Tag Archives: series

Selling Nonfiction Ebooks: Win With Series

When Amazon released the Kindle in 2007, it changed publishing. It turned thousands of hopefuls into authors. Many of those authors make a good living writing nonfiction books.

Sadly, many authors do not. I work with authors every day, and the biggest error I see authors make is that they category-hop. They write a recipe book. Then a book about dog breeds. Then a book about fish. Next, they try the self-help category.

They make a few sales, but they could be selling many more books… if they wrote in series.

 The biggest opportunity in nonfiction books: series

Here’s why:

  • A series gives you a chance to brand a name;
  • A series increases your visibility;
  • A series gives you an opportunity to build a readership; and
  • with the right series, you can build a great income.

Popular series: think Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup for the Soul was a early-1990s self-published book which turned into a bestseller. These days, it’s an entire conglomerate, which not only publishes books, but also sells pet food and makes movies. That’s what I mean by a brand. 🙂

At this stage, very few authors think longterm. They think about the ebook they’re writing now, worry about their ebook sales, and think about the other ebooks they hope to publish.

Think Chicken Soup. If you hit the right series, you can turn it into an empire.

Is it easy? Heck no. Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected many times, but Jack Canfield believed in the book. Over the years, there are endless stories about how tirelessly he worked to push Chicken Soup for the Soul. According to his website, there are now 123 million copies of the book in print.

Toss your hat into the ring: you never know what will succeed

As you may know, I coach writers. I love it, because I love writers and writing. However, it can be frustrating when I see writers make the same mistakes I made. Here’s one of my biggest mistakes.

Early in my career, I spent way too much time waiting for my editor and agent to get back to me. Finally I dumped my publishing house, and my agent, and struck out on my own. No, that wasn’t the mistake.

The mistake was waiting. I waited around for others to do stuff, instead of writing, and I listened to others, instead of believing in myself, and taking risks. These days, I believe in myself. I know that if I make a mistake, it’s just feedback on something that didn’t work, and the mistake is MINE. After suffering through others’ mistakes instead of taking control,  I’m proud to take the blame when things don’t work out.

Don’t wait. Write, and sell.

As soon as you finish one book, write another nonfiction book on the same topic. And then another one. And another. By the time your third ebook in the series has been published, you’ll have some idea whether you’re making enough sales.

Trust yourself: what do YOU think?

Let’s say you’ve written four books in a series. You’re selling ten copies a week. That’s not a huge amount. On the other hand, you haven’t done any promotion yet. Now it’s up to you. Consider that you have FOUR ebooks.

You could:

  • Create a bundle, so that you have FIVE books in the series;
  • Make one of your ebooks permanently free;
  • Create audio books out of the ebooks;
  • Create print books from your ebooks;
  • Buy advertising;
  • Create a mailing list…

I could go on, but you get the message. Once you have three or four books in a series, even if they’re only short ebooks, you can make a splash. If you want to…

On the other hand, perhaps you think that the topic you’ve covered doesn’t have an audience which is eager for your ebooks. In that case, let the series lie fallow for a few months. Do a little promotion, but focus on writing your next series.

A series gives you options that you don’t have when you write standalones

One of my students wrote 20 ebooks, on 20 different topics. When you write standalones, it’s a real challenge to build a following. I encouraged him to turn his bestselling standalone into a series.

Just three months later, he’s selling 100 ebooks a week. That’s not enough to make his fortune, but it’s showing him the value of writing in series.

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

eBook: $5.99

In this book we'll aim to increase your creativity to unlock your imagination and build the writing career of your dreams.

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Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income

Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income

$4.99

What If You Were Twice As Successful, Or Even THREE Times More Successful Than You Are Today?

There's No Ceiling On A Writer's Income... You Just Need To Be Prolific.

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Writing Fiction: Series Magic (and Profits)

Writing Fiction: Series Magic (and Profits)

You’re writing fiction, and you’re eager for ways to build your readership. Book marketing is essential, but it’s a struggle for many authors. Some are comfortable, others hate the idea of promoting their books. However, promotion is essential.

What if there were a way you could promote your self-published ebooks painlessly? There is, and it’s simple: write in series. (Or write a serial.)

When You Write in Series, You’re Baking-in Promotion

The “write a series” trick is often used by publishers. Rather than signing an author to a single book contract, they’ll offer the author a multi-book contract. They know that when a reader buys Book 1 of a series, if the reader enjoys it, she’s primed for further books in the series. It’s a painless way of baking in promotion.

Self-published and ebook authors can make this process work much more easily than authors who are traditionally published. Here’s why. A genre novel has a shelf-life of anywhere from a month, to three months. Then the novel is remaindered.

Of course, if you’re publishing ebooks, your ebooks sell forever, so it makes sense to write in series. Readers who buy one book, may buy another. And of course, if you wish, you can make Book 1 of the series free, once you’ve published several books in the series.

But… What if Your First Book in a Series Doesn’t Sell?

If Book 1 doesn’t sell, it can be a sign that you haven’t found the book’s readership. However, for new authors, committing to a series of novels without any signal that the series will sell doesn’t make sense.

Tip: look at ways in which you can expand your short stories into serials, and into series as well.

Sell What’s Selling… or Create Your Own Market

It’s a real challenge to build a market. So ideally, when you’re starting a fiction career, it’s a good idea to aim for a popular genre, like romance, or thrillers, where a healthy market exists. That said, consider that the market for your short stories and novels is global. With hundreds of millions of readers, choosing a genre based on popularity isn’t as important as it is if you’re hoping for legacy publication.

Check your favorite genre. How many authors are publishing series? You’ll be hard-pressed to find a genre in which series aren’t popular.

Whether you’re writing your first novel, or your twentieth, consider the benefits of writing in series, especially if you dislike marketing.

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99

I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.

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Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories

Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories

$5.99

Want to write short stories? If you answered yes, that's excellent… Here's why. Today, you can make money writing short fiction.

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Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out Angela’s books for writers.

Write and Sell Ebooks: This is How You Do It

Wondering how you write and sell ebooks? This is how. Thanks to Lindsay Buroker for the long, and informative post:

Pen Name Launch: First Month Earnings $3043 (what worked and didn’t for marketing)

Lindsay is beyond generous in sharing her experience. Read the article, and make notes, if you want to write and sell.

This stood out for me:

Even though having Book 1 free definitely helped me sell Book 2, I should point out that it wasn’t as effective as I think it would have been if Book 1 had left some things unresolved and 2 had picked up with the same characters. I am writing in a series, but all of the books stand alone and feature different main characters.

So, if you’re writing in series, leave some open loops for readers who want to see how to story continues. There are endless ways you can do this.

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