Tips for Promoting a Series
Promoting a series must be approached a bit differently from promoting a single title. Because authors have more than one book to sell, they must make it tempting for the reader to sample the series and go on reading.
Naming a Series
Some series have a uniting name. For example, our series set in Wyoming is called “The High Country Mystery Series.” Giving the series a name helps to define the series and establish recognition. The concept of branding and name recognition helps sell books. It is easier for people to ask, “Have you read ‘The High Country Mystery Series?’” than to remember numerous titles.
However, if an author or publisher chooses to name the series, then that name should be on all the book covers and also on promotional material. Otherwise, sales may be lost if an interested reader “Googles” the series name and no title to order shows up on the search engine. It also helps when promoting to mention not only the series name but to list the first three books in the series, whenever possible.
Offering a Free or 99c Short Story
Everyone likes a free gift. A good way to draw new readers into a series is to offer a free short story or group of short stories that have the same lead character and setting as the series. If readers sample and like the free short story, then they may be tempted to purchase one of the books.
A free short story can be offered on Smashwords by keeping it free permanently or by giving it a price and then offering a special discount code. (We are currently offering the short story A Horse in the Corner for free on Smashwords to introduce readers to our series character.
If rights aren’t obligated elsewhere, a free short story can also be posted on a blog or web page with links to ordering related books.
If the story is enrolled in KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Select, it can be given a regular price and then and offered for free for five days every ninety-day enrollment period, or the price can be permanently set for 99c. (If going this route, the story must be published exclusively with Amazon Kindle, and so this works best if all the books in the series are also available on Kindle or enrolled in KDP Select.) We offer another short story related to our series, Loyalty for 99c on KDP.
The key to success is to make sure the free story reaches the same readership as the books. Always provide links to the books if possible to make them easier for readers to find. If readers can’t order a book quickly and easily, you might lose them.
Discounting the First Book
Series writers want to encourage readers to start with the first of their series and read through to the end. For this reason some authors have luck discounting the first book in the series, then pricing the rest a little higher. For example, many price the first eBook of a series at 99c or $1.99 either permanently or at limited time intervals and leave the rest at a higher price. At times our publisher offer the first title in our Ardis Cole Mystery Series, The Curse of Senmut, for a lower price. (If the book is enrolled in KDP Select, the Kindle Countdown is good for this kind of discounting.) This helps interest new readers.
Good promotional tools for the single title work for the series as well. Places to promote include Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and other social media. When promoting one book in the series, (with the exception of Twitter as there isn’t room) list the next book in the series or the entire list if it is not too long. All subsequent titles should be included at the back of each novel as well as a site where they can be ordered. This will help the buyer find the next book.
The key to success in marketing a series is to let readers know about the books, offer sales and discounted prices, and make it easy for them to find the next book in the series with a click of the mouse.
Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson are authors of The High Country Mystery Series and the eight-book Ardis Cole series.
The Ardis Cole Series includes the titles The Curse of Senmut, Unmarked Grave, and The Crimson Masquerade.
Their fourth and latest book in the High Country Mystery series is
The Executioner’s Hood.
About the Authors:
Loretta Jackson and Vickie Britton, sisters and co-authors, are drawn to out-of-the-way places, old mining towns, and vast rangelands where the legends and history of the past live on. Inspired by the rugged mountains of Wyoming and Colorado, they find the lonely, high country region a perfect setting for their novels.
They are authors of the High Country Mystery Series: Murder in Black and White, Whispers of the Stones, and Stealer of Horses, also of an anthology A Deal on a Handshake that also features Wyoming sheriff, Jeff McQuede.
They are authors of over forty novels, including the eight-book Ardis Cole Mystery Series, The Vanished Lady, and the Luck of the Draw Western Series: The Devil’s Game, The Fifth Ace, and The Wild Card, as well as the single Western title, Death comes in Pairs.
Both writers live in Kansas; Loretta in Junction City, Vickie in Hutchinson.
To read more about them visit their web page, Facebook page, or blog.
Author Web Page: https://sites.google.com/site/vickiebrittonandlorettajackson/
Writing Tips and Fiction: http://vbritton.blogspot.com/