Posted On December 8, 2014 by Print This Post

How A Series Can Skyrocket Your Career with Geri Krotow

Geri and I hit it off immediately – we bonded over our experience with the U.S. Navy – and she impressed me with her vivacity and love for what she was writing. I have since learned that she brings that joy to everything and I was thrilled to have her come and visit RU!

It wasn’t too long ago when the goal of any aspiring author was to get “the call.” This used to be from a traditional publishing geri-krotow_photo-2house, from an editor who appreciated your story and most importantly, your voice. While that is still a valid goal, there are many other ways to get your story to readers, from small press to indie publishing. Whichever route you take to publishing, the one thing that you must consider from a story aspect is whether your book is going to be a solo act, or if it will be part of a bigger, grander scheme: the series.

Think about it: what have been your favorite books over the years? Who are your favorite authors? Who of your favorite authors are also very successful? It won’t take long to see that many if not all have a series in common.

I know it’s daunting. The energy, sweat and tears that go into one book, especially your very first, make it less than desirable to even think about continuing your journey with more books that have some of the same characters and most often a shared setting. You want to write something new, fresh. I get it. My suggestion is to make book #2 in your series fresh with new characters and new conflict, a new plot.

So why a series?

1. Series give readers (and you) a sense of community. Your series setting is a place your readers want to come back to again and again. They love the familiarity of it, and it becomes a reading “home” to them.
2. Each time a new reader picks up one of your books, and likes it, there’s a good chance they’ll purchase some or all of the rest of your series.
3. You can use your series to add extra goodies to your website for your readers. A map of the community, the community’s local paper, character profiles are just a few examples of extras that readers love.
4. As mentioned in #2, readers will find you again and again—with each new book release in your series, you will see a bump in sales of the previous titles.

A major point to consider when writing a series is that each book, each story, MUST be stand-alone. You want a reader to be able to pick up any of your books, no matter its place in your series, and experience an emotionally satisfying read. Why? So that they’ll go back for more—and read your backlist (see points #2 and #4 above). And pre-order your next book in the series! Do you see a pattern here?

Series build readership. The title I picked for this post says “skyrocket,” and while I do believe this is possible with a series, what’s more doable is that it will help you build your readership book by book, reader by reader. It’s more of a snowball effect. It can feel like you’re pushing the snowball up an icy mountain, with no traction. I get it. But one day you’ll be doing revisions for the fifth, tenth or more book in your series, and realize that you have an entire readership waiting for your story.

Once you’ve decided your “in” for a series, there are many things to consider in terms of plotting (yes, even if you’re a pantser), character development, story arc, setting and more. That’s another blog post!


Please leave a comment on your experience or impression of writing a series and have a chance at winning a signed copy of Navy Christmas, the fourth book (and sixth story counting online reads and novellas) in my Whidbey Island Series.

On Wednesday P.A. DePaul addresses the essential elements of romantic suspense.



Navy Christmas CoverGeri Krotow is the award winning author of contemporary and historical romance. While still unpublished Geri received the Daphne du Maurier Award for Romantic Suspense in Category Romance Fiction. Her 2007 debut A Rendezvous to Remember earned several awards to include the Yellow Rose of Texas Award for Excellence. Geri’s first novel as well as her second book What Family Means received critical acclaim to include a review in the Chicago Tribune.

Prior to writing, Geri served for nine years as a Naval Intelligence Officer after graduating from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. While on active duty Geri earned her Master’s Degree in Information Systems from the United States Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. Geri served as the Aviation/Anti-Submarine Warfare Intelligence officer for a P-3C squadron during which time she deployed to South America, Europe, and Greenland. She was the first female Intel officer on the East Coast to earn Naval Aviation Observer Wings. Geri also did a tour in the war on drugs, working with several different government and law enforcement agencies.

Geri was proud to serve her country and after nine years of active duty she resigned her commission. She never looked back as she gave in to her desire to be a full-time novelist. Geri is grateful to be a retired Navy Spouse and to be settled in Pennsylvania with her family. In the midst of pseudo-empty-nest, Geri lives with her husband and daughter full time and her university son when he comes in for holidays. A parrot and dog round out Geri’s writing life.

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30 Responses to “How A Series Can Skyrocket Your Career with Geri Krotow”

  1. I love a great series (both to read and to write). I just recently started reading An Echo In The Bone by Diana Gabaldon. It has been at least a couple of years since i read the previous book in the series but within a couple off pages i was right back in the story of Jamie and Claire.

    Posted by Lori R | December 8, 2014, 7:34 am
  2. I read both of Laurell K Hamilton’s series of books. Her world building and characters are excellent.

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | December 8, 2014, 9:44 am
  3. I love a series to a point – PD James for example. Some people know how to do it – others fail. The one thing that drives me nuts is when an author writes a story that builds and builds to a crisis and you (the reader) are frantically trying to see how this works out, glued to the page, and over the hill come characters from a previous book (that were not in the current book beforehand) and they save the day. THAT’S CHEATING! There is also the problem when you spend TOO MUCH time repeating the back story of every other book in the series before getting on with the new story. (1) I have probably read those books (2) IF I want to re-read them it shouldn’t be in a new book. Dribble enough info for follow up and get on with the new story. I’ve become suspicious of series from unknown (to me) authors as a result.

