Despite being in the middle of peak calving season (another dozen to go) work continues on. Goals are goals, and when you set them up as a Burning Desire, they seem to take on a life of their own. But then, that’s the point…
The Great Writing Business Challenge – Week 14 Results
Instafreebie/PW: 38/145 (Actual vs. Reported: 26%)
Overall Total: 3700
Published Words Fiction:
– free – Own Site: 0, Medium: 0, Wattpad: 0
– paid – Book Outlets: 6922, Medium: 0
Published Words Non-Fiction:
– free – Own Site: 2953, Else: 0 (Medum)
– paid – Book Outlets: 0, Medium: 0
Books In Progress:
- Origin Tales: Mysti
Book sales this week:
Draft2Digital – 6, Gumroad – 1, PublishDrive – 3, Amazon – 39, StreetLib – 2 = Total Week’s Sales – 51
Lulu sales for March: 1 ebooks, 200 paper/hardback (avg per week – 50 | avg. royalty – $3.17). Next report 15 Apr…
Note: Amazon Fiction – 13/39=33% – still ranging 30% of fiction sales (Amazon). Overall sales better, still need a lot of improvement. Long-term strategy is still the same.
New Podcast Episodes:
- A full dozen this week. See below…
Subscribers: Not running anything on StoryOrigins, but am participating in more IF giveaways (others organizing). Interesting immediate results of my onboarding got immediate unsubscribes and only 26% actually made it through by the end of this week. Nice – because I’m after readers that aren’t just free-book junkies. It also means that only 10% of the total claims make it through as subscribers. Meanwhile, I just unsubscribed 45 90-day no-openers who went inactive. As I said, I expect to drop my total list by another quarter at least due to my training them.
That onboarding was changed to give them first a link to all the current giveaways (which are gradually turning permanent until the end of the year, at least), the second email clues them into the parable paradigm of these books, using a character to tell the story. That combination tends to raise a hurdle many can’t get over – which is just fine. Again, I’m not interested in readers only wanting throw-away novels. This is different than conventional wisdom where the size of the list is more important than its quality and responsiveness.
It also shows the quality of the average Instafreebie subscriber – which is patent inside its original (and more descriptive) name. Readers looking for free books. (And having sampled the quality of work out there, as well as the author’s emails, I don’t hold that they aren’t correct in thinking “free throw-away books” when they opt-in.
(What is “Prolific Works” doing anyway? They had an aborted attempt at forcing authors to run kickstarters and then – crickets…? You’d think they’d be running free courses and webinars to help authors improve their craft and their marketing skills… some Shakespeare quote about smelling fish in Denmark seems appropriate.)
Organic Subscribers: This week worked on a front page opt-in form. The last one had various errors in it, and I tweaked it at first, then built a new one. Earlier conversion was .46%, this one is so far .31% The majority of these have come via Instafreebie – the correct route. And that list’s open rate is 60% The improvement was putting a captcha item to hopefully drop most the lookie-loo’s (bots). I may need to simply turn it into a reader magnet ad.
Non-Fiction: Started a Skillshare cycle of making an intro course for this site. Because the same videos can be used there, and here, and Udemy. Just breaking down “Strangest Secret” recording to actionable steps. Very useful. I’m surprised I’ve never heard of anyone doing this before. This was on Friday, my Non-fiction batch day. See below for more.
Fiction: Did get a book all the way through, again. Got an inspiration Wed for this week’s fiction (an insider note – got an ear-wig that wouldn’t quit about 3am. So I wrote a story about a ghost haunting with an ear-wig.) I took my little Chromebook to the auction and started typing there. Not the easiest, but I had to wait through the swine before the calf I was selling came up. (Being there gives better prices.) Nice test. Not a lot done, but I fleshed out quite a bit of it. The great part of having all those days in between starting in earnest on Saturday was that I could ask all sorts of questions about how and why things happened in that story. My “yea, but…?” and “how come…?” or “how did that happen?” Even then, I didn’t know which two characters would be showing up in addition to the regular Ghost Hunter team…
At least this process is getting simpler. I’m also using the new backmatter in my new books and working these up with UDM codes as coupons to see where my organic subscribers are coming from.
And I counted at least five different ideas in this last parable.
Supplemental: I also started a work about the Ghost Hunters Universe – one that I’ll record as part of a guide for readers – since there are so many books and coming in on the end will have all sorts of subtle points that can be pretty strange if you come in without the earlier books. That will be part of a collection where the key books are all assembled along with this document – making it a bundle…
There is also upcoming a collection/bundle on Carol the Time-Bender. It will have the audio as part of the bundle, and a reader magnet for that book – and perhaps the others in that series. The bundle will have the “decoder ring” reader magnet in it as well as explanation of how to use it – so that gives me more flexibility (even though the parable scene is in the second onboarding sequence.)
