Book marketing should be something that you plan out, an intentional strategy. Of course, you’ll want to consider the “usual” things like sending out advanced review copies (ARC’s), requesting reviews, creating launch day events both online and in person, promoting your title with various media outlets, using your email newsletter to your best advantage, etc.
But it’s important to remember that marketing a series is a different animal than marketing a standalone title. Different book, different strategy.
Indie authors are finding success using the following game plan for marketing their series.
- Write several books in the series before you begin investing a lot of marketing dollars. If you spend $200 on a few ads for book 1 and then readers can move straight into the next book, your making that much more income from the same ad expense.
- Once you have several books, make the first in series free. There’s controversy about the effectiveness of free books on visibility and sales, but making a first in series free is still one of the greatest methods for getting readers invested in your series.
- Promote that free book like crazy, thinking of it as a loss leader. The more copies you give away of that first book, the more potential readers you have that could go on to pick up book 2 and beyond. So does that mean you’ll spend money to give away a book? Yes, indeed. Aren’t you glad book 2 and 3 are ready to go so your advertising dollars become well spent?
- Design covers that make it clear these books are connected. Use elements that stay on every cover, perhaps changing a color or background. Similar layouts and identical fonts across the titles in a series helps readers identify your books and connect them to the over-arching series. Sometimes we get too creative for our own good and try to get funky with our series covers, but easy identification is important also. Don’t lose sight of your business goals while being carried off by your creative muse. Seek to find balance in the force.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t market your first book when you release it and sell it for actual money, but don’t be afraid to set that price to free once you have additional books out. Some folks choose to write 3-5 books in a series, then drop them all at once. In this case, they make book 1 free from the outset. Regardless of which way you choose, the secret is not to invest a ton of money into marketing that first book. You want to give your readers a place to go.
Whatever plan you follow, don’t stop writing. Releasing new books is probably the number one marketing tool you’ve got.
For more tips on marketing your novels, including how to promote free or discount books, check out the educational video courses at authortech2.wpengine.com.