Publication of my new series is being done in a rapid release method. What is this method of publishing and why do it? Spacing books out so a new book publishes every 90 days is a marketing method that works in increasing sales and excitement about their work for some authors.

I came across the concept of rapid release about three years ago and at the time wasn’t ready to pursue it. However, having experienced it as an author with this new book series, it will probably be the method that I will use for my future series because it has some distinct advantages in finding readers and getting sales. This article will examine that the pluses and minuses, as well as show you an actual example of how I implemented it.

What is Rapid Release and why do it?

Rapid release publishing means publishing a book every 90 days.

One of the explanations for using rapid release is that Amazon rewards you for having a book come out so closely after the other. But is this true?

In my experience with this series, it did nothing for getting Amazon to promote the book via a newsletter. This is a common urban legend – get 50+ reviews and Amazon will magically promote you in some newsletter that no one can show you a copy of. If anyone has a copy of this magical unicorn please show me as I would be very much interested.

However, what did happen with Amazon is they promoted the series on my own page. For example, this showed up as a graphic below one of my books which was pretty cool and had never happened before. These ads would encourage the reader to check out the rest of the series.

Rapid release triggers ad banners on the Amazon page

Here is another example: What’s cool about this is I get a Just Released and a Pre-Order Now banner on top of the books which also draws the eye to the book graphic and increases the chances a potential reader might see and click.

Rapid release triggers "Just released
and "Pre-order now" banners in Amazon

You can see in the above examples that neither give a description. Why? Because I’m not paying for an Amazon ad like the other books shown. In the example, below I am paying for an ad for Ghost Talker. See how it looks a bit different? But I am not paying for an ad for Delicious Death, though it appears in the same row with the Just Released banner.

Amazon ad causes book description to appear in sponsored

Advantages of Rapid Release

Let’s dive in deeper on what the advantages are for doing rapid release.

Readers are quick to move on from authors. They are ready for the next book to grab and when authors traditionally only release one book a year or one book every other year, their brand suffers from this forgetfulness. I know for a fact that traditional publishing houses have been pressuring their authors to churn out books faster for this very reason. Authors who can’t meet this demanding publishing schedule are dropped.

This is one big reason I decided not to pursue traditional publishing. I can’t guarantee two books a year as my mind tends to wander when it comes to my writing creativity.

Let’s face it, we are in a fast-paced world where everyone wants it NOW! Rapid releasing a series over six months or a year provides readers with the content they crave.

Readers love to binge and a series gives them that option. Standalones are great, but they don’t have the same gotcha magnet power that a series does. A series format encourages readers to jump from book one to book two, book three, etc.. increasing your over all sales.

It works with the Amazon online system (see my examples above). With the first book out, you get the next few books being seen on their promotional carousel. This encourages readers to buy through the series, thereby increasing your sales, and builds excitement for the series.

At this time I have four of the six books up for my Madame Chalamet Ghost Mystery series and I’m definitely seeing more buy through on the series and higher pre-order numbers. Overall, my book sales have slowly started increasing for all the books in the series, not only the first two which I’ve been heavily promoting.

Disadvantages of Rapid Release

The biggest problem for me is time. Time to write and time to stay on task.

It takes a big commitment to write a series in a short period of time and to do it in a very focused manner. Until a writer is used to writing every day (or nearly every day) and can stay on task, I wouldn’t recommend rapid release unless you have books sitting on your computer ready to go.

It’s impossible (unless you write utter junk) to write a real book every 90 days. The process of putting together about 80,000 words that are thoroughly edited can be done but repeating that process every 90 days? You risk writer burnout or producing junk.

Taking a year to write a series and setting it aside for rapid release could be an idea that works for you. This would be a great method for a first-time writer who wants to make a splash or someone who wants to spend time on their craft before publishing.

You also need to be highly organized before you start rapid releasing as you see from the following schedule that I provide further down in this article. Managing your schedule, your editor/proofreader, the beta readers and ARCs (advanced reader copies), as well as your ads and promotions can be a lot to juggle. I’m the first to admit that I dropped a few balls on this series that I wish I hadn’t.

Best practice on managing a Rapid Release of a series

So how is rapid release achieved?

Many authors write the entire series before beginning the release sequence. Because I wanted to get started as soon as possible with having more stories published, I had two stories written before announcing the first was up for pre-order.

No book was listed for sale until I had completed a rough draft. This means, for an author you need to understand your writing speed and time for editing before jumping into rapid release.

Some things I would recommend:

  • Have all your titles and covers designed beforehand. This allows you continuity of the look of your series;
  • See the series as one HUGE book. That helps plan the changes you want to happen with the plot and characters over the entire series.
  • Know how the series will end.
  • Get your Amazon listing in shape with a great description, A Plus Content, and good categories that fit your book’s genre.
  • Will you give out advanced copies? NetGalley, BookSirens, and through a Street Team were my choices.
  • What marketing promotions will you do? I chose NetGalley, Goodreads Giveaway, a Bookbub newsletter ad, and Amazon ad.
  • Get your editor and proofreader scheduled in advance and give them time to do their job.
  • If you use a book formatter, get that person scheduled.
  • Use an organizer – I love WorkFlowly. It’s an online bullet organizer with an outline format. If you love bullet journals this format will be familiar to you. Here a screen shot of my WorkFlowly. You can highlight with different colors; bold, italicize, or put text in different colors; and mark items done which puts a strikethrough on the words. There are many more options then this and I find it a very useful app.
Work Flowy bullet list example

How I did my rapid release book series on Amazon:

The first Madame Chalamet ghost mystery series, Ghost Talker 1 was issued in October, 2023. The next book, Delicious Death 2, in late December, 2022, and the third book, Spirit Guide 3 will release soon on February 21, 2023, followed by the Gray Lady 4 on April 24th, 2023.

