C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

We only have one book in us

To increase sales, one winning strategy is to write a series. Readers like to get invested in characters they know and travel along with them to vast reaches. If readers like one of your books, there’s a good chance they will like them all.

The reason for this is that many authors write the same book over and over.

This is not a criticism. It’s a common observation. For instance, Kurt Vonnegut’s books could be one long book of varying characters but of unified theme and voice. Vonnegut searches for humanism and usually fails to find it so instead he settles for acceptance of the gap between human potential and reality. With each book, Hemingway and Mailer tried to define their manhood. Palahniuk can’t hide his fascination with how weird we are, and weird is all we are.

There is nothing wrong with writing the same book again and again as long as each excursion seems fresh. The boat gets redecorated for each trip. The destination is always the same. Not only do readers not mind, real fans prefer sameness. I like Stephen King stories, for instance. Everyman confronts his fears and loses some and wins some in a harsh world. But the Dark Tower series? Not for me. Give me more of what I like, the familiar unfamiliar.

As I edit my own stories I see the same story emerge repeatedly: Escape is required and losses will be incurred and it’s up to the reader to decide if the escape was worth the price of freedom. That’s probably all I’ll ever write, whether the novel takes place in a New York high school today or in tomorrow’s post-apocalyptic North America.

I know where that comes from: I escaped home.

Every turning point in my life has been a narrow escape.

Happily, there’s enough there to fill all the books I could ever write.

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