Are Self-Published Sequels Difficult to Get People's Attention?


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Thread: Are Self-Published Sequels Difficult to Get People's Attention?

  1. #1

    Are Self-Published Sequels Difficult to Get People's Attention?

    A while back, I've read that self-published children's books are some of the hardest books to sell. While I've had (maybe) thousands of downloads for the first book since it has become permafree (sometimes I've had hundreds in one day), the sequel still barely sells. I've had one sale yesterday and the last time was more than 3 weeks ago. I've updated my title to something stronger by asking on polls and a certain Facebook group for self-published authors. I've had the cover created by a professional illustrator, although I did do some small edits to it, myself, such as changing certain colors to make certain items easier to see, and writing the title and author name in a font based on what others preferred. I had a professional copywriter write the blurb, too. And the reviews are very good. I believe the look-inside is fine, as well.
    Regardless of the self-publishing popularity the past 10 years or so (maybe shorter), I've heard that traditional publishing is becoming more popular again and more writers are turning to that instead of self-publishing. Is that actually true? Is it also true that self-published children's books are super-difficult to sell, especially sequels?
    I have been using different eBook promotion services for my sequel. But even those have had little to no success. I know I can't submit my books to a traditional publisher after they'd been self-published. I was working on an unrelated book for commercial publishing, but I pushed that aside.
    I'm assuming that Amazon probably won't let me make the sequel permafree, even if I make it free on other eBook sites. I do have paperbacks for both books. I've been holding off the ideas of doing audiobooks, but if they make a big difference, I might consider having audiobook versions available for my audience.
    Has anyone ever self-published a series? If so, did you struggle with later books, too?
    Children's Fantasy Author
    Hidden Content

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  2. #2
    Freebies don't necessarily mean anything because a ton of people will download anything that's free then never look at it again. If you aren't getting any good reviews from it and the sequel isn't selling, then I would stop there and try something different rather than continue with a series that isn't paying off.

    Also, I don't think it's that self-publishers are "turning back to" trade publishing," so much as that the large publishing companies have always been very picky and only accept a small percentage of what's offered. Most of the self-published books out there either were not, or would not, be accepted by the big publishers. So it's not really the self-publishers' choice, in many/most cases.

    I don't know how much research you've done into children's books but if you haven't, I suggest studying a ton of children's books in the age range you're writing for. Also, be sure you know the word lists and other familiarity to be sure your work is at the right level for your age group and interesting to them. If you haven't already, join the big children's book writers' association and take part in all they have to offer (I forgot the name now).

    Aside from that, if children's books are what you really want to do, just keep going! Keep learning and keep writing. You usually have to have a lot of good books out there to start getting notice with self-publishing. Also, if you can get an agent, go for it.

    Sorry if this is obvious; I don't know what level you're at with your writing. Good luck.
    Last edited by Ma'am; March 27th, 2020 at 05:46 PM.











  3. #3
    I currently have a trilogy, a series of five, and a series of three with at least one more in the series pending.

    I find that as a whole, series are a slow but steady sell.

    I will second Ma'am: freebies are a waste. Most people assume that a free book is junk, while those who do download freebies are
    either hoarders or who never buy books.

    From my time on the Amazon author boards, I am told that children's books are the second least-selling works out there.

    Trad publishing is still on a decline in the face of the tsunami of indie authors and works.

    If giving away your books got them read, I would do that. It doesn't work. It will get you downloads, but not reads.
    Hidden Content

    Never pet a burning dog.

  4. #4
    Yes, I haven't had a review of book 1 since February and there are 63 ratings and reviews so far in the nearly year and a half it has been republished.
    I did find some services where I could submit both books, although separately. I do find that sales and downloads happen more simultaneausly, with book 1 towering the number of downloads book 2 gets. The issue is that many ebook promotion sites require discounted or temporarily free books. Book 1 is permafree and book 2 is 99 cents all the time. I guess promoting both stories together per service would benefit more than doing just book 2.
    I will admit, though, that I will rarely buy sequels from authors I haven't heard of, unless I've read their first book or they're a big name who produced a major franchise, like J.K. Rowling with her "Harry Potter" series.
    I know AMS ads are an option too. Although I've had success with book 1 after it was made permafree, before that, I have received few to no sales. I am concerned that that might happen with book 2. Also, I'm budgeting more these days to the coronavirus keeping me from working.
    So, when that ebook service promotes my books, maybe it will make a difference.

  5. #5
    I wanted to go back and check a few things here. I'll re-post when I get time.
    Last edited by Ma'am; March 29th, 2020 at 07:56 PM.











  6. #6
    Regardless of the self-publishing popularity the past 10 years or so (maybe shorter), I've heard that traditional publishing is becoming more popular again and more writers are turning to that instead of self-publishing. Is that actually true? Is it also true that self-published children's books are super-difficult to sell, especially sequels?
    My understanding is that more authors are coming to self publishing than the other way around. It's harder to get a good contract from trad pub, as they're dropping advances and generally just grabbing rights for no money.

    Self published children's books are indeed a hard sell. It's one category that still works better for trad pub, and especially for paperbacks. Ebooks for kids aren't that popular still, despite advances in tech.


    I have been using different eBook promotion services for my sequel. But even those have had little to no success. I know I can't submit my books to a traditional publisher after they'd been self-published. I was working on an unrelated book for commercial publishing, but I pushed that aside.
    It's hard to promote something that is a hard sell to begin with. You can submit to a trad pub house, but it's unlikely you'll get any interest unless you are selling really well, and then why would you need them? They won't do more for you than you can do yourself.


    I'm assuming that Amazon probably won't let me make the sequel permafree, even if I make it free on other eBook sites. I do have paperbacks for both books. I've been holding off the ideas of doing audiobooks, but if they make a big difference, I might consider having audiobook versions available for my audience.
    You can try to get them to price match, but what's the point of giving the books away? It's good you have paperbacks, that is where you should focus sales. Make sure your book looks like those that are selling in your category, make sure the blurb is good (it's not always going to work to hire copywriters, because they may not understand how product descriptions work for self publishers). Make sure your cover is right for this type of book, and that if it's normal, that you have illustrations.

    I wouldn't sell an ebook sequel for .99, unless the other books like yours are at that price. I suspect they aren't, in this case. People have come to distrust cheap books to some extent, as they also can free books. Free is only worthwhile if it's bringing readers to the other books. If it's not, then raise the price and focus advertising on channels that work for children's books. You're aiming for the parents in ads, as they're the ones with the money.

  7. #7
    Also, I wouldn't bother with audio books until you can get these selling. And get more than two books out. More books tend to sell more books, provided they're properly written and presented (cover, description, categories).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by apocalypsegal View Post
    Also, I wouldn't bother with audio books until you can get these selling. And get more than two books out. More books tend to sell more books, provided they're properly written and presented (cover, description, categories).
    Why not bother with audiobooks?

  9. #9
    Childrens books are a whole other beast.
    For one, with children's books you are not actually marketing to your audience.
    Kids don't have any money.
    You have to market to their parents.

    Don't ask me how to do that tho.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Biro View Post
    Why not bother with audiobooks?
    They are expensive, so the competition is higher.
    Hidden Content

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