Sunday, 24 April 2016

Timing a Trilogy

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m working on a trilogy set in the Bane of Souls/Journey to Altmortis world. The first book, Kingdom Asunder, is essentially finished (I always leave the final proofread until just before release). The second book, Traitor’s Prize, is undergoing its first major redraft and I haven’t start the third book yet (working title is Crown of Blood).

At this moment in time it’s likeliest to be self-published, although there are some other avenues I'll explore. However, if it is to be self-published then I need to decide on how to release (specifically, how much space to leave between each instalment).

I’ve put up a poll on Twitter, here.

If you’re on Twitter, please do click the link and vote for either 1 year, 6 months, or 1 month or less.

From a writing perspective, there are swings and roundabouts for large and small gaps. Large gaps mean you can release the first book sooner. Smaller gaps mean you get more momentum because you do the pre- and post-release marketing stuff and by the time that’s done it’s onto the next book (and by the time readers finish book 1 there’s not long to book 2), but you do need to finish or almost finish the whole trilogy before the first entry can be released.

As a reader, my own pace has slowed to snail-like proportions, so I don’t mind the year or more between Stormlight Archive releases, or the years between A Song of Ice and Fire. Unfortunately that also means I’m not (from a reader’s point of view) a good judge for how faster readers might like things.

Another factor I need to consider is releasing more Sir Edric books. If I released trilogy entries every six months, releasing Sir Edric stories as well would cram far too much into too short a space (as well as leaving me with a fallow period after the last trilogy entry). So, a six month gap would probably mean releasing the trilogy all in sequence, then Sir Edric, whereas a year gap might mean alternating (every six months or so) could work.

So, if you could check out the poll that’d be very useful. If you’re not on Twitter and don’t want to be but do want to have your view taken into account, do feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll use the magic of arithmetic to add that to the results.

The poll lasts for five more days after which I’ll put the results up here.



  1. I'd go for a year.

    As a reader, I like the anticipation of waiting for the next book in a series I love. For instance, I rave about Ben Aaronovitch's 'River of London' series to people I know as I await the next book to be released. Before the next is released, I often re-read the previous one. The same is true for other series such as Rebus.

    Would Harry Potter have been such a hit without the anticipation-fed hype-train of each new release?

    If you have a quality product (and I'd argue you do), then there's no harm in building the reader's anticipation.

    I guess (and it's only a guess) that a long gap would also allow you time for reader feedback, allowing you to slightly alter later books if necessary.

    1. Thanks for the feedback.

      There is some scope for later changes, but a downside of trilogies/series is that you're often working down the line (I imagine I'll be just finishing book 2 when book 1 comes out, which means as I get book 1 reviews I'll have started on book 3, so implementing any changes means altering 2 & 3, rather than writing more stuff).

      That said, I do try and take constructive criticism into account.

      What's your view on having a period (it'd be 2 years with a 1 year gap) of Just The Trilogy, or alternating trilogy books with Sir Edric stories?

    2. You'd probably need the views of a marketing expert in the book industry for that one. My inexpert view is that the latter would be best, and it might encourage readers of the trilogy into Sir Edric stories whilst they wait (and vice versa).

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Kieran. I've taken your (and David's) view into account and will be putting up the Results piece shortly.