Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 52 (Final) Results

The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 52 (Final) Results

Finished the anthologies for this year. 7 more. Continued on writing the book with all the craft I learned this past year. With any luck, I’ll publish it today/early tomorrow.


Published Words Fiction:

– free – 0  (Own Site)
– paid – 368217 (D2D, Amazon), 0 (Medium)

Published Words Non-Fiction:

– free – 2168
– paid – 0 (Medium)


New Instafreebie/PW: 282
Overall Total: 3890

Book sales this week:

Amazon – 16, Draft2Digital – 1, Gumroad – 0 = Total Week’s Fiction Sales – 17

Books (pre-)published:

Aggregate Production:

Total fiction books published this year: 139
Total short stories published as individual ebooks: 101
Total anthologies published: 34 (plus two novels, a preview and a bundle)
(Calibre now agrees with my math.)

Total Words Published this year: 2,652,297
Total Anthology/Novel/Bundle words published this year: 1,900,177
Total Short Story words published this year: 752,120


No new fiction books this week. Though my fiction writing habits haunted me all week.

Concentrated on wrapping everything up, which includes a new non-fiction book built from blog content.

I did a scrape and import of all my IF/PW subscribers and found some interesting patterns:

  • Total: 7278
  • Retained: 3743
  • Invalid: 1
  • Unsubscribed: 3339
  • Bounced: 143
  • Spam complaints: 46
  • Banned: 8


  • Retained: 51%
  • Unsubscribed:46%
  • Else: 3%

(A note here – list hygiene moves the no-openers over into unsubscribed.)

A full export of these subscribers will then show some commonalities and other relationships I can work with. All in addition to the many segment filters I can use through Mailerlite.

Number Crunching – Year End

Starting to compile data from 2018 in fiction sales, as well as total sales for all books (the content-business side of things).

What is key to keep in mind is that this is a new author who has never published fiction before. And ran no ads this year, only built and mailed to a new list.

Here’s an interesting one – from Draft2Digital:

Draft2Digital total sales 2018

There you see the beginnings of a fiction author, starting from scratch with no fiction published earlier. Draft2Digital is able to be more granular in the data, but an over view is all we need right now, preferring to break out months from a spreadsheet instead.

Gumroad gives me more data as to who sent me my sales (from me, not surprising).

Gumroad sales 2018

Since I send no real traffic to Facebook or other social media, this also shows a lot about how much stock I need to place in them and the search engines for book sales. Once I start running FB ads, this might change. But I’ll only be sending traffic to my own site or books2read link, so maybe not.

What is more interesting is that I get the subscriber emails from this, and they don’t have to opt-in. These then are forwarded to my email service provider as their own group.

I’ve also downloaded a complete year of subscribers from Instafreebie/PW. It numbered 7278, which you can compare to my numbers above – about a 50% drop-off. If I average 30% opt-in, then you’ll see the actual cost of getting subscribers – which is a fair bit of  advertising.

Final numbers from Lulu won’t come in until around 15 Dec, but I’ve already downloaded a 12-month CSV that ended in Nov. A pie chart shows I’m selling most through Ingram (61%) compared to Amazon (31%) and Lulu-direct (8%). Those are unit sales, though. Half of the Lulu book-units were bought by me as proofs. Lots more there to break down and extract – look for this in the first few weeks of next year. (Not too surprising: no original fiction sales in paperback or ebook from Lulu.)

I’ll also then have to look up PublishDrive and StreetLib for other reports. The small handful of books I already have on iTunes, Kobo, and Nook can almost be disregarded. My main use will be to find these to avoid duplicating them as I come back to publish all my books everywhere possible – that content-business strategy that is key.

Amazon is the pain, since it only pulls by the quarter at best (and you have to ask on the last day of that quarter to get the data).

All that will be next week. Again, I need to wrap up this non-fiction book, and then start in on a new one that will set the stage for next year. The above analysis will play a part in this, although the data on how to set up a fiction backend will be a part of the content-business strategy.

A Year-End Challenge Summary

Overall, a huge success. Yuge.

I had to realize in compiling this book from blog posts – that I did crunch out over a million words this past year, which sets me up on production with all the top pulp writers. Of course, they built up to this – as I did – by writing daily for decades prior.

A hundred published short stories, and nearly 140 fiction books published this year.

The main thing I saw was that I concentrated on Craft right up to about half-way. Then started working up my non-fiction theory after that. But my work was in writing fiction and still testing the craft side. And why I had to pull out the how-to business articles out – as they were untested.

Meaning that I was working on my next year’s preps for about the same time as I started working on this years preps – six months ahead of time.

Following that model, I’ll then be testing and implementing business basics through the first half of this coming year, and then setting up for the next challenge during the next half.

Oh, that challenge has already been worked up. From my print sales, I see that it separates into fiction and non-fiction, which in turn separates into Ag/Business/Self-Help as major categories. Since this is showing that my fiction and non-fiction need to get into audiobooks – along with promotional podcasts – this will involve me in converting the fiction, business, and self-help books over to audio versions. So I’ll then have a model to apply to Ag books in the following year. Ag is a different scene, as it’s very siloed – an apt pun – into completely different communities than fiction and self-help/business.

The rough layout for this next year is then this:

The point of this next year is to increase sustainable, independent income.

The best areas to expand these is through audiobooks, and courses.

Mining my existing demand to my site shows that I have many non-fiction books already with audio, but not published as audiobooks. Conversely, a few audiobooks don’t exist as repeating podcasts.

Courses are aligned to non-fiction, but I can also harvest my fiction subscribers into this area. As well, making mini-courses both improve my ability to convert subscribers to buyers and also gives me intro courses to port to Udemy and Skillshare.

Fiction book writing gets streamlined to only a single book per week, but definitely published through the other two aggregators as well as Wattpad and Medium. Meanwhile, I play catch-up weekly to get all these 140 books over to them (Publishdrive and Streetlib).

This makes my week about 2 days on fiction (still seeing that this is a big area of income expansion), 2 days on course development, and 2 days on catch-up publishing, then a day or analysis and accountability.

Ads: I’ll start running these for fiction, but also on my bestselling non-fiction books.


Mainly, I see I’m already chomping at the bit to get into the business scene.

It’s been a great run this year. A lot of breakthroughs.

See you next week for the next step on this journey.

Last Week’s To-Do’s:

  • Emails out on schedule. (Today.) DONE
  • One fiction book written and published. (Mon.) NOPE
  • Publish fiction to own site, Wattpad, and Medium. (Mon wold be best, otherwise Wed/Thurs.) NOPE
  • 7 Anthologies published. (Fri/Sat – after Christmas interruptions…) DONE
  • Survive the holiday visitations. DONE (Whew.)
  • Possible compilation of this year’s fiction-writing posts. (?) ONGOING
  • Final Analysis (Sun) DONE

Next Week’s To-Do’s:

  1. Podcast recorded for this Challenge.
  2. Pull rest of Stats from outlets (Amazon, PubD, SL, Nook, Kobo, ITunes)
  3. New fiction book written and published as text.
  4. Set up New Podcast and publish first episode of fiction promotion.
  5. Set up, record and publish audiobook.
  6. Get lists of books published and compile master list (Lulu, PubD, SL, Nook, Amazon, Kobo, iTunes)
  7. If time, find all unpublished audio books.
  8. Analysis and first new Challenge report posted.


The post The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 52 (Final) Results appeared first on Living Sensical.

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