Writing a sequel to your existing novel can double your dollars. Learn how to sell two books to customers instead of one! This is a free excerpt from SEQUEL SENSE, an entertaining, insightful look at sequel writing and marketing.
I discovered something about sequels in a most unexpected place – Wichita Falls, Texas. That’s where a popular mystery writer had rented a large exhibitor’s booth at the not so large Texas/Oklahoma Fair to promote and sell her books. To cover her booth expense, she sublet the extra table space for a price to a number of other authors. Our spot in the pavilion, which was wedged between a booth promoting a certain brand of hearing aids and another selling 2 for $5 sunglasses, was directly across from the concession stand and the hall leading to the public restrooms.
Upon my arrival Friday night (for the 6 P.M. to 10 P.M. stint), I was encouraged by the location. I optimistically reasoned that even if the expected mobs of people attending the fair weren’t combing the exhibitor’s booths in search for the unique and bizarre, they most assuredly would at least have to pass us on the way for goodies or the potties.
Allow me to give you a bit of free advice – fairs (be they county or state) are not the best places to try and sell one’s books. And in my opinion (based on the sixteen hours I spent in Wichita Falls watching people of all shapes and sizes pass our booth without so much as a nod or a howdy), the vast majority of fair-goers have less than fifty bucks in their pockets and have every intention of spending all of that on such essentials as corn dogs, funnel cakes, and the Midway.
Rarely did anyone from the crowd stop to even browse for books. But there was the occasional customer. And although none of us sold many books, all my customers purchased both my first novel and the sequel. That wasn’t true for the other authors. Not even the popular mystery writer with an Oprah endorsement and a dozen titles on her table could say she sold two titles to every single one of her customers.
The next weekend Mrs. Malone and I traveled to Abilene, Texas, to a well-promoted author’s event. Once again, for every one of the original novels sold, I sold the sequel. There were over a hundred authors at the event, so I haven’t a clue as to how many of the others sold two titles to every customer, but I did. Not only do the readers who have read your first book want to buy the sequel ? readers who haven’t read the first book will also buy the sequel at the same time, especially if they think they’re getting a deal. So, as the old boy pitching the 2 for $5 sunglasses liked to say … “Pardner, have I gotta deal for you … today only … ”
Two weeks later during our trip to Wimberley, Texas (near Austin) for another book fair, Mrs. Malone and I made another discovery about sequels. As the Texas Hill Country is the setting for both books, we thought it would be a good place to try and get our books into some of the locally owned bookstores. Guess what? Instead of just taking six copies of the first novel, they took six copies of the sequel as well. You do the math.
Dekker Malone, author of the novels NASHVILLE GOLD and KENTUCKY ROSES (the sequel), is a graduate of Texas Tech University. He and his wife (an award-winning author of children’s literature) make their home in West Texas. Currently, Malone is working on his newest novel, LYON’S SHARE.