Writing a Series, and What to Write Next
Are You Writing One Book or Ten?
I don’t know about you, but I constantly have ideas for books and blogs and articles racing through my head. Yes it gets pretty darned busy in there at times. So prioritizing the potential output is sometimes the hardest part of the job. Here’s a few things you might like to know about how to do this, starting with working out what’s up next.
Deciding on a priority for the next book or series.
Working out what to write and in what order is easy if you follow my simple steps. Start with the idea. Let’s say you want to write a book about Customer Service. Let’s break that down into sections – maybe it’s a book about Customer Service in retail. Then you could extend do one for Service Industries, or one on Trade or Construction Industry, or perhaps just making it the beauty industry. Suddenly the ideas are rolling faster than the ink in your Parker Rollerball right?
Let’s get a little more technical
BOOK Genre: Customer Service
Extensions – Other books in that Genre: for Retail, Trades, Construction, Financial Services, Hospitality
Break that down further to Books on specific areas of Customer Services:
- Fashion Retail =Mens/Women/Kids/Outdoors Stores
- Trades Retail = Paint and decorating/plumbing/appliances/Tiles/Lighting
- Construction = Builders/Electrical/Landscaping/Plumbing
- Financial Services = Mortgage brokers/Financial Institutions/Banks
- Hospitality = Tourism/Travel/Cafes/Restaurants/Bars/Food/Delis
Before you know it you could write either 20 chapters – each on one of the above areas and make your book very generic to cover all those places who use Customer Service, or need to train staff in that area, or ,you could just get really busy and write 10-20 books. Each for a specific industry and subcategory. Customer Service for Landscaping Companies – I bet there’s not much in that category, right?
(Actually I did a quick Amazon search and there’s nothing using that particular set of keywords – but many more generic CS titles).
But which one first?
Easy – start with what you know. Cover the industry or industries you have to do the least amount of research for. Then as you go, expand from there. If you know Retail, then start with that. Niche into: Customer Service for Clothing Stores, then expand into customer service for women’s Fashion, and/or Menswear, then sideline that out to Outdoors stores such as NorthFace, Katmandu, or Macpac types. Tenting, Boating, Fishing, Sports stores are then a natural progression because they still call on your skills writing about clothing. ie – is it the same selling a flotation devise as a shirt? Maybe – size, fabrics, features like pockets and zips… you get the picture right?
There are all books on retail and all based on Customer Service. Some of the information may well be the same – you might even be bored to tears by your own subject after the fifth book, but remember, you now have a series. A series is easier to market than an individual book.
Just grab a look at how Michael Gerber, author of The EMyth did it. By the way – I got to hang out for some one-on-one time with Mr Gerber back when he was just starting this expanded process of his book series, and wow, one of the smartest men I ever met, and a real gentleman. He was the first person to explain this concept to me – and I have read several of these books now. I highly recommend you do the same to further understand this entire principle.
Once you know what kind of series you intend to write, then put some timing and parameters around it.
On the Subject of Titles
You may decide to write your series as a same name series… like the EMyth for Dentists, the EMyth for Optometries, the EMyth for Construction, the EMyth Manager etc. Or, you may decide to name your books something specifically relevant to each one For example Louise Hay did it with Trust Life, then You Can Heal Your Life, then Heal Your Body, then the Power; is Within You, Each of these books is a stand alone, but as a set they still look and read like they belong together.
The concept behind this is simple. If you are writing about a topic that you deeply care about, then decide first what it is, and what you want people to do when they read your books. Ideally, you want them to either read more of your books, or book you to speak at an event where you can promote your books. Either way – a person who already cottoned on to your brilliance in one book or form, is going to be much easier to sell to than someone brand new. That’s Marketing 101 – and by the way – my own marketing books are part of a series, and there’s more about this concept in my Advertising, Branding, and Marketing 101 book.
Deciding on your titles – well that’s another whole blog topic, but it is also covered in my new online course about producing your Non-Fiction book. I also cover such topics in my weekly hangout sessions on Thursdays… details for that is here.