Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 13 Results

The Great Fiction Writing Challenge - Week 13 Results

The Great Fiction Writing Challenge – Week 13 Results

Subscribers still flowing in due to joining Instafreebie giveaways. Some tweaking, but proved its an essential tool. More interesting is how it’s begun driving traffic to book outlets.


Published words
– free – 0
– paid – 6980 (anthology: 26381, total: 33361) Anthology is also out in print. Proof in its way.
– free – 7479
– paid – 2358 (Medium)
Aweber: 2, Mailerlite: 134, MailChimp: 0, Rainmail: 40; Total – 176
Instafreebie – 46, Draft2Digital – 0
Consolidated Subscribers
– Start – 281
– End – 331
– Net – 50
Book sales – Amazon – 2, PublishDrive – 0, StreetLib – 0, Draft2Digital – 0; Total – 2

Books published this week:


– Email subscribers are apparently from cross-lists. That total should be way higher. We know that the Instafreebie subscribers cross with Mailerlite, but the apparent explanation is that many people getting the free books are apparently cross-signing up to other lists I have on my site.
– The optimistic point: if I can keep at least 50 per week added each week, then I’ll be over a thousand in 20 weeks (5 more months.) By June, half-way through the Challenge, we’ll have a good set of data. Right now we are three months in, and things are starting to break loose.
– There was a big uptick in Books2Read (B2R) link-clicks. That really shows that putting the related books links in their backs have some traction. I don’t have any other explanation for it, as those are a really the only places I’m using them other than this newsletter. (So if you clicked, thanks.)
– Went ahead and published a blog post to Medium, as I accidently sent it there anyway. This needed a test as I’ve been stacking up content there until I could get it edited. (They don’t like people asking for subscribers and donations.) That Facebook post was particularly timely, so I went ahead with it.
– Main point is that a few minutes daily attending to Instafreebie is paying off with increasing email subscribers. Rainmail’s uptick is coincident with Instafreebie. Traffic to the site itself has dropped a bit (something to do with traffic from Flipboard, apparently.) Google bots seem regular, with search traffic slightly up. Podcasts are producing most of my traffic, which doesn’t seem to convert well.
– Checking through visitors reminded me of an idea. I posted the short stories on my blog originally. And these are currently linked through the menu. But I’ll probably replace those menu links with B2R author page links, that are always updated and go to the books (as well as to the Instafreebie giveaway page.) Overall, the traffic on my site doesn’t seem directly related to new subscribers.
– I’m working to find the no-open sunscribers and remove them as I can. This gives me a high unsubscribe rate, but improves the open and click rates. Logical. Also saves me potential “complaints” later. That’s the point to work on these email lists. It’s called hygiene. Unlike some companies, I don’t need to keep pouring ads out that are never viewed – or emails that are never opened. But some of these new subscribers have only ever gotten a single email from me. Right now, I start weeding if they’ve gotten 5 or more from me and opened none. Since the last clean-out, I only have two that are n0-opens right now. I’ll also keep mailing weekly so I am working with the people who are getting something out of it. At some point, I’ll set up autoresponder series filled with free downloads and good data in every one. Those will quickly let me know in a single week who is actually on board. Those who only wanted the free stuff won’t open anything, and will quickly stick out.

New backburner item:

Public domain books need more work. Amazon has been changing things and kicking PD publishers out.
This became so obvious a situation in need of handling (and I have so much data available to work with) that I went ahead and posted an article on this. See http://livesensical.com/online-business-amazon-squashes-public-domain-ebooks-again/

Plans this week:

I’d still like to get into researching (and posting) the Four Uber-Reader Horsemen (Medium, Goodreads, LibraryThing, and Wattpad.)
Last week I had to vent on Facebook as it was getting pretty tight inside my mind with the data coming to light.
The Ghost Whisperer post was a good study in craft. I also binge-read a Lindsay Buroker box set, which gave me some good examples about how to do cliff-hangers right. And I’m middle of reading a Ben Bova book about Science Fiction, so the Buroker books will give me a nice comparative.
But I need to stick to short stories, as that is the first craft to perfect – and will make novels possible.
The plan in general is to do some work on craft weekly, particularly when I finish up the basic mechanics of this fiction market. Instafreebie and D2D/B2R are turning out to be big breakthroughs. Both are very under-used. Just as Amazon is over-used. Same old scene of “95% crud.”
Again, I’d like to get back to writing two ebooks per week and publishing them. It takes me one or two days to write and edit (without doing the audio) and a day day to create the cover and metadata and publish it to three aggregators and Amazon.
I have craft studies to do specifically on Science Fiction, Mysteries, and Romance. Once those are done, then I’ll have the background to better understand what I am reading.
My reading has to be disciplined to just short stories for now, and serials (studying cliff hangers.) The DW Smith workshop I’m currently taking on cliff hangers is simply stacking up on me, and I may simply collect all the videos and binge watch them to digest. Right now, I’m about half-way through. He does have some points I apparently haven’t found elsewhere. But I’m considering this will be my last workshop from him, as these cost me too much time, compared to books I still have to digest and the daily material that comes in through my RSS and Flipboard feeds. The point is to take this in, test it, and distill it through my own blog posts into a working format. You saw this with the Ghost Whisperer analysis this week. But stick to reading and writing short stories so I master these. No more Buroker box sets of three full novels and a novella.

To-do list:

0. At least one ebook written and published this week.
1. Instafreebie errata post. (More data will come up as I get some of my own group giveaways completed.)
2. Medium sorted out for both non-fiction and fiction outlets.
3. Probably take Goodreads and LibaryThing next, as they seem less intensive work than Wattpad. I may be wrong on this, but the only way to learn is to dive in and start pitching the crud out.
4. Two novellas and a novelette still need editing and publishing.
5. See if I can do a quarterly review this week.

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