As authors, one of the first things we learned was to keep writing and keep quality publications coming; an important tip for all authors but particularly self-published authors. It’s a great way to get noticed and establish a following. What better way to do that than with a series or sequel? If a reader likes your first novel, they’re sure to like the sequel.
Having said that, there are caveats to keep in mind.
#1 – Just say NO to Repeat. The sequel’s plot must be just as interesting as the first novel. It helps to know while writing the first novel that there will be a sequel. As you’re writing it, you can keep notes on plot ideas for book II. The first book should have a conclusion, while leaving the door open to other possibilities at the same time.
#2 - While you don’t have to pick up where the first novel left off, the sequel still involves the lives of the same characters. It can be a bit tricky not to do a big info dump. Here’s a tip: release back story from book I through dialogue, or no more than one to two lines at a time so it doesn’t bog down the flow of the sequel and bore the reader.
#3 - Once you have a plot that will carry the sequel, it is all about the “second date.” With the first book, the “first date,” you’ve had a chance to put a few things out on the line, cause the reader to vest their emotions in the characters and prospective outcomes. The sequel is the chance to take things up a notch, remind the reader why it was worthwhile going on the “second date” and leave them anxious and excited for the next reading rendezvous.
Writing a sequel is an advantage when it comes to characters. As writers, we already know them, what they might say and how they would react in certain situations. For instance, in A Guilty Ghost Surprised, the main character, Indigo Eady, would run her bubble-butt off to get away from the soul collector. But in They All Fall Down, the main character, Abby, would stand and fight using her magical gun tattoos that she calls upon when in danger.
Characters should stay in character. HOWEVER, characters sometimes change, or evolve. Showing this change is what causes readers to continue to vest themselves in your characters. Remember, stagnation may cause Reader-Run-Away-ation.. Don’t start out the sequel with an arbitrary character trait change (unless it’s twenty years later and a lot of jading has been going on. In which case, it must be explained).
#4 - Consistency is key when writing a series or sequel. Keep physical descriptions and back story straight. As I mentioned above, Indigo Eady has a bubble butt. She got it from running, which is part of her back story and physical description and is mentioned in both book I and book II. Because really, there was no chance of losing the bubble butt in book II (even though Indigo has asked on more than one occasion. Sorry hon).
The same with Abby--there was no chance of getting rid of those tattoo-weapons in book II (which of course you wouldn’t want to anyway, because she totally kicks bad-dude butt with those weapons). It wouldn’t be right, and these types of changes could be distracting to the reader.
How do you feel about sequels?
Have you ever read a book where the character’s physical characteristics or personality traits changed with no warning? If so, did you get past it, or did you have to put the book down?
About A Guilty Ghost Surprised: Indigo Eady and gang are back with a feather and a Chance setting off another twisting-turning investigation to bring a cold case, and loved ones, closure at last.
About They All Fall Down: Free of their duties as Cleanser and Harvestor, Abby and Basil try to move on with their lives. But some secrets remain. And what is done in the dark won’t be good when it comes to light.
About Partners in ParanormYA:
Gwen Gardner and Angela Brown - YA paranormal authors embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. Share with us as we take the Indie journey to bring our works to the world. Buckle up! There'll be mystery, mayhem, action and emotional roller coasters...oh, and a few things that go bump in the night.
Hauntings are scary but we love interaction:
And don’t forget about the giveaway!