Farm work hit yesterday – cows out three times and had to be gotten back in. (Wouldn’t go back into the hole they came out…) But work continues. And – chose to do NaNoWriMo again.
The Great Writing Business Challenge – Week 42 Results
Instafreebie/PW: 57/219 (Actual vs. Reported: 26%) 3 non-IF. 52 no-openers moved off.
Overall Total: 3051 (new subscribers dropping behind, gradually) Those IF/PW subscribers remaining after a year: 2919/6146 (47.5%) That’s a considerable rise in retention. Keep an eye on this…
Published Words Fiction:
– free – Own Site: 0, Medium: 0, Wattpad: 3 chapters
– paid – Book Outlets: 146755, Medium: 0
Published Words Non-Fiction:
– free – Own Site: 2028 this blog, Else: 3 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 for NaNoWriMo)
- 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: Increased price of CYL a dollar, again.
More into a regular production line and keeping my farm work up as well. Still warm enough outside to do a lot of things, but have to maintain a steady pace before winter really starts keeping me inside again. (Of course, that’s good writing weather…)
Book sales – September Monthly Sales:
|Distributor||total books||income||per book||%totalbooks||%totalincome|
Non-fiction sales dwarf fiction. Another nail in that fiction coffin.
eBooks are a one-third of total sales. (Audiobook and courses are not tallied, as they are teeny.)
Particular books sell best on certain platforms. And this is not an apples-to-apples comparison. Of four bestselling books, three sell best as Lulu paperbacks, and the other as ebooks. Some books are simply not on Amazon as ebooks, due to their finicky restrictions.
Average per-book royalties are higher on Lulu than Amazon. The latter is plagued by race-to-the-bottom ebooks.
Now, two months of this has shown that Amazon doesn’t even make 20% of my income. So the ballyhoo about “losing money” by not being exclusive is not in my ballpark. For a couple of months, years ago, I did have one bestseller that was producing over a thousand per month. And then it tanked again (as books on Amazon will do – that’s the point of “Feeding the Beast“).
NB: A check above shows that the 80/20 rule doesn’t point Amazon’s way. There are 13 authors or series that are producing just about 80% of my sales. (Which isn’t 20% of my total titles or number of selling titles. Just under half of those are Amazon ebooks or printed books. Out of my four top-selling books, two are sold on Amazon more than anywhere else. Again, that’s not even 40% of my income. But this is something to look at in my 2019 review in January…
All my sales are currently without promotion. (The “summer doldrums” doesn’t explain Amazon’s continued lack of sales. My refusal to pay their “promotion tax” probably does.)
Again, with my minimal overhead (and a second job for R&B) this covers my living and business expenses.
The strategy still holds that I’ll be better off leveraging and tapping the non-fiction sales as priority over writing more fiction. However, I need to stat promoting both to increase sales.
It also tells me that the approaches to marketing my top-sellers will be very individual per title.
I should probably expand to a month-over-month comparison, but that’s a lot of work. Maybe next month, when I have the same data scraped and compiled. In Jan, I’ll do the year-end study for 2019.
Fiction isn’t all lost – but here’s the thing: Don’t quit your day job (until your book income can replace it twice over.) I sold 22 copies of my own fiction this month, and 23 copies of classics. At some point, I’ll take my love of classics to the next step and form a book club. Then start sending weekly emails out with classic books on offer. Stuff that got me inspired and that I’ve found in the public domain – where I can produce a copy that will inspire others and also cover the costs of it’s re-production. Most of those 23 re-prints are in paperback, so those do as its built in. Amazon has severe problems with public domain spam. And some aggregators simply won’t accept them for that same reason. Streetlib is probably the last of those I know of. I can directly upload to Kobo and maybe NookPress and iTunes. But that is a lot more work.
Note: Next month will show up Nov 15 for October. I’ve quit weekly booksales reporting as its more discouraging than informative.
Building a Bookshelf of Courses
This inspiration came to me as I’m struggling with what I most like and want to do. Sure, I have a huge backlog of books to make in to courses. And my fiction doesn’t sell enough to pay its bills (which are few).
The deal is this: you don’t get to there from here paying attention to these small niggly voices in your head. You get there by simply doing something about it every day.
