The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 45 Results
Distractions – learning to guard my writing time. A single book written this week, learned my lessons?
Published Words Fiction:
– free – 0 (Own Site)
– paid – 27799 (D2D, Amazon), 0 (Medium)
Published Words Non-Fiction:
– free –3184
– paid – 0 (Medium)
New Others: 0
Overall Total: 3461 (-108)
Book sales this week:
Amazon – 2, Draft2Digital – 0, Gumroad – 2 = Total Week’s Fiction Sales – 4
Books (pre-)published this week:
- Moon Bride
- Blood Moon
Total fiction books published this year: 113
Total short stories published as individual ebooks: 91
Total anthologies published: 21 (plus two 200+ page books)
Countdown to 100 published short stories: 9 in 8 weeks
Planned new short stories: 3/12 through end of Nov (NaNoWriMo), 0/4 in Dec. (104 total short stories, around 7 more anthologies for 30 total – 134+ original books published in a single year.)
The Kickstarter lesson and homework took over two days to sort out. I’ll tell more about this below. Other distractions like getting a load of wood for the fireplace (below freezing temperatures this week) and voting, plus a podcast about that historic scene (link) took about three days out of this week.
I’m figuring that at top speed, I can crank out a book per day, then proofing and publishing will take another day, but usually two. Meaning that out of seven days, I need to do nothing but writing and publishing to make my 18K regular quota. Those guys churning out 20K per week/1M per year are really cranking out 7 days per week, regardless of proofing and publishing. Can be done, but it’s a full-time job.
The Baker’s Dozen Hooman Saga Final Sprint
13 books in this series. I’m wrapping my wits around the fifth one now – and these are tending to roll right into each other. They are definitely not the same as standalone short fiction. They are serials and start building their own momentum as they go. So you need an idea of what the next story is supposed to deal with so you can set the stage for it in the last part of the short story you’re working on.
I had the first one (When the Crow Calls) a month or so ago. Then hit the wall on how I was going to purposely set out to write the rest of that book. The solution for me was to find 12 pieces of artwork that made good covers and were moon-related (or I could make them that way.) I went through the whole graphic scene of creating proper covers with author and a working title. And put these as “empty” books in Calibre for a place to work with them.
After that was putting them in a logical order of how they were going to show up. This followed the rough Heroes Journey where the action kept building, but the heroes start winning about halfway through, with the villian(s) becoming more desperate as they lose. And a huge climax at the end where they are vanquished. You know the cycle, like Star Wars, Die Hard, Da Vinci Code.
Then I wrote down the general idea for each short story in a few paragraphs in its Calibre book.
Of course, that starts to work things back and forth as the ideas come in. You already know there’s a story there – but how is it going to work with the other ones?
Sometimes your title and even artwork will change when your characters (and your pen names) tell you more about the overall story arc.
What you are actually doing is starting to get used to writing full novels, one episode at a time. Evolving as an author, is more like it.
Regardless of whether I can get all these planned books done by the end of November, I will get them all done. It’s getting momentum now and will roll quite nicely as it does. Besides, it’s a great deal of fun.
What I learned about an Author’s Kickstarter This Week
Mainly that copywriting is fiction – with its own story structure. And so, needs to be written regularly and improved on with every essay. Most of it is flash fiction (short-short story) and so is edited finely, just the same.
The other lesson is that crowdfunding is also a conversion program to “hot-up” your subscribers.
Kickstarters are a long, intensive set of marketing. So if it’s going to cut across your daily/regular writing habits, then it’s a no-go. You have to set up your schedule to do your fiction and non-fiction for a certain part of the day/week, and your marketing as part of running your business.
Dropping everything to just do your kickstarter means you won’t be producing as many books in the coming year.
Mostly, I don’t see a real improvement over doing a regular book launch during the 90-days you have a book (we’re talking 200-300 pages) in pre-release. Short stories should all be pushing the anthology that’s in pre-release – meaning that you probably will go back into Draft2Digital/Amazon and update the content for these. Write the short stories and publish them all in pre-order, then compile the anthology and then update all your short stories. This will also work if you later compile a new anthology featuring a different set of short stories – rinse, repeat.
