Novel Marketing

Novel Marketing

Why Rapid Release is a Risky Book Launch Strategy

October 07, 2020

Rapid release is a strategy where authors withhold their finished books from publication while they continue to write the next books in their series. When the series is completely written, they release the whole series in a short window of time. This is a popular strategy with indie authors.

A Novel Marketing patron asked me this question: 

“I learned in the Book Launch Blueprint course about the importance for indie authors to wait to release a book until they can do it right, including putting together a launch team to help them have a strong release. Now I’m learning more about indie authors who do rapid releases of their books, releasing a month or two apart without launch teams or building anticipation for a release. Do you think the rapid release strategy works just as well as big book launch strategies? When should an indie author try rapid release instead of emphasizing the book launch more?”

So, is rapid release a shortcut to success? Or is it a trap that could destroy your author career?

Why Rapid Release is Risky

Rapid release is often presented as a way to kickstart a new writer’s career. But let me tell you a true story about one writer who took that advice to heart.

This writer had never published a book before. He’d heard that he wouldn’t need to build a platform or do a book launch if he rapid released. So, instead of publishing his first book when it was finished, he immediately started writing book two.

After two years, book two was finished, and he then spent another year writing book three. 

All told, he spent about five years writing, then he released all three books in a six-week window.

And then… nothing. 

Nothing happened. He sold a few dozen books between his three titles. 

When we spoke, he had just spent five years writing a series of books that had not sold. He was so discouraged that he had no idea what to do. Instead of having one failed book experience to learn from, he had three failed books all at once. He was considering giving up on publishing altogether.

As I researched this topic, I discovered this story is far too common. 

Many authors who rapid release end up quietly quitting publishing. Whether from embarrassment or sheer discouragement, they don’t share their stories, and other authors get a distorted view of how effective the rapid release strategy is.

Rapid release is incredibly risky for the following reasons. 

#1 Rapid release isolates you from reader feedback.

As a new writer, you are still finding your voice, resonance, and audience. If you are following The Five Year Plan, you are writing short stories and receiving feedback. The feedback you receive from readers of your short stories will change you as a writer, and your writing will improve.

Even people who are not following the five-year plan are publishing their first book as soon as it is ready. Both of these approaches give you more reader feedback than rapid release.

With rapid release, on the other hand, you write an entire book, not a short story, and you withhold it from readers even after it is ready to publish. As a result, you receive no reviews or feedback that could positively influence your next book.