Fiction is a five-year minimum commitment – of at least a novel’s worth of wordage every year, preferably two. Because it takes awhile to build your name and brand recognition (same thing, if you think about it.)
I’ve been publishing non-fiction since 2006, so over a dozen years of production has shown up in a continuing income from published books. That’s my backbench working, regardless of “needing” to promote. Fiction can be accelerated by ads, and ads will also leverage my non-fiction books.
All these two years of work have produced is honing my talent for writing books and refined my techniques. It also proved certain models as false. And this next year will see my blog post (probably excerpted from these weekly reports) into it’s own book to tell that tale.
For the last two years, I’ve started working on the next challenge in October. This is no difference. The testing I’m doing on courses, and about to do on advertising, will set up the structure to follow this next year.
The point is to build two books a week, more or less. Write and publish either fiction or non-fiction every week, and also a course – or at least part of one. And at the end of a year, you have at least 50 published books out there, maybe more. Books are idea-containers. Some are more profitable than others.
But you aren’t going to get anywhere if you worry instead of simply shoving your nose to the grindstone and getting those books done.
Build a bookshelf of books every year. Promote them as you can. Keep improving on your craft at each. That’s the way out.
The other point is to segment your week into windows and try to keep within those production windows with the work you need to be doing. According to what keeps you satisfied with what you’re doing, while you’re doing it. Sure – interruptions and distractions come up. Get those done and get back to it. Simple.
The IF/PW Subscribers Saga
This is a kind of saga, afterall. I usually write every week or two on this area. And while there is nothing particularly new right now, it’s of note that the system I have in place tends to weed out the worst freebie-seekers within the first few weeks.
No-openers go by the first 10 emails, which may be as little as 3-4 weeks. In 90 days, no openers are removed, so that could be as little as 4 months. My emails are simple, but the same format weekly. People are expected to buy, or if they want free they need to join the Advance Readers Club and get PDF’s.
I give out a link to the giveaways in their first onboarding email, and then usually don’t mention it again. When I do, people click through a lot. But those giveaway links are crack-cocaine to freebie seekers (FS).
FS have more books on their ereaders and hard drives than they will ever get to. And those books aren’t valuable. What they pay for, they’ll read. If they read, they can/should become fans. So sending people off to find more giveaways is not being nice to them. Just feeds their addiction. Again, if people want my books for free, I send them to my ACR every week.
Now, that said, I only post previews to my mega-collections there. That percentage of my books is usually about 10 short stories anyway. So they get their value. Even on a limited budget.
That’s the best scene I’ve had to develop for the IF/PW scene. Once you start down this line, you’re committed. And I can see that I’ll be below 3K soon enough on subscribers as I weed out the worst freebie-seekers and keep the ones who are on their way to becoming true fans.
My email service provider (Mailerlite) has worked up a way to build emails that are custom to certain segments. So I can now send (with some practice) specific blocks of text to people who click more, and those who have ever bought from me directly. Don’t know how their analytics will track those – so I have learning curve ahead. Still, that’s a fascinating way to approach emails.
- Considering/decided to do NaNoWriMo again – this time entering the “Erotika Jones” Series of 8 books (prequel + the remaining 7). Lots of work. Starts next week, interestingly…
- Working up the other fiction books as prequels to the uber-saga I’m writing next year.
- Wattpad and Medium postings are now simple – and continuing.
- Most of the upgrades to “If You Can Count to Four…” course now done. Only missing videos.
Last week’s to-do’s:
- This analysis, emails out (Sun) – Yup
- Other two mini courses – takeaways, action steps, videos (Mon-Wed) – Half
- Monthly collection and analysis of sales (Thurs) – Yup
- Move beta courses to Thinkific (Thurs) – Nope
- Start advertising (Bookbub) re-study (Fri) – Nope
- Wattpad, Medium postings (Sat) – Yup
This week’s to-do’s:
- This analysis, emails out (Sun) –
- Remaining mini courses – takeaways, action steps, videos (Mon-Wed) –
- Move beta courses to Thinkific (Thurs) –
- Start advertising (Bookbub) re-study (Fri) –
- Wattpad, Medium postings (Sat) –
- Preps for NaNoWriMo –
Also published on Medium.