Main thing is to keep on keeping on. The “batch” system is tending to work. I simply work on one thing that day, exclusive of even emails (well, except as below.) And this keeps the momentum going, while forcing accountability during the day itself…
The Great Writing Business Challenge – Week 13 Results
Overall Total: 3696
Published Words Fiction:
– free – Own Site: 0, Medium: 0, Wattpad: 0
– paid – Book Outlets: 6809, Medium: 0
Published Words Non-Fiction:
– free – Own Site: 5869, Else: 4237 (Medum)
– paid – Book Outlets: 0, Medium: 0
- Dark Lazurai
Books In Progress:
- Origin Tales: Mysti
Book sales this week:
Draft2Digital – 1, Gumroad – 1, PublishDrive – 0, Amazon – 32, StreetLib – 0 = Total Week’s Sales – 34
Lulu sales for March: 1 ebooks, 200 paper/hardback (avg per week – 50 | avg. royalty – $3.17). Next report 15 Apr…
Note: Down last two weeks, but no annual/monthly comparative. Fiction still ranging 30% of fiction sales (Amazon). Overall sales need a lot of improvement. Long-term strategy is still the same.
New Podcast Episodes:
All better and recovered from last week’s illness. I can tell by my interest and energy at getting things done.
I’m seeing if Instafreebie (IF) isn’t settling down to a net wash.
I dropped below 3800 for the first time in ages. A combination of that mailing fiasco (below) and a huge drop in new “faces”. My prediction is that I’ll probably drop a quarter of that 3800, settling down to maybe 2600 or so when I pass the 90-120 day mark from now. My unsubscribes otherwise have also dropped precipitously – which is very good.
As covered earlier, I was losing 400 a month, and gaining just over 400 a month – but the loss was from the earlier month’s IF subscribers. I’m still paying them, but haven’t organized any new giveaways. The earlier giveaways I am keeping going until the end of the year and will simply have to check them to ensure the books are all available. Only one author elected to take their book out when the original date expired. That gives me evergreen giveaways – and a bonus service to other authors. Paying IF for sending me those emails is a test. Also tentatively entering my books into various other ongoing giveaways – but not where I’m required to do this or that promotion at any certain level. Another test, as said.
All my giveaways are running till the end of the year – save only one, for Mother’s Day, where the IF promotion boost doesn’t occur until May 7th. Any time after that, I can swap out the name and extend the duration. These will run, as well as joining various giveaways, just to keep things going.
The point of keeping on with IF is to keep some coming in, even though 70% won’t stay with me. It will be that small number who will overall increase my number or at least defuse other losses.
Main point being that I’m now onto the work of converting subscribers at various levels of engagement up to their next level. And this is working, as noted below.
The main idea I’m testing is the point of having a small but very engaged fan base. Can this be built with IF subscribers?
Meanwhile, I should push forward all the fiction books, once I get the SSL non-fiction top-sellers republished with proper back-ads. Writing parables and having a guidebook to the hidden meanings then sets up the point of educating them while entertaining.
Fiction is the simplest way to build subscribers fast. And potentially a great way to fatten that bottom line. I’ll start with bundles/collections while still promoting the earlier books. Probably three single books, and then a collection at a modest discount. The real value is in telling how the books fit together – which might be theme, it might be some character. I have yet to do this with the generic collections themselves, and that is harder because they are simply release-based. That model will probably be one where I talk about key individual books for three weeks, and then drop a collection on them – hinting with a count-down, but showing that the auxiliary books I’ve been talking about lead into that collection and aren’t part of it (or might be.)
In other words, I tell the Book Universe Story – how it all starts and each universe builds on their own. Somehow, all these run right back to goal-achievement – and that is yet another story that I only ever hint at. (But non-fiction readers might be clued in where I have written a short story that illustrates a particular point through a character’s view or problem.)
All good fun…
Note1: a study of what I’d accomplished in SEO last year showed that Google is probably running a scam. Search has gone very long tail. And my site is known only for a single certain long-tail phrase that means a giveaway book. A book I can’t easily edit, that I know of. Making that/those into reader magnets would be the approach. Otherwise, ignore all the brilliant advice about how to write articles for SEO. (And ignore the fools who only want backlinks from my site.)
