The watch word for indie writers everywhere is “production.” Get product out there fast and attract readers. Of course, there is that old saw about fast writing resulting in sloppy writing. That can be true, but if a writer plans carefully, he or she can rapidly build up a list.
One way to do this is by serializing a novel. If you do, serialize a long work. I tried serializing The First One’s Free only to realize that novellas don’t do well as serials. Serialization is great for something being written on the fly like Andy Weir’s The Martian or The Beam series by Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt.
I’m building up the Compact Universe by releasing novellas ahead of each installment of the Amargosa Trilogy. The First One’s Free and Gimme Shelter are leadups to The Children of Amargosa. And I have three novellas either in production or awaiting revision that will bridge the gap between Children and its follow-up. And that’s how I plan to keep the masses (Does a dozen or so readers constitute “masses”? Let’s say I’m optimistic and leave it at that.) happy. The Compact Universe is big, and there’s a lot going on. There’s the politics of the Realm, the Laputan Guardianship, and of course, the Compact. The Marilynists are going to have to go from being a satirical punchline to something a little more serious. And of course, readers are going to want to know why the heck the Compact military hasn’t come in gun blazing to kick some Gelt butt.
The beauty of this is I can rearrange the novellas and write about anything in the Compact Universe I want as long as it draws the reader back to Amargosa. After all, Children was the whole point behind Gimme Shelter and The First One’s Free. Plus I can experiment freely with the novellas. I plan to do a collected (OK, box set, though I prefer omnibus) edition of the first two novellas in which I may separate The First One’s Free into its individual storylines. I may make Gimme Shelter the free novel as it’d make a better lead in to Children. There are all sorts of things I can do.
For now, I’m working hard on building up the series without compromising it. Speed for the sake of speed is just cheating the reader. And I pay a nice lady in California to call me out on that when it happens.