The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 33 Results
Steady on wins the day. Of course not everything gets done – but it’s the journey that’s more enjoyable – if you’re looking for it…
Published Words Fiction:
– free –0
– paid – 79494
Published Words Non-Fiction:
– free – 2276
– paid – 1530 (Medium)
Book sales this week:
Amazon – 2, Draft2Digital – 2, Gumroad – 4 = Total Week’s sales – 8
Books (pre-)published this week:
- Ham & Chaz
- The Hooman Saga: Book One
- The Case of the Forever Cure
(That last also updated “Tales of the Lazurai“)
Total fiction books published:
64 (Should be at 66 by now to make 100 by year end.)
Overall, I found that the less mailings you do, the less unsubscribes show up. But I always send an automated welcome, so that generates a few. I’m back to bi-weekly right now, which is giving me about the same response as weekly – not as great as it used to be, but that’s the learning curve. Total numbers hitting my site is back up, so that it the key metric.
Plus, it resulted in four direct sales this week.
IF Conversion Headaches
This is where there is no manual and no one talking about how you take freebie seekers over into regular buying fans.
Just giving away more free books doesn’t – obviously – work. I adjusted my “free-books” page to now be a “New Releases” page, and the three new “Genre” pages also have releases at the top of them. Sending out bi-weekly meant that this last week I had seven new books up there. Instead of messing with creating seven more mini-descriptions, I just slapped all the covers up there as a test. They then click right through to my local book page for the description. (Sure, I’d love to have a pop-over on each cover, but try to figure out how to create these for each book as I crank out 6 per week? Ain’t gonna happen…)
The drive has to be to get them into my Advanced Reader membership. And with the writing I’ve been doing, this takes considerable time away from organizing my backend. A trade-off…
By studying up on other’s recommendations on emails, it seems I need to communicate more about what I’m doing as an author and my lifestyle, so they have a personal touch-point. I know the few emails I always open are like that. And the authors I do follow (very few) have useful or useless stuff in there about I-me-my. The balance is in how to be personable, but also give value.
All that said, I’ve started simply deleting anyone who hasn’t ever opened an email after I’ve sent them a half-dozen. They should have at least opened the first one. Later this week, I will send out a “Still Interested?” email to people who haven’t clicked or opened anything in 90 days. This usually gets about 10% back into the fold. Then I delete the rest. I’m already paying enough for my email service and webhosting.
IF Verified Status Brings More Emails
I was very surprised by this. And haven’t gotten an analysis done on it. People are opting in to my list by me being an organizer for giveaways. In huge amounts: 78 from my books and 237 from everyone else’s. (About four to one.) And those are optional opt-in’s. I just extended that giveaway (so I can catch up with my own promoting) and so won’t have real analysis on this until two more week’s time. And I have another giveaway going at the same time in a different genre, with that opt-in locked out. That will give me a substantial comparative.
As hinted above, this is making me work extra to keep in the top 10% of these giveaways as IF requires. The verified status is also bringing in a better class of authors. In this particular giveaway, no one approached the amount of claims that IF had, by something like 4 to 1. In other giveaways, I’ve had a couple of authors do better.
The overall scene with IF giveaways is that you may never get your list to be more than simply bargain hunters. But they’ll go to IF and bring back more for you.
Right now, the IF giveaway subscribers are over 99% of my list. (About 30 to 1.) Over the other people who are on my list – now that doesn’t account for people who are on both. A quick segment research produced a list of over 400, which brings it up to 30 to 4, or 7.5 to 1…
As mentioned – needs more research (in all my copious spare time.)
To Do Last Week
(Adding a discussion of what I was planning to get done and what my progress and lessons were this week.)
- Get in my schedule of writing in the am, then business, then watching/reading fiction. – Closer, anyway.
- 3-4 short stories written/published (Check into Brower Anthology above.) – Yup
- Update PubD and SL publishing flow, update all books2read links while I publish all these backlist books (about half of them, I estimate.) – Some
- Publish two books to both Wattpad and Medium. – Nope
- Finish and open the ARC membership. – Nope
Taking these one by one:
1. Schedule and book writing –
I like to write flat out and finish when the book does. Sometimes its a single day, sometimes three. That also depends on interruptions. And includes putting a book off until I know I have a great starting point. It’s not enough for me to have a great setting. You might have seen this in “Our Second Civil War”, where I simply took the rescue of one girl from certain slavery instead of addressing the huge conflict between urban extremists and less-urban “live and let live” populations. The story took 8K words and could have been a massive 100K like “Gone With the Wind” was.
That means I write while the iron is hot, and quit when all the ironing is done (to mix metaphors painfully.) Saying that I can keep a schedule is mostly a joke.
This week was worse, as I realized that I had another book ready happened when I was in the middle of the first one. Fortunately a compiled book (“The Hooman Saga: Book One” – 67K) doesn’t take as long as a brand new 8K book. There was substantial editing to do in order to arrange it chronologically, as well as introduce most of them so that I could bridge the gaps.
Funny enough, I had to write a new story to bridge one of those gaps, which then updated yet another (growing) anthology – “Tales of the Lazurai” from last week’s output. And that also lead to the other story this week, which today brought me a third story built on those two.
I write at the whim of my muses. But I also asked for it.
