By Carolyn McCray, Author | @craftycmc
Once a reader has bought and read your book, then what? Back to the well for another title?
Not so fast, reader!
Publishers and authors can use “sales nodes” to make additional sales to each reader.
What Are “Sales Nodes”?
Sales nodes are groupings of books that are likely to be purchased by the same reader, often similar in style and genre, sometimes even by the same author. Nodes of five or six books are most effective. Any more, and the marketing becomes unwieldy; any fewer, and promotion and sales opportunities could be lost.
If the reader is looking for action, all the books within the node need to kick some booty. If the reader is looking for romance, the sales node better bring the heat.
For example, a paranormal romance would go well in a node with vampire novels or werewolf/shifter novels. The simplest nodes to create are those that are extremely similar based on their sub-genre.
Sales nodes don’t always have to be books in the same genre, however. What if you only have one or two paranormal titles? Books in similar sub-genres or that have similar threads can be grouped together in nodes. For example, one reader might enjoy the romance of a vampire novel while another might enjoy the gore – both romance and gory books can be featured in the sales node.
How Do Sales Nodes Create Sales?
Place promos in the back-matter of each book in the node promoting the other books. Promos should also be placed at the bottom of each book’s Amazon product page.
The rules for promos in the case of sales nodes are the same as always: great cover art, exciting quotes, and a brief overview. This kind of marketing has been shown by Amazon research to be far more effective at generating sales than prose in the back matter, which turns off readers.
Each promo should drive the reader to the book’s Amazon product page. Let the reader sample or buy there rather than muddling through long sections of prose in your back matter.
Sales Nodes in Action
Let’s look at a proposed paranormal sales node:
(A) Vampire Series: Book No. 1 by Author No. 1
Back matter includes:
(B) Vampire Series: Book No. 2 by Author No. 1
(C) Vampire Book by Author No. 2
(D) Werewolf Series: Book No. 1 by Author No. 3
(E) Werewolf Series: Book No. 2 by Author No. 3
(F) Ghost Story by Author No. 4
(G) Demon Romance by Author No. 5
Book (A) is the book for sale.
Its back-matter includes books (B) through (G).
Most often (B), the second book in the series, will get the overwhelming majority of interest because it is second in the series and the first promo. But what if (C), the Vampire Book from another author, received fewer clicks than (D), the first book in Werewolf Series?
The publisher should look at (C)’s cover and promo copy. What about (A), (B) and (D) resonates that (C) just doesn’t have? Is it danger? Romance? New Orleans?
If (C) continues to under-perform, pull it and replace it with another vampire-based novel or move the entire promo queue up and add a new book at the end to see how it fares.
Sales nodes should be dynamic and fluid. Under-performing titles should be replaced and new titles that need promotion can be inserted as needed.
Price Pulsing to Increase Sales Node Efficacy
Within each sales node, there should be at least one $0.99 title. This is your “dime-bag,” your loss-leader. The theory is that the $0.99 title will drive readers and unit sales and will then up-sell into the higher-priced titles.
As noted previously, publishers should be price-pulsing at all times. Using our example from above, this means that if book (C) is $0.99 next week, the following week it should be returned to its normal price and book (D) should be $0.99. In this way, no one book or author needs to suffer constantly low royalties. Within the node, everyone shares the burden (and benefit), of price pulsing.
Sales Nodes Tips
— An author with only one book may partner with other authors or publishers and form a node with similar titles.
— If an author has a large number of books in a series, it does not necessarily help to include all five or six books in the series in the node. Readers will often buy the next book in a series, but not the next several.
— Track your clicks. Use a shortening service like bit.ly to monitor click-through activity for each promo. Is one book under-performing? Take it out and replace it with another. Is one book over-performing in the 4th slot? Move it up.
— Sales nodes should move together through online and in-person promotions. The books should work together as a unit, cross-pollinating readership and growing royalties.
Hopefully this article helped you understand what a powerful tool sales nodes can be when looking at creating long-term royalties growth.
As always, I will be monitoring the comments, so feel free to leave any questions below and I will do my best to answer them within 24 hours. I also strongly recommend that you subscribe to the comments because many times a significant amount of information is relayed in the comments that I just couldn’t fit into the article.
In the last two articles we discussed the mechanisms of the Amazon internal recommendation queue and the benefit (read: necessity) of strategic, dynamic pricing on Amazon. If you have not read those articles yet, I strongly suggest that you do, as this series has built one atop the other and you may not get everything out of this article if you are not familiar with the terminology and concepts of the previous articles.
I would also encourage you to read my article about optimizing your Amazon product page. It has very specific recommendations that, combined with price pulsing and sales nodes, can help created robust royalties.