Advice for publishing third book

I've been writing my my web serial, The Iron Teeth for over two years now and its been going fine. I released my first book awhile back and it did very well for a first book. However, when I released my second book its sales were a tiny bit less than my first, and that was quite disappointing.

I was wondering if anyone had any advice for me about publishing books. I primarily sell through Amazon, and I haven't really used much in the way of marketing services and ads. Does anyone have any advice about service they use and like? I've never really understood how to use them to market a new book.


From what I've heard, that's normal. Plus, it makes logical sense. The market for the second book is the people who read the first. But not everyone who read the first book will have liked it enough to buy the second.

What Archive said - sequels usually don't sell as well. Also, everything has changed on Amazon... it's now much, much harder to launch a book into a genre's top 100. Email lists for marketing are also a lot less efficient - about half as efficient as they used to be, I've found. I'm still trying to re-learn marketing in 2018. :/

The folks above are right, your overall sales for a sequel will usually be lower than the first book in the series, just because not everyone who buys the first one will want to keep going. That said, ideally you want the size of your launch sales to grow, since it means your overall base of readers is expanding with each installment. But that takes time, and getting the word out about launches is half the battle, so don't worry if you don't see that growth on book #3.

As for marketing, it's hard to give guidance on that. All of the truly reliable tools like Bookbub have became so popular that you can't count on being able to use them. A Bookbub sale is always nice, but unless you have a Big publisher in your pocket, you shouldn't count on being able to get one. On the other hand, there are countless imitators that you can use. Success with those is a crapshoot, of course, otherwise they'd already be booked up, but there's nothing inherently wrong with playing craps if you can afford it.

My advice would be to use your biggest advantage: the serial itself. Having a direct line to your readers is something loads of authors would love. Make sure they know about the launch, and that early support is a big help. If it's possible to incentivize awareness or participation, all the better. Personally, I like doing big Digital Launch Parties where I have games, prizes, guests, and stuff like that to celebrate a launch. Fun for me, fun for the readers, and it gives them a reason to care about launch dates, which in turn helps early sales and pushes up the rankings. That's just me and my brand though, any method that engages the readers would work.

Average retention figure is 80% of the people who finished the preceding book. As for how many people did that, it depends. Often 50% is being generous.

I'd say that if you sold 40-60% of the first book's figures, you're doing well. Obviously the retention rate rises over time, even as the overall audience drops.

Hi Clear!

I've had some success with the marketing aspect (FB and AMS), if you need help feel free to reach out. As some more experienced others (Drew who has always been super helpful) have stated there are other paths that aren't necessarily paid but have great turnout. Let me know if you're interested in FB/AMS by reaching out to my email, I don't get on the forums too often anymore.

Happy to help others in the fantasy genre as well for facebook ads.



@Leo can I email you too? The methods that used to work for me don't work anymore, so I have to try new things I know nothing about. :S

Looks like AMS options were just expanded a few days ago, now they're even more confusing.

After thinking on this a little more, I did come up with another option. Since there are several web-serial folks who are moving into ebooks, you could try coordinating together for launches. Not on the same day, but perhaps a week where one day at a time everyone launches their next book, sharing and cross-promoting the entire event to their audiences. It's not too far off from what the Authors & Dragons podcast group has done, in that by doing stuff together we expose our audience to other similar authors that they have a good chance of liking, and in turn we get introduced to the other authors' fans as well. Plus, its gives you a great chance to see how others do their launches and compare notes to create some best practices.

Of course Chrys- email me at [email protected]

Always happy to help.

Thanks, Leo!

I don't write and publish books nearly fast / often enough to coordinate launches with anyone else, but I'd be interested in a Fantasy cross-promo. My combined mailing list of subscribers and blog followers has around 1500 people in it, and they're pretty good about opening emails and clicking links. I just did a promo, though, and can't schedule another for 3+ months.

Thanks for the information and advice everyone. I hadn't realized that sales on sequels drop so predictably.

More cross-promotion is always a good thing.

The good thing about sequels is that once you have a few of them out, and run another successful campaign for book 1, people will likely binge through the entire series. But when they have to wait X amount of time for the sequel, they tend to forget about you - people have short attention spans. Sad but true.

I was about to respond ask Drew Hayes, but I see he already weighed in. I would suggest cross promo with other serials, ask them if they would be willing to drop a note about your story and the new book in an update, in exchange for a shout out (one a day ) from you to their serial. There is a surprising LACK of cross reading, although its not as bad as it was a few years ago.

Also, do you have a dedicated social media presence? An author only twitter, a book series facebook page/group, an instagram account, ect? I've note that such things can be great tools for growing audiences if you are able to manage the regular content update outside of your own stories, and make a great platform for getting your fans to share. Remember the 1000 true fans concept. The easier you make it for them , the less you actually need.

I'm terrible at putting out social media content. I'm not a social person. :P

Just wanted to say that Leo is my hero. :D

@ClearMadness I hear you. I hate social media with a passion and haven't even updated my author Facebook since 2016...

Thanks so much! Glad the ads are working out for you :) Rank 150k > 35k in 3 days is promising, hope it takes off!