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message 1: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Swift-Hook | 41 comments Does anyone have any advice about how and when to release a second (or indeed subsequent) ebook in a series?

Is it a good idea to pre-list the book? To offer the first book free for a time? Or are there better ways to promote such a release?


message 2: by Joe (new)

Joe Jackson (shoelessauthor) Personally, I've been spacing them out a bit so I don't end up releasing the first few fast and then have long delays before later books come out. But there's no tried-and-true formula that always works.


message 3: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Cunegan (jdcunegan) | 239 comments I recently released the third book in my series, and to celebrate, I made the first book free and put the second book on sale for 99 cents. The response was overwhelming (I almost had 3,000 downloads worldwide), and since, some of those people have come back to pick up the subsequent books. It's definitely the sort of strategy I'll employ again when I release the fourth book in the series in January.


message 4: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Workman (pdworkman) I've only released series' in six month or one year increments so far. I have a new series that I'm going to release 1-2-3 a month apart later this year.


message 5: by Lyra (new)

Lyra Shanti (lyrashanti) | 126 comments J.D. wrote: "I recently released the third book in my series, and to celebrate, I made the first book free and put the second book on sale for 99 cents. The response was overwhelming (I almost had 3,000 downloa..."

I'm about to release the third book in my series, and I think I'll do exactly this method. :)

I'm also planning on making a bigger wave about it ahead of time on social media, as well as a Facebook event party for when the book comes out. Hopefully, my combined efforts will be fruitful.


message 6: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Cunegan (jdcunegan) | 239 comments Lyra wrote: "J.D. wrote: "I recently released the third book in my series, and to celebrate, I made the first book free and put the second book on sale for 99 cents. The response was overwhelming (I almost had ..."

Good luck! :)


message 7: by Lyra (new)

Lyra Shanti (lyrashanti) | 126 comments J.D. wrote: "Good luck! :)"

Thanks! I need it! My first book did ok, but my second is sorta just sitting there like a lump. Lol I'm really hoping the third will be the charm!


message 8: by Missy (last edited Jun 11, 2016 03:55AM) (new)

Missy Sheldrake (missysheldrake) | 252 comments Joe wrote: "Personally, I've been spacing them out a bit so I don't end up releasing the first few fast and then have long delays before later books come out. But there's no tried-and-true formula that always ..."

JD This is EXACTLY my plan. I mean, exactly. I had to check your name 3-4 times to make sure I didn't write the post myself! All except the 3000 downloads part, actually. Still in the middle of my release weekend, so I'm hoping it's as strong as yours was!

I'm curious to read what others say, since I'm hoping to release book 4 in January, too, and I'm not sure whether I could go even longer than that.


message 9: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Swift-Hook | 41 comments Thanks for these ideas so far. Made me think a bit and I would love it if people were happy to share a bit more about it. If I'm being too nosy just ignore me, but it seems to me there is a wealth of expertise and experience here that a lot of people like me would love to hear more about.

Joe wrote: "Personally, I've been spacing them out a bit so I don't end up releasing the first few fast and then have long delays before later books come out. "

What do you feel is the best spacing between books, from your experience?

J.D. wrote: "I recently released the third book in my series, and to celebrate, I made the first book free and put the second book on sale for 99 cents."

Did you find that having the third book made the whole series more popular? Could I ask what you did when you released the second book?

P.D. wrote: "I've only released series' in six month or one year increments so far. I have a new series that I'm going to release 1-2-3 a month apart later this year."

It will be interesting to see if you notice the difference. Did you find the six months plus gaps seemed to suppress interest in the series?

Lyra wrote: "I'm also planning on making a bigger wave about it ahead of time on social media, as well as a Facebook event party for when the book comes out.."

Hope this goes well for you and did you do the same with your other books or is this a new venture?


message 10: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Swift-Hook | 41 comments Missy wrote: "Still in the middle of my release weekend"

Good luck with this! Do you find the delays between books makes a real difference?


message 11: by Missy (new)

Missy Sheldrake (missysheldrake) | 252 comments E.M. wrote: "Missy wrote: "Still in the middle of my release weekend"

Good luck with this! Do you find the delays between books makes a real difference?"