    Posted by Donnamaie White | December 8, 2014, 10:18 am
    • Donnamaie you bring up valid points, and issues that as an author I work hard to avoid. Filling in the series background and setting is important, but not in a way that takes away from the current story. And the kind of ending you describe is NEVER okay–it’s sometimes referred to as Deus Ex Machina and I’m with you–that ends it for me with a writer if this happens.

      Posted by Geri Krotow | December 8, 2014, 6:04 pm
  4. Hi, Geri! I’m working on the second in my Misfit Monarchs fantasy series. The first one, Pigsty Princess, will be out in February, and since I love reading series, I knew I’d love writing them. It is nice even for a writer to return to the same universe again.

    Great post!

    Posted by Nancy S. Brandt | December 8, 2014, 11:27 am
    • Hey, Nancy–thanks for stopping in! I’ve certainly enjoyed writing my Whidbey Island series for Superromance, and have more stories to tell…good luck with your Misfit Monarchs! I love the title “Pigsty Princess.” 🙂

      Posted by Geri Krotow | December 8, 2014, 6:05 pm
  5. You raise some very good points here. I love discovering new authors, and I tend to go back for more whether they write series books or not. But I feel a more pressing need to get the author’s next book quickly if it’s a series.

    One thing, though. If it’s a series, I’m more impatient to get to the next book. More stress for the author to get those books out there! 😉

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | December 8, 2014, 11:50 am
  6. I’ll soon find out if you’re right as the second book in my series (under another pen name) releases this month.

    I definitely enjoy romance series books, but I agree it’s vital each book stand alone. One of my favorite series is the Lucky Harbour series by Jill Shalvis. Best part? I’ve only read the first three, so I’ve got something to look forward to.

    Posted by Maria Michaels | December 8, 2014, 12:34 pm
  7. HI Geri,

    I’m with Becke, especially if I find a new author that I like. It’s definitely a bonus if they’ve written a series.

    When you’re writing a series, how do you track your characters and timelines?

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | December 8, 2014, 4:41 pm
    • Hi Jennifer–I know, I love to find a good author and then to find out he’s/she’s written an entire series–bonus! As for the tracking, I think it’s important to have what’s known as a bible for your series. Each author does it differently. I write my first drafts with Scrivener, a wonderful software for being able to have series notes right in the margin as I write the new story. Some authors like Excel spreadsheets, others do it by hand. As for timelines, I keep them exacting in the individual books but vague enough overall so that reading the Whidbey Island books out of order isn’t a problem. And now I’m starting another series for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, so I’ll be able to use what I’ve learned and hopefully make this one a bit easier with the timelines, etc. Thanks for stopping by!

      Posted by Geri Krotow | December 8, 2014, 6:10 pm
  8. Hi Geri, I love a series but I think in a way it has to be hard to write one and keep the setting fresh?
    You do a great job of that in your books.

    Posted by Kathy Crouch | December 8, 2014, 7:30 pm
    • Thank you Kathy, you are so sweet. Keeping the setting fresh is indeed a challenge. I’m lucky that I lived on Whidbey Island for a total of 5 years (2 Navy tours) so I have a lot to draw from. And with my new series, the name is Silver Valley but it’s based on where we live now, so all I need do is go for a walk to re-charge my muse. Thanks for stopping by!

      Posted by Geri Krotow | December 9, 2014, 8:45 am
  9. Way to go, Geri! Excellent blog! And Ooh-rah for Navy Christmas!

    Posted by Heather Ashby | December 8, 2014, 7:39 pm
  10. Hi Geri!

    I loooove series….big fan of the trilogies Nora puts out and Kristan Higgins Blue Heron series. It’s like meeting up with old friends when you’re reading a series. =) I only wish they’d write them faster….=)


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | December 8, 2014, 8:38 pm
    • Yes, Carrie, you have nailed the crux of the issue with series–when they’re good, we can’t wait for the next. For the author, it’s a lot of pressure. But as an author, I’m happy for this kind of incentive! Thanks for stopping in.

      Posted by Geri Krotow | December 9, 2014, 8:47 am
  11. Geri,
    Wonderful post. I’m a huge fan of series, reading and writing them. Wise words on readership building. Love the snowball image. You’re an amazing author, and I’m so proud of you and blessed to call you friend. I wish you every success! *Hugs*

    Posted by Diana Cosby | December 9, 2014, 6:30 am
  12. Thanks so much, Diana! You are an expert at series, and for anyone reading this, go check out Diana’s new release, which is part of a series, too. Thanks for stopping by, Diana!

    Posted by Geri Krotow | December 9, 2014, 8:49 am
  13. Becke Martin Davis–you are the winner of a signed copy of Navy Christmas! Please contact me via my website here with your mailing address. Congrats!

    Posted by Geri Krotow | December 9, 2014, 5:52 pm
  14. I’m loving the comments. I write a series about a dyslexic angel who comes to earth to help humans find romance. She’s a Lucy Ricardo. I’ve found people like her and buy another in the series. It is difficult to come up with new and crazy things for her to do each time without repeating myself. That is a challenge.

    Posted by Gay N. Lewis | January 20, 2015, 1:28 pm


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