So a few weeks ago, the final installment of my serialized historical fantasy fiction novel (try saying that ten times fast) was been launched into the world.
The whole concept of serializing the book and releasing the parts in rapid succession was a little experiment I wanted to try and I thought I’d share some of the reasoning behind this strategy, the mistakes I made, my feelings about the whole thing, and the overall results.
Bah, I know you’re impatient, so I’ll start with…
The overall result is more of a promise to you and to myself: I will NEVER do this again. I’ll cover that in more detail later, but I’ve been wanting to get that off my chest for a while now. Phew, I feel better already.
Don’t get me wrong, sales were pretty good, but not what I expected (although normally a cynic, I have these rare moments of optimism that are usually proven wrong). I’m also glad I gave this a try, but I can say without any hesitation that this strategy is not for me.
A Quick Overview of the Rapid Release Strategy
In publishing terms, “rapid release” means putting out books (usually in a series) in rapid succession. In some cases this can be as little as one week, with four weeks (my weapon of choice) being the maximum recommended time in between each release.
The idea is that this super fast publication of your books keeps you “fresh” in the algorithms (mainly Amazon), and has a snowball effect with each subsequent release…meaning you stay really prominent in the Amazon system as long as you’re churning out books.
Of course, as you may have noticed, I love to experiment with different marketing ideas. I’ve really wanted to try a rapid release for a while now, but since I am incredibly nit picky over honing my plots, building my settings, and layering my story over the course of many MANY drafts, there was simply no way I was going to be able to write fast enough to be able to pull off a rapid release schedule (and I’m not kidding, there are writers out there churning out a book every month…my sloth-like writing mind boggles at their productivity).
And Then Along Came Domna
From the very first draft, Domna had a natural division into three parts. This got me thinking and the more I worked on it, I noticed there could actually be six parts. Cheers and hoots went off in my mind because I realized I had my test subject for rapid releasing!!
And Then Came the Reality
Despite my determination to try this experiment, the reality was painful, to say the least. One of the absolute worst parts of prepping my books for publication is not the writing, not the editing, not the cover design…it’s the description.
And now I had to do six of them…as well as come up with six titles for each part.
Let’s just fast forward past that nightmare, pretend the releases are underway, and ponder…
The Mistakes I Made
First off, I made the mistake of screwing up my carefully crafted release schedule by making Parts 2 & 3 exclusive to Amazon. This failed on so many levels primarily because I thought what had worked in the past for advertising would work this time around.
Nope. Big Nope, partially because of another mistake…
I split the book into too many parts. I should have stuck with three, but since the numbers six and twelve recur so much in the world of Osteria, I thought I was being clever by making six parts.
Unfortunately, my uber-clevernerness made Part One too short to be considered for some very influential advertising sources I’d depended on before.
I also struggled to get people to leave reviews (despite begging and pleading) on Part One which threw me out of the running for my top advertising option.
All this meant, I couldn’t get the advertising push I needed to get things rolling as I had when I tried this last year with The Osteria Chronicles (when I got The Trials of Hercules to snag a #1 spot in fantasy fiction).
Anyway, my frustration level was pretty high for a time until I accepted the errors I made, waited out my term of exclusivity with Amazon, and went back to putting the parts on all the other retailers.
Getting In Touch with My Feelings
I’m not sure how I would feel about this rapid release thing if sales had skyrocketed, but overall I’m left with the feeling that it’s not for me.
Mainly, I felt terrible and oh-so icky about pestering everyone about a new release every single month. I can’t even imagine how annoyed you must be feeling about it.
Clearly, this is my non-salesgirl side coming out, but I simply could not maintain the enthusiasm for every single damn release coming every single damn month for six months running, and I never want to do this again. To you or to myself.
We All Deserve Better
There’ll be more on this next week, but I am working on several projects right now, one which will have two parts and another that will have three parts. However, (BIG however) I’m planning on a minimum of two months in between each of those parts’ releases. Okay, probably more like three months.
Releasing a book is exciting, but it’s also a bit draining. I need space in between the releases to recharge and rebuild my enthusiasm. After all, I spend anywhere from six to twelve months writing my books these days and they deserve more than what I gave to the final parts of Domna.
And you deserve to not be marketed to every couple weeks. That’s NOT what you signed up for when you started reading this blog.
So, long story short, I promise to never do this to you again, and if I even dare to think about it, you have every right to slap me upside the head and say, “No!! Bad Tammie!!!”
Alright, enough with this touchy-feely moment. Whether you succeeded or not, have you had any life/work experiments you tried and didn’t like? Do you like more time in between book releases or do you to see a series coming at you as fast as possible? Share your thoughts in a comment!