In the first part of this in-depth guide to planning sequels, we looked at the value of book sequels, how to plan them, and some advice on author branding.
And now, we arrive at the juicy part. The part where we talk about turning those wonderful books of yours into a revenue-generating machine. That’s right, we’re delving into the world of book marketing strategy and how to leverage your sequels for increased sales. So, buckle up, and let’s get started!
Creating a Buzz for Upcoming Releases
In the world of book sales, anticipation is everything. We’ve already looked at engagement, but here’s how you can stir up some more excitement for your new sequels with a strong book release strategy.
- Cover reveals: Nothing gets readers excited quite like a beautiful book cover. Use your social media platforms to reveal your book cover a few weeks before your book launch.
- Sneak peeks and excerpts: Offering a tantalizing sneak peek of your upcoming book can whet your readers’ appetites and get them eager to buy your book.
- Pre-order options: Make your book available for pre-order. It’s a great way to generate early sales and create buzz for your book.
The Power of Reviews
Never underestimate the power of a good review. It’s one of the most effective ways to boost your book sales.
- Early review copies: Consider giving out early copies of your book to select readers in exchange for an honest review. Positive reviews can give your book the initial push it needs.
- Encourage reviews: At the end of your book, kindly encourage your readers to leave a review if they enjoyed the book. More reviews can lead to more visibility and increased sales.
Pricing and Promotions
Strategic pricing and promotions can significantly increase your book sales. You might think that offering discounts is like shooting yourself in the bank balance, but the reality is your pricing and promotion strategy could be the key to retiring early with your writing. Consider one of the following, or even better, a combination.
- Discounted first book: Consider offering the first book in your series at a discounted price. This can attract new readers to your series. I’ve made the prequel book in my Darkwater Cove series free to read, for example.
- Bundled deals: Once you have a few books in your series, consider offering a bundle deal. This can entice readers to buy multiple books at once.
Using Your Author Brand
Your author brand is a powerful tool in your book marketing strategy. Write what you love and always have one eye on your brand as an author with:
- Consistent messaging: Ensure that your marketing messages align with your author brand. This creates a cohesive image and strengthens your brand.
- Fan interaction: Engage with your fans regularly. This not only builds loyalty but can also lead to word-of-mouth marketing.
Sequels offer tremendous opportunities for increasing your book sales. With strategic planning and effective marketing, you can turn your series into a powerhouse of revenue. So keep writing those sequels, keep planning, and watch your book sales soar!
Top Tips for Planning a Sequel or Multiple Sequels
As we journey further into the land of sequels, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. What are the practical steps you can take to effectively plan your sequel or, even better, a whole series of them?
Well, you’re in luck because we’re about to delve into the top tips for planning a sequel or multiple sequels. These tips, distilled from years of experience, countless cups of coffee, and an ongoing journey of author success, will provide a roadmap for your sequel planning adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned author or a fresh-faced newbie, these tips will help you navigate the thrilling twists and turns of sequel writing.
- Planning ahead: Always have a rough idea of the sequel or series direction when writing the first book. This helps to maintain continuity and develop intriguing subplots.
- Character development: Ensure that your characters have enough room to grow and evolve for the sequels. Readers often return to a series because they are invested in the characters.
- Narrative threads: Leave a few narrative threads unresolved in each book to create anticipation for the next one.
- Consistent world-building: Maintain consistency in the rules and details of your world across books. This contributes to a coherent and immersive series.
- Pacing: Pace your overall story arc to keep readers engaged throughout the series. Avoid resolving major conflicts too early.
- Remember the backstory: Keep track of what has happened in previous books so you can reference it accurately in the sequels. This is crucial for maintaining continuity.
- Relevance: Each sequel should bring something new to the table: a new conflict, character development, or exploration of the book world.
- Recap: Include subtle reminders of key events from previous books in the sequels. This helps readers remember important details and understand the ongoing story.
- Ending each book: Try to make each book satisfying in its own right, even while leaving some threads open for the sequel. Avoid ending a book on a major cliffhanger without resolution.
- Maintain your voice: Despite the evolving story and characters, ensure that your voice as an author remains consistent. This is part of what your readers will come back for.
With these tips in mind, authors can create engaging sequels that keep readers coming back for more, thereby increasing book sales.
Potential Pitfalls in Sequel Planning
Ah, blunders. Those sneaky, hidden traps can throw a monkey wrench into even the best-laid plans. Just as in crafting a thrilling plot twist, it’s important to anticipate and navigate potential obstacles in your sequel planning. As someone who’s seen it all and lived to tell the tale, let me guide you through some of the common pitfalls in sequel planning and how you can avoid them.
The Opening Gambit
Picture this; you’re on stage, the curtain lifts, and…you stumble. Not the greatest start, right? Your sequel’s opening chapter is that stage, and there’s no room for a misstep. This is where you reintroduce your world-weary protagonist, tease the ensuing drama, and have your readers biting their nails in anticipation.
