The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 50 Results
100 original short stories written and published! It can be done by anyone – given enough discipline and persistence. Now digging into Content Inc. to get my content-business growing – the next challenge.
Published Words Fiction:
– free – 0 (Own Site)
– paid – 20444 (D2D, Amazon), 0 (Medium)
Published Words Non-Fiction:
– free – 2973
– paid – 1817 (Medium)
New Instafreebie/PW: 336
New Others: 0
Overall Total: 3489
Book sales this week:
Amazon – 13, Draft2Digital – 2, Gumroad – 1 = Total Week’s Fiction Sales – 16
Books (pre-)published this week:
- Finding Grace
- The Mystery of Meri
- Time Bent
Total fiction books published this year: 131
Total short stories published as individual ebooks: 100
Total anthologies published: 29 (plus two 200+ page books)
Countdown to 100 published short stories: 0 in 0 weeks (Yay!)
(100 total short stories, plus around 7 more anthologies for 34 total – 140+ original books published in a single year.)
Finally got my Calibre program to say that I did indeed publish 100 short-story books, and its now has me as publishing 31 other books (29 anthologies.)
Pushing these last three books through was necessary so that I’d have that goal made, regardless. The next two weeks get into holiday distractions, and I didn’t want that hitting my production. Not when I was that close.
I did get some paid work out to Medium, though. Otherwise, I was really just writing most of the week.
Interesting was that by adding author and publisher pages at the end, it took the two sub-8K books over into the 32-pages required by Lulu to become a printed book. And the use of these in general is to make the ebooks look like better values. (I could very nearly write a blog post on that, and might – someday.)
Coming up is the last quarter anthology of authors, plus the biannual anthology for each author (excepting, perhaps, the Hooman Saga that I wrote in November.) There’s also another Ghost Hunters Anthology to compile, perhaps more than one.
I also started digesting the book “Content Inc” more, all as preps for next year. Figuring that I’ll be putting out some posts in these next two weeks that will establish my next challenge. This will also re-arrange my site menu bar. The more I get into this, the more ideas I have. (Seek-and-find method.) But that isn’t for this post – probably another right on the heels of it.
Another “What I Learned” Moment
Going through “Content Inc” gives a great deal of internal inspection. Most of the first three points are simply working to build your differentiated content out on a platform of choice. (And I have a lot more to say about what a platform is – and I have. You can search for it on this site.)
I found that I’ve been writing parables in my fiction. Modern versions. In the model of the TV-series episode. They all have a core idea in them, and understanding that idea (internalizing it) rewrites the book for the reader. That was the reason for writing fiction – my self-help/self-improvement/spiritual books were too easily rejected by too many. So if I can borrow another platform to get these messages out…
Surprising to me is that this actually goes down the line of writing the “perennial-selling” book. Because those that have survived through the ages are mostly parables. They have strong themes in them. And this is how Max Brand continues to sell, as he was sitting in Italy re-writing the classics as Westerns. Same theme, different setting. He wasn’t a stickler for details like Louis L’Amour. But still sells just as L’Amour does. (And the “Star Trek” TV shows were all morality plays in a space-opera setting.)
Fiction writing will still be a weekly action for me, but I’m expanding the publishing outlets for each book. (More on that later.)
Parables are the original “perennial-selling” book. Aesop, most of the Bible stories, fairy tales (where both Disney and Shakespeare got their original inspirations).
Tide Changes in Self-Publishing
Amazon is still cannibalizing authors on its platform – and so, another reason to build your own and recognize that you don’t want to build on rented land. Their recent “disappearing” of the “also-boughts” carousel in favor of sponsored links has bit into the income from the backlist. And “makes” Amazon more money by requiring authors to take adds even on their own book pages to promote their other books.
The solution is to build ways to sell your own books on your own site first and foremost. You see here where I send people to my own page (using bity short links as trackers) and give them a books2read link so they can go wherever they want – or Pay What You Want via gumroad – or buy the paperback at 50% off through my own link. Both of those others are less costly than Amazon, and keep people (in general) on my site and with my other books available to them. I also get 90% royalty from Gumroad for direct sales, and slightly more royalty on the printed books than I do when that same book is sold on Amazon.