Emails I’m Sending Weekly – And How…
While this could be broken down even more, I basically have four distinct types of subscribers I talk to weekly:
- Fiction Readers (the bulk.)
- Non-fiction readers
- Advance Reading Club
These were sorted out when I was being coached. And worked to being simplest.
And all these are written on Monday, then scheduled Tues-Thur for delivery. There is some satisfaction in getting this done. Like mini-goals attained. And that then takes it back to the point of working in batches to get things done. Four emails, and all the background stuff that has to be done to make them happen (like creating a download and updating the ARC page.)
- Fiction readers get some story character telling them about a new release.
- Non-fiction readers get a helpful tip – Nightingale audio as podcasts right now.
- ARC gets whatever just got put into pre-release.
- Authors get updates on their courses – like the Skillshare training I’m doing (as below.)
Each of these is very real, and always designed for their “WIIFM” in mind. I give away something if I can. People tend to like imaginary people talking to them as if they are alive. (Well, they are, but that is a subject you can dig into my archives to find – search: “stories are alive”.)
What I don’t do is to set up special discounts. Any beyond my “Pay What You Want” (which is already just below retail, and still higher royalty than I get from most of these book outlets.) Setting up box sets is coming up soon, but I don’t have time to mess with a lot of price-changing and silliness. As mentioned, at least one reader appreciates not being deluged with big graphics – he liked being invited to smile. Of course, these characters tend to be self-depreciating. (This week’s says his main claim to fame is flipping burgers in the back of a rolling food truck – small wonder he seldom gets parts in these books…)
All the emails are real, but there isn’t all that much personal data to give away. Like the parables, my books and approach are completely different that what goes for conventional stuff. Because what used to work won’t keep working. People like to unique voices. And that I’ve got in spades.
A note here: I write all the emails on Monday and pre-schedule them for Tues through Thurs. The trick is to not have two emails going out to someone in multiple list groups on the same day.
Skillshare is running a training course, and I thought this was a great idea to get “The Strangest Secret” transcript made into bite-sized pieces so writers would study these and improve their mindset.
Technically, this is what happened for me this last year. Set a goal and then worked at it every week – until I wound up with a hundred short stories and around 140 published books.
This year, there is a goal for the writing business itself, and that means updating all those books, plus the other top-sellers that have paid for this research and writing production.
We should wind up with about 5 – 7 videos, which I’ll also post here on the site (which has an unused LMS function.)
Just to fill in all the otherwise idle time…
Sequence on this is outline, work up each section into 500-750 word scripts, record these, match with a slideshow (1 slide/min), Build a video from these, upload with PDF transcripts.
Podcasting Batches Success
Working in templates with good master files means these can be cranked out. I did a lot and had to count – a full dozen by the end. These discs end up just a little more than that number on each one. So maybe 5 months to have them all done (20 weeks.)
Trick to this success is to have the podcasts and the artwork all on templates. Not very original, but very simple to produce.
Goal here is to have 250 audio essays generated 5 days per week, and then try to duplicate the original “Our Changing World” content. Have these repeating each year, like the others.
Changes in Scope of this site
I saw that Mind-Body-Value-Product was a bit broad. The narrow focus I have is to enable people to learn and internalize goal-achievement. Backwards from a thousand fans spending $100 annually, to make me a six-figure income. This is also simple when you ask, “Are you getting at least $10 per month from the material on this site? Consider becoming a patron for that amount.” And then set up some sort of accountability program and mastermind group. Don’t know how I’d set that up right now, but it would be a great start.
Might be where I simply set up a “course” with all the material in it – ala carte. And then allow people into that group where they can communicate with each other inside a closed membership. Sleep on it tonight – wait for those “ideas out of the blue” to show up, while watching for them.
Burning Desire Continues to Inspire, Solve, Haunt
The idea of including so many short Nightingale audio pieces on this site of course makes me study each one of them. Some are as short as three minutes, a few over five. So study of this are amazing gold nuggets.
With a purpose, I took up the recordings listed as “Goals and Opportunities”. Because that is the main thrust of his “Strangest Secret” recording. So, in playing back these podcasts for my own use (and a triple-check that I got them right) I am getting a positive feedback loop on my own scene.
Like that idea of a private membership course only for patrons. Built out of the materials of this course, and set up to be a permanent repository for all this data. Something worth paying $10 a month for in perpetuity. Because if you are paying that much, are you visiting and reviewing and refreshing your own understanding of these basic books?
