Let’s talk about a star series – A Thousand Li.
I’m skipping System Apocalypse because in many ways, that’s a cash cow. The advertising and marketing strategy for that is similar to AoB (FB and AMS ads, newsletters once in a while, a lot of promoting in social media) with exploitation of the IP in other languages too (though I am hesitant on using secondary small languages thus far).
A Thousand Li on the other hand is much more of a Star in the sense that I’m still building up revenues and so each new fan is much more expensive to generate.
At time of publishing this, there are five books of the A Thousand Li series. So, any ROI of advertising is lower due to lower number of books for read-through.
However, the genre is growing each month (I believe) and the interest in this work is increasing. It does face certain unique challenges (frankly, racism – there are significant barriers to the work in certain locales); but overall, growth is decent.
Recently, I shifted from $4.99 down to $2.99 pricing in an attempt to goose more book 1 sales and better readthrough. Surprisingly, there wasn’t as much of a change as I expected (there was some, but not enough) so I switched back to $4.99 as the base price.
It is, by far, my second most popular series and I expect, by the time it hits the same number of books as System Apocalypse, to be even more popular and have sold more copies. It currently is adding more book 1’s sold than Life in the North on a monthly basis (barring releases, etc).
Marketing wise, I do a lot of the same promotions, though I’m adding more short stories in particular to the universe. Once the exclusivity timeframe is over with the current readers, I’m hoping to release even more shorts to generate a different and wider audience for the general fantasy aspects.
Now, here’s where things start changing. There are 12 books planned. There might be more flexibility in the total number of books for A Thousand Li than in the System Apocalypse, especially as I keep writing and realise the ‘middle’ section might be longer than I thought. We shall see.
Short stories in particular are an interesting area. I am tempted to work on more shorts to send out to various short story markets, though the fact that they go out via Patreon first makes it difficult. It also, frankly, takes a bunch of time. At some point, I’ll get my PAs to do it for me and we’ll see what happens.
In terms of pricing, we tested a lower pricing that did not seem to generate as much of a chance as I would have wished. In that sense, specific promotional periods via paid newsletters and targeted ads might be a better option.
There’s a possibility that doing what Wil Wight did in giving away a bunch of free books constantly will generate the kind of large, opening week bumps in sales and the fan base. I am holding off on that for now till I have a couple more books in the pipeline though I will (as mentioned above) do limited promo and free pricing periods.
I’m also testing out marketing to a much wider market via book reviews for bloggers, etc since the base genre (Asian fantasy) has a wider appeal than System Apocalypse. If I can get a handle on marketing to those markets and catch their interest, the potential for the work is much higher (in total units).
In general, with ATL, my focus is getting more books out (writing) while pushing it to a wider audience. I’ve tapped into the LitRPG audience relatively well, so they are not my focus but the more ‘generic’ audience out there. To get them (and get a positive ROI!) I need to have more books out.
There is an argument to be made in the sense that I should look less at everyday sales and instead go for a permafree book 1 strategy or regular promotions of it, so that I can then push up sales for other books.
It’s something I’ll have to seriously consider too, depending on how the release of book 5 does (which is unreleased at the time of writing).
As always, I’m open to alterations on strategies as things go along. 🙂
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