Monday, February 26, 2018

The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 08 Results

The Great Fiction Writing Challenge - Week 09 Results

The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 08 Results

Concentrated on publishing this week. And a lot of success with this. It’s satisfying to send your kids off to school…

Metrics:

Written words – 3293
Fiction: 0
Non-Fiction: (1 day out of 7) 3293
Published words (free) – 3263 (all non-fiction)
Published words (paid) – 65574
Subscribers – Aweber: 0, Mailerlite: 0, MailChimp: 0, Rainmail (own site): 5 = 5
Instafreebie – 0
Book sales – 0 (again, nothing yet – got to get the plastic wrap off.)

Analysis

Email Subscribers:

New Opt-ins – Essentially, I’m getting more from my own site, which is as it should be. I have another couple of months on AWeber, and get maybe 5 per month from a phantom sign-up form I haven’t been able to trace down. (Another reason I’m not keen on staying with AWeber – no real source research possible.) Overall, this is pretty sad subscription building.
Opens/Clicks – These went down as I scraped my other sites to find every opt-in I could. Meaning that I have a lot no-opens around. So this week, I want to find who isn’t opening anything out of my new subscribers and get them to open something or clean them off. That’s a regular scene I haven’t been doing recently, but it’s time to do some list hygiene again.
Instafreebie – Now that I have some books published, I want to do a bundle for next month. This allows me to then get some other authors onboard (via Nick Stephenson’s private Facebook group) with their books. Probably do two of these, one on non-fiction and the other on short story fiction work. Which means I need to get the rest of these books published.

Publishing:

Overall – There is real joy in getting something sent to book outlets. And oddly, it works right with your writing. Meaning I got more inspiration this week for other stories to write. And once I catch up with all this publishing, then I’ll be ready to go. The priority has to be using all Heinlein’s rules to get it published and out there. Right now, the ideal would be to write, edit, proof, and publish two short stories per week. Build up a backlist quickly of several dozen books so people can find them. Eventually, you’ll start pre-scheduling these ahead. When you start pushing up against Amazon’s limits on prescheduling, then simply crank ahead on the other platforms (where there don’t seem to be these limits.) With extra books, you can give them away even before they are sold, as a bundle with earlier ones. Lots more marketing angles you can do. (Check into the notes on Audiobooks below.)
Sequence – For fiction, it goes D2D/Lulu, PublishDrive, Amazon. I thought that I could get Amazon done on a via, but the controls that both D2D and PublishDrive have are not as granular as I want. Mainly, it’s a problem with categories. Almost everywhere else runs on BISAC codes. Amazon has one set of categories you can choose, and another set that are the ones you need to be on. About a 40% overlap between the two Amazon ones, and the BISAC codes align even less. So it’s manually doing Amazon to get the best “bang out of the buck.” (And since Lulu has the worst possible meta-data backend, you only use these for hardcopy versions.)
Epub quality – This can be a pain. Because Lulu and Calibre don’t agree on what passes epubcheck. So you have D2D create them for you. If you put in the extra pages for links like opt-in’s and other titles from D2D, PublishDrive doesn’t like them. So then you have to edit them out (which Calibre is great for.) Meanwhile, Lulu will take D2D epubs with tons of “errors” that get flagged on Calibre. (Sigh.) And PublishDrive says some outlets won’t take your book without an ISBN.
Epub Formating – D2D has this very simple and free. You see the results you want. Very nice compared to Calibre, which is bare bones.
This then means: 1) D2D first, and generate the epub, but don’t let it go live. 2) ISBN from Lulu and then upload that D2D file there. Have it go live just on Lulu. 3) Lulu ISBN goes to D2D (and save it into your Calibre catalog for that ebook) and have D2D go live. 4) Now port thru PublishDrive and it should go nicely. 5) Finally, Amazon. Know you’ll have to come back once it’s live to get additional categories added.
Several versions – While 2500 words is reportedly the lower limit for Amazon (and nowhere else) you need about 8K words to make a 32-page minimal book that can be published through Lulu. A booklet, actually, 6″x9″ trade paperback. That points to collections of short stories right off. You don’t have to. The idea of a paperback is to give people comparative prices and another reason to buy the ebook. Same for audiobooks, although this is also to give them options (see below.)

Editing:

ProWritingAid.com – A very nice program. Main point is to not take it too seriously. Just look for key points that you can improve on. Otherwise, make it sound like you would speak it. That is the real definition of grammar, by the way. The rules are based on common usage, not English graduate studies. The paid version integrates with Google Docs on Chrome, so gives you a lot of choices. I even found it trying to work on my Lulu dialog boxes to help me with my descriptions. GoogleDocs is great as it will go offline if your Internet goes flaky. And I can access it faster via Android devices that desktop computers. Then access those docs from anywhere. ProWritingAid.com also has standalone versions for MAC and Windows, but the Chrome version seems to be the most stable.
Audiobooks – Still not in the sequence. As noted, this comes right after your line-edit, which is done with ProWritingAid (for now.) I’m very interested in getting this going, as it’s quite simple to then upload yet another version of the story you have as both ebook and paperback. You access this through D2D and have to sign up for it. But it costs you nothing if you record and edit the audio yourself. Every story you write should come out as ebook, in print, and as audio. As covered otherwise, this also means recording your non-fiction blog posts for the same use – when you compile these into a bigger book, then you’ll have the audio files as well. Meanwhile, you can attract people via podcasts. And the ads on podcasts should sell your other materials. (And that gets you started with your non-ficton course, again…)

Overall:

Satisfied with how things are working out. On Calibre, I track which ones are published as paid. Just set up a custom column there. Tracking published-as-free was just wasted effort. But tells me something. More accurate would be adding a column for Wattpad, tracked by date posted. (Another upcoming research job.)

To Do:

0) Set up both a fiction and a non-fiction bundle on Instafreebie, exclusive to that platform. A month or so away.
1) Rest of my backlogged fiction published.
2) Get into a simple and working program for writing/editing/proofing/publishing and get two short stories done every week.
3) If possible, dive into the real social media (Wattpad, LibraryThing, Medium, Goodreads) to get this research done and action-steps worked out.
Until next week, then…

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