Publishing: The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 19 Results
Writing this between storms, while the Internet is out temporarily – you gotta love satellite broadband… Meanwhile Instafreebie continues to impress.
– free – 0
– paid –
– free –
– paid – 0
Mailerlite: 94, MailChimp: 1 Total – 95
Instafreebie – 167
— Start: 1228
– New Total: 1291
– Net: 83 added
Book sales this week
Amazon – 0, PublishDrive – 0, StreetLib – 0, Draft2Digital – 0 , Lulu – 0 = Total Week’s sales – 0
Books published this week:
When the Wild Calls
Amazon is up to its usual crappy antics when you use a book on Amazon as an Instafreebie giveaway.
I did a test of taking three books off KDP (unpublishing them) and putting them up through Draft2Digital. While I can get a book through KDP in just hours, it took days to get them through D2D, only to get an email reply today that they wasn’t acceptable as these three books were “freely available online.” So I’m now trying to get them reinstated on KDP. (Update: they went Live immediately – hope this holds.)
I have many other books available through KDP that I later made available on Instafreebie. They weren’t affected. These three test books weren’t selling on Amazon at all, so it didn’t cost me anything. Actually, it just makes them even more exclusive on Instafreebie. But meanwhile, I’ll continue to sell them everywhere else, regardless of whether KDP re-accepts them or not.
Lesson there is to publish them through D2D (and probably KDP) before you make them available on Instafreebie. (Second lesson is that Amazon is someone else’s platform – so they don’t have to play nice with anyone, especially indie authors.) I continue to be no fan of Amazon at all.
Instafreebie Continues to Impress
Their support is outstanding. And these giveaways are very effective. We are seeing the difference in weekly subscribers due to what the individual giveaways build into them.
This is starting to even out now, with little new to discover.
I did find that you aren’t able to remove a giveaway once you create it. But you can change everything else about it. The description, the genres, the banner graphic, even the dates (I haven’t tried to change them once one has started, but I may…)
The overall point is to run the rest of these giveaways this year. Probably about July or August, when I have about 6 months worth of data, I’ll be able to have a view of what’s most effective.
A partial analysis this week showed that the giveaways are pretty much the same as the volume of sales on Amazon (as k-lytics analyses regularly.) Lots of Romance and Fantasy, followed by Science Fiction, Teen & Young Adult, then Erotica, Mystery, and Contemporary. Mostly a typical exponential curve. This is just the number of giveaways, not how effective those giveaways are.
Within those, you can see where some of these cross and actually segregate themselves. While there are many Erotic Romance giveaways, there are many that simply are cozy and non-explicit. (Frankly, you can find these by their “six-pack ab” covers.) LGBT isn’t as popular in giveaways as there are sales on Amazon. Only one out of all that I could aggregate (but that’s not my cup of tea.)
Right now, I’m looking at the point where the most effective giveaways lie. Of course, my data doesn’t include private giveaways, which don’t show up as available. Instafreebie pitches these from their site as much as the public ones, but unless you’re part of that “in” crowd, you won’t get access to them.
The general overview right now is that you want to be inclusive as possible, and understanding as possible. I have two giveaways running right now. One is a disaster I’m trying to salvage, the other is going along pretty well. The first is a test of a pop-up giveaway that only runs 10 days. And only had about three week’s notice before it started. I have about 6 more of these “blitz” giveaways scheduled right afterwards, on the heels of each other. At the end of these I can tell you more about them. Otherwise, I have about 6 giveaways that run for a month each and are spread out through the rest of the year.
I just need more data.
The overall view of organizing giveaways is to be inclusive and be out there first, staking out times as much as six months or more ahead. You want to have those where your books will be available and you’ll have readers subscribing that match the genres you are writing in.
Once I wrap these existing ones up, I’ll be able to see more about how to run these. How long. How much in advance. Where the sweet spots are.
My Firehose Approach
Now my approach is alway firehose. Be prolific and show up everywhere. Most of what you do won’t get you any traction for awhile, if ever. But you’ve got to put your stories out there and get them available for discovery.
You also need to take advantage of having pen names. When you join a giveaway, your pen name isn’t the same as your own. So when you send to your list and social circles, your own name shows up. One advantage to this is to be able to put several books into each giveaway under separate names, and perhaps several for each name. No two books by any author/pen-name will pull the same as the others. The more targets you have out there, the more arrows you can collect. (This also applies to having additional free “ghost” accounts by even more authors – just means signing in with additional email addresses. Not for the faint at heart. I’m only doing tests with this at present.)
On joining giveaways, always get into as many as you can. On running giveaways, I’d say to have all your genres represented and crossing with each other. If you don’t write steamy romances, then stay away from them. But be in several of the major genres so you can show up mostly everywhere.
As you get subscribers, you’ll see what of your books are more popular. And these will shift. They may even be seasonal. I’ll know after this year, but probably after a couple of years at this. Hopefully next year, I’ll simply stake out my giveaways so they don’t overlap (much) and can put this mostly into a small time weekly.
Soon, maybe this week, I’ll start digesting what I know about Instafreebie into a useful “getting started” or “best practices” ebook. And post this everywhere for sale as well as putting it on Instafreebie for people to claim.
Since sales are non-existant, the work needs to be into building more audience by borrowing other people’s audience. Meaning getting into the Four Social Media Horsemen for Authors, as well as firing up podcast interviews.
By then, I should be ready to investigate ads (good old smarmy Facebook and Amazon) to see how these do – if I’m not rolling in sales already by then.
That’s the general approach.
To Do This Week:
0. One (or maybe two) stories written and published.
1. Get Instafreebie data sorted out and settled. Make at least a preliminary ebook.
2. Get the work on Instafreebie down to a dull roar, and compartmented into a small scheduled time daily.
3. Get my three books ready for serializing to Wattpad and get my toe in the water there.
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Also published on Medium.