There is a challenge to drawing readers into a series after several books have been released. In March, Lila Dubois and I released Delicate Ties, book eight in our Trinity Masters series. The series has been very successful, yet our sales numbers weren’t growing. Readers who followed the series continued to come back, but we didn’t feel like we were drawing in new readers.
Prior to the release of the sixth book, we made book one, Elemental Pleasure, a permanently free read. That helped us find new readers after the release of the next two books, but as we approached the eighth book’s release, we asked ourselves: what should we do to further widen our reach?
We decided on a comprehensive marketing plan centered around a box set. In this post I’ll outline the strategy we used to promote our Trinity Masters series in conjunction with the eighth book’s launch. We were able to increase revenue 350%, and continue to see greater sales on this box set and subsequent books in the series.
1. Created a box set
Lila and I decided to create a box set of the first four books in the Trinity Masters series, selling it for $6.99. Coupled with the fact that Elemental Pleasure was still a free read, we could promote the set price as “Get Four Books for the Price of Two.” We released the box set in February and promoted its launch with our newsletter subscribers and via Facebook ads.
We added up-to-date back matter, including blurbs and buy links for the other books in the series in order to drive follow-through sales.
We also included a link to our newsletters as well as our Trinity Masters Facebook group because we wanted to be able to promote future books to our new readership as well.
2. Planned to discount the box set to $1.99
Part of our planning when we created the box set was our intention to promote the sale on BookBub.
The decision to promote at $1.99 (as opposed to a lower price point) came after a discussion with our BookBub account coordinator. Since our primary goal was to drive revenue and maximize the ROI of this promotion, she suggested that we consider pricing the deal at $1.99. She assured us that BookBub Featured Deals consistently generate high engagement and conversions from readers, and because the box set contained four full-length novels — making it extremely appealing to readers — the $1.99 price would be ideal for this promotion.
We kept the sale price at $1.99 for 10 days before raising the price back to its normal price of $6.99. Because we publish the series wide, we ran the sale across the board at Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, Apple iBooks, and Google Play in the US as well as internationally.
3. Secured a BookBub Featured Deal
On April 10, we promoted the box set with a BookBub Featured Deal, pricing it at $1.99. Lila and I were a bit anxious on the day of the promotion, suffering the usual author concerns about earning back the promotion cost. That anxiety was quickly put to rest as we earned back the cost by noon on promotion day, and sold 2,500 copies during the promotion. Since then we’ve more than tripled the earnings! We were very pleased with the results.
Editor’s note: As of this article’s publication date, books promoted via Featured Deal to the Erotic Romance category sell around 2,500 copies on average. This box set generated that many sales despite the discount price being above average. So at BookBub, we considered this promotion a great success as well!
4. Scheduled a newsletter to subscribers
On April 15, five days after the BookBub Featured Deal, Lila and I followed up with our own newsletter blasts, promoting the sale to our regular readership. We saw a HUGE spike in sales on the day of the BookBub Featured Deal and then again when we sent the newsletters to our subscribers. By spreading out the promotion, the box set’s improved rank at Amazon and other vendors held steady for longer. Here’s a screenshot of the relevant section of my newsletter to subscribers:
5. Ran Facebook ads
In conjunction with the BookBub Featured Deal, we ran a Facebook ad campaign as well. The Facebook ads ran the entire length of the sale, April 10–19, and were also very successful with a high relevance score. After running Facebook ads for previous books in the series, we used the results to determine who our ideal target audience would be — women between the ages of 24–65 — and targeted those readers this time around. We also focused primarily on Facebook, rather than Instagram and Audience Network, which haven’t proven to yield many clicks. Additionally, we targeted readers by vendor and device, focusing on Amazon. Below is an example of one ad we used.
6. Planned social media content
We also promoted the sale price heavily on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. As I mentioned above, Lila and I created a Trinity Masters Facebook group for fans of the series. We asked our fans to help us spread the word about the sale, and they were excited to help.
Fun fact: The number of members in this group has increased greatly since the BookBub deal and box set sale because we linked to it in the back matter!
7. Measured the results
In the past, Lila and I have primarily run Featured Deals for single books, so we were used to seeing quick spikes in sales for other books in the series. Because this box set included four full-length novels, we knew the tail on the sale would be slower to grow, but longer. It simply stands to reason that it would take new readers longer to read a box set and then — hopefully — still want more. Our assumption has proven to be true and our patience has paid off. Sales on the remaining four books in the series is still very good nearly two months after the promotion.
During April, sales on the books in the Trinity Masters series increased 350% from sales in December/January (just prior to the release of the box set in February). In May, sales are still up 200%.
And because a picture says a thousand words… below are screenshots we took the week of the BookBub Featured Deal. This one is from the Romantic Suspense bestseller list on Amazon:
This one is from Kobo:
What other strategies have you used to promote box sets or later books in longer series? I’d love to hear from you!
The views and opinions expressed in this guest post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of BookBub.
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Click to tweet: How We Created a Box Set to Boost Ebook Sales 350% – http://bit.ly/2sHw7dH by @MariCarr #pubtip #amwriting
Click to tweet: This is a great idea for driving sales in an ebook series! http://bit.ly/2sHw7dH #pubtip #amwriting