Sorting out my brand. Simplifying the massive updates I have to do across all my books. And working up a uniform newsletter format to tell people what is going on and what they can receive for being part of this. Main point is getting a working model actually running. Email coach has been a great help by enforcing this evolution and streamlining…
The Great Writing Business Challenge – Week 09 Results
Overall Total: 3927
Published Words Fiction:
– free – Own Site: 0, Medium: 0, Wattpad: 0
– paid – Book Outlets: 0, Medium: 0
Published Words Non-Fiction:
– free – Own Site: 6117, Else: 2393 (Medum)
– paid – Book Outlets: 0, Medium: 0
Books In Progress: 0
Book sales this week:
Draft2Digital – 1, Gumroad – 1, PublishDrive – 0, Amazon – 52, StreetLib –1 = Total Week’s Sales – 55
Lulu sales for January: 3 ebooks, 211 paper/hardback (avg per week – 53.5 | avg. royalty – $3.60). Next report 15 Mar…
Note: New Fiction sales maintained increase. Again – coincident with my own emails to my list.
New Podcast Episodes:
Again, no new book this week. Concentrated on finalizing the branding, book backmatter, and newsletters/content I’ll be sending out regularly from here on out.
Again, my model overall is Content Inc. Meaning you build audience first through consistent content.
While he has the 6 points that seem to take place a different times (7, actually, if you set your goals/vision at the start – like he does in the book) an author has to be accepting subscribers from the beginning.
Wrote a lengthy article this week examining the audience factor – and it’s really that any author starting out should post everything on Wattpad. Everything. With links to your site so they can opt-in to your mailing list. Once you have enough (some 16-50K) then you’ll be able to deliver what they want, and also probably have your true fans.
One interesting part is that I’ve had a private membership for years and only imported them into my mail list this last week. Right off the bat, over a quarter had already unsubscribed – so couldn’t be imported. Now I find that another third won’t open the email they used to get access. Meaning I’m going to have to “overboard” them as well – and went back through that membership and closed down a couple-hundred slacker-members.
Meaning about a 50% loss rate – interestingly, about the same as the free subscribers. Had I gotten them onto a mailing list to begin with, then this sorting would have been done some time back.
Instafreebie (IF) featured one of my giveaways. We’ll take it. Nice parting gift.
Successes in Email Conversion
Call it subscriber training. Because they are going to respond to the way you treat them. (I’m reminded of Wayne Dyer’s statement about the Golden Rule – “The way you treat others trains them how to treat you.”)
A suggestion from my email coach bore fruit – writing from the viewpoint of a minor character in a story and then telling them how they can get their copy.
It also showed why assembling a large list is vital. Out of 3500 sent, with a 40% open and 10% click, I could directly trace where over a dozen sales happened. Sure, that’s not much. But I also sent out an email to my non-fiction list of just over 300 – with a 20% open and 7% click, I couldn’t specifically say that the one sale that was date-coincident came from that email.
Using bitly shorteners does show how many I am sending people to my site, but the granularity of when they show up where (through books2read.com) isn’t precise enough to track further. This does point to setting up a bitly shortener on that B2R link to see what goes there when (at least for the first 30 days – which should be enough for any campaign.)
At the same time, I increased my prices (and am forever forswearing the bottom-racing Amazon .99 – see Smashword analysis for 2018)
The point is that authors need to build their lists – period. That is the only way you’ll really have a dependable income. The Amazon and Facebook taxes will only increase. And you have to go to independent places like Smashwords and Bookbub (and Wattpad) to get real discovery of your books. And Apple, Kobo, Nook.
Like Steve Scott said, “Amazon works as well as you send traffic to it.” And Bezos, “Your margin is my opportunity.” Amazon treats authors and their books as commodities, not heart-and-soul creators/creations with their own lives. They get the respect they deserve – which is as a greedy conglomerate. (As Facebook/Google/Twitter as privacy thieves. And Amazon buys Facebook data, BTW.)
Mark Dawson recommended years ago to “become your own Bookbub” by amassing a decent (50K) list and then promoting your own books to them.
From Here Forward
It really is the Content Inc approach – content out there on other people’s platforms to build audience. Meanwhile, mail the audience I have onboard to convert them to buyers (or enable their departure.)
Regular content needs to be:
- Email newsletter for fiction subscribers
- Email newsletter for non-fiction subscribers
- New fiction book written-published-syndicated – and this includes the free sites.
The rest of the week will be devoted to taking my books and updating them. Maybe I can get this done in a month, but it might take more. I’m sure it will speed up as it goes. Essentially, this will mean revising the backmatter and verifying the editing. Also verifying everywhere the books are published and filling in the gaps.
