momentum that most others won’t have, and readers, if you use pre-orders, will be able to see they only have a few weeks to wait until your next book. That’s huge.
- You’ve got to be able to float yourself during those months when you’re ‘banking’ releases. If writing is the way you pay your mortgage, your car insurance, and your cat overlord, it might be hard to sit on completed material that could be earning you dough right this very moment. So if this is a strategy you want to try, it’s worth saving up ahead of time.
- You might be writing trash! Maybe your story about a squad of interstellar crustaceans who battle the galaxy’s terrifying, star-surfing seagulls is, uh, lacking in compelling characters and conflict. If you’re banking releases, you might get four or five books in (or more) before you know that Captain Claw and his merry Lobstermen isn’t going to resonate with readers, or lobsters. Consider at least pitching your plot to a few folks ahead of time to get a pulse on whether your idea is intriguing or, uh, not.
Overall – it’s worth a try. Especially if you’re getting a little tired of the monthly hustle or the always-annoying book-publishing process. Banking releases gives you some time to focus on the whole point of this enterprise: telling the stories.