Should I publish the first book in a fiction or nonfiction trilogy or series before the others?

Should I publish the first book in a fiction or nonfiction trilogy or series before the others?


How many of you have proudly finished your novel, knowing you want to write a sequel, trilogy, or series? Maybe you’ve just started writing and you’re curious about publishing? Have you debated whether to publish the first book in a fiction or nonfiction trilogy or series before you write the others? What are the benefits and disadvantages when trying to decide what to do?

When I began writing several years ago, I never intended to write a series. The idea crept up on me after finishing my manuscript. I loved the characters and their lives. If the story continued, how would the characters evolve over time? My mind was racing with additional ideas and characters that filled up two more books. I’m sure this has happened to several of you out there.

The  Lord of the Rings: Book spines

The Lord of the Rings: Book spines (Photo credit: Filipe ’shello’ Rodrigues)

On the other hand, I did plan to write my fantasy story in multiple books. The idea was very basic but as I researched mythological legends, one novel would never contain all the ideas in a reasonable manner.


Pros and Cons when deciding to publish the first book in a fiction or nonfiction trilogy or series:

  • Begin to build your reputation as an author with the first book. This will give you credibility.
  • Authors can begin to build a fan base. As each book is published, fans will suggest the series to others.
  • Fans invest more time and emotion into multiple books, are more inclined to write reviews, and search out additional information about you and your book(s).
  • A series will increase sales. If you write one great book and readers want more, then the first novel instantly becomes a marketing gimmick for the subsequent books. However, don’t write a series with the intentions to make more money. This will not bring you fame, riches or an exceptional sequel. Most likely, the story won’t be worth the paper it was printed on.
  • Writers shouldn’t submit an entire series at once. Publishers may wish to see the other material but they will publish one book at a time. Again, this is because they make more money publishing this way.


I personally suggest you finish a series before trying to get it published. Here’s why:

  • A publisher might want to see portions of the entire series before they invest time into the publication process.
  • You may want to make a huge story alteration in the first book to match up with something in the third book. For example, changing the main character’s name.
  • I think we can all agree (George RR Martin fans) that waiting for the next book in an exciting series is painful! I don’t want to leave my readers hanging for years.
  • Don’t get caught up in the pressures that accompany publication. Write your story because you love it and enjoy the process. Poor people write superb stories because it comes from their souls not their pockets. – Kayla Hunt 



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