Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Prolific Works’ Advice for Fiction Writing Emails

Prolific Works' Advice for Fiction Writing Emails

Prolific Works’ Advice for Fiction Writing Emails

A recent email I got from Prolific Works (formerly Instafreebie) was just too good to simply leave in some form that temporary.

This is their list of how to get started with giveaways – which then build your list, so you can send them emails. (Oops – got a bit enthused in the title for this article.)

So here is it is:

Giveaway Best Practices

Giveaways will be your main tool for building a network/audience of readers with Prolific Works.

While they are fairly simple tools, we’ve seen certain best practices emerge over the past 4.5 years of watching thousands of authors run thousands of giveaways.

Put the following tips into action, and you’ll be much more likely to see more readers downloading your books and joining your mailing list.

(Don’t worry, we’ll go over exactly what to do with your list – what emails to send, when to send them, etc. – later in this Series!)

Personal Giveaways

Make It Public: You are much more likely to attract readers and newsletter subscriptions if you create a public Reach New Readers giveaway, which are accessible by the entire Prolific Works community.

Go With Optional Opt-In: Optional opt-in giveaways (which give readers the option to opt-in to your mailing list when claiming one of your books) can also be found by readers via Prolific Works’s newsletter, social media, and homepage promotions. These promotions are not guaranteed – rather they are curated by our production team, who keep an eye out for authors who’ve been working hard to promote their work! (Mandatory opt-in giveaways are no longer included in our promotions.)

Start With Unlimited Claims And No Expiration: Unlimited campaigns (where an unlimited number of downloads are made available to the public) reach far more readers and generate far more sales than limited campaigns. While limited campaigns create a sense of urgency and can certainly spur readers to download, this usually works better for more well-known authors. The same goes for giveaway campaigns with expiration dates.

Personal & Group Giveaways

Join Multiple Giveaways: Just because you’ve joined one Group Giveaway doesn’t mean you have to wait until it’s over to join others! Many authors on our platform join multiple giveaways simultaneously. Doing so can give a big boost to your book claims and mailing list subscriptions in a short time. The only caveat to this is to avoid spamming your list with multiple emails about all the different giveaways you’ve joined. If you do join many at once, mention them all in the same email!

You can also enter the same book into multiple giveaways. If you’ve written a sci-fi thriller, feel free to join a sci-fi-themed giveaway and a thriller-themed giveaway with the same piece of content!

Don’t Skimp On The Cover: Despite the old saying, most people do judge books by their covers! Cover makeovers have doubled book sales for many authors. So, do your best to make sure your cover is attractive and relevant to your story and genre. The internet is FULL of useful information for both hiring cover designers and creating your own cover designs. Here are a few resources you can use:

Designing Your Own Cover:

https://blog.reedsy.com/book-cover-design/
https://blog.reedsy.com/book-cover-ideas/
https://blog.reedsy.com/book-cover-dimensions/
https://spark.adobe.com/make/book-cover-maker
https://www.canva.com/create/book-covers/

Hiring A Designer:

https://reedsy.com/design/book-cover-design

Clean Up Your Description: Too often, we look through public giveaways, click on books shared to over a million readers on Prolific Works alone, and see descriptions full of typos, grammatical errors and cut-off sentences! If readers see these in your description, they’ll assume your book is full of them too, and will be more likely to move on to the next book available. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot folks! Clean up your descriptions before publishing them.

Don’t Just Share Full Books: Sharing previews, excerpts and sneak peeks can build hype, get your name and work out there, attract an audience and boost sales of an already finished book. Doing so also allows you to start building an engaged audience NOW, instead of waiting until you have a complete, fully polished novel to share. If you’ve got a rough draft going, dial in a few chapters, and share it as a Preview!

Share Exclusive Content: Making content exclusive to Prolific Works readers regularly increases claim rates by up to 10%!

Add “Back matter”: Back matter is content included at the end of your ebook to give readers something to do immediately after finishing your book. This is an important opportunity to turn a new reader into a loyal fan! You can include a sneak preview of upcoming work, a thank you note, links to your website, blog or newsletter sign-up page, or information on where to download/buy more of your books.

