November 8, 2017
This week’s post is for the series writers. Standalone authors, we’ve got stuff coming for you too. You definitely don’t have to write in a series to be a successful author, but it sure doesn’t hurt your chances. When you have a series, you always have a clear sales path forward. Liked Book 1? Here’s Book 2!
You loved the Matrix? Well, here’s 2 & 3 to make you rethink that decision!
A prequel novella (or short story, but we’re talking a little bigger here) can be an enticing offer for readers of your series. If you’re already in the middle of a long-running series, or even if you only have the first book out, you can always go back to the beginning and give them a little introduction. A lot of readers would love to know how it all began.
Oh, you loved Star Wars? Well, here’s 1, 2, & 3 to make you rethink that decision!
More, more, more…
Series readers always want more. They want the complete story, and they’re willing to follow you from book to book until the story is complete. The nice thing about a prequel is that it leads into a series you already have and becomes another entry point into your sales funnel. Now you can run promotions on both the first book, which is the start of the actual series, and the prequel that comes before it. Readers have two ways to find your story and fall in love.
Prequels can be a great reader magnet. If you’re not familiar with that term, it means a lead magnet or a loss leader. Something you give away (or sell really cheap) to get people in the door. In this case, getting in the door is getting them into your series. A lead magnet is generally given away for free in order to get readers onto your mailing list, but it doesn’t have to be.
If you’re not trying to get readers onto your list, you can still offer a prequel and then point the reader to the rest of the series at the end. This can be especially effective when you point them toward a discounted boxset of the rest of the series.
Remember, you have their attention now, and you want to push them toward the thing you want most. Are you trying to build your list? Push them to sign up. Are you wanting more sales? Push them to buy something next. Make them an offer they can’t refuse (unless they’re freeloaders, and those guys can just get right off your list). If you already have a list, you can send them the new prequel for free and then push them toward buying the boxset of the old series. Remember, giving at the same time you’re selling.
Can you put your novella up on the bookstores and sell it there as well? Sure you can, but the more exclusive content you have for readers, the greater the incentive to be in your fan club. Getting them to subscribe is the first hurdle, convincing them to stay is the race. Advertise the novella for free in the back of every book in the series, and let them know they can only get it by signing up for your list. If you’re offering something they can’t get anywhere else, they have to come to you to get it.
Kindle Unlimited Tip: You don’t have to put everything you write into KU. Offer a prequel to get on your mailing list and keep that one out. Getting these subscribers on your list is the only way that you are going to learn who your readers are (Amazon isn’t sharing). If your readers only find you when you hit the top 100, how are they going to learn about your new release on release day? Your list can be especially helpful to boost your visibility in the Kindle Store after a new release and get those algorithms working for you.