Got caught up with other work left over from last week – only to find another side-alley to investigate. And then another. Good news is that these are all breakthroughs waiting to happen for you…
The Great Writing Business Challenge – Week 41 Results
Instafreebie/PW: 36/154 (Actual vs. Reported: 23%) 1 non-IF subscribes. 34 no-openers moved off.
Overall Total: 3077 (new subscribers dropping behind, gradually) Total of IF/PW “subscribers” is now over 10K. Those IF/PW subscribers remaining after a year: 1158/6106 (18.96%)
Book sales – October Monthly sales:
Next Lulu report for Sept – due Oct 15 (this coming week)
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: 3 chapters
– paid – Book Outlets: 0, Medium: 0
Published Words Non-Fiction:
– free – Own Site: 3588 this blog, Else: 5 articles on Medium scheduled
– paid – Book Outlets: 0, Medium: 0
Fiction Books re-published with updates:
- No recent progress – will be addressed after courses.
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:
Meta data changes: to keep record of these (Amazon-centric) None. Plan is to do these on the 15th every month, after the sales are in.
Less distractions this week. Plenty to come during this fall. Did have to get a calf with an eye infection up for a shot (vet wasn’t available.) First frost this last week – about the right time of year. Now running cooler – fall has finally arrived.
An On-Writing Book Reared its Head
While working along on my over-busy schedule, a freelance writer contacted me and pitched an offer – so I sent him a PLR book that I needed re-written so I could get it onto Amazon. Later, I changed that to another book that sold much better for me last year (nothing great, though – of course, it’s not on Amazon and it’s not promoted. A perfect test case.)
In explaining to him what I wanted, I then had another paradigm shift: Courses are the first idea-container you should build. Because the course becomes your subscriber-magnet. That done, you can plug in a coupon code they enter to get a huge (like 100%) discount. And that goes into your back-matter of your ebook.
Courses can be a 100X profit-maker over your ebooks – but you have to get them there, first. So you ebook becomes your subscriber-magnet for your other idea-container versions. Courses are more valuable to people and you get usually around 90% royalty at least. From a $2.99 book, you’ll get about $2 royalty. From a $37 course, you get about $33. A $97 course gives you about $87. See where this is going? Get out of the race to the bottom competition and just consider that your ebook is your loss-leader, but still a funded proposal out there to be found on all the ebook distribution outlets.
Below, I had to recover the old (2016) Author Earnings report, to find that it’s still only .4% of the nearly 300K Amazon authors who make $50K or more (and less than a dozen were pulling down more than 7 figures there). And you’d have to live outside the bi-coastal megalopolises in order to make a living on $50K.
What courses do is to get you started with a higher income and not require that massive email list that book authors have to maintain in order to make a decent living. Eventually, you can move your courses over to a subscription service and start winding down the “feeding the beast” problem that ebook authors have in fiction and some non-fiction genres.
The paradigm shift: Books contain their own funnel – but you have to start with courses first and work backwards to ebooks. And that’s through the videos, audiobooks, print versions. They see your ebook after you have all the rest ready.
Of course, if you already have your ebook, then the second best time to start is now.
This added to my Backwards Book Publishing – but I’m too tight right now with other pressing projects to record this addition and create the videos of it. You’ll find a broader discussion as the last chapter of that course on Teachable: https://calm.li/CoursesComeFirstBkwd
(And not too surprising, this concept above is one of a too-long list of promotion/marketing activities from Teachable.)
The production plan for this book will be to get the freelancer to deliver the goods in decent form.
- Record/revise it to get the audiobook.
- Pull out the takeaways and action steps.
- Build modules/lessons from each chapter. (Build on my own LMS.)
- Create handouts.
- Create videos.
- Post to Thinkific when it gets to beta.
- Create course coupon and update book backmatter.
- Edit and publish audiobook to Kobo and Findaway,
- Publish ebook and paperback print book (via Direct2Digital).
- Publish ebook to Amazon and all other aggregators.
A Key Report Nearly Lost
Authorearnings.com was pulled down as a site some time in the last year. So a key report from May 2016 was nearly lost – one I’ve counted on to show how many people are making a livable wage from their publishing on Amazon alone. (.4 percent – Amazon is not your friend – they are a cold-hearted competitor.)
We have Archive.org’s Wayback Machine to thank for saving that site.
I scraped that report from there and formatted it as a PDF for my/our use. There’s lots of data in the report, but probably more in the Response section.
The Great Writer’s Audience Challenge
Note the new name (slight change, but better direction.)
The work on this for this week has been to sort out a weekly schedule to get these in:
- Sun – analysis and emails scheduled.