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The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 41 Results

The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 41 Results

The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 41 Results

Bridged over to a novella – by writing a three-parter with massive cliff-hangers in between…

Metrics

Published Words Fiction:

– free – 0 (Own Site)
– paid – 31716 (D2D, Amazon), 13833 (Medium)

Published Words Non-Fiction:

– free – 1452
– paid – 0 (Medium)

Subscribers:

Mailerlite: 0 (non-IF/ProlificWorks),
MailChimp: 3,
Instafreebie/PW: 103 (down from 201, 206, 242, 363 and 848)
New Total: 3740 (earlier: 3877, 3985, 4073, 4046, 4247, 4193)

Book sales this week:

Amazon – 4, Draft2Digital – 3, Gumroad – 0 = Total Week’s sales – 7

Books (pre-)published this week:

In Progress:

All caught up! Now working on those covers…

Aggregate Production:

  • Total fiction books published: 101
  • Total short stories published as individual ebooks: 83
  • Total anthologies published: 19 (+ 2 full books)
  • Countdown to 100: 17 in 11 weeks

Analysis

Concentrated on simply publishing and writing as priority this week. (Leaving a lot of the promotion/conversion work until tail end of this year and all next.)

The result was a novella that started because I didn’t like the ending of the first story – it was too pat. So a new “what if” came out – what if the spirit they rescued disappeared? That then led me to a new super-villain that the whole team had to help eliminate. Now, I had these covers here, so the interesting switch was that this ghost then beat-up one of their team and left her partially paralyzed on one side. Our hero found her, somehow, and now has to get her help – from a different space-time scene (this is all fantasy with some science fiction thrown in – a sub-genre) and on top of all that, a new character shows up at the end of the second book, who was the long-estranged sister of that afflicted team member. (Spoiler: they end up capturing and immobilizing the villain.)

The great part was all those twists that I didn’t even see coming when I started first book. All I knew is that the original ending sucked.

Each of the three books were published individually, and then a short anthology (long enough to have a paperback) was created to put them into one set. However, I had to set them up as parts, and warn (well, at least in the first one’s promo) about the cliffhanger endings. They will be better in the anthology I’ll be creating at the end of this month.

Note: All of these four books are S. H. Marpel, and were all the sales this week.

The Medium stories took some time, even though they were already exported. Didn’t even get to the Wattpad stories. This free-publishing approach is what I should have been doing from the beginning. Better late than never… (2nd best time to start is now.)

Amazon’s Self-Destruction

During this year, Amazon has been investing in selling more ads on their site and have pretty much made it impossible to find books unless you are directly looking for a specific author/title. Instead of some 10 books on that first page, it’s down to six. The rest are all sponsored ads.

Basically, Amazon has trashed their site and it takes money to get anywhere with them.

Both they and Facebook have positively the worst customer experience, and are the least trusted overall. Funny coincidence. Google is coming up third, passing Microsoft. (The Four Horsemen of Internet User Abuse.)

That in turn says that the “Monetization” part of the Content Inc. model correctly is at the end of that cycle.

Audience-building is first. Publish everything to Amazon as pre-orders, sure, but also port them to Medium and Wattpad to help your audience find you. When they do, you’ll have your backlist ready. The sales meanwhile will help you work out the best books to write. And all that practice will sharpen your skills.

This next year shows that I’ll have the anthologies (or can create them) that can be specifically tailored and crafted to be “advertisable” – meaning: will return positive ROI to afford expanding ad-spend.

I have several non-fiction courses to create as alpha-versions, and also upgrade those alpha’s to beta.

That Brings up Podcasts/Radio Interviews

Finally getting around to these. I’ve got one scheduled for this week. And the stock questions I’ve been asked, I’ll post on this site when I can. (Another story is nagging me to come to life…)

This brings up a point of doing a “debrief” on each book after I finish it, part of the promotion for it – and something to add as a link to it’s back-end (and maybe a preview ad to it’s front for the Amazon preview.) These will be free-wheeling, not scripted – other than reading off the marketing hook and excerpt. You’d see these on the “Special Features” for a DVD movie. Cutting room floor excerpts, commentary, etc. Because the ideas that started the book (preliminary cover versions, notes, research) aren’t seen. And would help the pre-order promotion. I have quite a backlog (one a week would take two years to get through, so maybe something like Mondays and Fridays?)

