Miniseries: Maximum Payback

For RWA2021 attendees here is the link that I mentioned in my workshop:

Benefits of a Miniseries

  • Each book is promo for other books.
  • Creative opportunities to hook readers on upcoming characters and/or enjoy “epilogue” style moments for previous characters.
  • The longer length of a series gives you room to explore deeper backstories with characters as their conflicts build over several books.
  • Promoting a series is cost-effective because it’s easy to advertise several books at once.
  • Writing is easier when you have recurring characters or recurring settings with which you are already familiar.
  • Readers love series!

Potential Drawbacks

  • If your series tanks, you don’t have just one book with poor sales… you have several!
  • Possibility of being pigeonholed.
  • Locking yourself into a series could constrain your Muse and make her—and you!—cranky.
  • Releasing series books close together can give you great short term sales, but can create a more crunched writing schedule with longer lapses between releases before and afterward.

Types of Series


No predetermined number of books. Usually author-driven (Catherine Mann’s Wingmen Warriors, Alexandra Sellers’ Sons of the Desert), but can also be an ongoing miniseries with multiple authors in a line like The Wrong Bed in Temptation, which moved to Blaze in 2005.

Pros: Individual author’s ongoing series allows creative freedom to add characters to an extended community familiar to readers. A line miniseries like The Wrong Bed allows authors to contribute to an already popular product with built-in readership.

Possible Cons: If an author wishes to walk away from an ongoing series for contractual reasons, there may be remaining characters that she cannot take with her.


Developed in house by the editorial staff or freelance writers, continuities are long (a year or more) miniseries with multiple authors contributing. Can be in line or out of line. Examples: Code Red, Montana Mavericks, Athena Force, Family Secrets, Dynasties: The Ashtons.

Pros: Allows authors to participate in a well-advertised product with other authors who each bring their individual readerships to the larger series. Necessitates working with other authors, which can lead to useful and fun networking.

Possible Cons: Your assigned storyline might not resonate with you personally. Occasionally, working with other authors can lead to thwarted creativity when participants don’t share your vision.

Individual Author-Driven Miniseries

Finite number of books planned out in advance. Trilogies are popular, but other formats are possible. Can be cross-line (Joanne Rock’s Single in South Beach) or in-line (Jennifer Greene’s Scent of Lavender).

Pros: Creative freedom!

Possible Cons: You’ve only got your name to rely on.

Author-Driven Series with Other Writers

Finite number of books in a series with multiple authors contributing. This kind of miniseries is plotted and pitched by the authors. Examples: Lock n Key in Blaze.

Pros: Other authors bring new readership to your work. More creative brainstorming power.

Possible Cons: Must play nice and work for the greater good.