The Fiction Funnel Formula: Infographic for Authors

I’ve heard it said more than once, by people who know the publishing business inside and out: You can’t get by with just one book. Why not?

FIrst off, you don’t have much of anything to give away. Sure, you could offer a few chapters free; and Amazon can help you with that, using their “Look Inside” feature.

At the very least, you might want to pull out a short story from your novel’s larger scope. Something with a beginning and an ending, and maybe a cliffhanger to lure readers into your full-length work.

 it wouldn’t hurt to keep writing, fast as you can

Here’s the problem: Once you’ve gathered a brand new reader, now a lovely fresh fan of your writing, where can you send them after they reach “The End“? So two books is better. Most publishers agree that three is your best first number.

This infographic, based on the amazing publishing guide, Write. Publish. Repeat. (The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success)*, shows how you can leverage multiple books and book series to keep your fans begging for more.

Do you have to have this many books to make the system work? Probably not, but it wouldn’t hurt to keep writing, fast as you can. A loyal reader is a treasure to be gathered and guarded. Once you have fans who love you, keep on rewarding them for their attention. How? Just follow the green arrows.

[If you have trouble seeing the image clearly, increase your browser’s zoom, usually by pressing Ctrl plus “+”. Or save the image to your hard drive using “Save Image As…” — then enlarge it.]

*Affiliate Link. If you click that and decide to buy, I might make some money, okay? Thanks!

Fiction Formula infographic


  1. Hi Jim
    I could really follow the flow on this one, and I really have not had much experience with this type of mapping. I think the idea of the chart with giving free books and then increasing the offer as the people become involved makes sense.
    Thanks for being part of the class and sharing your work.

    • Did you see the first one, Louise? It was a beautiful mess, all but unreadable.

      So, I think this one might actually work to convey the message, since you got it right away. Thanks!

  2. Is this supposed to read like algebra, really straight-line? Or more like chemistry with precipitates and new things added all along? Not getting it, still, I’m afraid. But then, I’m a very literal person.

    • There might be some precipitates in there, Katharine! 🙂

      I took a ride on the “formula” theme, started out with that first chalkboard and carried the idea forward with more chalkboards. If you only read the chalkboards, and maybe the left-column value-progression, you have the gist of it.

      Thanks for your feedback. Nothing wrong with “literal” people at all!

  3. Jim, I guess I may be weird because I have always visualized spaces/negative spaces in a different way and seriously avoid looking at complicated graphics as much as possible as a result. Perhaps I find this an information overload, difficult to follow. That being said, it’s interesting, “:)

    • Everyone sees graphics just a little bit differently, Raymond. That’s the challenge, for sure. It might still be way too complicated. Thanks very much for your opinions!

      • Jim, that may be the actual KEY, there’s not enough negative space to SEPARATE the ‘groups of graphics’ so it has the appearance of being cluttered. I studied this thing for as long as I could look at it (it’s difficult for me to do that) and came to that conclusion; I also asked my better half the photographer/artist; Wendy came to the same conclusion. Interesting, first thing she said was ‘it should be on two pages, it has the appearance of being crowded too close together”. Bottom line, use smaller icons for the graphics to generate more negative (white) space, making it easier to follow, (or turn it sideways on the sheet for a more continuous flow, or go to two sheets (the least preferable solution) The colour and artwork is great.

        • Thanks again for your insights, Raymond.

          I’ve always been a fan of smart use of whitespace, especially in blog posts. This graphic felt crowded to me, too; but I was imitating the style of similar infographics I’ve seen elsewhere, perhaps incorrectly. I wouldn’t go to two pages for this, as I agree that would be the “least preferable solution.” Your comments have been really helpful — thanks!

          • Jim, you could make the infographic just a bit longer, so that you create some more space between the different levels (free, low-cost, full charge).

            Making the icons smaller wouldn’t be comfortable for my eyes, to be honest.

            The idea is clear, I believe, and all necessary elements are exposed. I didn’t have a problem following the flow of the envisioned course of action.

          • Thanks much, Helene. Your feedback is very helpful.
            Version 3.0 should end up much more readable, thanks to suggestions like yours.

  4. Pstt. I don’t think it’s too complicated by any means, either, we could follow that aspect easily enough, but the visuals made it a bigger challenge.

  5. Yes – that’s it! It needs more White Space and general Spaciousness.

    Love the idea, but it’s not grouped enough to be easily read. 🙂 :>O<:

  6. Also, make sure that YOU and YOUR WEBSITE are included on this too, as well as your source material. You did the work to break it down, you should get credit for that. 🙂 :>O<:

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