- Mon – Tues – new fiction written
- Wed-Fri – non-fiction books turned into courses and updated, upgraded
- Sat – Medium, Wattpad syndication. Advertising placement, maintenance (might have to become daily)
I’ll be starting on this shortly, and testing it out. Right after I get through my backlog of existing courses in the “Strangest Secret” area. Next after the SS Collection (and this new freelancer-driven book) will be the copywriting area, which has re-writing and re-collecting the material I have that is already selling well. Rational Grazing will be after that, and the last big area is Becoming A Writer. An unlimited number of books to convert as I go. There are about a dozen books that were extracted from “Completely Change Your Life” which can become mini-courses on their own. Plenty to do.
Again, books are published in all versions for non-fiction, which means audiobooks as well. And bundles for upsells through Gumroad.
Another Take on Instafreebie Subscribers
In and amongst that PDF of the Authors Earnings report was a very simple statement. It boils down to this: freebie seekers are mostly hoarders and seldom buy anything. They have huge stacks of virtual books on their various drives to get to “one day”. They have no need to read the next in series or buy anything at all. Books are free to them, and they have no reason to pay for anything.
I pushed some new giveaways for a couple of weeks (burying the link in my newsletter) and found these links quickly became the most clicked. Small wonder.
Now, by regularly unsubscribing the no-openers, you keep them from re-joining your list. This results in fewer new subscribers coming on (depends on IF/PW actually growing their own list) and also fewer being retained after a year.
In the last two weeks, my year-retention rates have continued to drop. And are now below 20%. New subscribers percentage is continuing to drop as well.
If these do not stabilize, they will approach zero on new subscribers, where IF/PW will be worthless.
And while I considered updating my books there to get “back of book” subscribers, all that is giving to the IF/PW crowd (who are 70% freebie-seekers, if not more) is another free giveaway. When they are already on my list. These aren’t valid back of book subscribers. Those reader magnets there are practically worthless, since you already have those subscriber opt-in’s. (If anything, I’d go do the reverse and create books for IF/PW that only have ads to go and buy books, not subscribe once more to get more free stuff.) Take all those books and updated them with lists of additional books with buy links. Or skip it. Non-buyers become non-openers and so get removed and unsubscribed so you don’t have to deal with them again.
There is also no need to put new books onto IF/PW, even for testing blurbs in general. Where IF/PW has new subscribers, update your blurbs via A/B tests that run on your own organized giveaways for literally years. You can also test on other people’s books (why not?) that they entered into your long-running giveaway – and so improve your marketing craft.
The 80/20 rule is probably inapplicable as well, since you don’t sell them anything. Your 20% of claims are not 20% of buyers. More than likely, these wean themselves out by not opening your emails (and the occasional idiot who files a complaint about your “spam”) and so wean themselves off. If you wind up with some 4% left, then that is probably that 20% of 20% that are the subscribers you actually want.
So consider that any work with IF/PW is a great, long filtering that you are doing to get the tiny handful who are interested in buying. So be it.
Most of the authors I’ve talked to from within IF/PW ranks are generally not seeing any use to keep going. But my analysis shows these are still the most very inexpensive subscribers – so I have hope for that $20 I pay every month. And I then need to update my other books with better back-matter, and seek other options to get subscribers.
In general, I can see that IF/PW will start becoming a net drag on my resources in a couple or more years. Just in time spent, alone. So the reasoning to be very “severe” with my over-boarding continues to be justified.
Course-data show that a much smaller subscriber list will be more profitable. And another nail in the coffin of “get rich quick by fiction books on Amazon” strategy.
Note on long-running giveaways: These seem to be very useful. The bulk of authors don’t care about their book on your giveaway. And you say at the outset that you’re running this for months and may extend it. I’ve found that reminding them that it’s extended is counter-productive. One complaint will then get others to remove theirs as well. Lemmings. Your service is keeping a year-long giveaway running. They can take advantage of that opportunity or not. And as I cover above, go ahead and do A/B testing on their book blurbs. For all the times I’ve offered to run A/B tests – no author has taken me up on it. The average author will promote that giveaway maybe two times and then forget it. This is a very useful approach to working these giveaways up. That no one else is doing these just means it’s way out of the conventional wisdom mainstream as an approach.
Reviewing these recently showed that you can completely rebrand the giveaway as you want, as long as you never let it expire. New graphics, new name, new meta-data. Same books – unless you want to add some to A/B test your blurbs and covers (by adding a second version with a new title.) Lots of options.
Last week’s to-do’s:
- Emails out – Blitz (Sun/Mon) – Yup
- Other two mini-courses downloads created, uploaded, linked. – Nope
- Publish to Wattpad and Medium (Sat) – Yup
- New Nightingale podcasts (Fri) – Nope
This week’s to-do’s:
- This analysis, emails out (Sun) –
- Other two mini courses – takeaways, action steps, videos (Mon-Wed)
- Monthly collection and analysis of sales (Thurs)
- Move beta courses to Thinkific (Thurs)
- Start advertising (Bookbub) re-study (Fri)
- Wattpad, Medium postings (Sat)