Note2: I did find why I’ve put off FB ads – it’s a daily job to track these and keep your costs down. Smarmy work, since FB is a privacy rip-off company and the only reason their ads work. I just need to concentrate on organic opt-in routes first, and secondly on increasing the responsiveness of my list. That is a lot more fun. I don’t need another job.
Note3: Spend some time playing around with bookbrush.com – they have a nice system of making 3D books. With all the books I have, it will be nice to not have to settle for a tetchey GIMP template, but rather just download a PNG file from them for any book I have. Their text is iffy. Simpler to use the books as it’s own layer and put everything else in on my own.
Note4: Temi.com is only .10 per minute and does generally as good a job as anywhere else. Perfect for a single author like myself. For collaboration, Trint is much better, but 2 1/2 times costlier (and still cheaper than everyone else by a fourth of the lowest price. Temi is good for getting transcripts you don’t have – like the short Nightingale recordings, and the original MOB transcripts (the later adaptations are really distracting with their “improvements” that simply water down the text – but the original text is hard to find.)
Backend ad is ready with landing page and download page. Turned out it was simpler to make what I needed on my own site rather than get some third party site (that could go down overnight) entrusted with my giveaways.
Backend ad for non-fiction self-help books is ready, along with it’s landing page (same download page as above.) Needs testing. That email mess got into the middle of it.
My best non-fiction book (about copywriting) will need a work out of its own. Mainly, this needs to go to some sort of sequence that sells them the other copywriting books I have. Via gumroad, where I can also enable audio files. So that’s a project.
Another project is to get all the books that used to sell on Lulu back up through StreetLib (which is the least restrictive about public domain books.) That will be a night project, when the other work is well along and I need a break from it.
Those are the two businesses – getting sales through my small press, and capturing these customer’s identities so that they can later convert to my main line of progress. That’s Nightingale-style goal achievement.
Other projects include updating podcasts of Magic of Believing to the original text, as well as Wake Up and Live, Think and Grow Rich. Upgrade the quality as I go.
I have all the tools I need now. What is left is simply grinding it all out.
Disasters and Hiccups in Email Land
Mailerlite (which I really think the world of) fouled up this week by sending multiple (as many as 9 at the worst) of the same mail out to people. A query via their “chat” wound up kicking the scene upstairs. And then the chat the next day showed that their GMT-based office went home for the day. But a query to their front page contact support link (isn’t available from the dashboard – hmmm) got me an reply, if not a resolution. Then the weekend ensued…
What turned out good about this is that I send out an immediate apology when I got flooded with complaints (over a dozen out of 3800 emails sent.) I offered a free ebook of their choice and format if they wanted. That netted me over 50 replies – and many just were attaboys and “it happens to all of us.” So I got to meet and talk with quite a few people on my list that way.
Funny that my highest responses are to honest apologies.
(One actually wanted to talk to that character who “wrote” the email. So “she” responded, of course.)
That amount of emailing and answering took a day out of the loop. Mostly affected getting non-fiction backend worked up.
Imaginative responses are helping emails
People tend to like my characters talking. Of course, I like writing that way. (One person did point out a grammar error the character made – I had to laugh. Of course she was right. The response was more important than my own pride.)
What I do is so unique, it’s crazy. Because I have over a hundred fiction books, it’s pretty simple to have characters do a talky pitch about the book. What I’ve seen in checking these out is that the sales on Amazon (and elsewhere if the book is missing on Amazon) aren’t necessarily directly for that book. But they jump coincident with the emails.
But I don’t pitch low prices or covers. Just text. And try to keep everything light. Give some details that aren’t in the book anywhere. And talk about the characters as if they are alive (which they are) and the pen names as alive (also true) so involve the subscribers into those worlds. Help transport them into a different world for at least a little while. The whole point.
A reader sent me a note that my emails were refreshingly original and made him smile. My email coach asked to use that as a “testimonial” of sorts – I think I went over this. Sure I took off with her idea.
Also, people are asking for the “decoder ring” that explains the ideas behind these parables. Always leaving that as a PPS at the bottom. Funny, only if they respond to the email. No link. And that also gives me some live responses each week.
