But anyway, since I plan to work on my preorder there, I thought I'd use my extra time here at home to post this real quick.
- I'm known for writing billionaire romances in the contemporary world (PNR is a whole different ballgame).
- I started reading Diana Palmer just a few years back and immediately fell in love with her books.
- I co-wrote a billionaire / cowboy romance with another author under a pen name. When rights to the book reverted back to me, I was able to write my own ending for it. That was Rancher #1 (pubbed 10/2017), and that sold surprisingly well, considering what I'm known and not known for.
- Encouraged by this, I published Rancher #2 in December 2017 and I even took the gimmicky route by using a holiday title (The Billionaire Rancher's Christmas Wife) to further sales. It sold copies, but not as well as the first one.
- I started a new trilogy for one of my older series. After Book 1, however, mental shit got the better of me and I found myself unable to continue with Books 2 and 3. I wrote a couple of standalones (including one which I will forever think of as my greatest pride and my ticket to heaven), but while these sold copies, I just felt none of it was enough. I needed that one final spark to convince myself that I was really okay.
- I considered my backlist: there were still a couple of series that required sequels, but ultimately I decided on the Billionaire Rancher series. I just had this gut feel that the series could do so, so much better if I worked harder at it.
Series still sells!
- Rancher 3 sold its first copies on June 23, 2019. With Rancher 3, I made sure that it had almost the exact same "feels" of Rancher 1 with regard to its title, blurb, cover (publishing's holy trinity according to H.M. Ward, if I remember correctly).
- Sales for Rancher 1 & 2 also IMMEDIATELY picked up and sold steadily after that.
- Sales for Rancher 3 went down a week or so after the 30-day cliff, but it was still my best earner and Rancher 1 and 2 also continued to sell.
- Rancher 4 went live on August 7, 2019, and it included a pre-order link at the very end to Secret Tycoons #1, my new billionaire / cowboy romance.
- Sales for Ranchers 1 - 3 IMMEDIATELY picked up.
- Preorder numbers were slow to kick in, and since the only hint I gave of its existence was at the very end of Rancher 4, I'm guessing that those who one-clicked Rancher 4 had yet to finish reading the book. I decided to notify my newsletter subscribers about the preorder (buy now for only $2.99 since its regular price is $3.99) and preorder clicks immediately went up.
While this was saddening and frustrating it also didn't particularly suprise me, considering how different it was from all my other books. That's why I decided to enroll it in KU in July - not necessarily to earn more but just to reach more people because I truly believe that TMD could be helpful for the right people. But anyway, the KU enrollment did help, and it overtook sales for Rancher #2.
That didn't sit well with me, though. > . < I honestly felt like I completely missed the boat - marketing-wise - for Rancher #2 so I decided to change its cover and title, and this change would coincide with the release of Rancher #4.
TMD is near the "bottom" of the list since this doesn't include its KU earnings.
Stepbrother Prince has always enjoyed steady sales ever since its release, but because I added a new and all important keyword to When I Moan (Vassi and Seri #1), sales for the next 2 books in the trilogy definitely picked up. The keyword, btw, is reverse harem, and those who have been reading my books from day one would know that it's something I've already tackled (This Round I'm Yours, and KC Chariot uses the actual term in the book) way, WAY before it became this insanely popular trend.
My take on reverse harem, however, is somewhat different from the currently popular version (#whychoose), so I made sure to emphasize that in When I Moan's title and blurb (read: reverse harem in shoujo means all boys love that one girl, but their feelings don't always have to be romantic in nature, and the h will always only end up with just one H).
How To Sell YOUR Series
In any case, if you'd like to give ads a try, I suggest you check out the #authortube channel of Chris Fox. Oh, and videos of Sarra Cannon and Bethany Atazadeh are great, too.
Note: I don't know any of them personally; I just like their videos a lot.
Failing that, one thing I couldn't do for myself but I've seen many other authors do to their advantage is to write your entire series in advance and launch the whole thing in KU. As long as your Holy Trinity is on point, your story is good, and you can get your friends or readers to post their reviews during its first day of release, I'd say you have pretty good chances of getting your target market to read your book.
Note: The sales and KU reads you'll get will be affected by the size of your market / whether it's niche or not. So don't compare apples to oranges (X's KU title in romance vs. Y's KU title in M/M post-apocalyptic MG fiction).
Stay on top of publishing / marketing trends. It's fine if you don't want to write to market, but it's critical - especially if you're self-published - to keep your finger on the pulse and take note of what's hot and what's not. The thing about these trends, as it is in any industry, is that while they do come and go, trends also get recycled and keeping track of them can breathe new life to your old books (similar to how things worked out with my Russian stepbrother books).
Note: I personally failed to do this (shitty 2018 proves that), but it's something I'm now actively doing my best to rectify and incorporate in my daily routine.
Listen to your guts.
- Before publishing Rancher #3, I took a good, hard look at the bestselling titles in Western romance. Many of them were historical Western romances and enrolled in KU. The market also seemed evenly split between steamy and sweet titles. In contrast, I was writing contemporary, no plans to launch in KU, and while I was inspired by Diana Palmer's Long Tall Texan series, I also knew that I hadn't any ability to write like her (wouldn't even dare try, she's Western romance's ultimate OG as far as I'm concerned). Nevertheless, I knew that my books offered something different (please take note: different, NOT better) to the Western romance market, so I went ahead and published Rancher #3, and my gamble paid off.
- Before publishing Rancher #4, there were a couple of one-star reviews for Rancher #3 that I needed to consider and see if it should be enough to change my game plan for the last book in the series. It made me wonder if my approach to writing Western romances or mail-order bride romances in particular might be responsible for putting those readers off. But then I also considered my sales, what I personally wanted to read and what I was hoping readers would feel when reading my Rancher books, and I eventually decided to stick to my game plan. So Rancher 4 went live, and things are working okay so far.
Prior to 2018, I've never actually had any major problems writing and publishing. It was only last year when I really let my anxiety get the better of me. The good news, however, is that I'm not in the habit of letting history repeat itself, i.e. now that I've got my shit together (with God's grace as always), I highly doubt 2018 will ever happen again. I'm not saying that my sales will never go down, but what I do know is that I won't ever give up on myself again. As I've told my readers in my previous newsletter, I'm finally back on track! This means a steady stream of releases for readers and - hopefully - an equally steady stream of posts similar to this that can help prevent you from making the same mistakes I did.
TL;DR: the image below...
For 2019, My Shameful Secret (previously written under a pen name, republished under Marian Tee) and a standalone Greek billionaire romance went live in January, Truly, Madly Deeply in late May, and Rancher #3 in late June.
Those blue bars in the chart represent my annual earnings, and I'm feeling so good and secure with God's grace that I can confidently tell you that by September, my total sales by that time (January to September of 2019 or nine months' worth in other words) would have already outpaced what I earned for the entire 2018. <3
I honestly personally forget this myself, but when I do remember I do know it's true - I would not be where I am today if not for Him.