Four books published this week. That gives me some concentrated work (about 6 weeks) to work just on non-fiction. Still need to review Content Inc in any spare time…
The Great Writing Audience Challenge – Week 09 Results
Instafreebie/PW: 36/174 – 21% 3 non-IF/PW, 35 no-openers moved off.
StoryOrigins: 0 – not investing
Overall Total: 2816 – slight decrease.
IF/PW subscribers remaining after a year: 1404/8590 16% Percentages becoming consistent.
Note: I keep these to see how IF/PW retention is trending. Continuing at 3% of weekly signups annually. So: 97% drop-off in a year if you severely prune your lists to eliminate no-openers every week. Of note is that I’ve had the first non-opener new subscriber in three weeks – what has changed on IF/PW side is curious.
Book Sales: Next sales analysis is Mar 15 for Feb sales. See below.
- The Saga of Erotika Jones 06
- The Saga of Erotika Jones 07
- The Saga of Erotika Jones 08
- The Saga of Erotika Jones Anthology
Fiction Books In Progress:
- Book Four (01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, Anth)
- Raising Felicity (series?) -> What Their Eyes See -> Book Five
- Two Ghost’s Salvation Book Two (series) -> Book Three
- Wolfer’s Nation -> Book Three
- Case of the Sand Dune Demise, Death and the Dreamcatcher, The Doorbell Rings > Book Five
Non-Fiction Books In Progress:
- Think Rich and Grow Richer (in research)
- Breakthrough Copywriter (update)
Courses in Progress:
- “Strangest Secret” (now in beta),
- “Get Everything You Want Out of Life”, (now in beta)
- “If You Can Count to Four…” (now in beta),
- “Completely Change Your Life in 30 Seconds” – still in alpha.
- Copywriting/Marketing – pre-alpha
- Raising Gentle Cattle – pre-alpha
- Think Rich and Grow Richer – pre-alpha
Simply cranked out fiction this week. Probably have about five weeks of time to now devote to non-fiction. Courses, books, audiobooks.
Of course, the fiction inspirations still roll in meanwhile. Probably due to the regular input of watching long-running TV series.
All that research has tended to pay off well, with this last series and its anthology. Longer story arcs tend to break up the individual procedural stories, but draw the whole scene along. Seasons and episodes are the trick. Studying the Netflix reviews tend to reveal reasons why and where some serials simply tanked. “Touch” was one of these. First season remarkable, second season went into a formulaic bad-guy chase. “Warehouse 13” had only the first season that held together. After that, they went into “woke” ideas that gradually trashed it. “Elementary” ran very well for 7 seasons. “Buffy” did well for the first five seasons and ended with a tragic hero. The following two seasons were weird. “Star Gate” had ups and downs, but held together for 10 seasons, plus three movies afterwards.
All these had to do with long-running story arcs, and the procedural episodes just push those along, adding tidbits of data and filling in backgrounds while the main characters evolve.
The same approach needs to be used in non-fiction. Walter Campbell wrote “Writing Non-Fiction” but outside of a single chapter, failed to apply his own datum to the rest of his book (which may be the fault of publishers pushing for a thick hardback to publish.) Zuckerman’s “Writing the Blockbuster Novel” distilled it’s essence into less than a page of text. Out of over 280 pages, 83K-plus words.
It all points to a consistency, an integrity in writing. Like good copywriting, the whole has to flow, to pull the reader/viewer in from the get-go and each lending to bring the person through to the next scene, heightening their curiosity and involving them in their feelings/emotions through to the end – and even then leaving them wanting more.
The most successful non-fiction story follows the rough model of successful fiction books.
How to Find Successful Fiction
Read the first few pages until you con’t want to. It’s surprising what passes through even the most popular novels and winds up published. I try to go through Wal-Mart and leaf through the first page or so of the print books there. (No, I keep my hands clean and respect the merchandize otherwise.) But you can also do this with the highest-downloaded books from Gutenberg for free. The problem there is in the dated language they use.
Such as test would be to re-write that language into modern verse. Much like “West Side Story” updated “Romeo and Juliet” (but perhaps not so severe.) Such would be a great study all on its own. Of course, it would also involve you in as study of conventional plots.
The trick is also to study the Pulp Fiction plots, which have translated well into modern TV shows (that more modern readers are familiar with).
And that would make a great study.
Still, the hobbyist approach of reading the first few pages of “popular” books has its own merit. Again, that goes back to Brande’s “Becoming A Writer” for her use of analyzing what you read. (And a readon I need to get back to distilling this book into a proper course.)
For the next few weeks, I’m setting up some top-selling books into a system with all the versions included. That then enables a system of writing these as a weekly job, aligning them to a year-long content-production schedule. The shorthand is to include podcasts in the mix. Those become a perennial promotion device – you do 48 or 50 weeks of these, which can be about 10 modules, depending how they are organized. That then becomes a major course on it’s own, or several mini-courses which can be combined into a master course.
Such an example would be to take the top five or ten books in a subject area and make the lessons based on these.
If you’re writing an original book, then every thousand words becomes a video of about 5 minutes. Writing an average two thousand word essay then can be split into two thousand-word parts that become two five-minute videos.
Again, per the above, the essays have to be written with a cohesive style that makes an engaging presentation.
Most course lectures are 3-5 minutes. Boring webinars run 45 minutes to an hour. The most engaging videos are found in TED talks, which are limited to 14 minutes (due to some sort of scientific study.) 14 minutes is approximately (@ 200 wpm) 2800 words. Or – three videos. Of course that may all into the 3-act structure – which usually has four equal parts of 700 words, being under 4 minutes each. So, it fits together.
That then gives you the model for your course module:
- Figure out the key point you are trying to make
- Work out the story structure you want to apply (adventure, mystery, romance) and then
- Develop four 700-word parts that flow into a logical CTA/cliffhanger.
Several modules then fill out your book outline. While it’s recommended that you keep these points in groups of three for mnemonic purposes. Three or four are usually what people can remember. Three or four sets of four lessons then develop a course – which builds your book.
If your modules are one major idea each, then three modules per mini-course gives three ideas in one section. If you have 9 major ideas, break those into three parts, and each of those into a module. Then your major course – and book – come to fruition. Nine sets of 2800 words makes 25,200 words. Most non-fiction books aren’t the monster print books of yesteryear. However, Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” had 13 points, but 15 chapters. (One intro, one summary.)
Last week’s to-do’s:
- Sun: This analysis & emails – yup
- Mon-Tues: New fiction book written and published. – yup
- Evenings: Re-queue perennial podcasts. – yup
This week’s to-do’s:
- Sun: This analysis & emails –
- Mon-Tues: New fiction book written and published. –
- Evenings: Re-queue perennial podcasts. –