That comes from an idea within Hill’s book – that he signed up for a correspondence course and the fact that they kept dunning him for payments made him crack those books and get his money’s worth.
And that’s the point. When I’m not writing and publishing, I’m myself re-listening to the audio on this site. The point is to internalize all these distilled nuggets of knowledge and thoroughly understand them. These new Nightingale audio bits tend to compound those books he selected in his Strangest Secret Recording.
Every time I sleep or wake – even if only a nap – I repeat that goal statement I wrote down and fully feel it complete. This brings me a calm expectancy, just as Nightingale predicted. Another point from a recording this week, “Your Motivating Desire“, explains how I am able to be so energetic and prolific at writing and publishing – because that desire I’ve stoked has in turn released it’s own torrent of energy and enthusiasm toward that “sky-high” goal I’ve chosen.
All very interesting side-benefits. Comes from flying the kit-airplane you built, eating the dog food you produce…
Now, when you ask for inspiration, you get it full bore. Every nap, if you want it, will wake you with greater vision.
Today I got an old income breakdown – what will you do with all that money?
Since my needs are few, unless I need to hire people or services, I can live on 10% of goal income. 20% goes to taxes (all passive income), 10% to charity, 10% to savings. Leaves 50% to reinvest in 10% dividend-earning areas. Meaning, that if I also increase my income by (average/only) 10%, then I have a exponential increase every year.
In 11 years, saying that you can average 100K in income, you’ll be making over a 100K in dividends by investing 50% of that each year.
The Concept of A Patron’s Course
I’ve had this before. A thousand true fans spending $100 per year. My email coach at the time said I’d have to probably have about 16,000 subscribers to accomplish this. And she also didn’t think going into a big course was going to be worth my time. (Especially since I hardly had any reader magnets at all.) So we agreed I should leave off the coaching and get the reader magnets caught up. At the end, she revealed that the bulk of her email expertise is in helping fiction authors.
So I’m again free to innovate, while I still stick to the earlier plan.
Such a course-as-service actually allows me to implement the 1,000 true fans concept. Giving them at least $10/month value would do it. Or 250 true fans spending $400 annually. Some sort of service is the key point. Accountability, mastermind, something. About $35/month worth.
The earlier free membership I had (it still exists) was sad on this count. At least it kept my free downloads from showing up all over the place, but subscribers didn’t go to an email account – so there was no way to keep them active. By putting them on a mailing list, I then came near unsubscribing the inactives by about 40%. Probably more to do at this point. (Compare those still active on that list with those who have been unsubscribed, then remove their memberships.) Meanwhile, I’m not linking to that membership anywhere or having it as any major option. Mailing lists are memberships, courses are memberships. Both are more easily worked up and maintained. A person unsubscribes and they are essentially gone. But courses have their own mailing list, so a person could be a student, but not want emails about the other stuff. The trick is to have annual/monthly fees (preferably monthly, as I’ve experienced getting to the end of a course and being hit with a “re-up” fee when I had disengaged from the course materials themselves.) Nap Hill tells of buying a course and being hit with monthly fees motivated him to get his money’s worth from it.
It’s not a one-and-done course, but a course-as-a-service. The current option is to get hundreds of people to pay for a $400 course and then just work with those people over the next year – or half-year. But that is finding new clients every year, which isn’t the “true fan” scene. Call it an annual membership, but run it as a course – separate from the multitudes you’re working with to get up to the point of joining your membership.
In other words, this is evolving. The Skillshare work is a baby step in that direction. Foundational. Again, I build this in pieces, book-course by book-course. Mini-courses build into a decent main course which both can be promoted to build list. This falls into Jeff Walker approach.
This fiction work is just another way to build up a conversion route – and its working so far. (Plus, I like writing fiction.)
In a course-setup, you can check activity and actually network/debug people to ensure they are getting value.
There is some number of 250 which is the average top number any individual can actively network with. (Dunbars’ Number.) Beyond that, you are simply sending weekly emails to keep them somewhat engaged, and also then “overboarding” those that go inactive. (Replacing these probably with targeted FB ads.)
Needs a lot more study before I start committing time to building anything. This Skillshare work may be one way to do this – building blocks to the larger scene.
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 (and how!)
- One day blitz on fiction book republishing – including PubD, SL, Wattpad. YUP (except Wattpad)
- Test non-fiction (SSL) sign-up route , One day blitz on non-fiction (SSL) books republishing. NOPE
- Rest of week on simply writing-publishing new fiction work. YUP
This Week’s To-Do’s
- Emails out – blitz
- New podcasts posted – blitz
- Fiction publishing blitz – catch up on Wattpad
- Skillshare scripts written, audio recorded if time.
- Weekend for new fiction and this report
Also published on Medium.