My debut release Horse Country – A World of Horses was a standalone novel. I put a lot of effort into promoting it around the time of its release and in the months that followed. It sold well locally and online, but not as well as I thought that much effort would result in.
In time I toyed with the idea of creating and writing a series. I love to write. But I was also working on the logic that a series over time builds a following. I shouldn’t have to work as hard to sell the third book as I did the first two.
Since my first novel’s release in 2014, I have now written and published eleven horse related novels and two non-fiction horse books. Two of my fiction books have been standalone novels, whilst the rest are split over two different series – one for children and one for adults.
When I first released my children’s books, the Free Rein series, the first two books were made available at the same time. I wanted people to be able to get a feel for the series, rather than read only the first book and then have a long wait before another was available. I believe this paid off – people tended to buy both books in the series.
From here, the other books have sold and when I made A Dollar Goes a Long Way available for pre-order, there were a few bites. I didn’t do this with the latest release, Contagious however and am still unsure whether it is better to make it possible for people to order copies before the book is released, or just release it as soon as it is able to be published.
The Thoroughbred Breeders series for adults is very new with the first books released in late 2016 and the third in January 2017. So at this stage, I believe it will be a little while before I can see if my series theory is true. However, the third book received sales before I worked to actively promote it outside of my networks.
For those who love to write about horses, it seems to me that building a following of readers with series rather than standalone novels is the better way to go. This of course doesn’t stop you from having more than one series on the go as I discovered with NZ Pony Author, Kate Lattey!