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Mark O'Neill

90% of what I do is daydreaming. The rest is typing.

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Building a brand out of a book series

When writing a book, the best ones to write are the ones where you're building a brand with sequels and spin-offs.

With the number of fiction novels hitting online stores on a daily basis, it is becoming harder and harder to make your books stand out from the rest. To do so, you need to start building a brand.

Get a reader hooked on the first book and make them emotionally invested in your characters.

It’s only then that they will continue buying your books to see what happens to the characters – whether they live or die, fall in love or suffer heartbreak, triumph against all the odds or fail trying, and whatever else life throws in their way.

I’m known for being particularly brutal and unpredictable to my characters. I’ve suddenly killed some off for no particular reason, one character lost a leg, another had a heart attack, another got caught in a nuclear explosion…..yep, it’s a risky business being in my books.

department 89 decker germany building a brand

Brands are the best types of books to sell and promote

That’s why the best type of fiction novels to write is a series where you’re building a brand. One-off books are notoriously hard to promote. A series on the other hand has so much more going for it.

You can build your own world, your own characters, your own backstories and histories, even your own languages (like J.R.R. Tolkien did.) The more successful authors can start their own line of merchandising, and pitching to movie & TV studios is easier if you can show the potential for endless sequels.

Properly branded and promoted, a series can have a seriously long shelf-life. Not only can you have the main series, but you can have spin-off’s too, such as origin stories. Get the right domain URL, a catchy series name, and some memorable marketing slogans.

Department 89 Mark O'Neill hater ad

I’m not saying building a brand is all easy. It’s definitely not. I’ve been doing this since 2017 and it’s been a hard slog all the way. But compared to one-off stories which the reader may read, then chuck away and forget about, a series has a much longer potential shelf-life in contrast.

End each book on a cliffhanger, and give the reader a reason to stick around. You’ll find that many of them will, if you do it right.

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Mark O'Neill

Mark O'Neill

Mark O'Neill is a bestselling award-winning self-published author of the Department 89 spy thriller series. He has also written two other series - The Scorpion and The Undertaker. His books have been translated into German and partly into Spanish. Mark lives in Germany with his wife and dog.

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