How to Write What You Want

Yesterday on Twitter, I asked friends/followers/random passersby to email me their questions. Publishing questions. Writing questions. Cat questions. Shannon-Rachel Dixon was kind enough to send me this email: I'm currently writing book one in a reverse trilogy, the genre being a psychological thriller. My question is, do you think it's harder to get a trilogy published for your first time, than just a single novel? First of all, this book series sounds awesome. Second of all, LET ME JUST BASK IN THE AWESOMENESS OF THIS QUESTION. 

I did a little research, and I've come up with two possible answers. Hopefully, this helps you in some way!

The "Literarily Correct" Answer

(Were you aware that literarily is a real word?) Okay. My first instinct was Write your trilogy! Give it to the world! Get that movie deal! Then I calmed down and realized that wasn't going to help you at all. The first article I came across was from Rachelle Gardner, which advises writers to pitch a single book. 

The gist: Writing is a business. If you make money, you get a career. If you not… I consulted Writer's Digest too. (Okay, we didn't really consult because they don't know I exist. Just throwing that out there.) The gist: tread with caution. If the first one works, chances are the second and third are a shoe-in.

Okay, did you get all that? My work here is done. Just kidding. Here's my advice: WRITE WHAT YOU WANT. That's how people sell books. They write the fringe stories, the stories people tell them will never make it, and then they hit it big. Is that what we write for? No. We write for the satisfaction of telling the stories we want. 99% of the time, our gut feeling doesn't lie. (Made-up statistic.)

Write what you want, but market smart. You want to write a trilogy? Hooray! However, you should write your first book as a stand-alone. Leave it open-ended. Plant the seeds for more books, outline and such, but let it be okay on its own. Query as an individual, then let your agent know that you're working on more books. Should the first sell, the second has a much better chance.

Alternate Options

As a soon-to-be self-publisher, I know about the CRAZY COOL opportunities there are for trilogies in that sphere. Serializing is an amazing opportunity to get readership, either on your blog or on websites such as Wattpad. Even if it's just the first few chapters! Publishing just a chapter or a scene a week can really build that awesome fan base you want. The more you write, the more successful you'll be. That's the name of the self-publishing game.

I hope that answered your question, Shannon! If anyone has any more suggestions, please comment below.

To ask your own question, email! Be sure to sign up for the newsletter for additional opportunities.