This also allows me to collect them all up for porting to BitTorrent Now. If I recorded as video – but that is too labor intensive. Reverse would be true, of setting a slideshow – but again, takes a lot of time, and would be better invested in non-fiction books.

Update: Next year’s Challenge will be a weekly podcast – that will then get me an additional audience prospects.

See, I’m working out this conversion program…

IF/PW Continues

I saw this week that I was continuing to spend money for IF/PW, but had dropped my subscribers to hardly any daily. So I got back into the circuit and applied to any giveaways that would have me.

This will keep me going until my next giveaways hit after the New Year. These are months out to attract a large number of authors, so take awhile to move through. Three more months of belonging to any and all giveaways I can should help.

Thinning them out and building my conversion route (sales funnel) will happen meanwhile.

One interesting point is that there was only a single non-opener this week…

Getting Things Done, Goals Met

My main point is to get these 100 short stories written and out. Then just single short story every week and start ramping up the next challenge. So I’ve got three books as a quota weekly until they are all wrapped. This means pushing other items away until later.

I’ve paused PublishDrive and StreetLib for now, and will catch these up as a project next year. Another project would be to get ISBN’s on all my epubs so that they will go through SL to a couple of wholesalers there (one in Britain, one in Hong Kong)

NaNoWriMo Upcoming

This will be dedicated to the next C. C. Brower book, an anthology of short stories. I’m doing some 16K words per week right now, so that will give me around 50K in three weeks. (20K every week would give me a million words per year, same as the top pulp fiction writers.)

What was interesting with this week’s writing is that it sets the stage for writing serials – something I’ll probably need to get the Hooman Saga finished. (There could be a Book Three – but that is either following the Four Horsemen Cities off to a Jupiter moon, or having the new adventures where humans stop their decline as a species and start getting over their arrogance enough to co-exist with other sentients on Earth. Both right now are just existential, not a big story arc – and I don’t really like procedurals as they are too non-exciting.)

Note: Next year’s idea of getting “only” one book a week done – if those books average about 8K words (enough to make a thin paperback) will give me fifty 32-page books, or about 1500 pages, meaning five 300-page  or seven 200-page anthologies.

Note2: I see that Wikipedia’s list of prolific authors (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_prolific_writers) says that “Authors with more than 100 books are considered for inclusion.” – and by writing and publishing my 100 ebooks, plus the numerous anthologies, this will put me quite over the top in a single year. Two short stories per week on average. Simple. (I’m at 102 fiction books alone. Haven’t counted my non-fiction, let alone book-length essays…)

To Do Last Week

  • 3-4 short stories published. Yup
  • Catch up Medium, Wattpad with both the Hooman Saga and the shorts I just posted. Yup
  • Emails out. Yup
  • ARC page updated as part of this. Yup
  • Boil down Content Inc to action steps. Nope
  • Get some more IF/PW giveaways to keep the motor running until my own organized giveaways kick in. Yup
  • New anthology on pulp writing published (after everything else.) Nope

To Do This Week:

  • At least three new short stories written published.
  • Fiction published to Medium and Wattpad.
  • ARC page updated.
  • Emails out.
  • Keep up with IF/PW giveaways incoming.
  • Invest any extra time in writing more.