Ghost Talker was in a finished draft and Delicious Death was almost finished when I started listing the books for pre-order. Looking back, I would recommend finishing the first three books (or more) before starting because it put my editor under the gun on getting completed drafts back to me. Usually I was editing a book, while writing the next, which kept me and my editor pretty busy!

Most of the rapid release books I’ve observed on Amazon are novella sized. This makes sense as they are far quicker to write. Books of 80,000 to 100,000 words would take a lot longer (probably a year) to write, and you would risk losing the timing of a rapid release.

I planned the first three books as novellas (40,000 words plus) priced at $1.99, and the last three would be book-length (50,000 words plus) priced at $2.99. The price point allowed me to give a 50% discount with newsletter ads if I chose to go that direction.

All would be initially sold as ebooks, with an ebook boxed set planned later. Also, print books would be done after the series finished.

I decided 6 books would be a good set for me. I have seen series that are far longer – 8 or even 20 books. I personally couldn’t write anything past six books using the same characters in fear of growing bored. This is a personal choice. Be aware that the longer the series, the bigger the financial return.

Release schedule for a 90 day window between books:

  • Ghost Talker 1 – October 24, 2022
  • Delicious Death 2 – December 27, 2022
  • Spirit Guide 3 – February 21, 2023
  • Gray Lady 4 – April 24, 2023

I was lucky that Ghost Talker 1 qualified for a New Releases for Less ad with Bookbub. This newsletter ad got me almost 300 downloads and was a great boost to the series!

Each book got a Bookbub pre-release notification sent twice to my followers, leading up to book launch day.

Pre-orders continued to build across the series as more books came up to be launched.

  • Ghost Talker 1 – 26 pre-orders;
  • Delicious Death 2 – 84 pre-orders;
  • Spirit Guide 3 – 127 pre-orders;
  • Gray Lady 4 – 66 pre-orders (I expect this number to increase as it gets closer to April).

Each book got a Goodreads Giveaway that took place the last 30 days leading up to booklaunch. Be aware, you cannot list a Goodreads Giveaway until you’ve uploaded a book file up on Amazon.

  • Ghost Talker 1 – 1384 requesting;
  • Delicious Death 2 – 1119 requesting;
  • Spirit Guide 3 – 589 requesting (expect this number to increase slightly but I wonder if it is lower because more readers are pre-ordering or have decided not to finish the series?).

I will continue to do Goodreads Giveaway’s for the rest of the books in this series as it is good value, in my opinion. Every time someone enters it comes up in their feed to their followers so it is a good way to spread the news about your book.

The first three books were listed on NetGalley. The goal was to widen the reading audience, to increase name-brand recognition for Byrd Nash, and to gain reviews on Bookbub, Goodreads, and Amazon. NetGalley is a substantial investment for a new writer so be sure you know what your goals are before using that service as it is expensive. I do it through my IBPA membership.

  • Ghost Talker 1 – for a 6-month period that would overlap the other two books. It also got two additional promotions on NetGalley.
  • Delicious Death 2 – three months
  • Spirit Guide 3 – 3 months.

The first three books were listed on BookSirens. The goal was to gain reviews on Bookbub, Goodreads, and Amazon.

The rest of the series (4, 5, and 6) won’t be listed on NetGalley or BookSirens as you need to read the books prior in the sequence to understand the rest of the series. At this point, I feel readers are either committed to the series and will buy it, or they won’t. Be aware this does mean a decrease in book reviews for the later books.

I also did a book promotion campaign with Itsy Bitsy for the first three books. This also increased my Bookbub and Goodreads audience, while gaining reviews for the first three books.

Make sure you have your APlus content on each book. Don’t know what that is? Be sure to read my blog post about it here. The art can be the rest of your book series covers, or quotes from Editorial reviews. Here are some examples of how mine appears on a phone app for Amazon. Art can be found below From the Publisher.

In both versions, after the graphics, I like to put a Q&A about the series, touching upon points I want the reader to know about the book, especially if something has been raised in reviews. You can also use this area to share a book snippet or other info about you. Look at your comps (books that are in the same genre as yours) for ideas.

With four books of the six part series up at the booksellers (two for sale, two up for pre-order), I decided to start an Amazon ad for Ghost Talker 1 in order to keep orders coming. This was when I noticed that my book description wasn’t the best and needed more punch. I had thrown something up there to get the book listed but it wasn’t convincing readers to buy. With some changes, the ad started doing a lot better.

Rapid release publishing in review

I’ve really been pleased with what has happened so far in the rapid release of this series, however, the first four months was crazy busy! I dropped some things, such as writing in the blog here at my website, and in sending out email newsletters. It is a lot to juggle!

However, the benefits have outweighed the problems. Book sales are slowly getting better and I’ve had fun releasing the books to readers so quickly.

Perhaps rapid release could work for you?

Ghosts are found even in the best homes

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