If I Had To Do A Series Again…

Stan Lee
I wanna be this guy!
(Source: Stan Lee’s Facebook page)

I have two more novellas to write in the Compact Universe that will wrap up the Amargosa Trilogy (or Arc as my publisher calls it.) The Amortals brings back Douglas Best. The Exile will pick up Rosc’s story after he was sent away by Tishla. And Flight Blade (working title) introduces two characters from Storming Amargosa during their journey to Gilead aboard the Challenger from Warped. As you probably noticed, none of these stories focus on the same character or set of characters. When I started, the conventional wisdom said that indie writers should release a lot of books to make money. Since I wasn’t going to get the Amargosa Trilogy done right away, I decided to do novellas in three arcs that would tell the story from beyond Amargosa. Telling different characters’ stories seemed the way to go.

I also expected to have three novellas cranked out every nine months or so while I wrote the remaining Amargosa books. That did not happen, and the indie landscape changed in the meantime. So while I have a large and varied cast of characters that rivals Tolkien in scope, it’s not the way I would have started a series.

Gene Roddenberry
Or maybe this guy
(Source: startrek.com)

Once upon a time, if you started a series, you wrote a novel. If you were smart, you wrote the second one before you shopped the first. Most people didn’t and still don’t. Then indie became a viable option, but as time went on, experts suggested a lot of novellas would make a series more viable. By the time I could make that happen, that stopped being the case. And if you go that route, you need to focus on the same group of characters, which means I should really have been writing about the characters from The Children of Amargosa.

The future is uncertain, but I suggested to my publisher that, once the trilogy wraps up and all the shorts and ancillary novellas are published, that I’d go with a series called Worlds of the Compact. It would visit a different world within my fictional universe, but stick with the Meddling Kids from the Amargosa novels as they become adults. It would give me time to do the next trilogy if that flies.

Holland Bay, the crime novel I keep talking about, is the start of a series, but aside from some shorts I published just to stay relevant, there’s not anything to continue the story between major installments. Which is as it should be. As a writer, I owe readers more focus. And as a reader, I don’t want to have to memorize an entirely new cast while waiting for the next major entry.

Do I regret doing The Compact Universe the way I did? Not really.