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lizmonster
02-17-2017, 02:06 AM
I sold three books in a series. Each is written (to the best of my ability) to be able to stand on its own. Yes, you get some character texture and background if you read them in order, but I've worked pretty hard to write them so you could pick up any of them and have a self-contained story.

Of course, series aren't traditionally promoted like that. My publisher has set up price promotions and giveaways of the first book in hopes of snagging people into the whole series. Which, great! Except for three things:

1) Book 2 is slightly different in character than Book 1 (it's in many ways a more traditional SF book, and I think has a shot at a wider audience).
2) Book 2 is better, and I say that loving Book 1 with all of my heart and soul.
3) Book 2 was released on Election Day, and as such the usual book release stuff done by the publisher was completely drowned. (To their credit, they really did try to mitigate the damage, but I'm not sure there was really anything they could do.)

So I'd like to promote Book 2. Among other things, I'd like to let people know that if Book 2 looks more interesting to them, they're not losing anything by starting there (they can always go back to the first one if they're curious; the only real spoilers in Book 2 are which major characters definitely survive).

I'm having conversations with my publisher, but I'm also looking for effective things I can do myself. I've got the usual blog/Twitter/Facebook stuff, and I'm in the process of getting certified on Goodreads so I can do some giveaways of my own.

I guess my questions are:

1) What's an effective way to promote the second book of a series without (necessarily) tying it to the first?
2) Is that possible at all?

Old Hack
02-17-2017, 01:42 PM
Of course it's possible to promote a book without referring to an earlier book in the series. You do it by promoting it as a book in its own right, just as I assume you promoted the first one. My concern is that as it's so long now since its publication you've rather missed the boat, so the things I'm used to--reviews, interviews, blog tours, etc.--are not really so available to you now. However, you can still give talks, write articles, all that sort of stuff. If the issue of the first book comes up then you assure people this latest book is complete in its own right and they're ok to start with it.

lizmonster
02-17-2017, 03:55 PM
Of course it's possible to promote a book without referring to an earlier book in the series. You do it by promoting it as a book in its own right, just as I assume you promoted the first one. My concern is that as it's so long now since its publication you've rather missed the boat, so the things I'm used to--reviews, interviews, blog tours, etc.--are not really so available to you now. However, you can still give talks, write articles, all that sort of stuff. If the issue of the first book comes up then you assure people this latest book is complete in its own right and they're ok to start with it.

To be clear, I did a number of semi-simultaneous promotional posts (generally posting on tangential topics on science/science fiction blogs). The most recent one went up in January, and was reasonably well received (by which I mean other known bloggers picked it up and talked about it a bit). The book also got the usual pre-release industry reviews in PW, Library Journal, etc. It actually got better reviews than the first one, which is one reason I'm frustrated. But my publisher is putting their engine behind the first book for reasons stated above, and fair enough.

ETA: I also want do add that the election really did have an impact, and not just on my book. My publisher did their due diligence and got me a lot of good slots. But in November and December, everybody's promotional stuff got buried in the US. I follow a lot of folks, and I am only just now beginning to see publishers and authors start talking normally about books again. So yeah, I'm talking about a relaunch of sorts, I suppose; but I'm not the only person in this pickle.

I do blog, although I tend to blog on a mix of topics, and am not really sure how to write 800 words on "Hey, read my book!" (You do make me realize, though, that I could write a post on "How to write a series book that can be read on its own." :)) I don't have a huge reach on my own, either, and I'm putting some hope into Goodreads because I suspect I'll have better luck catching not just readers but genre fans who are rumaging around as well.

I do realize I'm not helpless. On the other hand, my blog gets 20 hits on a very good day. I don't have a massive reach, so I'm looking for bang-for-the-buck.

Old Hack
02-17-2017, 09:19 PM
ETA: I also want do add that the election really did have an impact, and not just on my book. My publisher did their due diligence and got me a lot of good slots. But in November and December, everybody's promotional stuff got buried in the US. I follow a lot of folks, and I am only just now beginning to see publishers and authors start talking normally about books again. So yeah, I'm talking about a relaunch of sorts, I suppose; but I'm not the only person in this pickle.

I'm not surprised by this at all. What I am surprised by is that anyone chose to publish books on that day. It was almost guaranteed to be a washout, unless the book was directly related to the election.

I hope you find a way to make this work.

lizmonster
02-17-2017, 09:53 PM
I'm not surprised by this at all. What I am surprised by is that anyone chose to publish books on that day. It was almost guaranteed to be a washout, unless the book was directly related to the election.

I hope you find a way to make this work.

I think it's safe to say they were anticipating a different result, but yeah, pretty sure none of us will ever choose election day to release anything ever again. :)

My editor is very supportive of this book, so I am hopeful with some coordinated efforts it can get some traction.

DragonHeart
02-17-2017, 11:20 PM
If you're a reddit user most of the writing/book related subreddits have spaces for book self-promotion and tends to be very welcoming to authors. The trick is they like people to be members of the community, not just drive by promos, which may not be immediately helpful to you.

lizmonster
02-18-2017, 12:10 AM
If you're a reddit user most of the writing/book related subreddits have spaces for book self-promotion and tends to be very welcoming to authors. The trick is they like people to be members of the community, not just drive by promos, which may not be immediately helpful to you.

Yeah, despite decades on Usenet, I never quite found my way to reddit. Worth cultivating for the future, though - thank you. :)