So, I've had a roller coaster of a sales record. Last summer (Aug or Sept) the first book in my series broke the top 100 in Vampire Romance. It climbed as high as #11 in that genre. When I released the second book, sales were staggering. Book 2 should have made it into the top 100 in the same genre (based on overall ranking), but I could never get Amazon to actually put it in that genre.
Anyway, over the last several months, the rank of book one slowly slipped (no bad reviews to speak of) until finally, it fell out of the top 100. And wow, did sales tank the moment that happened. Unless my new release at the end of the month pumps things back up, I can see how I will quickly drop rank as I lose visibility.
I'm not really complaining since I had a great couple months, but it really helped me see how arbitrary success can be and how keeping your book/name visible is quite possibly the most important thing you can do.
If you haven't already, put an ad at the end of each book, promoting the others. Sometimes readers don't go look for the next one.
I wonder if you just ran out of readers interested in vampires. I think the popularity of those books might be slipping as a whole. At any rate, what you describe is pretty normal. It's all about word of mouth and when that fizzles out, it's like starting over.
I didn't realize the importance of it at the time, but as long as Foreclosed was in the top 100 of Women Sleuths (a massive genre, I only hit 78 when I was doing like 50 books a day!) sales kept pretty steady...
Once it dipped low enough to drop off that list sales tanked within a month...and frankly, nothing I've done since then has really pushed them back up!
The freebies I've done have given me temporary boosts--a couple of weeks of more exciting sales--but nothing as big as before, and nothing as lasting.
It was top 100 in Vampire Romance, not overall ranking. I think at #10, the overall ranking was about 700. I didn't do any marketing. It was all Amazon. Once the book picked up, it snowballed. I have no idea why.
@martialbot (sp?), I do agree vampire romance is slipping as a genre. It's also supersaturated. I do list the other books at the back of each one. The second book does well, but it's sales are directly proportionate to the sales of the first. I think that shows people read the first, like it, and then go to read the second, right that second. If you wait a few months, they forget. You have to stay at the forefront of the reader's minds. I'm very interested (and nervous) to see what happens when I release the third book.
Where do you even find the category "Vampire Romance" to include your book in in the first place when you publish? I've never seen it in the publishing process.
About mid last year I had a book that was number 1 in two top 100 categories. Amazon booted it from one of the categories and sales immediately plummeted. I have no idea why that one book did so well. I didn't do any real promotion with it. In fact, with books I wrote after that I tried to emulate the successful one with similar covers and titles etc, with no success.
You know I tried that, but book two never showed up. Now I know it has to actually be in the top 100 to show on that genre list, but there was a time it had a good enough overall ranking to be there but wasn't. I need to get these bad boys listed properly before the 3rd goes out at the end of the month.