[Q&A] Interest in book one is low and I’m about to launch book two. How can I improve book one’s sales and awareness of my series?

I am ready to release Book 2 of a trilogy that I am writing. To generate interest in Book 1 of the trilogy I would like to give the ebook of book 1 away free. How can I do this [on Amazon]? – Cecelia

 

This is an interesting question because what Cecelia is actually asking (perhaps without realising it) is how to grow awareness of her series ready for its next book’s launch.

 

Here’s my answer. First I answered the question about making her first book free on Amazon, then shared a few tweaks she could do to improve awareness of book one, which she will need to do to help book two.

 

You could price match your first book elsewhere. I do this by making a book free on Kobo (this is if your book isn’t exclusive to Amazon, more on that below) and then heading over to my book’s page on Amazon and click the option to tell them about the lower price. If nothing happens in a week, I ask friends and readers to help out and report it too.

If your book is exclusive to Amazon, click on the promote and advertise button when viewing your bookshelf and set up the Kindle countdown or free giveaway. Be aware that as your book hasn’t done as well as you like, this isn’t a quick fix – you’ll need to build awareness of your first book around the same time you make it free or at a reduced price. Ideally you will do this within 3 weeks of your next book’s release.

Another note:
Sometimes a book isn’t ready for readers.

Here’s some ideas to help you move forwards with book one before throwing in the towel, as sometimes it’s a case of the following issues.
If you don’t feel any of the following are affecting your book sales, then you should reconsider publishing book two and analysing if it will sell well on its own or if this series is one you can return to after writing and publishing books more in keeping with what your future readers expect to get.

1. Sometimes the back blurb needs some work. Have you hit character, conflict and stakes in your story’s description? No, rewrite it. Start with 1 sentence for each and then expand into a small paragraph.

2. Missing expected story elements. Other times you’re missing expected elements for the genres you’ve placed your book into, or are an unusual mix of genres that doesn’t mesh well. For example, low fantasy doesn’t usually have any other races besides humans, often has a war or pending war and the main character is in most cases an experienced male fighter/warrior of some sort who has to save the kingdom or world.

3. Misidentified categories. You may even have put your book in the wrong categories. Check the categories of your first book and then head into Amazon’s kindle department and take a look at those that are selling in those categories. Does your book match up with general feeling, theme, the “oo, I want to read that!” factor and mention the same expected story elements?

4. Is your book cover professional looking and match those in the same genre? Nope? Head to 99Designs and show your readers you’re serious about giving them a good reading experience.

5. Disrespecting the reader. If readers are checking out your preview and are seeing typos or inexperienced writing, you’re disrespecting your readers and they usually won’t buy. Hire a professional editor (not a relative or friend) for line edits, and if you’re concerned about the structure of your story, a structural report too.

6. You’re not building awareness of your series. Start building awareness – get in front of your ideal readers. There’s a lot you can do here.

 

Have a question? Ask here.

 

 

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