Rapid release strategy is the current hot ticket in the indie-author circuit. Many authors are saying this, combined with writing to market, is the only way to make any money as an author. The theory is that by releasing books on a fixed schedule: quarterly, monthly, or weekly (yes, weekly!) authors can capitalize on the Amazon algorithm and maximize their exposure and, therefore, profits.
Why does rapid release strategy work?
This strategy is most prevalent in category genres: romance, mysteries, etc. These categories rely on small numbers of voracious readers (those who read dozens of books a year) as opposed to the blockbuster strategy (large numbers of readers who read one or two titles a year) of traditional publishing. This small group of readers will be more likely to read indie authors, use digital, rather than print, and will utilize the Kindle Unlimited service.
Indie authors who use the rapid release strategy claim that the momentum created by the closely timed releases drive readership. I am not convinced this is the entire picture.
I believe the success of this strategy is linked to the series model (grouping the books in a series, rather than single titles), not the actual spacing of the releases. As a reader, trying to sort through the garbage pile that is Amazon Kindle Unlimited is daunting. I don’t have the patience to download twenty samples trying to find something to read. Instead, I will start with a book I already liked, look at the “also bought” and then choose something from there. Then, I will binge read the entire series. I call this the “Netflix approach.”
Reading an entire series is far easier than searching through single titles each time I finish a book. The books don’t need to be in any numerical order, as long as they are similarly titled, or linked in some way so that I can reasonably assume the next book will be similar to the current. For example, I am currently reading a series of horror books called “The Haunting of …” These are all haunted house stories. Each has a different protagonist, and a different setting. Nothing links any of the stories except the author and the series titles. But since I enjoyed the first one, I have continued through the series. Some of these books are better than others, but personal laziness ensures that I will continue the series rather than going back to KU garbage pile. And because I know I’m not unique in this aspect, you can use this trait to sell more books.
Let Amazon sell your books
By grouping your books in a series, you increase your readership, because Amazon will prompt your readers at the end of each book to continue the series. With one click, readers will be looking at the landing page for your next book. If you wait months, or years between releases, you will lose readers. This is where rapid release comes in.
The rapid release capitalizes on the benefits of grouping books in a series because it amplifies the effectiveness of the Amazon algorithm that boosts new releases. By releasing rapidly, it gives this benefit to the entire series, not just an individual book. This means that rather than having a 12-week boost for a single book, a well-timed six book series could be boosted for 60 weeks therefore increasing the likelihood that a new reader will be introduced to the work. In addition, because readers tend to consume the entire series rather than search for a new author, they will also read more of your books. In addition, Amazon will remember which readers have read your books and recommend your other books or your new series when it’s released.
Using Amazon’s built-in system is far more effective than relying on your website and email list. I read over a hundred books a year. I habitually binge read authors’ entire backlist, but I have signed up for ZERO author newsletters. I have gone to ZERO Facebook pages. I have visited very few Twitter accounts or author websites. As a consumer of books, I don’t care about these things. I only care about finding a book I want to read, and the most effective means of finding my next read has been through the Amazon recommendations.
Am I in the minority? I doubt it. While there are superfans out there who will read every word of your newsletter, and there are authors who have obsessively devoted fan pages on Facebook, those are all devoted to people who are already fans. They do nothing to increase readership. If you don’t have an established fan base, these things will do very little to sell more books.
What if I can’t write a book a week?
Not all rapid release authors do a book a week. Some find success releasing monthly or every 11 weeks (These authors use the 12-week preorder schedule where they next book will be available for preorder the day the previous book is launched.) Nearly all successful rapid-release authors hire editors and book designers, and farm out as many other publishing-related tasks as they can afford.
If you are a slow writer, you can still use this strategy, but make sure you have all, or most of the books written before you release the first book. You could also pull a previously published series, give it a makeover and re-release using this strategy. Yes, you will lose any reviews you had, but if the series isn’t performing, then you aren’t losing much.
There is tons of information about rapid release. Through the next month, I will be digging through these sources and reviewing several of them for you, so keep checking back.
Rapid release is a strategy that many indie-authors have used to finally break through the noise on Amazon and begin selling books. If you are having trouble getting traction for your writing, rapid release may be worth investigating.
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This article is part of the monthly Author Toolbox Blog hop
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