A lot of work done, even if the last part of the week was distracted. One course moved to beta, and another huge anthology created in time for holiday shopping…
The Great Writing Business Challenge – Week 40 Results
Instafreebie/PW: 101/338 (Actual vs. Reported: 25.1%) Just under 50% are from my own books, the rest as organizer opt-in’s. 1 non-IF subscribes. 47 no-openers moved off.
Overall Total: 3105 (new subscribers dropping behind, gradually – even with a plus week.) Total of IF/PW “subscribers” is now over 10K. Those remaining after a year: 1164/6083 (19.1%) That’s under 5.8% of claims.
Book sales – October Monthly sales:
Next Lulu report for Sept – due Oct 15
Note: I’ve quit weekly booksales reporting as its more discouraging than informative. Monthly reports give more valuable data in terms of trends and actions to take. Month over month will give more data as I refine my data collection to be more comprehensive.
Published Words Fiction:
– free – Own Site: 0, Medium: 0, Wattpad: 0
– paid – Book Outlets: 232980, Medium: 0
Published Words Non-Fiction:
– free – Own Site: 3588 this blog, Else: 0 (Medium)
– paid – Book Outlets: 219,626, Medium: 0
Fiction Books re-published with updates:
- No recent progress – will be addressed after courses.
- A Short Story Reader’s Bookshelp
Books In Progress:
- HS Book 3 prequel: “Walkaway Blues” sequel “Walkaway Diner Doubts”, “NaN”
- “Erotika Jones” prequel (and re-starting that series)
- HS Book 5 prequel: “Felicity”, “Sitting Felicity”, “Their Eyes” – a trilogy now.
Courses in Progress:
- “Strangest Secret” (now in beta),
- “Get Everything You Want Out of Life”,
- “If You Can Count to Four…”,
- “Completely Change Your Life in 30 Seconds” – all in alpha (see below).
New Podcast Episodes:
- Some progress in courses.
- (Did get a new set of audio burned to hard drive for processing…)
Meta data changes: to keep record of these (Amazon-centric)
Right at the end of the week (Fri-Sun) I got distracted. Friday was from a freelance writer who was pitching me to hire him (I did – another test.) Saturday the cows got out – twice. Sun I was in preps for family visiting all day – other than getting inspired to build another huge anthology.
Just counted them up – that makes over 53 books published this year.
Why My Own On-writing Books Have Stopped
Found I’ve quit writing about writing. Like little else to say. I did get my “hanging” books published though. And reviewing these says really all I have to go over for now. I’m not chasing the tiny crowd of “writers becoming authors”. While I have a few posts in “draft” mode, I’ve no real interest in fleshing these up. Mainly because there’s nowhere to send them – which again goes back to proving my own dogfood tastes as good as I say it does. My time is better spent applying what I know to be true, and learning what I need to throw out.
There’s an IF/PW note here: take the actual vs. reported percentage above and multiply it by the remaining after a year percentage (also above). If nothing changes, my real audience will keep moving toward 5 percent real retention. IF/PW is good for fast, inexpensive subscribers, but it doesn’t build audience for the long term. I’ve never cracked 5K at my peak with them alone. But I don’t write erotica or romance, so…
The Great Writing Audience Challenge
Now that it’s named, it all starts churning in my mind during odd times when I should be doing something else.
Some key points:
Getting over Amazon-osis
The “swelling of the Amazon” data in my mind. I found myself in Amazon-publishing-paralysis at times. Particularly on public domain. And then I figured out – skip it. StreetLib takes these and syndicates these as an aggregator (PublishDrive swallowed the Amazon Kool-Aid, like Lulu). I don’t really blame them, as there is a lot of low-quality spam out there for PD books. And the publisher is liable for the headaches of over-active lawyers defending that estate. (Although they mainly just go after Amazon, from experience.)
Anyway, for years it’s been publishing to Amazon last as they are so particular. But the emphasis has been learning all the tricks about Amazon – when the results aren’t there. It’s the easiest platform to get buried on and the hardest to crack. Gaughran says to test your Bookbub ads on Amazon first, since if they work there, they’ll work everywhere. But he’s come from that Amazon-first mentality. While anecdotally, other authors have said Amazon will be around 50% of your wide income, I haven’t found that to be true. But my approach has been sans advertising. Last month, it was 20% – the dog days of August. We’ll get another report in on the 15th and I’ll do another collection.
Sending PD through StreetLib (Bedford-Jones “This Fiction Business”) was very simple. And another book, a collection (“Learning from the Pulp Masters”) was also simple. So taking my “How I Survived My First Year of Fiction Writing” – which is my own work – finally got off the ground. Meanwhile “The Collected Neville Library” was simpler to just put everywhere else right now and then come back to Amazon at some point if it takes off everywhere else.
That’s the trick. Use the other outlets as test cases and then transmogrify to Amazon-ready just to increase sales. All others use straight categories – it’s Amazon who has the extra categories you can go into and tweak your book dozens of different ways. “Keep It Simple, Scholar” has never been more valuable than with prolific output.
It’s just the bad habit of listening to all these people who make the bulk of their income from Amazon – when there’s arguably more money to be made, and more simply, outside it. All neglected. So I’ll be taking care of that 80% of my income first, if you don’t mind.
The Only “Social Media” A Writer Needs
Or needs to pay attention to: Wattpad, Medium, Bookbub.
One datum I rely on Tim Grahl for is his analysis of social media for book sales. 99% of it doesn’t. Actually, it’s less than 1% of booksales come from any amount of social media promotion. I also saw this in IF/PW giveaways, where all they had to do was to click on a free book – less than 20% even did that.
If you take into account the amount of time these various media require, then you’re way in the hole. All while you should have been writing.
For audience, those three above may help. And this coming year, I’ll be doing more work to syndicate and interact (as needed) to build audience from them. Wattpad will get comments (supposedly) that you can answer and encourage readers to come to your site. Medium has comments, but this is mostly setting up backlinks. Of course you can get paid as well. Bookbub is an email-based book discovery site – so getting recommendations is key there. And that means spending some time giving recommendations (and also having a separate email to claim every pen name you’ve used.)
Everything else can go jump. If a “platform” doesn’t sell books or doesn’t build audience, then it’s useless to an author.
And meanwhile, all these studies say that social media makes you sad, screws up your life. So – stick to sites that provide entertainment. Not silly cat pictures in between sponsored ads. (So go find some real friends you can talk to in person.)
Note: I do curate to Mind and Flipboard, and send pithy success quotes to Gab. But you’ll seldom find me spending time there, other than to syndicate material. I’m a content (re)publisher – and that’s what I do.
Last week’s to-do’s:
- Emails out – Blitz (Sun/Mon) – Yup
- Publish all “beta” books on writing to SL, etc. – Yup
- Strangest Secret video’s produced, uploaded – Yup
- Other two mini-courses downloads created, uploaded, linked. – Nope
- Publish to Wattpad and Medium (Sat) – Nope
- New Nightingale podcasts (Fri) – Nope
- If possible, set up a survey of my subscribers who click through and have been on my list for over a year. Nope.
This week’s to-do’s:
- Emails out – Blitz (Sun/Mon) –
- Publish all “beta” books on writing to SL, etc. –
- Strangest Secret video’s produced, uploaded –
- Other two mini-courses downloads created, uploaded, linked. –
- Publish to Wattpad and Medium (Sat) –
- New Nightingale podcasts (Fri) –
Also published on Medium.