I think there's plenty of low-hanging fruit here to fix before giving up.
> current organization of series are confusing
. I'm assuming some of these are serials. I think you'd be better off branding the Avoidables volumes as novels, rather than episodes. You're cutting out a huge swath of the market just by having 1 - 3, 10 - 12 etc. in there. If they can't stand alone, I'd consider taking them down - they just clutter the author page - and put them into a complete series box. Keep the permafree volume 1, put it out on all sites (including Instafreebie) and then have the combined full series available.
> maximize your permafrees
. Make sure you have the free Book 1s out on Instafreebie, as part of a starter library for download on your website and so forth. More people tend to read these freebies (e.g. I just gave away 667 copies of my UF novel via Facebook in exchange for email addresses - this cost $500, which sounds terrible - and no, it wasn't the best optimized ad campaign I've ever run - but probably 10 - 15%+ of people actually read it, compared to 2% from a promo site. Plus, I have their email to tell them about Book 2/3).
> Box up The Avoidables, Deadliners, Viking Souls and Zodiac Twins all in complete series sets
- and advertise them as such (the word complete is very important - have it in the title instead of 1 - 3 or 1 - 6). If the Viking Soul series isn't complete, consider writing a few more chapters or an extended epilogue or a novella, include that in Book 3 (and with the set) and then call it the complete series (rather than write more books in a series that isn't selling). Same with the Avoidables. Then try to get a BookBub on these complete series sets. BookBub loves those; even if you can't get a BookBub, these sets tend to perform well on other promo sites, too, and sell well via Facebook/AMS ads.
> Get select new covers
. The current covers - well, they aren't great. Not bad, but you can kind of see the seams where they were Photoshopped together, and they're a little grainy, to my eye. Instead of redoing them all, which would be expensive, I would work on getting new boxed set covers. From where I sit, you need four: one for Viking Souls 1 - 3, one for Avoidables 1 - 12 (I would change the series name and serial branding, too; those are turning people away, I think), one for Deadliners 1 - 3 (also needs a new title, I think; doesn't convey UF) and one for Zodiac Twins 1 - 6. Market them all as complete series (tying up loose ends as needed with aforementioned epilogues).
>> brand these new covers tightly together; the current covers are all over the place and don't nail any of the sub-genres. Get the same designer to do all four, and make sure the author name is in the same location/same font. Then distinguish the series through different art/typography. But make sure there's a subtle thread running through them, and make sure the UF ones say UF.
>> relaunch one of these sets per month, up until the release of your new series. Small launches - $100 or $200 in promo etc. - but try to get some copies out there and test for your big "final" launch. Also helps you build a fanbase.
>> run cheap AMS ads to the sets. $2, $3 a day. This can be profitable if the price is $6.99 or $7.99.
>> didn't read all of the blurbs, but not a fan of the tagline or blurb for the Avoidables. Doesn't make me want to root for the hero. One-armed MC is an interesting hook, but the way it's framed doesn't sound uplifting/heroic (the tagline is "even freaks fall in love"), and it gives me no idea of the stakes - or why I should root for her. She just sounds bitter and the world sounds dark, which is not compelling to read about for 250 pages. It's placed in NA, so I'd assume it has more of a Hunger Games or Divergent style arc, where even if the world is gray-ish, the character is strong and inspires hope in the reader. Focus on that stuff, and give the reader incentive to root for her.
> kind of covered already, but to go a little deeper - covers and series aren't well-branded
. It's hard to get the branding consistent from one series to another or at least semi-congruent. Some of the books appear to be UF, judging from the series names, but the covers don't suggest that at all (Deadliners). The Avoidables is apparently a dystopian novel, but I can't tell what it is from the cover. None of that is conducive to maximizing sales or backlist sell-through.
Pen name branding is a secondary issue, and one that's harder to fix. You can see that I have a similar congruence problem here
. All the covers are pro, and most of them were expensive, but there's no consistent author brand. That's symbolic of a bigger problem: tonal shifts. I would suspect that might be a problem with your books, too - a wide variance in style and tones, even in similar genres. My covers accurately reflect the differences in sub-genre/style, but that's not great for sell-through or building a brand. Something to consider. OTOH, you can see my UF covers
are far more consistent in tone, even though they're done by three different designers. Less jarring, although the author branding as a whole could still be tighter.
On the human faces debate
> I can see where David is coming from. It's an interesting hypothesis. From my testing on Facebook, human faces - particularly eyes staring at the browser - perform well. They're very good at demanding attention in a maelstrom of content. This is because of evolutionary wiring - we're hard-coded to notice when someone is staring at us, since it indicates either interest or a threat. Most UF covers have the protag staring out at the viewer, or in a side profile where part of their face is visible - fairly standard trope. Of course, this means the same models are used over and over again, which can lead to image fatigue. YMMV.
I think the quality of the current covers is more of a problem than the design. The composition seems familiar/in the right ballpark on the Vikings Souls covers; I just don't think the quality is high enough to compete in a crowded genre.
A general comment
> a full-time job can actually reduce your stress and make it easier to write. You won't have to constantly think about making money, which frees your brain from chasing its own tail. Sometimes you get stuck in a Mobius strip of stress, fear and chasing tactics, like this fog that just won't part. Suddenly, when you're not worried about bouncing your Netflix payment, the fog parts, and you can see exactly where the next milestone is. So I wouldn't view this as a last chance.
For the series, if this is really your absolute last chance, I'd be aggressive and go all out. It doesn't sound like you have substantial newsletter/platform firepower, so this is what I'd do:
> Since it sounds like you're going to write all three books, anyway, I would release them all at once
. That way, if Book 1 hits big, the effect is magnified 3x - and that bleeds back to your UF backlist, too, provided you make the cover/series structural changes outlined above. I would wait until after Christmas, as that tends to be a trad-pub bloodbath; harder to get visibility and climb the charts. Maybe aim for January, when people are spending gift cards. That's all anecdotal; not sure the timing matters a ton. But all three books on one day maximizes your firepower.
> launch the new series in KU
. UF in KU is really competitive these days, but most of the recent chart-toppers/breakouts have been powered by KU reads. If you can get a little tailwind from Amazon KU, it does wonders - and there are a lot of UF readers in KU. Get it visible, hit the cover tropes, and you have a good chance of snagging some of that market.
> this gives you two options
: launch book 1 at $0.99 or free. If you have $1k+, then $0.99 is gonna be your best option. You can storm the top 1000 with a combination of promo sites, mailing list and PPC. You're going to have to put Book 1 up on pre-order for about a month, since most of the best promo sites are booked pretty far out. I think that's worth it. If you have less than $1k, I'd do a 2 - 3 free promo with the best, heavy-hittingest sites you can afford, with all of them backloaded. Aim for 3k+ downloads on the last day. You can probably achieve that for $500. Have the book come off the promo at $0.99 if you want to max the tail or $2.99/$3.99 if you want to max revenue.
> option three
: launch book 1 at $0.99 with a nice blitz. See what the reaction is; if sell-through and initial sales are weak, you can pull this out of your back pocket - the full trilogy release 1 month later. Release the full trilogy for this new series at $0.99 with ad support, while doing a simultaneous all-out free blitz on Book 1. Obviously this is a very aggressive move, since it cannibalizes all your sales for Books 2 & 3 immediately, but if things really aren't moving, and you're intent on this being the last stand, it gives you one additional high-powered round in the promo chamber.