So, I had a minor epiphany this morning. Long-term, my plan has always been to get two or three on-going book series going; I'll admit that a large part of my reasoning is commercial. Series tend to sell; people get hooked into the story and stick with it...which makes them a lot more likely to pick up the next book in the line, and the next. So long, of course, as you keep the quality up; quality is the key factor here. Write good books, quickly. I've been acting on the assumption that I can write six novels a year without too many problems; one month to write, one month for preparation and editing.
As of yesterday, I was going to write the Battlecruiser Alamo trilogy first, but something has been nagging at me for some time, and when I woke up this morning after my first good night's sleep for a while, it finally hit me; why wait? Why not make Battlecruiser Alamo the first of the series? One of them was always going to be a sprawling science-fictional epic in any case. So why not make it that one? I've got three covers commissioned for it...so that's the first three books in the series covered.
That leaves the remaining three covers, and I think the best course of action is to launch three different potential series, and see how sales go. Basically – the best two or three sales-wise get 'picked up' for 2014. I won't make any final judgements for a few months, of course, but it seems the most logical answer to me. If a series seems to have attracted interest, if it seems to be selling, then I write more books for it for as long as the interest persists.
As to what they are going to be? Well, with three more 'pilot books' to write, I think I simply need to nail down my three more fields of interest. I've been discussing the 'Dishonourable Ronald Winter', and that's obviously going to green-light to a book. Fantasy is a must...so a good old-fashioned Sword & Sorcery piece is the natural candidate for the second book. As for the third...well, ever since I listened to the History of Rome podcast, that particular era has come to fascinate me, and I've had a yen for writing historical fiction for a little while now...so let's go ahead and say that Rome is the setting for the third book.
What if all four do well? I would be extremely happy to have such a problem...I'll just have to find a way to squeeze eight books a year instead of six; I think that two books a year is sufficient to keep a series going. If three do well, then that's simple enough, I just keep those series going. If two do well, then I'll decide whether to pilot a couple more potential series or up the remaining two to three books a year, if I think the market will bear it. If only one does well, then I'll definitely pilot a couple more to build up my range a bit. If none of them do well...
...Then I'll just have to think about something else, won't I. But one has to have faith; that's why I took this leap.