Because I’ve been giving book one of my series a little extra polish, I’ve had some time to reflect on the virtues of waiting to publish the first book in the series until after you’re written the last book. To be honest, this would have been a lot harder to do if I’d had in mind to publish them when I first started writing. But in truth, when I created my series, I had no intention of doing that. I just started it as a challenge to myself to see if I could actually sit down and write a book. I was half way through book three when I sat up and said “Hey, these are really good. I should be publishing these!”
And so an Indie Author was born …
Now onto the virtues of patience.
This week while rereading and polishing book one in my series, I came across a little something I added in AFTER I WROTE BOOK FIVE! Yes, four books later, I went back and inserted this scene into book one as foreshadowing. I actually wrote all five books, then went back and re-edited them and after I finished the edits published them one at a time. This requires a lot of patience, but in the long run, it’s totally worth it. When in book five I finally revealed so much of the mysteries that had persisted throughout the first four books, going back to book one gave me the opportunity to reinvigorate that first book with a few interesting tidbits that a reader wouldn’t really understand the full meaning of until the finished reading five and then went back to reread the series from book one.
In book five, one character describes how in reaction to something the protagonist did in book one, he leaves the house, goes out back and makes a phone call. It’s a Very Important phone call, game changing really. My protagonist, Emily, is shocked by this revelation! Well, when I went back and re-edited book one, I was able to write in how Emily sees him standing outside arguing on the phone but has no idea who he’s talking to or about what. If only she knew ….. It’s what you’d call a toss away phrase that in and of itself is meaningless in the grand scheme of book one, but I designed the books to be like peeling away the layers of an onion. Once you read book two, you should go back and reread book one because you’ll understand more. After reading five, you can go back to one and be like …
“No way! That’s who he was calling?!?!?”
There’s another insertion into book one. In a lecture Emily is in, her first class at college, her Art History professor shows a few slides of paintings. The paintings are actually pictures that foreshadow things that happen in book five. A woman in a champagne colored gown in the woods, a white sailboat with billowing sails on a blue-green sea. It’s very subtle, but I’m a big fan of subtlety.
Again, most books that are part of a series are written one and published one at a time, but if you really want to have the intricate web of threads weaving them all together like I do, I’m not sure if you can do the one and publish, two and publish way of things. In the end, I’m thankful I decided to wait and hold off hitting the publish button. So much of the artistry of my novels would have been lost if I had.
So what do you think?
Would you be willing to write close to a million words and five novels before you published the first one. And yes, all five books together are just shy of one million words.