The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 14 Results
Published words –
– free – 0
– paid – 7748 (see link below)
– free – 5285
– paid – 0
– New Total: 440
– Net: 166 added
(note: I’ll again be doing list hygiene this week on no-opens.)
Book sales this week
– Amazon – 1, PublishDrive – 0, StreetLib – 0, Draft2Digital – 0; Total – 1
Books published this week:
The Haunted Ghost (Ghost Hunter Part 05)
Three times as many subscribers as last week. If this keeps up, I’ll be over 500 next week, and when I start cracking 200 per week, will be over a thousand in three more weeks.
Again, the emphasis right now is in building subscribers. That’s right after publishing at least one new ebook every week. And the point is to simply keep focused on the long game.
There’s an upcoming article which reviews the real “platform” that an author has – content, audience, network, and bliss – since we are getting into this. Instafreebie, per that recent post of Errata, is a great way to get a network. Although the subscribers themselves are audience. And because they are direct contacts, they lead to sales.
Again, sales isn’t your emphasis. Ads aren’t your emphasis.
You need to get a lot of content out there so people can pick and choose what they want to read. You want to have subscribers to tell about that massive backlist of titles.
Subscribers and your emails to them are your most trackable and controllable audience you could possibly have. Facebook as we knew it is going away. Because they ripped off people’s personal data to enable ads to target them.
The days of being able to precisely target ads to your potential readers is still possible (although prices have been rising after they reached saturation of how many ads could run in a single “news” feed.) But those days won’t be around for long.
Promotion is getting your offer (content) in front of other people’s audiences. Ad platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and all social networks (as well as most search engines) all are simply someone else’s audience. So are Wattpad and Medium. All of these ad platforms require new and fresh content. Even Amazon (with their 30-day cliffs) knows this.
What you want to attract are the uber-readers. And they are on Wattpad, Goodreads, and LibraryThing, where people have new content and also make lists of books.
Medium is different as it doesn’t run ads, but the concept is the same. Put your content (offer) on someone else’s platform so they can become part of your audience.
Get them to subscribe to your private content (email newsletter) and then keep offering them new stuff they can buy to support your content stream.
Podcasts and radio interviews are this same model.
A Scientific Advertising Breakthrough
In that Instafreebie Errata is a nice little breakthrough of tracking your click-throughs. Of course, if you send someone to a link via email, then your email service provider will be able to tell you who and what clicked on that link. I mentioned using Bit.ly as a solution. Assign a redirect link via the URL-shortener Bit.ly in advance so you can help track these.
Tracking was originally worked up through Claude C. Hopkins in his Scientific Advertising. He would put cut-out coupons for people to send in. And that is how he could determine which of his advertising is working. In FB terms, he was putting a pixel on each one that would give him those metrics. The point is to track where people go when you give then an offer. (But no, giving FB access to your site isn’t such a marvelous idea these days, unless you are running ads to bring them to your site – a fool’s errand, perhaps.)
As much as I distrust Facebook, I also knew that their should be an “old-fashioned” way to do this. Bit.ly is simple to use and has adequate analytics.
If you just invite people to come to your site as random traffic (even as sent by search engines) you probably won’t know where they started or went. Your email can tell you what they clicked on, but that’s about it. Follow through with a Bit.ly link and you’ll know.
For instance, here is what happened this last week:
1. I updated my “Free Books” page on LiveSensical.com with the current giveaways that are running this week.
2. There are now 7 giveaways I’m part of. So instead of sending people to each of those giveaways, I just sent them to the “Free Books” page.
3. The two new books I published were linked on that email though books2read.com (B2R) – and so I saw how many people clicked on those links and where they went to after that.
4. This then gave me the idea to track each one of my giveaways through bit.ly, just like I was able to track the potential buyers through B2R. I have this in for this coming week, due to what I saw happen. (Check out the links on that page for yourself.)
- I sent about 150 emails out to my Instafreebie opt-ins.
- 48% of these were opened and
- 26% of those clicked links.
- 28 people went to the Free Books link.
- 18 or 20 people clicked on the new book links.
- 5 clicked on the paperback
- 4 clicked on the “author page” that had a complete list of the other books by that author.
These results were without the Bit.ly links. I’ve implemented them since to take this further.
Over at B2R, this broke down into what books by what author got which clicks. The last two books got 23/24 clicks, and those mostly chose to visit Amazon.
That means I have an accurate way to not only drive traffic, but see where it goes and whether its converting.
Contrast this with my use of Flipboard.com – I’ve been happy to get traffic from this area before, but you can lump all the traffic in like that. I know where it came from, but not exactly where it went when it got here or even if it really landed where it could buy a book.
