Book and Series Resting Periods

It’s a year since you pressed publish. As you check out the sales for the year, you’re happy with the sales you’ve had, but you know you could do better now you’ve had emails from your readers.

You now know who is the readers’ favourite character.

Your writing has also improved whilst you worked on the next book.

Eager to give the book it’s best chance, you toy with the idea of releasing a new edition.

Or maybe you aren’t happy with the sales despite your best attempts at marketing.

You want to do a relaunch of your whole series, bringing together everything you have learned now you’re a few books in and have started to research and put money to the side to fund your publishing.

This is where a book or series resting period comes in.

Last year, not long after I released book two of The Common Kingdoms Series, I put the series into a resting period.

This was because my writing drastically changed during the publication rewrite of Shotput of Power, the third book in the series that was being rewritten from scratch ready to publish.

What changed? I went from writing like this (bold bits are usually in italics for character thought):

Aldora ran, feet pounding against the stone floor. She jumped over the steps of the temple. Her shoulder-length hair swept back as she raced towards her father. Hearing her approach, he turned with a concerned look. “Aldora?” She didn’t respond straight away, though she paused next to him so they could speak.
“The Dagger’s gone. Haethowine wants everyone to go to the refuge. I’m to tell the royals.” Her father glanced towards the other villagers fighting the men and women blocking their street. He frowned down at his daughter.
“Stab anyone that you don’t recognise. Don’t slash.” Aldora nodded, and her father gave her a hesitant smile. “Good luck.”
“Love you too,” replied Aldora, a slight smile playing at her lips. She turned to the right, jogging down a wider street, heading towards the gate Haethowine had instructed her to go to. She gripped the key hard in her hand, letting it bite at her skin. Was she strong enough to shift the blockade? What would she do if she wasn’t? She wasn’t the strongest villager, and she knew every second counted. If she could get to the royals in good time, they might be able to send some of the kingdom’s royal officials to the rescue. They would be the ideal protectors – the most specialised fighters in the kingdom, who worked as both law enforcers and soldiers. If royal officials weren’t available, then the nearby army base would be able to help. The village would have to hold out for longer, though, if it was to be the Third Legion that the village relied upon for their rescue. Please have some royal officials, she thought.

To a stronger singular point of view per chapter, like this (unedited) paragraph in Antis in Raneth’s point of view:

Aldora and Rider slept on opposite sides of the building to one another, so Raneth strolled between them, listening to Aldora’s steady breaths and Rider’s insistent snores. Why on Giften soil did she think that would work anyway? Why even approach a Rivermud? He could have drowned her with that saliva-like blood-gift of his. He stared at her sleeping form as he hunched his shoulders up and prowled between them again. He lifted his weight up onto a worktable and sat on it, swinging his legs as he watched his two friends. That was a stupidly risky move she made, and I don’t even get why she did it. Why can’t she see [SPOILER REMOVED] as the enemy? Why do I have to keep pushing the fact that he’s a bad guy so she stops seeing him as some innocent civilian? He ran a hand over his black hair and scrubbed down his face, feeling as the bristles at his jaw prickled his skin. This is stupid. He looked up as his skin began to tingle across his body, like pins and needles as his blood-gift refreshed itself. OK. I have my griffin-self again. We’re lucky after that night stroll. He slipped off the table and strode over to Aldora. “Wake up.”

Now the series has been in a resting period for a little over five months, and will continue to be until I’m ready to bring the series back into active mode.

What does a resting period do?

A resting period for a book or series reduces the awareness of its existence among readers. This means that any author awareness activities and any marketing services are halted as completely as possible, even though this will affect sales. The best resting periods completely stop book sales.

This gives the author, publisher and agents a chance to make changes or to improve an experiment.

Why you might want to use a resting period

In most cases, an independently published author will use a resting period for one of these reasons:

  • You’re bringing out new editions of earlier novels in a series to match any large changes to writing style that developed in the later books.
  • Agents or publishers have expressed interest in the series and you’re waiting for their next correspondence.
  • You want to run a marketing experiment but need to give it the space before it starts to properly see its effects on your book sales.
  • You’re not sure if you’ll continue publishing the series or other ideas set in that fictional world
  • You want to see how well the book will do on its own without your awareness building work.
  • You’ve got a big change coming in one of the books (such as a new improved ending) or an increase in the standard price for the book.
  • You’ve a special edition coming and want to focus awareness on that particular one (for example, illustrated editions instead of text-only standard editions).

How to use the time it frees up

When you go into a resting period, you get all the time back from trying to grow your reader email list, fan community and book sales. If you love TV on demand such as Netflix or Amazon Prime, this could be when we start wasting time instead of being smart.

If you’re making changes, you can still write on other projects or use the time to network with other authors.

You could also use it to study book marketing from a different site or podcast to normal, or create a new outline for an additional project you can bang out in the downtime.

In short – it’s only downtime for your series or books. It’s not downtime for you and you should use it to grow your author assets where possible.

How to boost book sales after the resting period is over?

My number one tip is cross-promotion. Combining awareness building with another author can help you both swap fans without losing them. Writers aren’t in competition with each other. We’re allies. There’s a new person taking to reading every day.

Check out my article, The Ultimate Guide to Cross-Promotion for Authors, here.

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