The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 20 Results
Regular progress. Things getting down to a dull roar of regular subscribers – and, hopefully, regular sales.
Published Words Fiction:
– free – 0
– paid – 7121
Published Words Non-Fiction:
– free – 5952
– paid – 15764
Instafreebie – 102
— Start: 1299
– New Total: 1381
– Net: 82 added
Book sales this week
Amazon – 2, PublishDrive – 0, StreetLib – 0, Draft2Digital – 1 , Lulu – 0 = Total Week’s sales – 3
Books published this week:
- A Sweet Fortune – https://www.books2read.com/b/bP55yR
- A Completely Unauthorized Instafreebie Guidebook – https://www.books2read.com/b/bWzZnz
One simpler reporting point – Amazon Associates gives you granular sales data on books online. Rather than having to download and digest their CSV from their clunky reporting system.
Update on workflow – As I don’t have to have an ISBN for ebooks, and sales from Lulu on ebooks are dismal (always have been) I’ve dropped them from the publishing workflow. D2D and other aggregators get them everywhere regardless. This was a carryover from when I was trying to post everywhere myself (because you could search for books by ISBN and then post those links – but books2read does this for me, even better.) Also, when I submit directly to KDP via D2D, it shows up on Amazon in about two days, nearly as fast as Kobo. This also means I can fix errors (yes I found one last night) in earlier books. I’ll still have to reupload the PDF for print versions, but I also get that generated by D2D, so all is good.
The workflow is now:
4) Lulu (if any paperback.)
Public Domain and PLR re-published books simply start at PublishDrive.
Another point is to wait on making anything free on Instafreebie until it’s published on Amazon first.
Another workflow update: On my “Still Interested?” email to no-opener subscribers – I added a link this week to my page of non-fiction Instafreebie giveaways. This won’t give me any more subscribers, but it does add value. Have to figure out a way to segment these over to non-fiction books.
More interesting is that I got into deleting the no-openers twice this week, removing well over a hundred names. All no opens. Freebie-seekers for the most part. Just the way things are – if they don’t open, I can’t get them to click. No sense paying for that traffic that doesn’t do anything. At least by only deleting them, I can get them to opt-in again later.
More featured books – And that brings up that I’m now featuring a non-fiction book below the fiction book on my site sidebar. We’ll see how that affects sales. Another ad should be for the free Thinkific courses on “Becoming A Writer” page there. (You’ll probably start hearing about conversion tactics from now on – as the ancient Polynesians said: “Energy flows where attention goes.”) In fact, I just got another student while writing this.
I’ve refined my cover creation. Now I can make a cover that is as modern as any. Almost regardless of when a book was written. It’s become quite fast as well. The secret is finding and recognizing the good artwork on Pixabay and using a fast recipe to get fonts on them simply. This will probably take an even greater step forward when I start digesting my giveaways to see what the best-claimed books have as far as covers and descriptions.
Tell me: which are the PD books…
All except the last. The second guess: when were they written? The Wilkie Collins book was published in Dicken’s magazine. Most of the rest were published over a hundred years ago. Sure don’t look like it. You can also tell the Romance, Mystery, and Science Fiction apart…
Organized Giveaways Settling Down
It does seem that the optimal scene for giveaways is to have them about a month long, and set them up at least three – six months in advance. Narrow down to what books of yours do the best and in what genres. Then sprinkle some of the top genres in there in between, as well as the underperforming ones such as non-fiction.
Add to Medium Publishing Workout
I just recalled that I can pre-schedule my posts to Medium. Meaning that I can take a fiction work, split it into nice cliff-hangered chunks, and tell them to stay tuned for the next part coming soon. Have to see if I can preschedule on Wattpad as well…
Accomplished This Week
Wattpad and Medium worked out for application. I’d earlier gotten the overall lay out for recruiting Avid Readers through the Four Social Media Horsemen. These two articles got down into the nitty gritty. Medium was simpler than I suspected. And both can be published on a Friday am, which is my better work time for many things (after I come in from farm chores.)
And I published to Medium this week as a paid article. This probably means that I should promote those paid articles at least via Buffer to social media. Tests this week shows that that social media promotion does work slightly for free book claims. It takes so little time to do it via Buffer, as I don’t have to visit any of these platforms to post there.
Sales have not only gotten off the flatline, they’ve now become a consistent heartbeat. I’ve sold at least one copy of my site-featured book each week. I have someone keeping up with my new writing. (Thanks, if you’re reading this…)
One big breakthrough was sitting down and taking a couple of days to edit my Instafreebie Guidebook into shape. This is now on Amazon, Kobo, and Angus & Robertson. and filtering out to the other sites. (https://calm.li/InstafreebieGuidebook)
I also scraped my output of that Google Form for authors and sent that last book to them. I’m going to make that giveaway an automatic response to those I add to this list. And I may move that over to author.email just to keep it separate from everything else. Three of these opted in to my main list via Instafreebie, so that’s a good thing.
(Author.email is an interesting scene, just $10 per month for up to 10,000 – which is the upper limit of Mailerlite – where you probably go into “industrial/enterprise” rates. I’ll see if they have an affiliate link. [LINK] They are extremely new and just got off the ground recently. More data on this as I get it. Might write an article on it.)
Getting to the end of my longest giveaway.
With GDPR coming in on the 25th, I’ve done a new review of this scene. In this giveaway, I had
- 98 books,
- 64 actual authors
- 21 leechers
(To find leechers, you simply scrape the list of promoters found by clicking the total claims box. Then you scrape the Giveaway claims, also on that details page. Convert these to “tab-deliminated” so you then import both into a spreadsheet. Line up the authors names in one column and sort that column alphabetically. Voila.)
So it’s not all as bad as I thought when I wrote about this last time.
