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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all

Based on posts I've seen here by other authors about their read-through rates, I suspect there is some sort of issue with my books or marketing, because my read-through rates look quite bad.

In terms of ebooks, the read-through looks to be between 30 to 40% book 1 to book 2 (this is all selling book 1 at $3.99 and book 2 at $4.99). In KU, it is around 50%.

I have added a sample of book 2 to the back of book 1 along with direct links to the Amazon pages of book 2, so I'm not sure what else I can do in terms of backmatter.

Perhaps people just don't like book 1, but then the reviews for it aren't bad, so maybe there is something else I'm missing.

Does anyone have any ideas for anything I can do to improve it?
 

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A few things.

Usually, if read-through of a paid book, especially a full price book, are not up to scratch, it means that there is something going on with the ending of book 1. Maybe it was too tied-up and people didn't realise there was a book 2. Or may they just didn't like book 1 enough to carry on.

This is really hard to diagnose.

But the other thing I would say is that the book is what it is, and, failing a rewrite (which would probably be a waste of time anyway), work with what you have and move on.

The whole concept of comparing this stuff with other writers, and that there is some sort of benchmark of what readthrough "should" be is quite damaging and silly anyway.

It could be that total sales numbers aren't even big enough for this stuff to be statistically significant. You'd need at least 1000 sales for that, preferably more.

It could be that you've run some ads or swapped with an author whose readers are not on-target.

It could be that you're impatient and a fair number of people are still getting to book 2.

Basically, this is me saying: don't sweat this stuff. Quit comparing. Quit calculating this stuff based on small numbers. It is what it is. You might try changing simple things like a call to action to book 2 at the end. But otherwise don't worry about what it "should" be.
 

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.

Publish book 3 and book 4 and read through will increase.
Seems to fall off dramatically after the 4th so don't try to make a ten book series.

.
 

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I've been reading a lot this year and I can say that a few reasons I didn't keep reading the rest of a series were:

-Marketing didn't make it clear what the genre was. So, for example, last week I read a book that was maybe light litRPG (there were computer-game-style interruptions to explain things) when I'd been expecting just a straight-up fantasy. The book wasn't bad, but that wasn't what I wanted so I didn't continue with the series. I had another one earlier this year that I guess would be urban fantasy but was also marketed as if it were alternate-world fantasy. I read both but neither one was strong enough to get me to buy another book in a genre I normally don't read.

-Sometimes the book is just meh. It's not good, it's not bad, it just isn't inspiring enough for me to keep going. Every once in a while I'll come back to the next book in a series like that months or even years later.

-Sometimes I'm cheap and I hand off a book that I think my mom will like, too, to see if she reads and buys the rest of the series which means readthrough could take months because she needs to get around to reading the book and then buying the next.

-Sometimes there is something in the book that is an absolute deal-breaker for me. Or the writing gets in the way of the story so much I just can't even contemplate reading the next book.

There are easily a hundred books in the last year or two that I didn't continue with. I left a total of two reviews about it. Both because I thought other readers might want to know about the issue. Those were the deal-breaker books. If I just don't like a book or a book is meh, I move on. Which means you're not going to see that happening in your reviews.

So. To summarize: If you're getting good reviews but not great readthrough you can check your marketing to make sure you're reaching your target audience but chances are there's nothing to fix about the book if there's nothing glaring in the reviews that highlights an issue. (Just like people some books are black licorice and an acquired taste and some are fruit that most people enjoy consuming. If you're licorice, you're licorice.)

(And to add that I think it was Chris Fox's book that said you had to have at least a 50% readthrough. And yeah, maybe that's what you need to be a six-figure author. But I'd suspect most authors don't have that. I took a course from a seven-figure author who has 15% readthrough on a permafree title, but most will tell you they see 1-3% on permafrees. It's great to be one of those writers with a huge potential audience who nails that audience like that, but most of us have to work with what we have.)
 

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Patty Jansen said:
This is really hard to diagnose.
I'd agree that this is hard to nail down. I don't know how big your sample size is, but unless it's like best seller territory, it's hard to really see trends. When I see 10 people do something with my book I think, shoot, I need to change something. But it might always just be coincidence. At a small sample size, it's impossible to tell trends from things that just kinda happen.

That being said, I think Patty had some really great thoughts on possible things to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for your thoughts. There are some things I hadn't considered that perhaps I need to look at
- who I'm marketing to
- that my descriptions are portraying the genre and story accurately enough, rather than just maximising conversions. This is one thing I particularly struggle with, as the series begins kind of like a personal fantasy then expands to be more epic.

Beyond that, I think I'll have to accept it is what it is. I certainly don't want to change any of the stories.
 

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Read through from books one to two is always going to be lower, mainly because book ones attract a lot of people who are never going to be your readers. This is especially true if you run price cuts, put the book in KU and so forth.  Take a look at the numbers for book three to four. Those will likely be a lot more encouraging. 
 

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Patty Jansen said:
A few things.

Usually, if read-through of a paid book, especially a full price book, are not up to scratch, it means that there is something going on with the ending of book 1. Maybe it was too tied-up and people didn't realise there was a book 2. Or may they just didn't like book 1 enough to carry on.

This is really hard to diagnose.

