MY PUBLISHING JOURNEY – THE RESULTS ARE IN

Email Subscribers

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can develop my email mailing list so I can best serve the subscribers to retain their interest and make the most of them when it comes to future sales. I know that I certainly want to improve the frequency of emailing, going from an ad-hoc basis to at least every two weeks. The common thinking is that you cannot over-send to those who actually want to hear from you. It is better to have a small amount of engaged subscribers than a large number that barely read what you send them.

I thought the best way to start this would be to run some sort of competition, plus it may get people to share it and then sign up others to the list or my social accounts. Then I thought that this would be a stab in the dark so why don’t I use MailChimp’s new functionality and just ask people what they want. So I did.

I set up a very simple survey with two questions. The first was a list of possible content I could provide and the second was about which series they were interested in hearing about in the future. Would they only like to hear about one of the series, or only future projects or were they happy to hear about anything I was writing or had written about.

I sent the question out and achieved a massive 62% opening rate with 13% clicking on the survey.

Survey Results – After six days 63 people had filled out the survey. The results for question one will greatly held me decide on what new type of content I should send. The top result showed that people wanted to hear about my future projects. The second was to hear about the details of my books, including sample chapters and character backgrounds. The third place out of the eight options was to get more free stuff. I wasn’t surprised to see that one high up the list, but I was pleased it wasn’t at the top!

What was surprising was that competitions was the second least selected option and that thirteen of the respondents were interested in how to get signed copies of my books.

This Sunday I plan to do another email with the high level results of the survey and to let people know how I’ll be tailoring the communications in the future, plus letting them know how to get signed books!

Also based on the success of the survey I will be adding a footer to all of my emails with access to this information, including a new link to a monthly survey. This will give people the option to provide further feedback on an ongoing basis.

With regards to the second question, 80% of the respondents weren’t concerned about me only talking to them about the Carrie Harris or In The End series. If this number had been lower I would have considered splitting the list out. Now at least I don’t have to consider this as an issue anymore.

Box Set Release

Last week I told of my hopes to release the IN THE END series as a box set via Amazon. The main benefit to the reader would be the discounted price over getting the books individually, that would perhaps bring forward the sales and maybe get people buying all three when they may have read the first book and forgotten to buy the second and third.

The only hurdle was to create the 3D image of the box set to display on the page. I signed up for the BookBrush web software which includes a 3D box set creator. It took me less than thirty minutes to watch the tutorial and then to create the following very professional looking images.

I’m sure you’ll agree they look amazing. After creating the image there was nothing stopping me putting the set on sale, so after combining the individual manuscripts and adding a contents page to enable the reader to jump to each book, I posted it up. The set is about £2.50 cheaper than the individuals, and there is a corresponding drop in profit. I’ve already sold a few and I haven’t undertaken much marketing yet. You can check out the listing here.

I plan to use the other parts of the functionality of the software soon so I can make sure it is a true replacement for Canva as my subscription renews in April.

WORK IN PROGRESS

After The End Audio – The initial audiobook review by audible has identified a few audio issues which the narrators are currently fixing. These were resolved within a day but it effectively restarts the counter to 4 to 6 weeks before release. On a positive side, I’m getting quite a few requests for when the audiobook will be out.

From The Dead – This is still resting. Next weekend I will print it out again and begin a final read-through before sending for evaluation. I want to get this book out of the way as I’m still not sure if I can get the Carrie Harris series to sell!

Capital Action Audiobook – Production should be starting properly this week. This will be one of my tools to getting the series off the ground.

New PA Book – I’m still running through the first chapters I’d written on the first pass, consolidating the story and effectively producing draft two on those sections. When I get to where I have only outlined, I’ll will switch back to producing the first proper draft. It sounds rather complicated, but it makes sense me!

Capital Action Review

I received a lovely review for the novella this week and I’d love it if you pop over to Suzanne’s blog to take a look.

Sales And Marketing

In The End Series – As of yesterday I’ve sold 147 copies of the lead-in novella, BEGINNING OF THE END. The other books are selling much as they did (including page reads) when I was only running AMS ads, so at this stage it is difficult to say if my previous sales were driven by AMS and now they are being driven by the Facebook ads read-through from BEGINNING OF THE END, or if they are just my natural sales with no advertising. I guess this information will only come with time. I don’t want to turn off the ads to test. I plan to stick with the current strategy and review at the end of the month to see how I can attempt to upscale the campaign.

Agent Carrie Harris Series – With just seven copies of CAPITAL ACTION sold against a benchmark minimum of around eighteen, it is clear I need to review this as the strategy is not building the sales. Perhaps I will look at improving the targeting somehow.

I have had four read-through sales but the volume is not large enough to say whether this is due to the novella. Either way it is falling short of the £45 I have spent on the campaign to date. I have previously been told that a budget of £10 is the minimum to consistently win the Facebook ad space auction. I may increase the budget to see if this helps, but then my target sales will need to be 4 a day.

That’s about it for me for now. Please feel free to drop any comments or questions below.

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