I also don’t see any reason to work your tail off and get little more than a few more subscribers and some of your earlier subscribers more hotted up. Indiegogo would be a better match for that philosophy, as they allow you to keep what you made.
At the same time, you can DIY crowdfunding, using Gumroad for the digital delivery as well as physical delivery (at least the financing end of it.) And if you get swamped, you can always get a quote from disk.com. Lulu can dropship for you, preferably in the U.S.
You are going to have to promote your own campaign, since you won’t have the network-effect of these bigger crowdfunding sites. That’s the trade-off. But again, look to Jeff Walker’s Product Launch series (find his free videos) on how you can do a small/test launch with just the list you have.
Right now, I think a hybrid of what is required for a successful kickstarter campaign and Walker’s system will be the approach.
If you are writing one short story a week, you can do a 300-page anthology launch four times per year, with all sorts of goodies added on for those who are your best supporters. That essentially means that you are planning and building your next launch right after your last one finishes – and you’ve done the analysis of it.
This of course rolls right into the content-based business, which is next year’s challenge.
Here’s the references I got this week from Reedsy’s crowdfunding course:
My current plans will be to honestly do all the work of this course, right up to the point of having a fully-built kickstarter ready to go. But unless I see something better coming down the line, I don’t see firing this off.
Most of that is because their approach is to train the one-book author – who needs editing, proofing, covers and everything else. I’m now at over 110 books published this year alone (on top of several hundred I’ve published since 2006) so all this is rubbing against my grain quite a bit.
As covered above, if you already have the book in pre-order, then you’ve solved editing, cover, proofing, etc. You are doing more of a launch than “fund me so I can finish you a nice book.” And that is exactly where the rub is.
My model says to use the short stories as promo for the anthology, and then create additional special items for subscribers – which is the better model for authors. Those are your true fans. (See k-lytics.com and their pricing points, and you’ll see how that can work for prolific/regular fiction authors.)
Subscriptions Are At a Ceiling
For all the angst I’ve been through, I opened everything back up and still didn’t have to get back into a higher rate for the next level of subscribers. They are still dropping off/being removed at a rate similar to what’s added. But I’m a bit severe with my subscribers that I don’t hear others doing. Because I want an active list – meaning 40-50% open rates, and 15-20% clicks.
In a couple of months, I’ll have the drop-off rate of the “verified organizer” scene – where people are opting in to the organizer. I also have a test giveaway that is only for free subscribers, meaning I get all the opt-ins that occur there. IF/PW is going to promote that giveaway, so it will be a nice little test (very few people are actively joining such giveaways if they are using the free plan. Why should they?)
I also did a test of sending the proposed kickstarter preview out to people who followed one of those two authors and ever clicked on anything. Over 1200 emails went out, and 44% opened, and 3% clicked. So I got something like 160 people interested in the project.
Again, the underlying theory of activating a list it to keep giving them reasons to raise their hand.
And as above, the ideal is to get them to become subscribers. At $1 per week, I could ship them all my fiction books and make as much as I could on Amazon. And just set up a membership or a delivery program through Gumroad for them.
All this is simply lining up. Again, this year was really devoted to building the fiction-writing habit. Next year is about making it spectacularly profitable.
Just noticed that I’m in far fewer giveaways than earlier – mainly as I’ve quit chasing after romance/erotica giveaways (and all their spam books.)
Last Week’s To-Do’s:
- Emails out. DONE
- 3 short stories written, proofed, and readied for publishing. KINDA – published last week’s stories along with the one I wrote this week. I wanted to write three new stories.
- Kickstarter model evaluated and decision made. DONE
This Week’s To-Do’s:
- Emails out.
- 2-3 new short stories written and published.
- Kickstarter lesson reviewed and homework done. (Tues)