Four books – anthologies – took most of the week to get published. Two days on emails, as has been usual. Some time on a courses, sorting out where everything is and the scope of things. New data: don’t call a paperback “box set”. New word: “canon”.
The Great Writing Business Challenge – Week 35 Results
Instafreebie/PW: 38/86 (Actual vs. Reported: 23.1%) 2 non-IF subscribes. 11 no-openers moved off. 126 in inactive.
Overall Total: 3276 (Small uptick. New giveaways producing new readers. 3 new giveaways started Sept 1.)
Published Words Fiction:
– free – Own Site: 0, Medium: 0, Wattpad: 0
– paid – Book Outlets: 718,500, Medium: 0
Published Words Non-Fiction:
– free – Own Site: 630 this blog, Else: 0 (Medium)
– paid – Book Outlets: 0, Medium: 0
Fiction Books re-published with updates:
- Total: (maybe) 167 to go. (sigh. No recent progress – still back-burnered.)
Books In Progress:
- “Felicity”, “Sitting Felicity”, “Their Eyes” – a trilogy now.
- “Walkaway Blues” sequel
- “The Case of Death’s Demise”.
Courses in Progress:
- “Strangest Secret”
Book sales this week:
Note: Amazon Fiction – 1/23 (Email traffic produced that sales. Still raised CYL sales by dropping price to .99 – Needs real promotion.)
Lulu sales for June: 4 ebooks, 141 paper/hardback (avg per week – 35 | avg. royalty – $3.40) only one fiction out of that, and only reprints (none mine). Next report (for August) Sept 15. Do a monthly from everywhere then.
New Podcast Episodes:
Core analysis point is to get courses up at least as alpha where I have the audio already. At least I got something done to set these up strategically.
What happened is that I realized I could get a fourth book up – and so I did. I had the book already compiled, it just needed updating. Didn’t have to build this from scratch, so it was mostly a new cover and blurb. Some updates I had to paste into it. No biggie. Nearly 3/4 of a million words (re-)published.
But it has me now into November with pre-orders – another month with these anthologies. This is different from last year, in that I’m milking each anthology instead of rushing them all through by the end of the year. Now I’ve got these new fiction pieces ready to write, with all notes ready.
Great point learned is not to title your books “Box Set” when it’s a paperback, because people will expect a slipcover and refund. These were all anthologies, that built up into libraries, so those two terms were out. “Bundle” is a sleazy descriptive for a paperback, not so for digital products. So – “canon”. Neat, huh?
Started writing this Fri eve. Tomorrow with some farm jobs and then some course work.
OK, it’s Sat eve as I type this. I found a folder where I had everything and then got busy with an overdue spreadsheet. Incomplete, but I have the biggest players input.
For non-fiction (which is where the courses come out of – and completely different marketing than fiction) I used ReaderLinks to pull my aggregate Amazon data (a fairly cheap annual subscription) and then pulled a year’s-worth of data from Lulu, mostly paperbacks.
Boiling those down to simply the top-selling books gave me the only courses I need to build. Simple. Do the courses according to their rank – in a set of those-type subjects. I have four subject areas now, and lined up these according to those that bring more than 10% of their subject areas. That gives three courses in all subject areas, save only my writing books.
Now, this marketing is somewhat backward to the traditional scene most people are spouting these days. Their view is to take Amazon data and put all your beans there. Drink the Kool-Aid.
The tricks to my marketing are these:
- As I ‘ve covered earlier, I get less that 50% of my income from Amazon. So they don’t have as big a vote in this.
- Fiction got me subscribers, but diddly-squat sales. (And Gaughran’s books started me understanding that problem.) One thing I did find, from his BookBub book, is the promotion strategy of using them and Kobo to set things up. The other thing, from looking through Amazon sales, is that they bury the low-performers with cold-blooded profit-sucking algorithms. Discovery isn’t just gone, it’s a black hole on that site. Run ads (through AMS) to make them sell. Cold-blooded. Profit-sucking. Bezos: “Your margin is my opportunity.”
