If you’re a part of the self-publishing or indie publishing world, you’ve probably seen a lot about how a rapid release strategy can make or break an author. The key is to find one that works for you, and to use it to your advantage.
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Before we get too far into this, I want to put in some disclaimers.
Not everyone writes at the same speed. Not everyone has the same resources. And not everyone wants or needs to try a rapid release strategy.
I know that it can be overwhelming to hear talks about rapid releasing or see how many thousands of dollars authors spend on Facebook ads in a month. You don’t have to do these things if they stress you out.
And you don’t have to change your publication schedule for anyone. So, if you’re cool with going the speed you’re going and doing what you’re doing, feel free to ignore this post.
However, with that being said, I do have a plan for my paranormal romance series, and that includes rapid releasing.
So let’s talk about it.
What is Rapid Releasing?
There isn’t a hard and fast definition, but basically, rapid releasing is the practice of publishing books, one after another, in quick succession. Depending on which book marketing podcast you subscribe to, rapid releasing can be releasing books as long as three months apart, but it’s usually a lot quicker.
Typically, writers who rapid release their work are writing a series. The thought is the longer the series, the more books that are released rapidly, the more money the author makes.
Having a series and books released quickly isn’t just part of the writing and publishing process. It’s how writers integrate marketing into their publishing plan. This allows them to hype one series for a long time, and as each new book is released, the older books in the series get some links and exposure too.
And because the books are coming out quickly, readers don’t have time to forget about the series.
Most authors will release books once a month if they’re using a rapid release strategy, but some will release every two weeks.
Rapid Release Books
If you’re interested in learning more about how to rapid release your books, there are some resources you should check out. These books have been really helpful to me as I formulate my plan.
- A Book a Week by Kate Hall: This book focuses on writing a book in a week, just like the title states. If you need some infrastructure to help you build up this habit so you can release more rapidly, then I suggest this book.
- Write a Novel in 3 Days by Mary Ann Tippet: This book title is a little bit of a fib. It focuses more on novella-length fiction, but it’s still a great read, and novellas sell too.
- Indie Inspiration for Self-Publishers Series by Elana Johnson: From writing to marketing to releasing, this book has you covered. I recommend this to all self-publishing authors.
Your Rapid Release Strategy
Okay. So you’ve decided you want to rapid release, but you’re not sure where to start. Here’s how you can build your own rapid release strategy.
001: Outline a series.
Rapid releasing works best when you have a bunch of connected books to publish. They don’t have to be the same story that follows the same main character. You could do a series of books with different characters all connected by location or family or circumstance.
Figure out what you want your series to be, and outline the overall story arc of the series. Then, it’s time to outline all the books in the series.
You don’t need to get them all outlined, but you should know the basic plot of each of them. That will help you keep everything cohesive and on track as you move forward.
002: Figure out how long it will take you to write it.
Okay. This is a hard one.
I used to be super cool with hitting about 10-15k a day. That may seem like a lot. And for me, it just felt normal. But I’ve been going through some intense burn out recovery lately, and now, hitting 3-5k words a day is pretty much the norm.
(Gee, Marisa, I wonder why regularly writing that much a day would send you into a burn out spiral… HASHTAG OBVIOUS)
Anyway, whatever season of life you’re in, figure out how much you can comfortably write in a week, and extrapolate from there. Give yourself some days off too.
And I want to emphasize the “comfortably write” part, because you will have to keep this up for a long time if you’re rapid releasing.
003: Figure out your publishing schedule.
Once you know how much you can write, give yourself a ballpark estimate of when you want to publish the first book. Then, determine how quickly you want the next one to come out after the first.
From there, take a look at your series outline, and tentatively mark some dates on the calendar for your releases. Don’t announce anything yet.
004: Get ahead.
Now, it’s time to write your ass off. You have your series outlined, and it’s time to write the books.
The purpose of getting ahead is to write a few of the books before you start releasing. You do this for a few reasons.
Firstly, you need some time for editing and cover design to happen. Secondly, you want to have as much padding as possible in case life happens.
And having a few books done ahead of time will be good for you too, because once you start publishing, some of your time will be used for marketing, so you won’t have as much time to draft.
005: Start publishing.
Once you have a few books done and ready to go, it’s time to start releasing. I would recommend releasing a book, and the minute it goes live, setting up the preorder for the next book.
You want to keep the books coming out on schedule, and you want to keep your audience coming back. The best way to do that is letting them know that as soon as they get one book, they can preorder the next.
006: Adjust when needed.
Look. You aren’t a machine.
Life will happen.
So, if you find that you can’t keep up the schedule, or maybe you can publish more than you thought, you can adjust the schedule to better fit your life.
Just be aware that sometimes canceling preorders can be a problem. And you don’t want to get a reputation as a flake. But if you got ahead, and aren’t setting up the preorders so far in advance that you’ve got the next fifty books up for preorder, you’re going to be okay.
Have You Ever Rapid Released a Book Series?
What is your rapid release strategy? How long is too long between books for rapid release? How far ahead do you like to get before you start publishing?