Now out of the authors promoting, 7 got no results. Out of 31 authors total, they are also pulling down 46% of the claims. How that translates to subscribers is anyone’s guess.
But at the end of this, I’ll compile a leechers/contributors spreadsheet. When I have a few more giveaways under my belt, I’ll have a consistent pattern of these. And can start educating, or (at worst) boycotting and banning them.
Out of this boil-down, I saw that while the leechers are fewer than contributing authors, they have nearly 50 percent of the books, and so are getting a little over 50 percent of the claims. Multiple books per author. More than likely this also means 50% of the subscribers, but that isn’t verifiable. Also, these generally have good covers, as the authors with only a single book up are just getting started and learning the ropes.
With GDPR implemented, this will tend to level the playing field. But I’ll still keep a gimlet eye cast on these to see what they are up to.
GDPR and Instafreebie
Most Internet Marketers have been set up to require opt-in’s for their freebies. And when I started checking my latest long-running giveaway, I found the majority of authors are using this. Instafreebie will stop promoting any giveaway that accepts mandatory opt-ins, and also any book that is mandatory. To comply with GDPR, which goes in on May 25th.
This will be a major change for most authors. I’ve always used optional opt-ins as that is the way I’d like to be treated, viewing these giveaways as a means to get long-lasting promotion in front of those readers. And push Draft2Digital updates in the back of every book. That means I have to update my giveaways as well, to keep them current. Just file under regular maintenance.
I’ve had to update all my giveaways with that notice. And am waiting until after the 25th (this week) to start any new giveaways. But they will still have that notice in them.
The current plan is to remove any leecher’s books on the last week of this one long-running giveaway. Just another test. I don’t really care if I piss them off. Most don’t even read the comments and probably have opted out of the emails. I will give them notice, however. And then we will see what dust this raises, if any. I kinda think it won’t raise any.
On the month-long giveaways, I’ll probably do this for the last week each time. There is a push at the end which results in more subscribers. It’s only fair that the 50% who are promoting get the subscribers. For everyone else, it’s either a learning experience – or not.
I sent out a comment/email to all my giveaways today. Telling what I had changed and why. And got four back to remove their books, only one of which was a nastygram. Meanwhile, I had many more than those four books that came in to join my giveaways.
It doesn’t mean that I won’t be busy on the 25th removing books. Because I will. I did get a comment that reminded me to push for verified status, as this allows an organizer to override the settings for individual authors. That means I can simply set every book to optional. Another reason I need to get three giveaways done and reapply for that verified status. I imagine that until then I’ll simply remove the necessary books on the Saturday before the giveaway goes live, so Instafreebie can pick my giveaway to promote on Sunday. Simple.
And as I write this, some more removals (one was a “nose stuck in air” comment.) She misses the point that openhanded giving is the best promotion you can do for your book. Again, such are stuck in their mistraining from Internet Marketers.
The point that Instafreebie makes is that enforcing opt-in’s makes for more unsubscribes and more complaints. You’re much better working to weed out the un-responsives on your own and get to that “1,000 true fans”. You start by respecting people and giving incredible value. Then that value will return to you – as long as you tell them how they can…
I see two other giveaways insisting on “no mandatory opt-ins” that have well over a hundred each in them, one of these nearly two hundred books (Romance genre, of course.) Meaning that you have to develop a thick skin – by keeping the long view in mind.
Again, the long view is to become a verified organizer and then tell people up front that there are no mandatory opt-in’s allowed – that their books will be converted. Instafreebie makes a nice button for these that shows up above the description.
As a sidebar, I may need to re-verify my list, as I moved many over from other lists. So I’ll have to review this. The vast majority of my subscribers have come through Instafreebie to mailerlite, so that should be no problem.
Changes in Writing
Funny enough, the story I sat down to write yesterday wasn’t one of the two I had in my head. But a few news stories got me going. So I cranked out a new R. L. Saunders book, which takes that pen name into a new direction. Still black humor, but it’s got some interesting cliff-hangers in it and a typical twist at the end of it like any good short story.
The pen names themselves are starting to get their own lives, after a fashion. Two of them are female, but are quite different personalities. But only one of them has written a romance.167
While I can write on demand now, I start getting nagged by my muse about Tues or so, and prefer to have the book cranked out on Friday if I can.
But I wrote this book on Sunday and published it right after breakfast this morning (which took maybe 15 minutes.)
Each of these pen names should be ready for their own collection shortly. I want to push the two continuing works by Brower and Marpel along and get them to complete these current story arcs, at least to a suitable ending that could act as a bookend to a published book of about 50K words. Kruze doesn’t have anything happening right now, but I didn’t expect Saunders to show up with one and push the other two out of the way.
I want to get two original fiction stories done each week so I can get off this “Feeding the Beast” problem. I want to pre-schedule everything, and get ahead for the rest of the year. With four pen names, I can set up writing production for each of them that will publish once a week and yet never exceed the 90-days that Amazon allows.
This I proved this week by editing the Instafreebie book into shape over two days, then sitting down for a third to crank out a fiction work.
Having that amount of production is testing the FTB book.
Just have to keep the long view in mind and persevere.
To-Do’s This Week
- Start publishing to Medium every day. Get that big backlog of articles caught up. One per day, max.
- Start publishing Fiction serials to both Wattpad and Medium. Take one book and publish the opening chapter to each platform. Friday.
- Get the figureout on both Goodreads and LibraryThing. See how “social” I really need to get with these. The idea is to find the Avid Readers and gain their trust. Means a lot of openhanded giving.
- Two fiction works written and published, one on pre-order.
- With that all done, I can then start researching the last n0n-ad promotion, which is radio/podcast interviews.
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Also published on Medium.