- Non-fiction is different – those readers tend to buy all versions of material, like courses. They shop in tight silo’s, not by wide genre. Stuff they’ll use over and over, not just once-read and forget. And a lot of these products aren’t only found on Amazon. Mostly, they don’t even have these markets cornered. (Grin.) Amazon drives people to buy the lowest-cost ebooks they can. In this case, their “margin-sucking” is our opportunity. Non-fiction is where sustainable book-publishing profits lay, as I was recently reminded by Gaughran – and I’ve always found.
Courses are just part of the overall marketing strategy, even though they take far more work than a simple ebook (and can produce as much as 100x income. At the same time, and as part of this assembly line, we create audiobooks and all versions of print books. This is a route I’ve predicted for several years. (“Backwards Book Publishing“). Books sell courses, courses sell books. Reader magnets, course discount coupons, all point to subscribers. Bookbub points to the books. Lite versions of courses (Udemy, Skillshare) point to the main site, which gives them opt-in and upgrade options.
A very slight overview for you. Just to lay things out – a thin trails of breadcrumbs to give the general scene.
All of that doesn’t mean anything to fiction promotion. That’s it’s own scene, and pretty well laid out by Gaugran and others (a tiny, rare few).
I’m getting most of my income – what has supported these last couple of years of fiction testing – from non-fiction. That’s where my expansion can quickly come from.
- Take top area, build out alpha courses where I have audiobook for these. (Might build these on Gumroad first and/or own site [Rainmaker platform], then later port to Teachable.)
- Revise backmatter to include both reader magnet and course discount coupon (as well as related books in that series.) Update all the books in that top area with new backmatter – while building beta version of courses.
- Ensure email opt-ins have a decent onboarding sequence.
- Ensure audiobooks are online and available – republish new version as needed or update meta-data.
- Get the paperbacks/hardbacks produced (POD) for these top-selling books if not already – update with their own backmatter version if so. Set up discount coupons for these books via Lulu.
- Set up specials on the others or lite versions of the top-selling books for promotion through BookBub and selling on Kobo. Once these are raking in dough, create an Amazon US version. Lots of testing and promotion investment.
- Create bundle on Gumroad for supplementary course materials – link these into course.
- Consider porting certain videos from each course to major video platforms as additional promotion – along with course coupon code.
- And of course, just like Scientific Advertising, track all codes as well as ROI from ads. Get granular.
- New promotion when beta goes final – with price raises, etc. This is the “sideways sales letter” webinar production. Mini version of webinar (teaser) goes up as trailer on all video sites.
- Ensure affiliate program is in place for all takers.
- Take next top area – rinse, repeat.
For each “idea container”, we have these products:
- paperback, hardback, and deluxe hardback
- bundles of above
And the devoted fan will be buying all of them. Again, non-fiction is silo-based. Meaning, the backlist of related books (recommended on the inside of the course, and in the backmatter) should sell better to these readers than those who are used to disposable fiction. Apples and Oranges. Different marketing approaches.
Beats the pants off everything else, doesn’t it?
But yes, when I get tired and need a break, I’ll get some refreshing fiction cranked out. Then back at it. Because fiction is fun – well, writing is.
Once I have the top two areas laid out as above (about 70% of my total sales come from these) then I’ll get back to promoting my fiction to make a breakthrough in those as well. (Again, as Scott Sutton says, “Amazon works as well as you send traffic to it.”)
But I’ve got a few months left in this year. And also have to squeeze in a couple of Christmas fiction promotions in as well.
Last week’s to-do’s:
- Emails out – blitz (Mon) – Yup
- Get three anthologies published. – Yup, plus one.
- Get back onto SS Course and get this up as at least an alpha with audio. – Nope, some.
This week’s to-do’s:
- Emails out – blitz (Sun/Mon) –
- Three courses in alpha with audio and text –
Also published on Medium.