(OK, that’s really two…)
2. Update SL and PubD publishing flow –
I did get into these just yesterday, as I didn’t want to start yet another book, knowing that I had this post to start on Monday, regardless.
StreetLib (SL) and PublishDrive (PubD) are alternative aggregators to use, especially to get International sales. They both go to all the major outlets, but also to more in the UK and elsewhere. PubD is out of Hungary, and StreetLib is out of Italy. But they each have connections such as eSentral in the Phillipines and Gardners in the UK. Plus over a hundred (yes hundred) other smaller regional EU online stores.
PubD has recently started cracking down on public domain (PD) books, which can be a pain due to the spammers using them. (Much like they’ve been trying to influence the Romance genre recently. Where there is the GRQ mentality, there goes the neighborhood…)
Over the past few years I’ve been into these, I haven’t made a concerted effort to get all my books everywhere. Checking into their expansion showed that they have now seemingly pulled all the main cherries off the sundaes and haven’t added many new outlets to their lists.
PubD has a very nice way to filter your outlets automatically. Streetlib has just a huge checkoff list. And that gives you a pecking order, where you build a filter for Streetlib and publish to PubD after you get your book there. Both pull (most) of the meta-data from the book itself, but you meanwhile keep everything in Calibre locally to fill in where they miss. Neither are perfect, but both allow you to go much wider.
I stopped publishing my original fiction to them at a certain point, and now have catch up to do (about 37 titles.) After that, or sometime this next year, I’ll get back to updating and publishing all my non-fiction to them, then pick up my PD and PLR books which (used to) sell well using Lulu as an aggregator. (The short story to this is that some individual got their knickers twisted about my account – and the resolution became to only use them for paperbacks now. This is as their limited meta-data entry forms haven’t been updated since they got into ebooks back in 2006.) No one, but no one does paperbacks and hardbacks better than them – and I’d have to say that ebook aggregation on Lulu seem to be an add-on that hasn’t worked out as well as their POD.
Draft2Digital continues to be my recommended first aggregator for original fiction and non-fiction. Then create a local digital version with Gumroad. Lulu for paperbacks if long enough, then SL and PubD in that flow. I still have to work in Medium and Wattpad, which will have to be after all the aggregators, as they are a different flow.
Amazon KDP goes in right after D2D as I put everything on pre-release/pre-order now. (And KDP doesn’t let D2D put things on pre-order, while literally everyone else is fine with pre-orders from D2D.)
I continue to be no fan of Amazon KDP or Amazon in general. They treat authors like crud compared to other dedicated and service-oriented companies. Nickle-and-diming has never been a way to make even casual friends and influence people. And my browsers (I use as many as five different ones) each always jumps down to their “also recommended” bar by default. Can’t wait for the Kobo-Walmart scene to explode with better service opportunities…
3. Publish my backlogged backlist –
Got a couple up to test on SL and PubD separately. SL needs the special Amazon version of ebook, while PubD will simply take my D2D version and remove the links in their backs. While it might make sense to get all my books up there first, then download their final version for use on both Amazon and SL – as I love D2D’s way of listing all the other books available by that/those author(s). And that idea just came to me with this writing…
4. Publishing to Wattpad and Medium –
Nothing really new on this front. Again, this is looking more like a wish list than action I can take. I don’t want to push publishing into a two-day cycle for each book. The syndication to those two looks to be something like I orginally said should happen on a Sunday or a Friday between books, and catch up that week’s books (except anthologies) and maybe a couple more.
The whole point to both of these is to simply use them to build audience, and this is best done by being prolific. The idea with short stories is to link their parts together. Wattpad means building all those parts on a single day, posting one, then the next part, then the next. Medium allows pre-scheduling, so you can lay those stories out over a week – or even further out when you lay them back to back as series and serials. But you do all your publishing to these two on a single day, using Medium to enable you to split the text, then copy/pasting each serial section into it’s separate Wattpad post.
There’s a lot of advice about how you only post to Wattpad once a week.
Our use is to create the full book, and then post the completed book, along with its “buy” links to both Wattpad and Medium. The key with each is to keep it about 2K words per post. Of necessity, I have to post to Wattpad in sections so it’s readable, but post the entire 3 or 4 parts the same day, each in their own post. Just the way it is.
I just can’t arduously wait to post my next 2K words the following week – when I’m cranking out around 18-24K per week and have two or three books to post, plus the backlog to whittle down. That’s four or six books per week to post. The only reason to break them down is so that people only get short smartphone-ready pieces.
I’m looking forward to keeping my next and future Sunday(s) clear for this.
5. ARC Membership –
I haven’t had enough time to get my head around what a membership is and should be. This is being built on Rainmaker, which isn’t the easiest platform to use. Their roadmap to build one of these frankly doesn’t make sense from the best reader experience. And they instantly expect you to build a sales funnel to complement it. So you can see where they are coming from.
Sure, that is something to master, but right now I’m content based, and trying to enable people to find my books rather than leveraging an email list for recurring income.
I’m just about ready with it, but have to set aside some time…
To Do This Week:
- 2 or 3 books written and published.
- Get SL/PubD both into this loop, incorporating PubD versions into the Amazon/SL inputs.
- Medium and Wattpad publishing for all the books this week.
- Find some time to get that ARC membership going and open the doors to it.
Luck to us all…
Also published on Medium.