Kindle Unlimited Addendum
When I originally wrote this post, KU was just a twinkle in Jeff Bezos's eyes. Now that KU is here, I would add that to maximise the number of readers, and give your new series a good chance of ranking highly in the store, you should put all parts into KU.
So, here is the original post, back by popular demand...
Anyone who knows my history in writing and self-publishing knows I am not an overnight success. It has taken me 3 years of hard work to get to where I am today…and there is still a long road ahead.
I like to think that during those 3 years, I have gained some knowledge about how to sell books. Not the only way to sell books, but a way.
A lot of the people who email and message me are writers just starting out on their journey or writers who aren't getting the sales numbers they want and are ready to try something different.
So, for what it's worth, here is Tattooed Writer's Method For Making Sales.
From what I have learned, I believe this method would give a writer the best chance to make sales, gain readers and earn some money. It should also give a good return on investment. But remember, no method can promise overnight success.
-you can write an entertaining story
-you have enough skill to make your own covers or you have a designer who will give you exactly what you want
-you are willing to put in some work
What You Are Going To Do
-write 3 stories of 25k-35k words. Any genre.
Huh? How is That A "Method"? It Sounds Easy
I didn't say it was going to be hard. To be effective, something doesn't have to be difficult. What you are going to do with these 3 stories is attempt to gain as many readers in your chosen genre as possible. You are going to do that by tapping the power of series.
What's Different Between these 3 Stories And any Other 3 Stories I Wrote?
You are going to link these 3 novellas together. Not as a serial, not with cliffhanger endings, not as a single story chopped into 3 parts. They are going to be 3 complete stories. Each novella will be standalone story with a satisfying conclusion.
But the 3 stories will be connected.
Connections: everyone lives in the same town or everyone works for the same company or the main characters are members of the same family. Or your connector could be the same character appearing in each book. A detective, for example, who takes on 3 different cases.
Whatever you choose as your "connector" will be the name of the series. So if your connector is that everyone lives in a town called "Sleepy Moor" for example, the books will be subtitled "Sleepy Moor, Book 1", "Sleepy Moor, Book 2" and "Sleepy Moor, Book 3".
If, for example, each story follows a brother from a family called the Cunninghams, then the books will be subtitled "The Cunningham Brothers, Book 1", "The Cunningham Brothers, Book 2" and "The Cunningham Brothers, Book 3".
If your connector is the main character (like the detective mentioned above), then the character's name will be the series name. e.g. "Joe Finn, Book 1", "Joe Finn, Book 2", "Joe Finn, Book 3".
I'm sure you'll be able to think up you own names for towns, families or detectives.
Now, you need to write three stories that are connected by the "series connection".
As well as the main connector, put in events that might be mentioned in each story. So let's say you set your stories in a small town and in the 1st book, one of the local bars is blown up. In the 2nd book you might have the characters drive past the ruins of that bar and mention how it got blown up last summer or whatever. The event doesn't have a direct impact on this story but is mentioned to give your series a cohesive feel.
Or you might have a restaurant where everyone in town goes to eat. So the characters of your first book would go there and so would the characters in the 2nd. Populate that restaurant with a minor character (a waitress, let's say) who appears in both books (and might even be in a later book as a major character). You make sure your description of the place is consistent in every book. Again, it gives readers who read more than one of the books a deeper sense of setting for your series.
These things are fun to think up and connect. You can even have characters from different books at the same event. So there might be a scene in one book where a cop shoots a fleeing criminal on the main street. In a later book, you mention that your MC was going to a job interview one morning when she was pushed over by a criminal who ran past her before being gunned down by a cop. In another book, you might have an MC who is a cop who is traumatised by the one time he had to use his gun and kill a criminal on Main Street. That sort of thing. Just a generic example. You'll be able to think situations up that are unique to your stories.
Your actual plots will be determined by the genre you are writing in. Use your imagination to come up with 3 entertaining stories that readers of the genre will love.
I can't stress this enough. Just as your stories are connected, so must your covers be connected. If a potential reader sees your books on Amazon, there must be no doubt in their mind that the books are in a series. Use a template so the fonts, title placement and author name are identical on every cover. Use a graphic that is identical on each cover.
This subject seems to be misunderstood. I've seen series books on Amazon that look like totally separate books. This isn't about putting 3 separate pieces of pretty, unconnected artwork on your covers just because you like the pictures. This is about making the cover work for you. A cover has a job to do. It must convey the genre and be clearly connected to the other series books.
Whatever your genre, look at the best-selling books in that genre. You want the readers who read these books to see yours and say to themselves, "These are the kind of books I read. I'll try them out."
If you write a series and your covers are not clearly in a series, you are shooting yourself in the foot.
The goal is to get more readers and build a fan base. Create a mailing list and make sure you put the link in the books so it's easy for readers to join. The idea is to get the "net units sold" number on your report as high as possible.
The higher that number is, the more readers you have reached.
Because you want to attract a large amount of readers to your series, price the books at 99c. This will mean that readers of the genre will be more likely to try out your books. Three books well suited to genre and priced at 99c have a good chance of hitting the hot new releases and/or Top 100 in the genre and therefore attract even more readers.
THIS IS IMPORTANT: Don't make any judgements on whether the method worked or not until the 3rd book has been out at least a week.Questions? Leave a comment.
Ready to go for it? Good luck! Let me know your results!