Why another skipped week? It’s a matter of what’s important – as opposed to being transparent (unlike some political parties and their elections…)
“Some people come into our lives and leave footprints on our hearts – and we are never the same.” ~ Flavia Weedn
Total subs: 2462
Heritage subs: 63
IF subs: 2270
New IF API subs: 9
New Non-IF API subs: 0
Webform subs: 6
Veterans – 331
Inactive – 26
Still dwindling. Need to ramp up promotion to get subscribers from other areas. Still busy with other stuff (courses).
Book Sales: Back to usual. Peak from lockdown user sales back to usual range.
Fiction Books In Progress:
- all on hold – see below…
Non-Fiction Books In Progress:
- Also on hold…
Courses in Progress:
- NEW: Author Freedom Guide (in beta – upgrading)
- NEW: Backwards Book Publishing (in beta – upgrading)
- NEW: Get Your Self Scam Free (back into beta – upgrading/moving)
- Becoming a Wealthy Writer – overall program (pre-alpha)
- NEW: Writing Non Fiction (alpha)
- “PMA: Science of Success” (now in beta)
- “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.
- And some more that I already recorded for podcasts – will probably move to BAWW…
Between being revisited by the stomach flu, winning and picking up a new bull, making sure my vote actually counted, and all the many things we do on a farm to get ready before it’s too painfully cold to work outside (while we have secured plenty of firewood to make sure it’s warm inside) – this particular blog post fell in the gaps.
And then fell in the gaps again. Which questions my motivations for getting this written every week.
The biggest point is that I’ve decided to drop Fiction for now and get back to what has financed it and my research for years, and leveraging these with courses.
I went over my last three years of fiction production and found this:
- 216 original books and anthologies published.
- 58 anthologies
- 158 short fiction books.
I taught myself how to write in almost any genre, how to write in a blockbuster book style (multiple story structures at once) and proved the concept that regular hard work pays off with publishable wordage.
What success did I have beyond that? Not much. Because I wasn’t willing to pay the money needed to promote my books so they’d be discoverable. By sheer volume, there should have been more of a result, since most of these books were under a single author’s pen name, and new books were coming out every single week. But fiction continues to sell one and two each week. I published a new edition of a non-fiction book that has been selling well all this time, using essentially the same keywords in the title and sub-title, and it is taking off.
There’s an analysis that I’ll have to do once the deep cold is in and I have everything else covered, to pull my sales in from all my aggregators and publishing platforms, just to analyze what this scene is. But the bottom line is that fiction is still very much a “feeding the beast” proposition and there is a sizeable donut hole to overcome between publishing a book blindly and earning enough to make that hobby return investment in promotion. (The Amazon tax.)
I love writing fiction. There is nothing more relaxing.
But I’m being called now to build a backend of courses that will return more investment. I’m a bit tired of starving in garrets. Sure, it’s supposed to be a five-year approach to making any income in writing. And I’m supposed to be writing full novels. But if you look over the model, I have been. My short stories have all been included in novel-length anthologies, and these have come out almost every month – so there.
What I know is how to get the muses off my back and shoulders and into print. And I now know how and what it takes to get seriously good as an author. For all the stories I’m proud of, I know that the next one has to be better. Because I’m always learning as an author. But it’s time to to pause my own fiction in order to share what I know with other writers. Because this stuff is in the realm of evergreen breakthroughs. And no one I know is talking about it.
Courses are the next logical work for me.
Now it’s time to brush off everything I’ve posited about courses and test all this again.
Just through taking each top selling book and creating small-middle-big sized versions of them to push that book as well as the other courses.
There’s a lot to review in this area. Intro, mid-, and full-size (flagship) courses. Hub and Spoke marketing out through the various marketplaces for this, encouraging them to come to my own site where the larger (deep-dive) courses exist – and they can pay me directly.
As I go off fiction writing, and my three-years-long experiment with Instafreebie, it’s time to call this for what it is – a heady quixotic adventure into converting freebie-seekers into buyers. A person would have more success tilting at windmills. I still use Instafreebie rather than “Prolific Works” as it’s more accurate.
Short summary: Instafreebie doesn’t work to build a decent-sized, growing subscriber list. The summary of facts:
- You get only about 30% of your total giveaways to actually opt-in.
- Of those, having over 12,000 subscribers added through Instafreebie. At this point of three years invested, I have a few over 2200 still with me (or newly arrived). 20% retention overall.
- Annual retention is just over 10K through IF, and the high end of 1200 still around. So: 12 percent retention. And I can predict that by the end of next year, I’ll have basically around 1400 subscribers who came in that route.
- Cost of acquisition is still very cheap – since you don’t have to run weekly ads, which burns time as well. Three years of $2400 per year, is roughly $5 per subscriber. Not bad. If they end up buying books. And I have what is called a fairly active list. About 40% open weekly, and maybe 3% click. Can I send out a buy link and expect much? No.
So – I got 1200 mostly-active subscribers out of Instafreebie – and went through over 12K opt-in’s to winnow those out. Did my fiction sales increase? Not noticeably. (Actually, my biggest customer seems to be Overdrive, who buys to rent out to libraries.)
The trick is that I’ve gone over to long-running giveaways with all my books up there. And most of these end on Dec 31. So I’m planning to drop these and get into real promotion – which, as earlier sleuthed out is best done through Bookbub ads targeted at Kobo buyers.
Otherwise, it hit me to day that getting on the Parler and Rumble platforms, porting to these and trying the adventure of being active there will then bring me more interaction and opt-in’s. The other scene is to get onto various podcasts and in front of their audiences.
Instafreebie was a decent return, but is no longer growing my audience as it once did. So I need to work up new routes.
Again, this means digging out Content Inc once again, especially as this was built for non-fiction audiences. A better match.
Content Inc Failures
I said from the outset that Pulizzi’s “Content Inc” is the model for both fiction and non-fiction writers. Of course, my background is in research and analysis, so I missed where Pulizzi understated that he’s talking about Content Marketing – meaning, you are promoting yourself all the time though your content. Which is finding audiences to get your content in front of so that they can then find out about your amazing stuff.
With that ground-breaker, I may do the unconventional and start promoting on Parler and Rumble. You can already see my regular podcasts showing up on Parler – the course videos will start showing up on Rumble (and then shared to Parler).
Because these new platforms are both still in “early adopter” mode – while the election (and censorship of Twitter/Facebook/Google) has rocketed adoption, plus it’s easier to find new persons to follow there. Since I’m already working at shlepping things to Flipboard, it may be that this content will be better off on Parler as far as curation. (Flipboard has very annoying ads on mobile, plus their “recommended” content is pretty lousy – even if you “follow” a lot of people there to “tune in” their algorithm – a kind of “take more pills so we can figure out which are best for you.”)
Content Inc is still the model. The next four years from now should prove that model.
The other outlet will be Medium, as I post more original articles to my site. On top of that will be the search for podcasts I can be interviewed by.
This election fiasco got my inspiration juices going – and so I cobbled together an anthology of political humor (satire) from these three years of writing. (Which is still the great argument of what you can do with short stories.)
I’ll promote it on Parler, with a video from Rumble (which I generate probably through Vidnami).
Last week’s to-do’s:
- Sun: This analysis & emails – Yup (finally)
- Publish two classics in series – Yup
- Continue cranking through courses – current: “Backwards Book Publishing” – Nope (did other courses)
This week’s to-do’s:
- Sun: This analysis & emails
- Publish at least another Golden Age anthology in series
- Continue cranking through courses per priorities.