Winter Cursed was the next series I released, I actually technically released it before A Certain Sort of Madness the first Return to Amar book. For about five years there were only my Amar and Winter Cursed books out there in the world. As such, with it being a so much older title, I made many of the same mistakes that I made with my Amar books. The first two mistakes I list below are ones that already I touched on in the Amar edition post. But I'm going to say them again, because obviously I was dumb enough to make the same mistakes twice. And I am doing this whole series so that you can avoid the mistakes that I have made. So, don't stumble into the same pitfalls I did.
Find your own pitfalls and dance around these ones.
Mistake Number 1:
I published with an unprofessional cover
Look at this cover
And then look back at the other cover
Mistake Number 2:
I took too long to publish the follow-up
I published Winter Cursed in the summer of 2018, and from that point on I was promising A Winter Dark and Deadly the sequel. Well, 2019 came and I released A Winter Grim and Lonely, the prequel, but still no AWDAD. 2020 came, I published nothing in this series. By the time I finally published AWDAD in 2021 (which is still much better than the time gaps that were between some of my Amar books), it had been three years. And three years is plenty of time to lose interest in a series. That really put the hurt on AWDAD which was such a highly anticipated book for so long, but then people grew disinterested and when it finally released they didn't really care as much anymore.
Okay so those were the trademark mistakes of my early publishing era. Now for the original mistakes I made with this series...
Mistake Number 3:
I lost track of the community I had built while writing the book
It was quite some time ago, but perhaps some of you still remember the buzz that was the Five Poisoned Apples Rooglewood Press contest. Winter Cursed was originally written for that. There were a lot of other authors who wrote stories for that contest, many of whom I beta read their stories and they in turn beta read Winter Cursed (I met one of my closest friends through this story swap, in fact). However, when the contest ended, that comradery sort of faded a bit. I'm still pretty close friends with some of the authors, but I was talking to probably at least a dozen highly talented authors at the time of that contest and I should have tracked them down when I released my short story from that contest. Asked them to help me boost Winter Cursed and even review it since they had already read it, but I did not. I only sought out community while I was writing, not while I was publishing even though both are equally hard. And you're gonna need all the help you can get in both areas. That's what I've learned since then.
Mistake Number 4:
I didn't have a clear view of where I wanted this series to go
Now this one is probably more of a pet peeve of mine and doesn't really impact the marketing or the ability to sell this series. I did not write Winter Cursed with the plan to have it be a part of a series, I only realized that there needed to be a sequel as I was writing the first draft and even then I hadn't fully made up my mind to actually write the sequel until I was publishing book one.
This leads to some issues with the series. First of all, the first book has a title that doesn't match the rest of the series. Winter Cursed. As opposed to A Winter Grim and Lonely, A Winter Dark and Deadly, and A Winter Bright and Burning (book 3's title) which all match. And you may not know this about me, but I am an absolute stickler about having my book titles match. I am so picky and spend so much time figuring out titles, I mean honestly you probably have no idea just how much I obsess over my titles and making sure that they line up and have common elements. So it bothers me that book one doesn't match the latter book's titles, but I had already published Winter Cursed by the time I settled on the type of title style I wanted to use with this series. If I hadn't, I would have probably named it A Winter Cursed and Wicked instead and it would have fit and sounded fantastic, but ah well, can't turn back the hands of time (or change the title of an already released book, trust me, I've checked).
Also there's the slight matter of the size of the books. Now I get that some books are going to be longer than others, but to have the first book be shortest book in the series, even shorter than the prequel??? That's a bit off. And then to have two novellas followed by a 550 page long novel, and the third book (which isn't written yet nor will it be released for a little while becuase it's essentially a standalone) will also be a full-length novel. Not to mention that I have three different protagonists in a four book long series. It's just all wonky tbh.
Also the first two books tell their own story, about Elisabeth and Cedric. The prequel gives a backstory to the villain. And the third book is only loosely connected. So much so that I've considered not even making it a full member of the series, just publishing it with a similar cover and title. I've ultimately decided against that because I feel that would just add to the confusion. But it's fine. I love Winter Cursed and at least it's unique in its structure, but I now try to have a better gameplan when I start a series so I can have more continuity with the finalized product.