Do you need a series bible? What is a series bible? What are the benefits?
First off, let’s answer what exactly is a series bible. A series bible is a detailed account of the characters and timelines of a series of books. How old your characters (main and secondary) are when a series starts. How long the relationship is before they take the next step, the gaps between second chances, the ages of any children they may have. The names, ages, birthdays if mentioned of each and every family member.
What are the benefits? Have you completed a series and wanted to start a second gen series? You will need to reference your past books to make sure age gaps between kids (if multiple) line up. You will need to make sure if one of your characters was pregnant in an epilogue then you have named and accounted for that pregnancy. Yes, in the book world, you can take liberties for your timelines, but readers get frustrated if gaps are wrong, babies go missing, a character is pregnant for years instead of months.
There are a lot of authors that do not keep series bibles, and as a reader, it is frustrating to see that characters are missing. If a character is attached to the wrong family. Kids that are two years apart are now four years apart. A separation was 8 years, but when referenced again is 10 years. It’s the little things you as an author need to keep track of because of those voracious readers of your series will take note and sometimes call you out on it. There are ways to avoid this, you can denote these timelines/family trees as you write. Or you could hire someone to read through your series to make that detailed listing for you.
Do you need a series bible? The short answer is no, you don’t. The long and more useful answer is yes, yes you do. If you plan on writing a continuing series as well as a second generation series, then the series bible will be gold for you. It also shows a care to your readership. A care that you have value and respect in the stories you tell and characters you create. It will allow you to give your readers, who we all know pick apart families without remorse, exactly what they want and expect from the next book.