I’m following on from a post that I did a while ago, I guess that you could call this the sequel to it.
Here’s the thing, I wonder how to market a sequel, sure there are those who read the first part of the story, they are a reasonable bet for the sequel, but what about the ones who have never read part one, where do they fit into your marketing masterplan?
The trouble with sequels is that they demand to be written. It might be because you realise that you haven’t actually finished the story, or you think of some more adventures for the people that are left standing. It could even be that your readers have asked you for more. The strangest reason is where the characters themselves won’t leave you alone and keep pestering your subconscious with demands for more.
For whatever reason, you find yourself with a sequel to promote, and how are you supposed to do that.
Obviously, you need to tell everyone that read the first book, but beyond that, you almost have to market the first or preceding parts more than your new work, just to make sure that people are up to speed.
Now I try to write sequels that are complete in themselves, so that they can be read without a constant reference to the book that came before. This requires a bit of planning and inclusion of backstory, enough to give a clue but not too much. The last thing that you want to do is put off the readers that are already familiar with what’s going on.
So no excessive repetition, as few spoilers as possible (the idea is to make them want to go back and catch up), in fact, if you can give the other volume a mysterious air it will encourage things. Maybe leave tales half told, making then want to catch up.
The reason I’m writing this is that I have a sequel to promote. I’ve tried, on various platforms to get people interested but all they do is say that they’re not interested in sequels, from a review or blogging point of view that is, unless they’ve read the first part. And when I offer both novels, FREE, to review, that is too much to expect, as they are so busy.
Which brings me neatly back to my original question.
The trouble is, to a certain extent, I have little choice about whether I write a sequel or not. In the case of the request, I can hardly refuse if people show enough interest in my work to want more. If the characters suggest (via my minds-eye), that they can have more adventures, again, I can hardly shut it out.
So in the same way that Wilbur Smith has the Courtney’s, Ballantyne’s, Egypt etc., I have series coming out of my ears.
The Dave Travise series, the Balcom series, the Andorra Pett series, they have all developed from a single starting point into almost unstoppable creations, with the more I write giving me ideas. Soon Dave and all the others will be having adventures in their jet-propelled wheelchairs, or ordering cocoa in the seedy bars of their various universes on O.A.P.Wednesday.
Or I could go the other way, and like the Young Sherlock or the Indiana Jones Chronicles, I guess that I could always go back to before it all began. I can start to tell the story from the other end, so to speak. After all, as well as the examples above, it worked for Asimov with the Foundation series. Roll on the Box-set.