So my issue is kind of simple and kind of not at the same time. I am working on what is going to be a trilogy, and I know that on WP, there isn’t a single book series that kept its reads steady from the first installment to the last one. I imagine it’s like that for any kind of book, actually, not just on WP. I mean, people will start it, realize it’s not for them, or never know that there’s more that comes after, forget to read the sequels, die…
What I’d like to figure out, is how do I make the best of it? How do I make sure that the readers who are currently hooked will go and read the second book, and then the third one?
If we take examples of series that have been working pretty well, there is the Walking Dead, where basically nothing seems to have happened for the last three seasons, but still manages to get their viewers every week (don’t @ me about this, people, you know I’m kinda right).
So I figured cliffhangers might do the trick. I’ll quickly (time is relative) summarize the three books, to explain how they end, hoping it’ll help understand. I’ll note that I’m halfway through book one, so if things need to change, it’s still possible.
So, it’s a love story, which follows the point of view of a nerdy, Mexican-American, programmer, who’s not so confident about herself in the romance department, but still has some sass and doesn’t let people walk over her.
Andy starts a new job, meets new people. She’s got a “friend” crush on one of her coworkers, Oli, who’s smitten by her. She wants to try to make things work because he’s quite perfect for her. However, she has very strong and conflicting feelings about her new boss, Lex, which tarnishes her relationship with her colleague. The fact that she’s very good at her job doesn’t help, and she doesn’t want to ruin her career by becoming that chick who nailed the boss to succeed.
She ends up having an on and off thing with Lex, which she desperately tries to keep physical, refusing for feelings to get into the mix. Lex is pretty persuasive, though, and by the end of the book she ends up admitting that there is more going on there. But then, Lex messes up, and exposes on purpose their ongoing thing to sweet Oli, Andy’s enamored colleague she didn’t want to hurt.
It all ends pretty badly, with Andy breaking things up with Lex for his unacceptable attitude, Oli is shocked and hurt, Andy is devastated… Everyone is heartbroken. So. Much. Drama
We start off a bit after where we left, Andy is still pissed at Lex, Oli is still not over it, and things aren’t going well for anyone. Blah blah blah, time passes, Lex slowly manages to get Andy back, and even though Oli remains hurt, they attempt to get back to where they were.
This book is about the couple learning to know each other, to overcome their issues, like Andy who’s got to gain some confidence… There is some drama, some sweet moments, a trip to Korea, meeting family… the whole thing.
They are reaching a point where everything is going well, their thing works, despite their differences. They confess their love to each other and all, it’s cute, it’s hot, it’s love…
HOWEVER, Lex gets arrested, for misdeeds he’s done in in the past. The man turns out to be a famous hacker (which has been hinted throughout the two books). Andy’s devastated (once more), and upon understanding that he could spend years in jail, she decides that she can’t let the love of her life go away for so long.
This book is darker than the other two, as Andy tries to come up with a way to get Lex out of trouble. She reals in her friends and colleagues (who are a bunch of nerdy programmers) and they plan some sort of cyber heist.It gives her the occasion to become friends again with Oliver, who can now see her love for Lex is stronger than anything else cheeeeesy. Andy’s idea to save her boyfriend is to completely erase all traces of Lex’s alter ego that’s on the web, as well as what the prosecution might have.
It takes a while, but by a third of the book, Lex is freed. However, he comes back with demons, and Andy tries to soothe him the best she can. Lex’s crimes involved a few very powerful people, to which he’d stollen embezzled money to distribute around. Now that his real identity has been made public, he fears that his life is in danger, but more importantly Andy’s.
She won’t obey, tho, and she sticks by his side. She’s his ride or die. There is an attempt against Lex’s life, and after some recovery, they decide to strike back. Thanks to their combined skills, they manage to expose the man who tried to have Lex killed, by releasing sensitive information and the fact that he had the most illegal and forbidden sexual fantasies.
The man is arrested and is later found hanged in his cell. Although the cause of his death is never known, the problem is solved. The trilogy ends with our couple settling anonymously somewhere, free of worries. (I’m not there yet, but maybe some identity change and/or a new country.)
So, first off, I hope my cliffhangers work, I mean, I’d keep reading if I were hooked, but I’m biased, so my opinion isn’t worth a peanut. What I’d like to know is if there are some other ways to ensure a smooth passage from one book to another. I will, of course, announce the following book in the previous one, but I’m not sure it’s enough.
Should I post the sequels right after the previous ones? Should I wait a few months for the other books to pick up more? While it’s good to wait to have more readers, I’m afraid some might get bored of waiting.
Should I do all this in the same book? (Although the 200 chapters limit would become an issue.)
Should it be divided into only two books?
Should the cliffhangers be reworked?
What strategies did successful series use? Like 50 shades, Twilight, The Hunger Games… (I know I have a terrible book culture, sorry)
Should I stop asking questions yet?
There, I think I’ve covered my issue