Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 23 Results
Subscribers still steadily growing. Some from free ebooks as lead magnets. Some breakthroughs in writing production…
Published Words Fiction:
– free – 7774
– paid – 12521
Published Words Non-Fiction:
– free – 5115
– paid – 0
– New Total: 1833
Book sales this week:
Amazon – 0, Draft2Digital – 2, Gumroad – 1 = Total Week’s sales – 3
Books published this week:
The Tunnel People – https://calm.li/TunnelPeople-Library
Faith – http://calm.li/Faith-Marpel
Two Ghost’s Salvation, Section 05 – https://calm.li/GhostSalvation05
The Goddess Returns (updated The Goddess Visits Anthology) – https://calm.li/GoddessVisits
Analysis & Notes:
Missed this factoid last week – I got 1108 new subscribers last month. Here’s the breakdown on my monthly subscribers:
Dec – 1
Jan – 167, +166
Feb – 224, +57
Mar – 281, +57
Apr – 886, +605
May – 1596, +991
Jun – so far, is 1821, with 437 so far this month.
You have to know that my unsubscribed also drop my totals, and I pretty actively encourage people to unsubscribe and even delete inactive ones within weeks after they sign up. An interesting point is that my complaint percentages have dropped consistently as well as my unsubscribe percentages.
My formula to weed out non-openers is this:
– Send an email immediately telling them I’m going to be sending them an email every week. Put the unsubscribe link in the top line.
– Set up automation to find those that haven’t opened anything after being sent more than four emails, or hasn’t opened anything in 90 days.
– Simply delete (not unsubscribe) anyone who isn’t opening. The key is that the unsubscribed can’t get back on my list with that email. Deleted people come back with all their records intact. If they do resubscribe and don’t immediately open, they are deleted again that first week.
– I send out a “Still Interested?” email usually on Friday to give people a couple of days to open their email. Then delete the non-openers before I start sending emails on Monday.
I’ve improved this by setting up a test segment that will automatically find non-openers in the that 45 days to see if I’m being too lenient. (The original reason was as I had transferred all these lists to Mailerlite just 90 days before.) That will be probably compared to clicks in some way, to avoid baby/bathwater disposal problems.
Mandatory and non-mandatory.
Right now, I’m leaning towards staying non-mandatory on everything. Just to keep the unsubscribe rates down. I’m adding regular subscribers now, and these are mostly based on the broad actions of being everywhere possible in all possible genres.
This has meant adding more romances, and not shying from putting my clean romances up with the erotic ones. Every Instafreebie book is a lead magnet. I’d like to get about four or five books possible in every major genre.
This points to an analysis of my first six months of completed giveaways to find out (spreadsheet) what genres have produced well for me. (Hint: not non-fiction, not historical fiction.)
Sidebar: as my work is aligned to wide-distribution than Amazon-specific, I didn’t re-up for k-lytics.com Elite group this week. He does do some very good programs, but the two factors that they are mostly video-based point to being able to probably keep up with his blog and email to know what he’s found. Draft2Digital doesn’t get granular with these Amazon submissions in categories, so the more Amazon is tempting me to become KDP-centric like the rest, the more I think not. Smashwords and their distribution is the other ideal. Few of their books make it into Amazon unless they do KDP as a separate approach.
Right now, I am sheerly testing volume of publishing as a discovery method. If I have to actually push over to paid ads, then I’ll have my backlist ready to mine for this.
Writing Takes Off
Set myself a target of getting three stories done this week. I did four. One just updated another anthology as it was so short.
This just again says there is no shortage of inspiration for more stories. It’s all a matter of setting up time to do it.
What it is interfering with is the tests of Wattpad and Medium. My Fridays become “must write” days instead of syndicating serials.
This coming week will probably be syndicating on Tues-Wednesday so I can write and publish Thurs-Sun.