Thank you! I have no idea. I'm writing and publishing them as fast as I can! This last one took me a couple of months longer than the previous two. I haven't even started the next one, yet. So, I hope I don't turn readers away by taking too long between this new release and the next one.


message 12: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Swift-Hook | 41 comments Missy wrote: "I hope I don't turn readers away by taking too long between this new release and the next one."

This is what I wonder about - I know as a reader that I like to start on a series when I know there are already at least two or three other books in it available - and I'm guessing I'm not alone in that.

Right now I am wondering whether to release books 2 and 3 of my own series (both written) together or at a, planned, spaced interval - hence my particular interest in this. But it is an issue that has a lot more in it IMO and the answers here so far are really helpful and interesting.

Hopefully you can let us know how it goes for you :)


message 13: by Missy (new)

Missy Sheldrake (missysheldrake) | 252 comments I can tell you that I've sensed a little bit of discouragement from in-person friends who haven't been able to keep up with my pace. When I tell them my next book is out they exclaim, "Another book? Already? Wow! I still have to read the second one! Or the first one!" I believe they do want to read, but are intimidated by my pace. So, maybe it's okay if I take a little more time with book 4.


message 14: by Lyra (last edited Jun 11, 2016 06:16AM) (new)

Lyra Shanti (lyrashanti) | 126 comments E.M. wrote: "Hope this goes well for you and did you do the same with your other books or is this a new venture? ..."

Thanks, I hope so too! It feels awful to write a huge series with roughly 450 pages for Book 2 just to have it sit there with barely any reads! A lot of people have said they really like the first one and can't wait to read the second, but then notta. lol I have gone over and over it in my head, ranging from blaming the book's cover (an artist friend did it) to many other insecurities, but in the end, I really can't bother with worrying. I'm just gonna plow through and release more books, no matter what.

The whole series is written, with book 4 ending it all out. I have thought about doing a prequel/sequel later on, but that's pretty much it. Only 5 years or so of my life, no problem. ;)

As for the social media, I did do the usual announcing stuff on FB and Twitter, but I hadn't even discovered the groups on Goodreads before last year, so I wasn't aware of what one could do when it came to my previous books, especially for the first one. I had absolutely no idea how to do a book launch on FB before a few months ago! Live and learn. I have no idea if this will make a difference, but I can hope! They say the 3rd book makes all the difference. We shall see. :)


message 15: by Missy (new)

Missy Sheldrake (missysheldrake) | 252 comments Lyra wrote: "E.M. wrote: "Hope this goes well for you and did you do the same with your other books or is this a new venture? ..."

Thanks, I hope so too! It feels awful to write a huge series with roughly 450 ..."

We are all still learning and doing the best we can! Keep writing from the heart, Lyra, and it will pay off in the end. Wishing you the best of luck and so much success, too!


message 16: by Lyra (new)

Lyra Shanti (lyrashanti) | 126 comments Missy wrote: "We are all still learning and doing the best we can! Keep writing from the heart, Lyra, and it will pay off in the end. Wishing you the best of luck and so much success, too! "
Thanks, Missy! You too. :)


message 17: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Workman (pdworkman) "It will be interesting to see if you notice the difference. Did you find the six months plus gaps seemed to suppress interest in the series?"

No. I don't have a huge read-through rate, but I do get queries as to if there are more books coming in the series where I am releasing one per year. They are quite long books, and I have been releasing a chapter a week on Wattpad, which about gets me from one release to the next.

Lots of people claim magic in the one-a-month release cycle, so I'm interested in seeing how that goes.


message 18: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Readers love to binge-read series, so you might want to release them quickly, like 6 weeks apart, with a 3-4 week pre-order period in between. Some readers won't read a series until all of the books are released.


message 19: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Swift-Hook | 41 comments P.D. wrote: "Lots of people claim magic in the one-a-month release cycle, so I'm interested in seeing how that goes. "

Me too. I wonder if anyone here has actually gone that route?

April wrote: "Readers love to binge-read series, so you might want to release them quickly, like 6 weeks apart, with a 3-4 week pre-order period in between. Some readers won't read a series until all of the books are released."

This does sound a plan.