Somewhere in there, I’ll start giveaways again – but on a very structured basis, not that addiction model that Instafreebie gets you into. StoryOrigin is my new central hub for this. Lots more features.
After the books are all up to date, then I’ll start relearning and testing ads. As much as I hate them. The trick is that most of the planet is addicted to them, so this is the best way to reach people.
The main thing is to get your organic reach in first. Then start in on the non-organic to fill in the gaps. These are treated differently, but not much – mainly keeping them in separate groups (lists) so you can see what their rates of unsubscribe and opens/clicks are.
And if you are getting huge warning signs, then you know that giveaway/ad spend wasn’t worth it. So you can change.
Instafreebie isn’t completely out of the picture, except for now. I’ll still have giveaways there – that won’t send me emails. Maybe later, I’ll return. (If they don’t implode meanwhile – that weird name-change gave a clue…)
My fiction newsletter is simply whatever books I have coming off pre-order get some minor character chatting up the story and telling more about themselves, encouraging readers to check out the book page and buy it – as well as leave a review. Once these run out, or if I hit a desert, then pull other single books out (or a short anthology.)
My coach and I have gone back and forth on these fiction parables – but the implementation has to be simple. While there are specific parables in each of them, I’d rather the reader decide – and be completely right about what they think that parable actually is. In that, the backmatter can be more boilerplate. Still, each book has to have it’s own custom URL on each link so the links are trackable. My analytics – Clicky – has a nice little tool for this.
My non-fiction newsletters will be short excerpts from the books and a link to where they need to go for more information. This will give me practice in writing short (500 words or less) and keeping one link in the article. Backmatter for non-fiction will have links to the fiction parables but that is about all I need to do with them. The reason this site exists is because most people’s mindset is filled with non-sensical, non-examined conventional wisdom. So that they won’t look, can’t see, and can’t act on what they do see. Until they re-stack their mindset, they won’t be able to get what they want out of life.
The fiction books continue as this is the simplest and fastest way to get subscribers. My route is completely unorthodox. So be it. As long as my monthly sales continue to cover my bills, then I’ll be in good shape. As those finances raise, then I’ll invest against the day that they don’t, any more. (Meaning, that my non-book investments are themselves covering their own operating costs and also returning at least 10%.)
Those are the three main content that I need to be consistent at. Giving good value to subscribers and challenging them to reach a little more, to try something new.
Publishing gets all my fiction out to Medium and Wattpad, as well as some short non-fiction to Wattpad – all of these grow audience.
I’m also going to be expanding my Nightingale podcasts so that people can get his wisdom – and also give better value to my listeners. This will expand my ability to write and also my ability to record original material. Essentially, he wrote “flash” non-fiction essays of short length, but to the point. And each of these will credit nightingale-conant.com and run an ad for them. (Better to apologize than ask permission – and if you find someone is running advertisements for free and linking to your site – what are you going to do?)
The point of a content-writing and content-publishing business is, of course, content. And so the Content Inc model, and what I do.
None of this is the usual approach that what passes for Amazon-centric conventional wisdom. But that’s also my unique training and bent this lifetime – to find the holes in the fences, the holes in logic, and push as far through them as I can and see how they work. This approach gets you your fair share of skinned knees, bruises, and scratches. But the rewards are worth the world.
And I leave behind a far simpler path.
Which is satisfying all by itself. A lifetime of satisfaction.
Last Week’s To-Do’s:
- Emails out – three of them. (One to LS list, One to Fiction Readers, One to Writers as another attempt to get more of these surveys answered.) YUP
- My own “four pieces of writing” written down. NOPE
- Catch up on all Amazon publishing. YUP
- Review all email coach’s collected videos and PDFs YUP
- Restore New Releases and Short Story RSS feed emailers YUP
- Finalize my LS and FIC backmatter and strategy to implement. YUP
- 2 fiction ebooks republished. NOPE
- 2 non-fiction ebooks revised/republished (proofs ordered.) NOPE
- 2 Free short stories out through site, Mediuam, and Wattpad NOPE
- 2 New LS essays out through Medium. YUP
- New fiction written, published, syndicated. NOPE
Next Week’s To-Do’s
- 3 Emails out (LS, Fiction, Writers)
- My own four pieces of writing done.
- New fiction book written, published.
- 2 fiction books republished – and to Wattpad, Medium
- 2 top-selling non-fiction republished
- Set up April giveaways on Story Origin to replace expiring March IF giveaways. One per main genre.
- Time permitting – fill the rest of the week with republishing my top-selling nonfiction
Also published on Medium.