The trick with this super-saturated book market is to be refreshingly original and ignore the usual junk people are sending out. Sending no discounts is working. Of course, these are all short stories, but none are 99-cents. Why race to the bottom with the other Amazon sheep?
How the Batch System Keeps Me On Point
The trick is that each day has a deadline. What you don’t get done doesn’t get done. You can pull from the next day’s work if you want, though.
Every day has it’s own batch:
- Monday is emails – writing and scheduling.
- Tuesday is podcast posting.
- Wednesday is fiction re-publishing.
- Thursdays is auction (bought a very cute and over-priced heifer.)
- Friday is non-fiction re-publishing
- Saturday/Sunday is new fiction writing
- Sunday is this report.
The other point is to avoid drudgery – which usually winds up with making errors due to boredom. I do my best work when being constructively creative. Shifting off to different areas gives me different challenges.
Podcasts are done by template, so this is getting simpler. Current work is publishing some 250 Nightingale podcasts.
And there was real joy in simply getting back to writing fiction this week. A nice mystery. Under 6K words, but not by much.
Of course, I’d love to have everything done overnight and the hundreds of books that I have to work over already fixed. But it is just ditch digging by hand. Everyday, you do so much more ditch. (Reminds me that I need to put one in our front yard…)
In this spring, I’m going to have to do my farm work in the am when I’m fresh (right after chores.) That will cut into my work time, somewhat. But I’ll probably save what I can of the repetitive work for evening when I’m not at my best (and can watch movies on the side.) I have some fence posts to dig out and replace, as well as generally fixing fences in general. Chores are moving electric fences every day or three to keep the cattle from over-grazing the pastures. (See?)
This week, I need to refine my publishing and expand to Wattpad. The fiction book I republished last week was already there.
Psychotactics and Content Inc
Same basic model. Sean D’Souza’s work is based on a non-fiction backend, and is essentially still the Content Inc model – but he doesn’t tell you what Pulizzi did in his book. D’Souza did follow the Content Inc model, but leaves out telling you that your preliminary step to duplicate his success is to write authoritative articles as guest posts to build audience enough to find and offer them a product.
Found this by doing a site search (site:psychotactics.com/free/) and then looking up the few pages that showed to see what was being given away. Brain Alchemy course is one such. And that is the conclusion.
D’Souza tends to tell you how to market using his particular phrases for things. You’re better off studying the classic marketing/advertising books (Schwartz, Kennedy, Lasker, Schwab, Reeves, Hopkins). Then come back to D’Souza for modern applications. His stuff will make more sense and you won’t have that “deer in the headlights” stare as a neophyte.
Priorities Lists (again – to remind me.)
General priorities (subscribers) –
- Continue weekly emails to subscribers
- Organic subscriber lines built up (book backmatter, Wattpad, Medium)
- IF maintained until Story Origin can replace
- Once organic routes are in place, the segue to FB and other ads
Content priorities –
- Continue to add more goal-achievement podcast episodes and articles. -> opt-in’s
- Distill these into articles for Medium -> opt-in’s
- Continue creating new fiction with improved backmatter.
Sequence of these one-day blitzes
- Any needed organizing. (Once major templates are set, these speed up.)
- One book taken all the way to done – published everywhere.
- Another book taken all the way done.
- Another book – until no more time left.
Last Week’s To-Do’s
- Emails out (one day blitz) YUP
- New podcasts posted (one day blitz) YUP
- Landing page built/reviewed for fiction opt-in’s, One day blitz on fiction book republishing YUP
- Ad and landing page built/reviewed for non-fiction (SSL) , One day blitz on non-fiction (SSL) books republishing YUP
- Rest of week on simply writing-publishing new fiction. YUP
This Week’s To-Do’s
- Emails out (one day blitz)
- New podcasts posted (one day blitz)
- One day blitz on fiction book republishing – including PubD, SL, Wattpad
- Test non-fiction (SSL) sign-up route , One day blitz on non-fiction (SSL) books republishing
- Rest of week on simply writing-publishing new fiction work.
Also published on Medium.