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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
You write a book, the first in a series, and you naturally want sales to take off with their attendant piles of money :), fame ;D, groupies :-*, etc. I've seen some people advocate just waiting until the 2nd or 3rd in the series before doing any promotion at all, thinking that whatever success you bring in with the promotion would be eclipsed by what promoting a complete series could bring in. But I've seen others say that their promotion of the first book (before the others had been released) helped them build buzz for book 2, a fan base, and a mailing list.

Is there a right answer to this? A best answer? Or in practice is it just: 1.Write book N, 2.Promote book N somewhat while writing book N+1, 3.Promote books N and N+1 a little harder while writing book N+2...

I look with envy at the mailing lists of certain authors here (knife wielding or otherwise) and think, hey! that's the way to go! Then I sit down and tap my head, Pooh-style, saying, think think think, how to build a mailing list for that 2nd book.... Then my David Adams shoulder angel pops up (strumming a harp, of course*) and says, forget about the mailing list! Just focus on the next book! Like Hugh Howey! Did you see his abs?

Has anyone done it both ways? If you slowly built up a mailing list from book 1, what were some of the things that got you started? If you decided to wait until more of the series was out, do you think promoting with more than one book made a difference? Do you wish you had promoted your first book more while it was solo?

Promotion or patience?

*Sometimes he's playing a didgeridoo.
 

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I'm going to write the next books. Actually, I'm going to edit the 17 episodes I already wrote and release them one episode at a time, and a bundle every 6 episodes. When I'll be done with the first season, I'll put the first episode permafree and hope for the best.

So far I have ONE person who subscribed to my mailing list, and it's a friend of mine.  ;)
 
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Sending the first book out to 150-odd reviewers and doing Select runs on a short story with the same MC is probably considered promoting... but I'll probably have the second out before most of the reviewers get to reviewing it.
 

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A general idea about promoting is that the more books you have, the better the return.  Even if it's just flipping on a Select promo, if you have one book, all the free downloads do is generate word of mouth and visibility for that book.  If it's part of a series, you get that but in addition you will get secondary sales to the rest of the books and even standalone or unrelated books.

Select is pretty easy and that's why a lot of people use it.  But most promoting and marketing takes a lot of time and can cost a lot of money.  Most of us are not making a living wage with our writing yet.  I don't know how much promoting you have done yet, but it can be extremely time consuming and often times produces little results.  That's time and money better spent writing and creating a better book.

Also be aware that spending a lot of time and money on something that doesn't return results can be very discouraging.
 

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Whatever your method of marketing, it can't hurt to spend at least a little time marketing the first book in a series. Consider it a foundation you can build on when your second and third books hit the market -- and an opportunity to learn from mistakes early on in the process.

Also, I've heard tell many people won't invest in a series until several installments are available because authors sometimes give up halfway along, which is a reason to spend most of your time writing the next book.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
LisaGraceBooks said:
I released book 2 six weeks after book 1. I was able to get a big boost that way.
Lisa,
Can you explain this more? Were both boosted? Did 2 boost 1? Did you promote before 2 came out? Did you wait until 2 to promote? When only 1 was out, did you promote, and did you get results before 2 came out?
 

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Endi Webb said:
Lisa,
Can you explain this more? Were both boosted? Did 2 boost 1? Did you promote before 2 came out? Did you wait until 2 to promote? When only 1 was out, did you promote, and did you get results before 2 came out?
I only promote the first in the series. And because it was so fresh, I had quite a few book bloggers willing to read and review a copy of book 2. I also did a hardcover giveaway on Goodreads to coordinate with the release.
 

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Way I see it, my energy's better spent promoting once I have enough product in a series for the reader to remember me. *shrug* That's my opinion, though. I could see the promote #1 model working well for someone who's releasing each title fairly quickly, within a few months.
 

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I finished Reprobate. While it was in the editing stage, I wrote half of Peccadillo. Then I got Reprobate publication ready. I wrote Locked Room as a loss-leader short story with a teaser chapter and published Locked Room a few weeks before I published Reprobate. Then I finished Peccadillo in a few months to get it ready for publication before the 2012 Holiday Season. While Peccadillo was torn apart by my beta readers, I wrote Microchip Murder, the second short story and loss leader, and published it, working hard to get both short stories free on Amazon. Then I published Peccadillo in the second half of December, just before Christmas.

I'm currently 'promoting' the series and writing Rogue, book three. I plan to publish a few short stories in between, to keep readers engaged in the series. In my opinion, the first book in the series will not be considered a 'series', and many readers might wait until there is evidence that a second and third book are about to be published before getting book one.
 

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Glynn James said:
For a mailing list, this seems to have worked for me. I think it should be the least you do, regardless of how much time you spend promoting. It's (almost) passive marketing.

- Start your mailing list before you launch book 1 (or asap afterwards)
How do you get people to sign up for a mailing list for a book that's not yet written?
 

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Cheryl Douglas said:
Personally, I waited until I'd released the third book in my series before I started doing any real promotion.
This is my plan for my YA series. No sense bragging if I don't have anything to show for it ;)
 

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That Vampire trilogy in my sig was all released the same day. All promoted at the same time. The reason is a slice of readers won't pick up the first book unless they can immediately consume more (if they like it). This series also is quite integrated in content with a large overall three-book character arc.
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What you'll find is the first book of a series will sell the most copies of any of them and then sales trail off after that. Some authors try to perma-free the first one, some think that's not a good choice. A lot of options :)
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Don't neglect promoting the first book while you work on the next two or three. Balance.
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Shayne said:
How do you get people to sign up for a mailing list for a book that's not yet written?
What I want to know is how to get people to sign up for a mailing list at all.

Maybe time to start offering a free short with signup?
 

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For my Gray Skies series I have been back and forth on this question for some time.

Book 1 is complete, edited and ready to publish, but I decided to hold it back until book 2 is complete.

Why? Every beta reader of book 1 said they'd begin reading book 2 if it were available to them. What I didn't want to see happen was to start getting bad reviews because book 2 wasn't ready yet. 
 
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