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Monday, October 8, 2018

The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 40 Results

The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 40 Results

The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 40 Results

Most books published in a single week. New ways to get fiction out there – and ways to tell people about it. You can, too…

Metrics

Published Words Fiction:
– free – 8438 (Own Site)
– paid – 58852

Published Words Non-Fiction:
– free – 27740
– paid – 1704 (Medium)

Subscribers:
Mailerlite: 0 (non-IF/ProlificWorks), MailChimp: 1, Instafreebie/PW: 103 (down from 201, 206, 242, 363 and 848)
New Total: 3877 (earlier: 3985, 4073, 4046, 4247, 4193)

Book sales this week:
Amazon – 2, Draft2Digital – 2, Gumroad – 0 = Total Week’s sales – 2

Books (pre-)published this week:

Case of the Naughty Nightmare
https://calm.li/CaseNaughtyNightmare

On Love’s Edge
https://calm.li/OnLovesEdge

The Integrity Implosions
https://calm.li/IntegrityImplosions

The Maestro
https://calm.li/TheMaestro

The Chardonnay Conspiracy
https://calm.li/Chardonnay

The Emperor’s Scribe
https://calm.li/EmperorsScribe

Return to Earth
https://calm.li/ReturnToEarth

Peace: The Forever War
https://calm.li/PeaceForeverWar

Mr. Ben’s Rail Road
https://calm.li/BensRailRoad

Snow Cave
https://calm.li/SnowCave

A Nervous Butt
https://calm.li/NervousButt

Max Says No
https://calm.li/MaxSaysNo

A Goddess Visits
https://calm.li/Goddess-Visits

A Goddess Returns
https://calm.li/GoddessReturns

(14 – whew!)

In Progress:

All caught up!

Aggregate Production:

Total fiction books published: 98
Total short stories published as individual ebooks: 78
Total anthologies published: 19 (+ 2 full books)
Countdown to 100: 22 in 12 weeks

Analysis

Subscribers continue to drop, but I’ve nearly quit my vacation from IF/PW with a new workup.

Key point will be running mostly my own giveaways as the profits are higher. But these aren’t starting for awhile, so I should get back into the game. But only those who are running for a whole month. (Simpler admin.) Again, it’s not the total subscribers – it’s how to get them into buying fans.

This week’s sales show that.

A work-around I’ve been working on is to start pushing my new releases out to those who came in through those books, through those genres.

Because I have new releases coming out every week, and that’s going to continue next year as well. Start sending these notices out regularly to fiction readers. Later, this will build into the other lists as well (non-fiction.)

Essentially, working up a nice little organization here that will start converting people.

Recently, I set up an ARC (Advance Readers Club.) Last week, I set up a list where you get notified of new releases (meaning this week was piled-higher-and-deeper – PHD’d.) That’s on an RSS feed into email, so no biggy for me. Once a week. This week, I created another one for free short stories.

Yea, that’s a big one.

Because I also worked out that I’m best to start firing my short stories out through my own site and then putting these out through Medium and Wattpad. Since I’m at some 78 short stories right now – and I’m limiting these to 2K or less words, so most of them will run in three parts (only those close to 2.5K would make it.) And as I’ll be writing 100 total, and doing one per week every week after this – I’ll actually never catch up. Nice job security. Just keep at it. What I like doing.

And since I’m paying for basically unlimited bandwidth, this can keep building to infinity – just as long as I can keep writing.

4 Best Decisions to Make

I found this little nugget (well, it was sent to me) from the SiteBuildIt! folks. ()

They rounded up 53 Experts and asked them for their best advice nuggets. Then these smart people boiled them all down. The funny thing is that reading these nuggets actually make very similar points – even without reading their summary. (See Content Inc. – again.)

Anyway, they boiled it down to just these four:

  1. Focus and go niche.
  2. Create outstanding content that OVERdelivers.
  3. Build relationships and network.
  4. Launch early. Done is better than perfect.

Has everything to do with building a content-based business.

Just had to lay this out somewhere – wasn’t worth a full post, but it builds up to something nice.

Shift in Priorities

If I can get these short stories out and done, I can shift over onto working up this next challenge – which is just where we are heading anyway.

22 left – might be able to do that in 7 or 8 weeks. Leaves me a month to get the next one ready. 4 a week would be 6 weeks – see where this is heading.

Simply flat out writing and publishing.

All to do something hardly anyone does anymore – a hundred stories published in a year. Plus the anthologies.

