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.

from Living Sensical http://bit.ly/2EZ8L9L

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 51 Results

Great Fiction Writing Challenge - Week 51 - Results

The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 51 Results

One new short story this week – and it took me over four days to get through it. Dispersed with other activities (next year’s challenge preps).


Published Words Fiction:

– free – 0  (Own Site)
– paid – 5867 (D2D, Amazon), 0 (Medium)

Published Words Non-Fiction:

– free – 4381
– paid – 0 (Medium)


New Instafreebie/PW: 451
Overall Total: 3593

Book sales this week:

Amazon – 9, Draft2Digital – 4, Gumroad – 3 = Total Week’s Fiction Sales – 16

Books (pre-)published:

Aggregate Production:

Total fiction books published this year: 130 (Calibre doesn’t agree again.)
Total short stories published as individual ebooks: 101
Total anthologies published: 29 (plus two 200+ page books)
Countdown to 100 published short stories: 0 in 1 weeks (Yay!)
(100 total short stories, plus around 7+/- more anthologies for 34 total – 138+/- original books published in a single year.)


Worked on sleuthing out my own sales data for the business this week. And then also compiled 9 anthologies, which worked down to needing only 7.

That was one reason for not really concentrating on that single fiction work this week (keeping my fiction writing habit in is harder than I thought.)  I still have stories crying at my door to be written and published to life. But getting fascinated with setting up next year’s challenge is also attention-sucking.

And then there is the distractions of visiting relatives over Christmas.

Which is why I’m rushing through this report to get it out – we had some early arrivals yesterday, which haven’t made their presence here, yet. (And will be here for a solid week. Yay.)

I’ll save the work on next year’s challenge for those posts. I can as easily do those analyses at that point – I just got curious, and then started going through spreadsheets to see where my content-business income is actually coming from (mostly non-fiction, but in three main categories – details to follow in two weeks…)

Talking to Your Readers

I’ve concluded that my own best social media is my email.

I asked my clicking readers what they wanted me to write for them. And got over 20 replies, some were good, a few very good, and all of them got my inspiration going to see how I could give them all what they wanted.

The idea is that they gave me an idea/theme/concept and then I’d write a story and give them a chance to read it before I published – if they liked it, I’d put a dedication page in the front of it with their name.

After I collated those responses into a spreadsheet yesterday, so I could see if any were able to be consolidated into single stories (as opposed to writing 21 stories) I found that my email provider had come out with a survey function so I can survey directly from my email and see tabulated responses as well as individual answers. Very nice. Beats having to go to a standalone survey site.

So this is in progress right now (going through a learning curve). Still, the responses I got showed that this was very welcome. And I got some personal responses that were very rewarding. The main lesson is that you have to put your self out there and ask for response in order to get any.

But different than social media, these emails have a better response rate, and I know more of who I’m dealing with.

Next additions will be an early-reader team and a street team – both of which change my publishing patterns.

Other Changes In Publishing Patterns Coming

Here’s what I’m looking at improving:

  • A promotional podcast about the books I produce, as I write them. Every book gets about 5 minutes where I can tell their story and the tidbits that people would find interesting.
  • Each book is recorded for publishing as an audiobook.
  • Anthologies get binders of audiobooks as well. This is simple under Gumroad, but doable under Findaway.com as well.
  • Dedicatedly publishing to Medium and Wattpad. (Even this last week was tough – schedule this for Tues.)

Those each add time to the publishing cycle (which is why I didn’t do audiobooks myself during this last year.)


Add a “first readers group” (beta readers) to get some feedback on how these stories work for them, and any major errors in them. This sets the book back a week for publishing, unless I can stick to the Monday-and-Done practice I have. The book would go out to them on Tuesday and then I’d publish Saturday. This might raise logistics problems with audio recording and publishing, since right now I record as part of proofing.

Add a “street team” who get early copies of everything so they can pitch the book during it’s 90-day pre-release and the week it actually arrives. Tricky, as I have new releases coming out each week.

The non-fiction will have to have its own sort-out done. Like the books I have on writing. The students  I have who are interested in business are also in this area. The main scene here is to build a set of courses which address the problems writers have in getting their books written and marketed. Not too surprising, these are also the books that sell well for me (other than my specialized Ag books – which are probably another year off, as that’s a content business that supplements a physical business.)

Last Week’s To-Do’s:

  • Emails out on schedule. DONE
  • Post setting up next year’s Challenge DONE
  • Mon-Tues: New fiction work written and published. DONE
  • Wed-Thurs: publishing articles on own site, Medium, Wattpad NOPE
  • Fri-Sat: Build anthologies and publish as possible. PARTLY
  • Sun: This analysis DONE

This Week’s To-Do’s:

  1. Emails out on schedule. (Today.)
  2. One fiction book written and published. (Mon.)
  3. Publish fiction to own site, Wattpad, and Medium. (Mon wold be best, otherwise Wed/Thurs.)
  4. 7 Anthologies published. (Fri/Sat – after Christmas interruptions…)
  5. Survive the holiday visitations.
  6. Possible compilation of this year’s fiction-writing posts. (?)
  7. Final Analysis (Sun)

The post The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 51 Results appeared first on Living Sensical.

from Living Sensical http://bit.ly/2AfZk2t

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