Yesterday I attended an amazing workshop by M. L. Buchman called “Series Thinking in a Hybrid World.” Hybrid is the term authors now use to explain their publishing options, especially in the genre fiction world where fans want lots of books, now. Some readers want all the books in a series to be available before they begin the series so they will not have to wait months (or years) for the next installment.
A few years ago, M. L. Buchman (Matt) and his wife, a librarian, were facing tough times. With a sense of determination (and some desperation!) he began writing romantic suspense novels. His first series The Night Stalkers was created. Matt has published some of his novels with a traditional publisher (digital and mass-market paperback) and other novels in the same series through Indie venues so they were available between the traditionally released stories. Readers liked having more books, now, and that they are able to get those books in the digital format of their choice.
Matt now has published over thirty novels and has a variety of other publications. I haven’t read any (yet) but some of my writer friends are his fans and his books get 4 & 5 star reviews, and have won reader awards. He also writes nonfiction and short stories. This was his first workshop on this topic and he’s planning to streamline it and present it at future conferences.
Aside from presenting great information on writing, how-to craft characters in a series to be unique, and a wealth of business insights, Matt also shared his writing process. He will choose a storytelling or writing technique like “cliff hangers” or pacing, or voice or non-verbal dialogue, and make that the primary writing practice for a whole novel or series. This is his method to assure he’s always improving as a writer and bringing something fresh to his readers.
The timing for me to attend this workshop was perfect as I am making solid progress on future novels that will make the currently published one as part of a series. I now have lots more insight into how to turn the organized chaos in my files and writing room into a solid series bible. This will serve me well for more than the projects in process.
I’m also grateful for all the talented authors who share their tools!