Remember, you’re showing off how your character has grown since we last met them. And don’t forget to consider the timeline. If your sequel is starting ten years after the end of the first book, there better be a damn good reason why!
The Backstory Balancing Act
Sequels can feel like a reunion with an old friend. You want to reminisce about past adventures but not spend the entire time looking back. It’s a common urge to retell the first book in the second. Resist it. Treat the first book as a shared secret between you and your readers. Refer to it when necessary but keep your eyes on the journey ahead. Your reader is strapping in for a new ride, not a recap of the last one.
Stakes Skyrocketing, Not Snowballing
Every sequel needs to up the ante. But if you’re just rehashing the same plot with a new mask, your readers will see through it. The stakes in your sequel should be an evolution of the first book, building on your protagonist’s victories and showing their consequences.
This isn’t a time for reruns; it’s a time for expansion. After all, the sequel isn’t just another book. It’s a new chapter in the life of your protagonist, and they’re not the same person they were when we first met them.
Lack of Series Planning
Jumping into writing sequels without a clear plan for the series is like starting a journey without a map. You might stumble upon some interesting paths, but you’re likely to lose your way.
Before you start writing a sequel, sketch out a rough plan for your series. This doesn’t mean you have to know every detail, but you should have a clear idea of the overarching plot and character development.
Duplicating the First Book
While it’s important to maintain consistency in your writing style and themes, simply duplicating the formula of the first book can lead to stale sequels. Strive to bring something new to each book. This could be a new conflict, a new setting, or new character development. Keep your readers engaged with fresh and exciting stories.
Disappointing Anticipated Sequels
There’s a certain pressure that comes with writing anticipated sequels. If your sequels don’t live up to the hype, you risk disappointing your readers. Take the time to craft a sequel that’s as good, if not better, than the first book. Listen to your readers’ feedback, understand what they loved about the first book, and aim to deliver that in your sequel.
Neglecting Author Branding
In the excitement of writing new sequels, don’t forget the importance of maintaining your author brand. Stay true to your unique writing style and themes. Engage with your readers regularly and maintain a consistent author image.
Ineffective Book Marketing Strategy
Even the best books can fail to sell if they’re not effectively marketed. Develop a strong book marketing strategy. Leverage your author brand, create buzz for your upcoming books, encourage reviews, and consider strategic pricing and promotions.
Sequel planning can be a challenging but rewarding process. By anticipating potential pitfalls and knowing how to avoid them, you’ll be well on your way to crafting successful sequels and boosting your book sales. So, keep those pens (or keyboards) moving, and happy writing!
Wrapping up Your Sequel Planning Journey
As we close the chapter on this literary exploration, let’s take a moment to remember the essence of what we’ve discussed.
Writing a sequel is like embarking on a new adventure with an old friend. It’s a chance to explore new territories, encounter new challenges, and deepen our understanding of the characters we’ve grown to love. It’s not just about writing another book. It’s about extending an ongoing narrative that keeps readers on the edge of their seats, always hungry for the next installment.
But remember, with great power comes great responsibility. Sequel planning isn’t just about dreaming up new storylines—it’s about crafting an engaging narrative that builds on what came before while also introducing something fresh and exciting. It’s about creating anticipated sequels that fulfill promises made in the first book and then some.
And here’s some secret sauce for you. Your book sequels aren’t just new chapters in your stories, but they’re also new chapters in your author branding. Each sequel is a chance to reinforce what makes your writing unique and to remind readers why they fell in love with your work in the first place.
So, as you embark on your journey of writing a sequel, remember this: Your story is a world waiting to be expanded. Your characters are on a journey that goes beyond the final page of the first book. And your readers? They’re waiting for the next installment.
So, go ahead, surprise them. Delight them. Keep them coming back for more.
And remember, every great journey begins with a single step. So, what’s your next step going to be?
Ready to Write Your Own Success Story?
Hey, fellow author. I see you there, with ideas buzzing in your mind and a heart full of stories waiting to be told. It’s a beautiful journey we’re on, isn’t it?
But let’s be real; it’s also a challenging one. Crafting compelling narratives, planning sequels, building a brand, boosting book sales… there’s a lot to juggle. And sometimes, we could all use a little help.
That’s why I’ve created the Writing Success course. It’s a comprehensive program designed to help self-published authors like you navigate the world of publishing with confidence. It’s all about honing your skills, developing effective strategies, and (most importantly) writing stories that sell.
So, are you ready to take your writing to the next level? Ready to turn those brilliant ideas into bestselling book series? Then I invite you to join me in the Writing Success course. Let’s write our success stories together.
Remember, the world needs your stories. And I’m here to help you share them.