Smart authors who start a series (and in some genres, like mystery of legal thrillers, it’s all about the series) drop the first book in the new series on Amazon for free. It can be part of Amazon Firsts, for instance.
This gets them instant exposure to readers they’d never get otherwise because nobody wants to waste $10 on a book by an unknown writer that might turn out to be bad. But for free people don’t mind giving it a try. Plus, the free books get at least a couple thousand reviews, which attracts more readers. And after that, the authors’ fate is in their own hands because if the first novel is good, people will buy the rest of the series.
This gives writers incredible freedom that they never had before. If readers don’t come back for the second book in the series, it’s not because the critics didn’t notice it, the publishers didn’t promote it, or you have rotten luck. It’s because you can’t get readers to stay interested.
This week I discovered Mike Omer’s Zoe Bentley series this way. I would have never bought the book but since I got it for free, why not try it? The book turned out to be great. Serial killers! FBI profilers! A cute agent called Tatum! Who takes care of his elderly grandpa! What’s not to love? So now I pre-ordered the second book in the series.
Literary agents, publishing marketing, book tours – it’s all dead now. And that’s great.