How to Boost Sales of a Series: Price the First One Low

Alison Morton with paperback copies of Inceptio

Alison Morton with the first in her series of alternative history thrillers set in Roma Nova

Today’s book marketing tip is inspired by a message I’ve just had from my novelist friend Alison Morton. She’s cutting the price of her first book in the run-up to the launch of its sequel.

Now, I’m usually loathe to give away free or underpriced books, not least because some people who don’t normally read your genre might buy it for the wrong reasons and end up leaving dissatisfied reviews. But if you’re writing a series, it’s a great marketing idea to run a price promotion on the previous one before you launch its sequel. Here’s why:

  • The low cost and limited timescale will tip some ditherers into finally buying Book 1
  • The promotion serves as a drum-roll for the launch of Book 2 (or 3 or 4 or 5) and  leads to advance or early sales and reviews
  • It builds goodwill among your existing readers, many of whom will pass the link to friends who they think would enjoy the book (as I have just done)
  • In other words, the promotion triggers instant word-of-mouth recommendations – the most powerful sales tool of all
  • You earn an easy marketing tick to distract you from the wait for Book 2 (although you’re probably already rushed off your feet in the build-up)
  • Reminding yourself of the success of your previous book will boost your confidence and lift your spirits if they’re flagging in the run-up to the launch of your next one.

How To Spread the Word

Setting up a price promotion is a quick and easy and costs you next to nothing if you apply it only to the e-book, as Alison has done. (Her print book price is unaffected.) Once you’ve changed your price online, all you do is put out links in strategic places:

  • on your website (to tell your subscribers and fans)
  • in your newsletter (if you have one)
  • on your social media sites (Twitter at the very least, Facebook is handy for a more detailed and personal message)

If you’re writing a lengthy series, consider making the first installment permanently cheap or free. Your aim is to get your readers addicted, so they’ll automatically buy every subsequent book in the series. Just try not to think of yourself as a drug-pusher!

Links to Bargain Buys

Cover of Perfiditas by Alison Morton

A sneak preview of Book 2, due out in November

In return for inspiring this blog post, here’s a link to Alison’s Inceptio promotion, which is running till 8th October: Want to know more about the book first? Then read my review of Inceptio.

Do you have a similar free or reduced offer on just now? If so, leave a link to it in the comments box, with a brief message below. Let’s share the power of the free/cut-price promotion today!

If you’d like more tips like this and haven’t yet invested in my book promotion handbook, Sell Your Books!, you can snap the e-book up today for just £3 here:  Now there’s an offer you can’t refuse!


8 thoughts on “How to Boost Sales of a Series: Price the First One Low

  1. A great idea Alison and thanks for sharing it Debbie. It’s a tip I will most definitely be stealing when my Time Shifters trilogy is published!

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