I totally understand the readers who like to see the whole series there before beginning. I am not quite that rigid myself, but I do find it makes any given book more attractive as a reading option if it looks like a good read and is the start of a series with at least another couple of books already published to go on to.


message 20: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Cunegan (jdcunegan) | 239 comments Once a month? I'm good, but I'm not that good, lol.


message 21: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Swift-Hook | 41 comments J.D. wrote: "Once a month? I'm good, but I'm not that good, lol."

LOL!

Do you think the plan is to write them in advance and save them up for release? I had assumed...um... at least I hope so.... ;)


message 22: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Workman (pdworkman) Yes, they are already written (first February 2015, second January 2016, third February 2016) and are just being edited, need beta read, final proofing, formatting, etc. and will be released Oct, Nov, Dec 2016. I know authors who are writing a book that they already have up for preorder, but I am not one of them!


message 23: by Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (last edited Jun 11, 2016 12:33PM) (new)

Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 968 comments I'm not an author, but hope and expect to publish this year (book written, editing again), but I'm also an avid reader with decades of experience reading series and standalone novels. I hope it's okay for me to share my thoughts here. Mods, please delete if not. Thank you.

When purchasing the first book of a series, I prefer there be a second installment available along with reviews I can read. If it's from an author whose work I already enjoy reading, I don't hesitate to buy. I know of two authors who stopped writing altogether after the first book. Neither author has responded to numerous requests over the past few years asking for more.

I used to binge-read a series when I found it, until I caught up with the author's publishing speed, then wait impatiently for the next installment. I've noticed a pattern of many authors publishing installments every 4 to 6 months, which is what I hope to do.

I agree that you attract new readers with each new book you publish. I will publish each installment as fast as I can without compromising my story. If I'm lucky and earn a steady following, only then will I release my held breath and write at a slightly slower pace.

Again, my intention here is to give you authors an avid reader's point of view. Thank you. I wish you all the best in your writing careers.


message 24: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Swift-Hook | 41 comments P.D. wrote: " I know authors who are writing a book that they already have up for preorder"

Seems a bit of a stressful place to be to me. Your way sounds much better.

Sue (Dog Mom) wrote: "Again, my intention here is to give you authors an avid reader's point of view. Thank you."

I agree with all you say here. Thanks for sharing these excellent points!

Indeed I think being an avid reader is a prerequisite for being a good writer. To quote Stephen King: 'The more you read, the less apt you are to make a fool of yourself with your pen or word processor'. And I would add the more you can understand things like why readers enjoy a series...


message 25: by Marie Silk (last edited Jun 11, 2016 01:11PM) (new)

Marie Silk | 606 comments Hello, I am pretty new at this, but thought I would share my experience. I published the first 3 books of my series in the space of 6 weeks. When I released my 3rd book, I made book 1 free (temporarily). I did a lot of planning to make sure my book was listed on as many websites as possible to advertise its "free" day. I got almost 500 downloads of the free book that day and made some high ranks in the Kindle store. After that, I had sales of all 3 of my books and many pages read on Kindle Unlimited.

As someone said here, readers like to binge read a series. I can see on my charts with Kindle Unlimited which book is being read and when. It almost never fails that all 3 of my books are read by the buyers within 48 hours of beginning book 1. There is certainly some strategy in having all of your completed books out and then marketing the heck out of book 1.

I would say that many readers will be okay with a [reasonable] delay between books, unless you end on a cliffhanger, which some readers do not appreciate.

Best of luck with your series :).


Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 968 comments E.M. - Thank you for that comment. I've researched the patterns of several authors of my favorite series to prepare myself and use as a guideline I hope to achieve. That Stephen King quote is great! I hope I don't prove him wrong.


message 27: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Swift-Hook | 41 comments Marie wrote: "There is certainly some strategy in having all of your completed books out and then marketing the heck out of book 1."

I can see the sense in this.

