Steps In Between

Celaine Charles ~ My journey as a writer and author ~ Click STEPS IN BETWEEN above for more Blog posts

Desperately Seeking Sequel Advice

Sharing my journey as a writer also includes an occasional request. Today, I need your thoughts—from both readers and writers!

After working with my editor on Seam Keepers, set to launch in 2021, it only makes sense to set aside my new book project, Life Song, to write the next book in the Keeper series. It’s reassuring to know that Life Song is still there, outlined, started, and ready to go. But if this first Seam Keepers story does well (which I hope it does), then I need to focus on sequel writing.

This brings me to book two, Dream Keepers. I actually began writing the story a couple years ago but set it aside when the first book needed reworking for submissions. Finally, the time has come. I am ready to tackle this new challenge, but first, I am re-evaluating my tactics to sequel-writing. I have approached it in a million (okay four) different methods. None of which have worked…yet.

Now, I am humbly requesting advice from other readers and writers…

Here’s what I’ve done:

  • 1. Continued on where the first book ended:
    • This seemed like a good idea until I read that it’s not. I can’t remember who said this, but when researching sequels, a couple years ago, it was stated, “The last book ended for a reason.”
    • Most writers are aware that each book needs to stand on its own. I suppose an author with a 3-book deal doesn’t need to follow this advice. However, for a new author, agencies and publishers won’t sign off on a series right away.
    • I left a thread in Seam Keepers so that this first book could stand on its own, and God willing, could also link to a second. This was a recommendation after earlier research.
    • When I began my second book this way, it felt messy. It brought up too many questions for readers who may have forgotten details in the first book, or who may not have read the first book.
  • 2. Continued on where the first book ended:
    • This seemed like a good idea until I read that it’s not. I can’t remember who said this, but when researching sequels, a couple years ago, it was stated, “The last book ended for a reason.”
    • Most writers are aware that each book needs to stand on its own. I suppose an author with a 3-book deal doesn’t need to follow this advice. However, for a new author, agencies and publishers won’t sign off on a series right away.
    • I left a thread in Seam Keepers so that this first book could stand on its own, and God willing, could also link to a second. This was a recommendation after earlier research.
    • When I began my second book this way, it felt messy. It brought up too many questions for readers who may have forgotten details in the first book, or who may not have read the first book.
  • 3. Continued on where the first book ended:
    • This seemed like a good idea until I read that it’s not. I can’t remember who said this, but when researching sequels, a couple years ago, it was stated, “The last book ended for a reason.”
    • Most writers are aware that each book needs to stand on its own. I suppose an author with a 3-book deal doesn’t need to follow this advice. However, for a new author, agencies and publishers won’t sign off on a series right away.
    • I left a thread in Seam Keepers so that this first book could stand on its own, and God willing, could also link to a second. This was a recommendation after earlier research.
    • When I began my second book this way, it felt messy. It brought up too many questions for readers who may have forgotten details in the first book, or who may not have read the first book.
  • 4. Continued on where the first book ended:
    • This seemed like a good idea until I read that it’s not. I can’t remember who said this, but when researching sequels, a couple years ago, it was stated, “The last book ended for a reason.”
    • Most writers are aware that each book needs to stand on its own. I suppose an author with a 3-book deal doesn’t need to follow this advice. However, for a new author, agencies and publishers won’t sign off on a series right away.
    • I left a thread in Seam Keepers so that this first book could stand on its own, and God willing, could also link to a second. This was a recommendation after earlier research.
    • When I began my second book this way, it felt messy. It brought up too many questions for readers who may have forgotten details in the first book, or who may not have read the first book.

I am calling out to all readers and writers: Message me (or comment below) with tips, suggestions, advice, prayers, anything you’ve noticed or read about sequels and/or writing sequels.

What do you like about them?

What do you hate about them?

Which books show it well?

What strategies would you recommend?

What are your tips for writing a good one?

What questions am I not asking?

What can I do differently?

Thank you, dear readers and followers of Steps In Between! It’s been a long road getting to this place. I love where I am and am eager to climb this new mountain before me. I conquered the first book and have no doubt I will conquer the next in the series…and the next…and the next until the series feels complete. After that, I have a few more ideas up my sleeve. But I am not afraid to repeat my mantra of many years, “It takes a village…” You’ve heard this one before. I believe it applies in almost every situation. Writers need writers (and readers).

Again, I thank you for your help!

Happy Writing (because at least you’re writing),

Celaine Charles, October 11, 2020

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