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Monday, May 14, 2012

Why Creating a Series Can Be a Smart Marketing Move

Today I'm pleased to bring you a guest post from US science-fiction and fantasy author Mary Pax (or M. Pax as she prefers to style herself in her publicity).

The post is part of Mary's blog tour to launch her series of novels called Backworlds, the first of which, The Backworlds, is now available free in e-book form (see below).

Mary believes strongly in the value of publishing not just one book but a whole series. In this article, she explains her reasons why...

* * *

Movies do it. Television does it. Books do it, too. I'm talking about the series

Sometimes they're conceived from the beginning as series. Sometimes a movie or book does so well, the public clamors for more. So, more is produced.

It's a great strategy, because it funnels readers into our sequels with less work than launching a new title. The funnel is already created if the initial offering is a hit.

What if we don't want to wait and see? We can write the greatest novel ever and not be a hit. So how do we create a funnel?

Many successful ebook authors choose to give away their first book, or price it very low. The idea is to get the work into as many hands as possible. Those who like it, the author's audience, will come back for more.

This same marketing principle is used by a lot of companies. They'll give away samples or a free version to gain customers and introduce themselves.

A successful series can then help an author sell other titles.

This is the strategy I decided to use in launching the Backworlds series. The first story is free, and will remain free. I will use it in my advertising and marketing campaign, working to get it into as many hands as possible.

Some groan at giving their work away. I think of it as an ad, a marketing expense. It's a better return on my dollar than most advertising expenditures. It's a long-term strategy for winning over readers to gain sales for the sequels.

I've seen some authors write several books in a series and release them together. The consensus seems to be, the more titles we get out there, the better we'll do. I haven't done this, but I've seen it work for others.

What marketing strategies have you used?

The Backworlds: After the war with Earth, bioengineered humans scatter across the Backworlds. Competition is fierce and pickings are scant. Scant enough that Craze's father decides to hoard his fortune by destroying his son. Cut off from family and friends, with little money, and even less knowledge of the worlds beyond his own, Craze heads into an uncertain future. Boarding the transport to Elstwhere, he vows to make his father regret this day.

Available as an ebook from Amazon / AmazonUK / Smashwords / Feedbooks. Free on Smashwords and Feedbooks. Will be free on Amazon in a few weeks.

Sign up for M. Pax's newsletter to be notified the moment The Backworlds goes FREE on Amazon, and when it becomes available from other retailers.

About the Author: M. Pax's inspiration comes from the wilds of Oregon, especially the high desert where she shares her home with two cats and a husband unit. Creative sparks also come from Pine Mountain Observatory where she spend her summers working as a star guide. She writes mostly science fiction and fantasy, but confesses to an obsession with Jane Austen. She blogs at her website, and at Wistful Nebulae. You'll find links there to connect on Twitter, Goodread, FB and other sites.

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Thank you to Mary for her guest post. I have already downloaded her first Backworlds book to my Kindle via Smashwords and am enjoying reading it!

If you have any comments or questions for Mary (or me), as always, please feel free to post them below. 

Photo of M. Pax provided by the author.

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Blogger Tonja said...

It's a great idea to offer one novel for free, especially the first of a series - I can't think of a better marketing strategy. Good luck!

11:54 AM  
Blogger Betty Alark said...

Hi, Mary!

Enjoyed the guest post!

It is very informative!

I like the strategies that you offer. Giving away your first book for free or at a very low price is a great strategy!

It allows the public to get to know you as a writer! If they like you the funnel process should work!

Much continued success, Mary!

12:00 PM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

A series is smart. I never planned on one - sort of fell into it.

12:20 PM  
Blogger M Pax said...

Thanks for hosting me today on your wonderful blog, Nick.

It's a proven strategy, Tonja. I hope it works for me.

Hi Betty! That was my idea on offering the Backworlds for free. It can be a smart decision.

That's great, Alex. You know how to create a funnel your own way. Which is really impressive.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thanks, Mary. Great to have you as a guest here.

6:05 PM  
Blogger Rek said...

Your take is interesting and useful, I have seen others put up a previous book in a series for free for a day or two or for a month, coinciding with the release of the latest book.

7:57 PM  
Blogger J.L. Campbell said...

Mary, I think having a series is a smart move. For me, it comes through having interesting secondary characters.

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Alan's Internet Marketing said...

This is a cool blog! Aside from the writing a book aspect, from a marketing perspect this also works well when it comes to getting people to open and read your next email. Planting a seed, leaving a cliff hanger and indicating that there's more good stuff to come. Curiosity is always a killer.

10:21 PM  
Blogger M Pax said...

It's an approach I've seen other author's use and other businesses. W are still a business, too.

I like your series idea, Joy.

That's a great tactic, too, Alan.

12:10 AM  
Blogger Brinda said...

I agree that marketing a series is easier. As a reader, I love series. If I like the first book and writing style, I'll continue through even a ten book series to see what happens to the characters.

12:24 PM  
Blogger M Pax said...

I can go either way with reading, but there are certain series I do love & would snap up the next in a heartbeat. Thanks for visiting, Brinda.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Jay Noel said...

Never thought I'd write a series, but here I am, writing one.

Many authors have used that marketing strategy - giving away the first book after a couple years (or more) on the market. It's a great way to really gain more exposure.

Finished Backworlds over the weekend, and I can't wait for the next book!

6:16 PM  
Blogger M Pax said...

Thanks Jay. You're awesome. I'm working on the edits for the sequel.

6:33 AM  
Blogger Southpaw said...

I like the idea of the first for free or at a low cost, especially for indie authors.

4:29 PM  
Blogger M Pax said...

Hi Southpaw. I hope it works. :) The downloads are going well. Keeping my fingers crossed.

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Kitchen worktops dude said...

I like this marketing idea- it might be hard to give away something you've been working on for however many months/years with no hope of return, but surely something you're so passionate about is worth the risk for an amazing long-term gain?

12:04 PM  

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