Amazon is not the self-publishers friend. They are more like a frenemy. You have to keep an eye on what they are going to try next.
One other point – don’t publish your fiction paperbacks on Amazon, other than to make your ebooks look better price. Because most people don’t buy fiction paperbacks. In non-fiction, it’s about 50/50. And audiobooks are eating into paperback sales almost across the entirety of book sales.
My concentration this next year will be setting up audio as part of the production line and working to get every fiction and non-fiction book I have converted to audio and published via Findaway. With self-recorded audiobooks, it costs you nothing more than sweat equity to get these uploaded.
That then bridges you right over into courses for your non-fiction books. If you podcast your blog posts, this then allows you to create chapters at a time to produce the ebook, print edition, podcast, audiobook, and course in one production flow. You then update the backmatter in all of them to cross-link to the others. At least a single landing page on your site that gives them more options. (Like a giveaway to join your mailing list.)
Fiction books will still go the route of having a single book page on my site with these links – just adding an on-page promo for the audiobook with a sample.
This doesn’t change the point that I still recommend any beginning author to build a Blogger blog to host their author site, using Draft2Digital for book and author pages where you need them, and using archives.org to host your podcast audio and then linking these into your Blogger blog to get an RSS feed (Google’s Feedburner) and then have it promoted through iTunes and Stitcher.
Fiction authors should diversify into non-fiction courses. And use what you write about on your blog to help you build that course. Again, using audio as a proofing step, then leveraging that audio into audiobook, podcast, and course.
And so I find myself writing next year’s challenge in spite of myself.
But the bottom line is to first work out what you should be writing as an author, and then to build a content-business on your own platform and get paid to write. Amazon and the other platforms just prove the point – when you publish on their platforms, you are subject to their changes.
Build your platform as you go, and stay independent as you can.
Requiem: My Kickstarter “Course”
Just as an update – this “free course” I signed up for is finally complete. What it turned out to be was a way to get Prolific Works (PW), Reedsy, and Kickstarter into the author’s production line, and everyone got some income out of helping that author run a successful kickstarter campaign. It wasn’t a course to just learn hands-on about setting up a kickstarter. It was intended (and poorly communicated) that you were going to actually build a kickstarter and make it go live on their date – so they could promote it for you.
I finally told them that I wasn’t going to launch it, due to “scheduling conflict.” Mainly, that I found in about the second week that when you are already getting regular income from your other books, you don’t need to run a kickstarter. You can cover your own costs. Kickstarters can build more list for you, and can improve the conversion of your lists to better fans. But so do launches. And if your costs are already covered, all the work you’d put into kickstarters are silly if you aren’t going to meet your goal and get nothing out of it. (Although other platforms do enable you to keep whatever monies you do make.)
The first weird point I ran into was PW saying they were wanting exclusive rights to publishing my book for three months after the kickstarter completed. So that would mean I would write the book, proof it, and wait for the three months it was taking to build and run the kickstarter campaign, and then another three months before I could publish it broadly. Six months. Compare that to my current operation where I write and publish 50 books, plus another dozen anthologies during that time.
The kickdstarter model is for authors who are needing a lot more support to get their first book out the door.
Self-starters and veterans like me don’t need kickstarters. They need to do regular book launches – on the bigger anthologies they create.
Unfortunately, there was one person at PW who was was sour grapes on my not making it active. Left me with a poor opinion of her. The people running the Instafreebie end of things are great, as usual. And I learned a lot – which was the reason I did it.
Now it’s done, and I’m moving on to this next challenge.
Last Week’s To-Do’s:
- Today: Boil Down of the Lessons Learned to a bullet point series. DONE
- Mon: Emails & Kickstarter lesson (or start new book if not.) DONE
- Tue-Wed: New Book Written & Published DONE.
- Thu-Fri: New Book Written-Published. DONE
- Sat-Sun: New Book Written-Published. DONE
- Sun: This analysis. DONE.
This Week’s To-Do’s:
- Emails out on schedule.
- Post setting up next year’s Challenge
- Mon-Tues: New fiction work written and published.
- Wed-Thurs: publishing articles on own site, Medium, Wattpad
- Fri-Sat: Build anthologies and publish as possible.
- Sun: This analysis
Also published on Medium.