Another sort-out was this one story that just continues as a serial. So I published it as a serial this week, a free giveaway. The story is up to something over twenty chapters already. While I’m onto the final resolution, it didn’t solve in the time I had for it. Instead of publishing, I simply put it up on Instafreebie and made it a mandatory opt-in. (Anyone who unsubscribes will have to pay to find out what happens…)
The goal is a hundred published short stories as ebooks by the end of this year. Updating anthologies of the too-short stories still counts under that work-out, as they are published. This is paid publishing, not giveaways.
Syndicating to Wattpad/Medium on Tues will align with my other emails to parts of my list, as that is also copy-paste.
The next point to crack is pre-orders, another reason to produce multiple short stories in a week. Draft2Digital response was to simply come back and publish on Amazon when the other outlets went live. Practically, this really means publishing separately to Amazon. That’s a pain, but doable.
It is probably something of doing a calendar and keeping track of when what goes live, then simply spreading them out for a year’s worth of production. I did some figure-outs earlier and worked up that I could stick to a single pen name until I got 50 stories in that, then shift over to a second pen name and write/publish/pre-schedule for 50 stories in that, then take the next, and so on. Writing and publishing three a week would create 150 stories over three pen names.
In practice, it worked out to use the appropriate pen name for the story, so these are wider apart than one per week. Now that I’ve gotten into writing at least two per week, that should even out the publishing. This is “Feeding the Beast” theory-testing at work.
I could probably get into the discipline of writing only in one pen name, but the key is to take what inspiration gives you and work for maximal joy in your craft.
Improving Quality of Story
There are more texts I want to get through about writing, but not many. They are thick, though, and not all that inspiring for fiction. What has worked is watching episodes of long-running TV shows in addition to any reading.
Downloading and reading the Instafreebie stories has only found a handful that I didn’t put down after the first chapter or so. And I also need to go back and dissect the ones that I didn’t put down (per Dorothea Brande book | course). Reading Instafreebie giveaway books isn’t reading the top-selling books, or the market leaders. A tiny handful are great, “90% are crud.”
My conclusion is to spend that time (nightly) going through the perennial-selling short stories and learning from them. I got engaged in “Pygmalion” over the last few days, finding that the author had me from the beginning with the flawed main character. Unfortunately, the last of the book was a dull narrative. It was a romance, as My Fair Lady turned out to be, but the woman succeeded while the man failed. Sad one and not a HEA, but what could be studied was the part that worked.
Once I get through those piles of books, then I’ll be able to have better judgement on how to improve my own craft.
What seems to be happening is that I can crank out only so many words per week. The more non-fiction I write, the less fiction and vice-versa. That means that this shortish work here will probably be the bulk of it. Everything depends on what I get inspired to do.
And I’m setting up to get into podcast/radio interviews, which take a chunk of time as well. What will probably work out is to write most of the day, reading into the night, and keeping up with traffic as I can.
– Wattpad/Medium syndication of serials.
– Getting published books into lists on Goodreads and LibraryThing, skipping their giveaways for now, as they don’t seem to be time- or cost-effective.
– Getting Instafreebie verified so I can have additional subscriptions – I’ll have five giveaways under my belt this week, so will consider these for submission. By the first week in July, I’ll have two more – and I only have to submit three.
– Over to Goodreads and LibraryThing to simply add my published books each week, probably on a week lag, as they depend on Amazon as far as I know. Again, admin on Tues should take care of this.
– By the end of this month, I’d like to be toeing-the-water on Podcast/Radio Interviews.
To Do This Week:
- Three short stories, all up on pre-order. THU-SUN
- All emails sent on schedule. TUE
- Begin syndicating to Wattpad and Medium with existing, longer books. See if this can be laid out for 6month’s or a year of submissions. TUE-WED
- See if I’m ready to apply for IF Verified status. TUE
- Do a quick look at Goodreads and LibraryThing to start catching up on my book lists (while ignoring their social aspects.) TUE-WED
- Daily reading and watching TV episodes.
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Also published on Medium.