Out of curiosity had you been marketing the first book even before the others came out - or did you wait to release all three before doing so?


message 28: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 606 comments Hello E.M.,

I probably would have marketed sooner if I knew how. It is something I am still learning about :). The most I did was post a few announcements onto Facebook groups, a Goodreads giveaway for 2 copies, and 2 free promo days on Amazon (which resulted in about fifty free downloads). Once book 3 was out, I was feeling more confident about promoting my series. I think that helped a lot :).


message 29: by Lyra (last edited Jun 11, 2016 07:35PM) (new)

Lyra Shanti (lyrashanti) | 126 comments I can't possibly edit and format my books ready in time for a quick release, like 6 weeks apart. I just can't. Lol It honestly takes me at least 6 months to get the book truly polished enough for readers. I can't stand the editing process, but I'm quite a perfectionist - Virgo and all. ;)


message 30: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Hi EM! Coming in a little late, but here's my experience so far: complete series always get more attention than incomplete, but letting the reader know up front how many books they'll be investing in helps. I had originally planned an ongoing series where each book would be a stand alone and I could release new books when I felt like it, but I quickly nixed that in favor of a definitive series and sales increased. Instead, for future books within that universe, I'll do another series and again define the number of books up front.

As for when to release, ideally, within 90 days to keep your name on the new release list, but that either requires fast writing or holding books back, which I don't see much of a point in doing unless you arent certain of the series' fate. If I've got a book with no clear plan for two through whatever, I'm probably not going to release book one just yet.


message 31: by Lyra (new)

Lyra Shanti (lyrashanti) | 126 comments Hmm, interesting, Christina. I honestly had no idea how many books there would be when I released the first in my series. I know now that there will be 4, with a prequel later on. But how can you get your readers to know that? Do you list it on Amazon somewhere? On the blurb? Can't imagine that. Your experience is much appreciated.


message 32: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Lyra wrote: "Hmm, interesting, Christina. I honestly had no idea how many books there would be when I released the first in my series. I know now that there will be 4, with a prequel later on. But how can you g..."

I added a 'other books by this author' page and would put all of the coming soon books as well as dates if I had them. I know another author who starts her blurb with something like: "title is the third book in the five book series name"

Of course, a trilogy is great because you can simply call your series a trilogy in the title. I didn't, but when I set up the box set, I subtitled it 'the complete trilogy' whereas my longer series is 'the complete five book series.'


message 33: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 606 comments Judging by readers' comments on this forum, people can get miffed when they are not told up front that a book is part of a series.

To make this clear, the blurb on my first book begins: "[Title] is the first book in a family saga..." and I have a page after the title page that shows "[Title] Books by Marie Silk", listing the titles of the next ones.

All that being said, I originally only planned 3 books but have since decided to do more. So I add these new titles to the list in subsequent books until I can release a revised edition of book 1, showing the accurate number of total books in the series. Hopefully I can be forgiven for that one.

Christina: I like the way your friend says "x book in x book series". That is a great idea!


message 34: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Cunegan (jdcunegan) | 239 comments Christina wrote: "Lyra wrote: "Hmm, interesting, Christina. I honestly had no idea how many books there would be when I released the first in my series. I know now that there will be 4, with a prequel later on. But ..."

I've been thinking of going back to my first book and updating my "Also from the author" page, so they can see how many books are now out and how many more are on the way (both in the series and otherwise).

Course, part of the problem is, I don't know how long this series will last, lol. I'm writing the fourth book and already have the fifth book plotted out, but beyond that, I'm playing it all by ear.


message 35: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Cunegan (jdcunegan) | 239 comments Marie wrote: "Judging by readers' comments on this forum, people can get miffed when they are not told up front that a book is part of a series.

To make this clear, the blurb on my first book begins: "[Title] ..."


I make sure my blurbs make it clear that my books are a series. Thankfully, Amazon has been helpful and automatically lumped them all together for me.


message 36: by Lyra (last edited Jun 11, 2016 10:52PM) (new)

Lyra Shanti (lyrashanti) | 126 comments It says that it's a series on everything already, and I have the "more books from the author" thing at the back of my book, so I've done that, though maybe I should put it at the front. And I could possibly add the coming soon thing as well. The problem lies in not wanting to limit myself. What if I end up wanting to write more than planned in the series? I guess I can always change what I say in blurbs or in the book's info.

