For publishers and authors, most standard promotion and marketing campaigns are geared toward pushing sales of a new, stand-alone book. But what if the book you’re releasing is the fifth novel in an ongoing series? How do you generate interest in a new release if that interest is predicated on the buyer having already read the entire backlist? Self-Publishing Relief has the answer: Toss out the usual protocol—and promote the series itself.
Five Smart Tips And Ideas For Promoting Your Self-Published Book Series
Brand The Book Series
Giving a book series a distinctive look helps make it easier for readers to identify it as an ongoing narrative. Fortunately, as a self-published author, you have the control and flexibility to brand or re-brand a series of books.
A strong, distinctive brand:
- Uses consistent fonts across all books
- Uses a consistent color scheme OR a consistent element arrangement on the covers
- Uses titles that are related in some way, such as Sue Grafton’s alphabet titles, or titles that have a similar theme or arrangement or number of words
- Evokes the genre and mood of the series
Link The Books In Your Series Online
If your website has a Book List page, make sure to highlight the book series as well as the individual books. If possible, dedicate a page to the series where you can give more detail, such as introducing the main character or giving a sense of the greater world. Check out Roxanne St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay series or Hugh Howey’s Silo series.
Did you know that Amazon offers book series pages? All you have to do is double-check your metadata to make sure the phrasing and capitalization of the series matches exactly across all the books. Amazon will then auto-generate a book series page.
Create A Book Funnel
In your novels, what comes after “The End”? If you’ve planned your back matter wisely, you’ll encourage satisfied readers to continue on in the series.
The back matter in each of your series books should include:
- A teaser first chapter or first scene for the following book that, ideally, ends in a cliff-hanger
- A one-click hotlink in your eBook to the vendor page for the next book, both before and after the excerpt
- A clear call-to-action for the reader to buy the next book in the series
Adding a teaser chapter works like a funnel, directing the reader through the entire series.
Be Patient In Publication
In traditional publishing, a debut author is the sexiest hook for book promotion and marketing. Everyone loves unknown talent, hoping to find the next Patterson or Roberts or Martin.
Self-publishing works a little differently. Promotion and marketing tactics center on the distinct advantages self-publishing offers. One of those advantages is flexibility in the timing of book releases.
Indie-published romance and mystery author Liliana Hart shot up the best-seller charts with her “5 down and 1 in the hole” technique. By waiting until she had five books in a series before publishing any of them, she took advantage of the vendor algorithms to rise swiftly on the lists.
Not all writers can be so patient, but conventional self-publishing wisdom suggests that even if you don’t hold the books back, at least wait until you have three books published before you promote your book series.
Use Pricing Strategies
Have you ever wandered through a food court and grazed on the sample offerings of the surrounding restaurants? If so, you probably decided what to eat for lunch based on what you tasted. Offering a free sample has always been a powerful way to encourage people to buy what you’re selling.
The same goes for books. Fortunately, self-published authors can change the price of their books at will. Running short-term sales is a powerful tool in the self-published writer’s pocket.
- Dropping the price of the first book in a series to 99 cents to ease barriers to entry
- Releasing three-book bundles strategically. For example, for the launch of the 4th, 7th, and 10th new releases in a series, you could run a deep-discount short-term sale for the previous three-book bundle
- Making the first book in a very long series permafree
Because there’s a higher risk of reader fatigue and sales degradation, traditional publishing is not always eager to embrace a book series by a new author. Fortunately, self-publishing is a powerful new paradigm in the industry, giving writers new tools and flexibility to introduce their work to a bigger audience. With a little creative promotion and marketing, your self-published book series can grow and thrive!
Question: What is your favorite book series, and how far have you read through it so far?