Anyone, who has children or who has every stepped foot in a bookstore knows that the third and final book of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay was released yesterday at 12:01 am (and finished at 11:30 am by all us diehards who have been waiting on pins and needles since the last book).
It's a terrific, inventive, well written series. And it's also part of a clever, marketing strategy.
Series have long held their own in young adult books – there's been The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and even Little House on the Prairie. But planned continuing adventures series released to a marketing schedule are something that is relatively new. Harry Potter issued in the era of one long and complex story purposefully broken into several volumes and sold on a preplanned (and highly lucrative) schedule.
Talk to any agent about publishing a book these days and the first question you will be asked is “can this be made into a series?” The magic of 3 – the trilogy seems to be the favorite. It's a recognized marketing tactic that is absolutely here to stay. No longer are publishers interested in one hit wonders they know that if you can establish a following on a topic, the readers will return.
Because of this, we currently have a generation of young readers who accept that information and stories come in small continuing bites. It is what feels comfortable and right to them.
Which is something that we as bloggers can capitalize on.
Think about it. Single posts, single points of interest are helpful but do they really draw in your audience? A series of posts with a continuing adventure line is what will not only create your audience but also have them returning again and again. Create a need to know what will happen next and they will come.
As a great example of this, Larry Brooks over at Storyfix.com just did a wonderful series that had me anxiously waiting for each release. He deconstructed the book and movie Shutter Island in a series of 10 separate posts – each building on the previous one and each adding tension (much like the story itself) until he reached the final conclusion. Once you had started the series, there was little you could do but follow it to its ending. Like a good (trilogy) book writer, Larry managed to create tension and suspense with a need to know what comes next in each of his ongoing posts while imparting valuable information to the reader – a brilliant strategy in the blogging world.
Of course this is not going to work in all circumstances. Reference blogs like this one are just that, electronic web text books. But personal blogs or those devoted to a single subject just ache for a continuing saga. A little drama can go a long way.
Realizing that the publishing world is a trendsetter who must not be ignored, in the future when you come up with an idea for a blog post, you might first want to ask yourself “can this be made into a series?”
About the Author:
A features writer, interviewer, and columnist, Wendy Thomas has been published in national magazines, newspapers, e-zines, and blogs.
Her current project is to blog about life living with 6 kids and a flock of chickens.