Thanks for the ideas and suggestions, everyone.


message 37: by Lyra (new)

Lyra Shanti (lyrashanti) | 126 comments J.D. wrote: "Course, part of the problem is, I don't know how long this series will last, lol. I'm writing the fourth book and already have the fifth book plotted out, but beyond that, I'm playing it all by ear. "
Totally relate! It's a constant discovery, which is good and bad. ;)


message 38: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 262 comments Marie wrote: "Judging by readers' comments on this forum, people can get miffed when they are not told up front that a book is part of a series. "

Yep, count me in this category. If it's a series then I like to know - especially if this is not the first book. I hate picking up a book and coming to the slow realization that I'm up to my eyeballs in hints of what went before. Makes me feel like the outsider in a cliquey group rife with "in" jokes that I don't understand.

I don't mind so much if (a) I know and can decide whether or not to read anyway, and (b) if the book is sufficiently stand-alone.

If you want to really bug me, hand me a book that simply chops the plot off mid-flow on the last page without any forewarning that this is not book 1 of a trilogy, but is actually just the first 1/3 of one very long book.


message 39: by Owen (last edited Jun 16, 2016 01:57PM) (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments E.M. wrote: "Does anyone have any advice about how and when to release a second (or indeed subsequent) ebook in a series?

Is it a good idea to pre-list the book? To offer the first book free for a time? Or are..."


Based on our experience and my observations of other authors who did it much better than we did, there are a few things to consider:

The biggest sales driver by far is Amazon 30- & 90-day new-release cycle. That cycle gives a book a lot of visibility, far beyond what we as new authors can achieve. But from what I've seen, stacking book releases inside this cycle (releasing books 2-3 months apart) doesn't seem to work as well as waiting 4, 5 or 6 months. For sci-fi (our genre), I see authors with series having good success with a ~5 month release cycle, and putting the next book up for pre-order a month or so early.

But the most important thing is have a consistent release cycle, whether it 5 months, 6 month or once year. (We botched this badly and it's cost us a great deal.) As Christina says, reader like completed series, but the next best thing to establish credibility by releasing books on a consistent schedule. For that reason, I think it's best to be a book or two ahead, so you can still make a schedule when life intervenes.

Offering the first book free or discounted when you release the subsequent books, does work, but we've found it works best when we wait. When the next book comes out, the new release pulse has spilled over to our other books, even at full price, so the one time we did this, it seemed we lost money. People would get the books anyway.

Where free [especially] has worked for us, was once we had 3 books out and once the last book had been out for awhile. Before that, the free promos we ran were ineffective.

When we released our 3rd book, we dropped the price of the two to $0.99 for a few days. That was not a success. When the price went back up, we sold more at full price than we had at $0.99 over a comparable period. Maybe it was just chance or timing, but that suggests we lost money by dropping the price; even if we'd only sold 1/3 as many books as we did, we'd would have come out ahead.

Beware the fast rise, fast flame-out. As far as I can tell, the key is to build consistently, and wait until 3 or 4 books are out too worry much about promoting them (especially spending money). New series are a hard sell with readers, so any promotion tends to be much more effective later and produces a much better return.

Having said all that, every series behaves differently. But overall, the successful series I've followed in our genre conform pretty much to that path.

I hope this is of some help and good luck!


message 40: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Swift-Hook | 41 comments Owen wrote: "I hope this is of some help and good luck! "

Thank you so much for this very detailed and careful explanation, sharing your experiences and offering good advice.

My own genre is sci-fi so I will give a lot of consideration to what you say here when planning the release of my next couple of books.

I am sure others will find learning from your experience valuable too.


message 41: by Lyra (new)

Lyra Shanti (lyrashanti) | 126 comments Owen wrote: "Beware the fast rise, fast flame-out. As far as I can tell, the key is to build consistently, and wait until 3 or 4 books are out too worry much about promoting them (especially spending money). New series are a hard sell with readers, so any promotion tends to be much more effective later and produces a much better return. "

Thanks, Owen. This gives me hope!


message 42: by Christy (new)

Christy Nicholas (greendragon9) | 7 comments I'm doing them about 6 months or so apart. The first one was October 15th, the second is coming out July 6th, and then the third is slated for January. I've six more planned (three trilogies - must have symmetry!) but I've only just begun writing those. I've two unrelated books in the queue, though, so a small delay is OK, I think.


message 43: by Christy (new)

Christy Nicholas (greendragon9) | 7 comments PS - I try to be very careful to make my books stand alone worthy, even if they are part of an overall arching series. And they do say 'The Druid's Brooch Series' on the cover :D


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