But the other thing I would say is that the book is what it is, and, failing a rewrite (which would probably be a waste of time anyway), work with what you have and move on.

The whole concept of comparing this stuff with other writers, and that there is some sort of benchmark of what readthrough "should" be is quite damaging and silly anyway.

It could be that total sales numbers aren't even big enough for this stuff to be statistically significant. You'd need at least 1000 sales for that, preferably more.

It could be that you've run some ads or swapped with an author whose readers are not on-target.

It could be that you're impatient and a fair number of people are still getting to book 2.

Basically, this is me saying: don't sweat this stuff. Quit comparing. Quit calculating this stuff based on small numbers. It is what it is. You might try changing simple things like a call to action to book 2 at the end. But otherwise don't worry about what it "should" be.
I have been floating around 50%, box sets seem to help for me. On a side note, Andy, how did you get amazon to put your book zero as a part of the series? Let me know.Thanks
 

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Andy_Blinston said:
Thank you all for your thoughts. There are some things I hadn't considered that perhaps I need to look at
- who I'm marketing to
- that my descriptions are portraying the genre and story accurately enough, rather than just maximising conversions. This is one thing I particularly struggle with, as the series begins kind of like a personal fantasy then expands to be more epic.

Beyond that, I think I'll have to accept it is what it is. I certainly don't want to change any of the stories.
Hey, not sure if someone's mentioned this, but there doesn't seem to be a series setting for your books. So when I go to book 1, I don't automatically see book 2 on the page. That hurts sales, too. You can email Amazon and ask them to fix it.

Edited to add that I'm looking on .ca, so maybe it's not an issue, since .com seems to have the series listed.

So maybe it's not what's hurting...but in my experience, readers like to either a) know how long a series will be before committing or b) have at least 3 chunky books out.
 

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CassieL said:
I've been reading a lot this year and I can say that a few reasons I didn't keep reading the rest of a series were:

-Marketing didn't make it clear what the genre was. So, for example, last week I read a book that was maybe light litRPG (there were computer-game-style interruptions to explain things) when I'd been expecting just a straight-up fantasy. The book wasn't bad, but that wasn't what I wanted so I didn't continue with the series. I had another one earlier this year that I guess would be urban fantasy but was also marketed as if it were alternate-world fantasy. I read both but neither one was strong enough to get me to buy another book in a genre I normally don't read.

-Sometimes the book is just meh. It's not good, it's not bad, it just isn't inspiring enough for me to keep going. Every once in a while I'll come back to the next book in a series like that months or even years later.

-Sometimes there is something in the book that is an absolute deal-breaker for me. Or the writing gets in the way of the story so much I just can't even contemplate reading the next book.

There are easily a hundred books in the last year or two that I didn't continue with. I left a total of two reviews about it. Both because I thought other readers might want to know about the issue. Those were the deal-breaker books. If I just don't like a book or a book is meh, I move on. Which means you're not going to see that happening in your reviews.
I just wanted to add to this a little bit. There are plenty of reasons that I might not continue with a series. In addition to 'meh', which is always a good reason to not continue, I might end up not liking the characters enough to spend more time with them. I might have liked the beginning of the story but didn't like how the story ended. Then there's disappointed expectations - cover and blurb might have set the story up as one thing but it turned out to be something else that I wasn't looking for. And along with that, there's also book 2 having a different vibe than book 1 - either going in a different direction/following a different character, or jumping from one sub-genre that I do like to one that I don't. Or there might be content that just isn't for me.

Just sort of thinking out loud here, but maybe the higher price on the second book is preventing people from continuing?
 

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OP: I’m new here and I am wondering how do you determine your read through? I didn’t even know that was possible. What stats are you looking at to determine your read through?
 

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Karen Monroe said:
OP: I'm new here and I am wondering how do you determine your read through? I didn't even know that was possible. What stats are you looking at to determine your read through?
I'm not the OP, obviously, but it's not complicated. You just look at how many you've sold of book 1 and how many you've sold of book 2, then divide the book 2 total by the book 1 total to get your percentage. If you've sold 100 of book 1 and 30 of book 2, that means you have a read-thru rate of 30%.
 

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ShayneRutherford said:
I'm not the OP, obviously, but it's not complicated. You just look at how many you've sold of book 1 and how many you've sold of book 2, then divide the book 2 total by the book 1 total to get your percentage. If you've sold 100 of book 1 and 30 of book 2, that means you have a read-thru rate of 30%.
Thank you....I am still new to this. I had no idea that's what it meant. 8)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Rhett Gervais said:
I have been floating around 50%, box sets seem to help for me. On a side note, Andy, how did you get amazon to put your book zero as a part of the series? Let me know.Thanks
Not sure I can remember now. I either set it as book 0 on KDP, or emailed them and asked them to do it (through the 'Contact us' options on KDP. They have a specific category for queries on series). Book 0 doesn't appear in the series list that is shown under individual book pages though.
 

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Andy_Blinston said:
Not sure I can remember now. I either set it as book 0 on KDP, or emailed them and asked them to do it (through the 'Contact us' options on KDP. They have a specific category for queries on series). Book 0 doesn't appear in the series list that is shown under individual book pages though.
OK thanks, I'll give it a shot :)
 
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