Streamline to writing, publishing broad, IF/PW, working up the immediate conversion tactics and also catch up on the recent webinars and back end data I have to implement Content Inc. in a real way.

Books first, publishing broad second, rest is for the Content Inc. figureout. (You saw this starting with the three non-fiction posts this week.)

A Dip in Free Output – Not Good (but Great)

Now, there was a dip in getting free content out to audience build – the very thing I said I should have started right off.

If you look at my posts, there was one that said how to use the pulp fiction formula and succeed. (https://livesensical.com/cracking-6-figure-book-sales-publishing-starting-nothing/) He said he took about three months to study the pulp fiction guys from the 30’s to 50’s. And so I took the leap this week with a book, “Secret’s of the World’s Best-Selling Writer” (about Erle Stanley Gardner.) He was one – making $50K in 1933 and cranking out over a million words a year. (Figure that was into some serious 6-figures, at least.)

In there, the authors said he was impressed by a little book from a mostly unknown H. Bedford-Jones. (The other guy who was making $50K in 1933.) Called “This Fiction Business.” And it lays out a ton of stuff. (Download here.) I took a day to OCR it and proof into an ebook (as you can’t find it other than in print.)

Of course, there’s a ton of data in that Gardner book, and also in another person that Gardner studied – William Wallace Cook, who was even more prolific than those two. He wrote “Plotto” and also “The Fiction Factory.” Like a lot of these pulp guys, unless you know them, you’ll miss them:

“The hungry woodpulps served as a training ground for writers, illustrators, and editors. Their contributors made up a roster including Isaac Asimov, Rex Beach, H. Bedford-Jones, Ray Bradbury, Max Brand (Frederick Schiller Faust, who really would rather have been a poet under his own name than write Western stories), Edgar Rice Burroughs, Raymond Chandler, Major George Fielding Eliot, Zane Grey, H. Rider Haggard, Dashiell Hammett, Harold Lamb, Jack London, H. P. Lovecraft, Rafael Sabatini, Marc Schorer, and Tennessee Williams—to name only a few. Perhaps the most notable was Sinclair Lewis, who served a stint as associate editor of Adventure under Arthur Sullivant Hoffman before going on to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. And, of course, Erle Stanley Gardner was by no means last or least.”

Look over some of those names and you’ll see several that never went out of print – Zane Grey, Max Brand, H. P. Lovecraft, Dashiell Hammett, Jack London. And there are more. Again, our point here is not to become bestsellers, but more like routinely-selling midlisters. 6-figure midlisters (see my post above.)

So that took some time this week.

I’d gotten my short fiction up on my site, but it was only in draft to Medium. And I didn’t get my other story completed there.

But – I’ll have a new anthology to publish this week, full of pulp fiction tips. Like another voice saying that you only write once. Never re-write. Bedford-Jones even floats the idea that there doesn’t have to be a “plot.”

It all aligns to W. D. Smith’s stuff. Not all of it, but the key parts. Again, just more commonalities.

Of course, that threw off my To-Do List – but you have to follow the synchronicities that fall into your lap…

To Do Last Week:

  • At least two new shorts written. Done
  • Emails out on schedule. Done
  • Update ARC page with new downloads. Nope
  • Those dozen shorts published. Done
  • Content Inc. analyzed and sharpened to a pointed action-step list. Some.
  • IF (Prolific Works) giveaways set up for first quarter of 2019. Done
  • One lesson in BAW Course updated… Nope

To Do This Week:

  • 3-4 short stories published.
  • New anthology on pulp writing published (after everything else.)
  • Catch up Medium, Wattpad with both the Hooman Saga and the shorts I just posted.
  • Emails out.
  • ARC page updated as part of this.
  • Boil down Content Inc to action steps.
  • Get some more IF/PW giveaways to keep the motor running until my own organized giveaways kick in.
  • New anthology on pulp writing published (after everything else.)

PS. Farm work is kicking in. Had a new calf this am to my milch cow, meaning that I’m going to need to milk her daily. Also a lot of work to get set up before it gets too cold (December) Less time daily to just devote to writing and publishing. Just letting you know…


Luck to us all…

 

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