The success of a series.

A fairly common opinion within the indie publishing circles… is that you don’t really make money on your first book. In fact making money seems to be entirely dependent on writing a lot of books. Preferably very quickly. We are talking a month or less. On a regular basis. Series in particular get a lot of attention… and the feedback is almost always the same. You will start getting paid on your second or third book. Never your first.

Now, a survey was recently posted on (wonderful site-I strongly recommend it) asking the following:

If you had to chose one deciding factor in selecting a new book to read, what would that factor be?

  • Reviews
  • Synopsis
  • Recommendations
  • Length of book/series
  • Genre

Personally. I picked synopsis. At the time of this blog post, there were only 180 responses to this survey. Not exactly the largest sample size. It also breaks like fifty million rules about proper samples and surveys. BUT. What I found interesting was that no one. And I mean no one selected length of book/series. 0% use this to select a book to read.

Taking this small detail in account it made me wonder… if no one (assuming that this is even slightly reflective of general readership) uses series as a factor when picking out a book. Why is it the second or third book that is successful? Why not the first? I get that having a series would encourage additional purchases if they bought the third book and wanted to buy the rest. That doesn’t explain a sudden increase in new readership. Or why a single book in a series would suddenly take off.

My best guess is that the observed increases in sales has nothing to do with it being a series, but everything to do with practice. The author simply gets better at writing or writes a better synopsis or picks a better cover and that influences the additional sales which translates into even more sales since they then move on to buy the rest of the books in the series.

Really, its only a guess though. I have no idea. I just found the entire thing interesting.

Just out of curiosity… which deciding factor do you use to select a new book?


2 thoughts on “The success of a series.

  1. I tend to find most of my books on Goodreads and then go to the store/library to get them. So I read the synopsis first and if I like it I read reviews to make my decision. I hate not finishing a book so I try to find something I’ll really like.


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