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This is my world, and I’m making it just the way I like. That statement would accurately describe my mindset when I created my book world for my first series. That world then spread through four more series. As authors, we know that creating worlds that readers can escape into, with laws and rich details is essential. I’m going to admit something. I was very attached and protective of the book world I had built originally, known as the Dream Travelers (was that a shameless plug…). However, there’s a growing trend that is taking a stronghold for readers and authors, and I’m going to confess, I resisted it wholeheartedly.

What is this hot new trend? World sharing. Amazon has even created Kindle Worlds where chosen authors have other writers produce books in the worlds they’ve created. Everyone gets a split and Kindle manages the process. 

This world sharing idea is picking up more tractions since readers can marathon multiple series that all share the same laws and ideas. We tend to like things that are connected. I know many authors who write inside of shared universes and love that there are so many opportunities for weaving together stories, characters, and the world itself. 

At first, when I thought about writing outside my book world and in someone else’s, I picked up my Tonka truck and stomped off the proverbial playground. Firstly, I didn’t want to abandon the world of the Dream Travelers, and also I was daunted by the potential of being overwhelmed by learning a new book world. I thought that I was better off on my own. I thought that I wouldn’t enjoy the opportunity to craft stories in a preconceived universe. This is when I make a single declaration: I was wrong. 

I started my indie publishing career in late 2014. Since then, on my own, I’ve published eighteen books in five different Dream Traveler series. In the spring of 2017, Michael Anderle, the founder of LMBPN, gave me the opportunity to write in one of his brand-new worlds. It’s an urban fantasy world called Oriceran. What Michael Anderle is most well-known for is the creation of the Kurtherian Gambit universe. He was looking for a few authors to write with him in Oriceran and I was given a fantastic chance to be one of them. Why, you ask? Why would I, who was against the idea of playing in other people’s sandboxes, entertain such an idea? 

Because it’s smart. 

I finally had to admit that instead of working my tail off writing the books, finding the audience and then marketing the heck out of my series, I could pull on a more collective effort. If a group of authors are writing in a book world, then it would make sense that the readers naturally crossover. If readers really love the elements of the built-in universe, then they will traverse across the many different series created by multiple authors. 

And here’s the best part: We’re all doing it together. I thought I didn’t want to share my Tonka truck, but just as I tell my six-year-old, “Everything is better when we share.” Now that I’ve been writing for LMBPN Publishing I have a team of authors who encourage me, help me craft ideas and offer insights. There’s a team of cover designers, administrators and marketers all to lend a helping hand. I thought before that writing in a new/different universe than my own, would be daunting and yet I’ve found the opposite to be true. Of course, there are moments where I want to build a giant sandcastle in the community sandbox and realize that I can’t. With everything there are challenges, and we must work together to all be successful.

I don’t just write in the Oriceran universe, but also in the Age of Expansion inside of Kurtherian Gambit. Since September 2017, I’ve published eight novels with LMBPN. That’s way more than I was producing on my own. Much of the reason for this is that working for a publisher like LMBPN can make an author’s jobs much more manageable. I used to do it all, and now I have a team. But I think there’s something to be said for sharing worlds. It’s definitely a way for authors to find a new audience and network with others. I guess I should have realized that when we share the world, we all do better.

 

by Sarah Noffke  (TopShelf Columnist)

Twitter @RealSarahNoffke / SarahNoffke.com