Traffic is great if you and metricise it and so improve your conversion into sales. Otherwise, it’s just more noise.
I used to have more organic traffic than search engine traffic. Once I got enough articles posted, these numbers flipped. Not that organic traffic slowed, but more that search traffic increased. But search engine traffic is reported as at least 50% bot’s. I think it is much higher than that.
If you tear into their statistics, you see that there is some rediculously high “bounce” rate – where “readers” are staying just about 10 seconds before they leave. These are the scanner generation, who know what they are looking for and can scan through a page rather than reading it. Human bots, basically. When you look for people who spent a few minutes (not just 10 seconds) actually reading the articles and then click on several pages or posts, then you have the real readers.
And you’ll see that you have less than 20% of your viewers (reverse bounce rate) who are really valuable. The Pareto 80/20 rule, kinda.
But the only data you have on those 20% is their IP address.
You can’t contact them.
Back to subscribers, then.
I emailed 150 people who were interested (self-selected) and let them know what I thought they would find valuable.
- 48% of those took a chance on that email.
- 26% of them opened one of those links.
Close enough to the 80/20 rule.
Out of that I got (maybe) one sale (as Amazon won’t tell me who bought it.)
Now when you scale that up to thousands, then you have an income that you can make happen.
The main point of Mark Dawson’s first video’s approach was to build just that list. Of course, with FB ads, you can get a larger population who are simply book buyers and ad viewers. Since all but small amounts of people actually see ads and open them, this is a completely different world.
The point, again is to go after contacting and en-listing the uber-readers who would be interested in your prolific output. And then give them good quality content that they’d be interested in.
Networking beyond that would then produce the giveaway offers and also-recommended scenes that are common to Affiliate Marketing. A tight group of people recommend their add-on products to an audience who trusts them to routinely give great value. One author won’t keep any number of true uber-readers happy with new content. But as they and their network keep writing more material, then they can approach that point.
Instafreebie is a great way to build both audience and network while providing the value such people expect. And it takes only a few minutes per day to maintain. Far better than any individual ad campaign on a dubious platform that probably won’t exist this time next year. (And part of this planning is to figure out how to get a decent income without having to be part of FB’s upcoming demise.)
As I’ve said before, I
hate really dislike ads. Because I like to stay focused and not interrupted, and I like to spend time on valuable interests and not be treated like I’m stupid or gullible. So I run browsers with ad blockers and unsubscribe pretty quickly once I start getting crap in emails. That said, there are some emails I almost always open and some people who I’ve subscribed with for years. Very few, though.
A Quarterly Summation of Results
So far on this journey – three months, 14 weeks:
- I’ve created 21 new books, only one of which was non-fiction,
- developed my talent for writing fiction into a write-on-demand ability,
- polished my book publishing time down to about two days per ebook (short story, between 3K to 6K words),
- and generally published as much non-fiction wordage as fiction wordage weekly, writing every day in some fashion,
- built up a new fiction audience from scratch,
- established four pen names besides my own to write under while I master the craft of writing.
Next is to expand that audience by doing what has already proved to work, and to streamline this and make it more effective.
This week coming, I intend to break into Wattpad to raise the size of my audience. That requires serial fiction, which I have ready, under two pen names. And I’ll map out the how-to’s of this while I edit those unreleased books into view, hopefully getting feedback from serial readers who are following along and contributing.
I saw today that these non-fiction articles are going to develop a full training course so others can take this journey. But on their own timeline. To master the art and business of writing, without the scams or spam. And, as my mantra, to start with what they already have and not have to invest hundreds or thousands, making their writing pay for itself as a business.
Currently, the approach of fiction writing and list building has proved itself to be a great list-building opportunity. Better than other non-fiction efforts I’ve engaged in the years past. This is was was pointed out by Geoff Shaw, that you can make more book sales in fiction than non-fiction. Meanwhile, it’s also true that there is far more income through non-fiction courses per subscriber than there is per fiction book reader. So courses will be the future of my efforts, to balance out fiction and move the subject forward.
When the bulk of the how-to steps have been worked out, then I’ll be able to start building the courses I’ve always wanted to. For now, this journey is a series of study, test, publish steps. Once it’s all published, then there will be a how-to course (or several) developed along that proven track. And the non-fiction books I’ve already written in this area will be updated or expanded.
All that is future.
This week’s To-Do’s:
1. Write and publish another short work.
2. Update the data on fiction author platform-building.
3. Get those unpublished works readied for regular posting to Wattpad, and write up what I find there.
4. If possible, get into the Medium scene with research and write-ups.
All for now.
Until next week…
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Also published on Medium.