by Bruce Hale
Harry Potter has "disapparated," A Series of Unfortunate Events has come to its tragic ending. So what's the next great children's book series? And more importantly, could you be the one to write it?
It seems every other writer wants to pen "the next Harry Potter." But before plunging headlong into the world of juvenile series fiction, there are a few things to consider.
Why write a series?
The benefits of writing series fiction for kids boil down to three essentials:
1. Hone your craft. I learned the craft of mystery writing by selling the Chet Gecko Mysteries series and having to write the books on deadline. Series teach you about plotting, character, motivation, maintaining consistency, and how to sit down and write when your Muse is on vacation and you'd rather be off surfing.
2. Hook readers. Series are "training wheel books." The familiarity of the characters and world make it easier for the reader to enter with each succeeding tale. This builds literacy skills and creates new readers who will want to read whatever you come up with.
3. Get a steadier paycheck. Let's face it: those of us who are serious about making our living as fiction writers lack the steady paycheck of the nine-to-fiver. Selling and writing a series gives you predictable advances on royalties -- as long as you keep up with your deadlines.
Convinced? Consider one more thing before taking the plunge.
Avoid this big mistake many writers make-
I know, I know. You've got a whole world mapped out, including spin-off books, histories for all the characters, toy designs, and casting suggestions for the movie. But reign in that enthusiasm for a minute.
The biggest mistake most writers make is trying to plan the whole series before taking care of the basics: writing the best possible first book.
Before even thinking about selling your series (to say nothing of the merchandising rights), start by writing an amazingly good first book of the series. Make sure your tale has these essentials:
* A strong voice,
* A sympathetic lead character,
* Colorful, lively writing, and
* A well-constructed plot.
Most editors don't want to see all 12 manuscripts and your 20-page marketing plan. They want to see one wonderful story and hear why you think your series is unique.
And if you can manage that, you're one step closer to creating the next Harry Potter. Good luck with that.
About The Author: Bruce Hale is the author and illustrator of more than 20 books for kids, including the bestselling Chet Gecko Mysteries and Underwhere. Find out more about how to write and publish children's books from his popular free e-newsletter at http://www.brucetalks.com .