This last two weeks have been very busy, hence I skipped a blog post, but following three days of hard work I managed to finish the complete refurbishment of our girl’s bedroom. I had last Monday off with my wife and had a lovely relaxing day.
The weather is improving here so hopefully it will be getting nearer to a time when we can sit in the garden and perhaps have a BBQ.
WORK IN PROGRESS
Capital Action Audiobook – This has now been released and is being distributed wide for free. In order to get the word out I’ve updated the Carrie Harris page on my website to show all of the links to each retailer. Currently it’s available for free on the following sites:
I now need to figure out the best way to get this to listeners.
Purple Rain Series – I’ve completed the 2nd draft of a third of the book and I’m working on the chapters that I’d previously only outlined, bringing them up to 1st draft standard. There’s a long way to go but I’m adding in more background and internal conflict to the main character with I think is giving the storyline an extra dimension.
In The End Standalone Novel – No progress on this since the last update but I’m itching to work on it.
From the Dead – I’m still in the process of final read-through and edit goes on. I struggle to keep motivated on this because I know that I haven’t found the audience for this series yet. I have to keep remembering that I will one day and this work will have been worth it. This round of edits is still surprising me with the number of changes I’m making and because of this I think it mind need another run over!
Beginning of the End Audiobook – This is still showing as ‘Casting in Progress’ with Findaway Voices. It is taking a lot longer than their estimate of one week.
After The End Audiobook – It’s now live! I’ve spent a bit of time last weekend contacting as many people who had audio download codes for the previous books and letting them know. Downloads have been steady so far and it’s all helping to make the series more profitable against ad spend.
SALES & MARKETING
Capital Action – I don’t have any download reports yet but I’m getting great feedback on the audiobook. One particular message came back from a fan as, ‘loved Capital Action and I gave it your usual 5 stars.’ What more can I ask for!
Agent Carrie Harris Series – There’s been no change on the sales of this series. I’ve had a few hundred page reads but they go in fits and starts. The plan is still to redesign the covers to better match the genre by the end of the year (despite getting comments as to how great the covers are!)
In The End Series – Sales seemed to drop off last week so I copied and republished the advert following Facebook’s advice that I should do this every three weeks as the algorithm promotes newer campaigns over older ones. I also changed one of the call to action buttons from Learn More to Shop Now to see if that had a demonstrable effect on the purchase rate.
A week later and my sales this month have been no different to that of the previous month but my costs per click are higher. I have now reverted the ad budget to £20 a day and put the extra £5 into US AMS ads. Let’s see if I get a bump up in the Page Reads as I have seen before. After under a week my sales seem to have improved. Hopefully I can leave the ads alone next week and get a true idea of the performance.
It may be that I have to come to terms with the fact that for whatever reason Facebook will only ever be profitable at £20 a day and actually a lower budget may be even more profitable. Weird, but possible. Thinking about this issue always gets me conflicted as to whether commercially I should concentrate on capitalising on the IN THE END series and writing the stand alone novel I have planned. However I always come back to the point that I am doing this all for the future and if the purple rain series is also a success then it ultimately will be worth the development time in the long run and the sooner I get it completed then the sooner I can find out.
Last weekend I sent out an emailer to my subscribers with links to free books from some of my author friends, as a thank you one of the authors did the same for me and I received a handful of new subscribers. This week I will send out an email regarding the audio release of AFTER THE END. As I no longer get paid by audible for each audio code claimed I’m not giving away audio codes for this book at this point as the reviews for this book are less important. If they enjoyed the previous two then they should naturally pay for the third (or use their subscription credit).
I’ve also recently signed up to these free services to see if there is any milage for promotion.
voraciousreadersonly.com – This is a service to connect review readers to your books. The first 20 readers are provided free and then if you like the service they can continue finding readers for $20 a month. The promotion is set to run in June.
bookangel.co.uk – A free listing / promotion site for books available in the UK Amazon marketplace. At no cost the book is sent out to their newsletter subscribers and via twitter. You can see my book profile here.
www.librarything.com – This is a Goodreads style services where you’re meant to be able to connect to new readers. From the looks of it it doesn’t look like there is much activity on it.
On 17th April I had my first event of the year! Held in Marlborough, it was just over an hour away from my house, so after an early start driving through near continuous roadworks on the motorway I still arrived in plenty of time. The venue, a beautiful historic town hall, was situated on a junction with parking a ten minute walk away. Having done my research I’d already decided not to even attempt to drop my stuff outside and then park, instead I’d prepared everything I absolutely needed in four containers, a rucksack and a sturdy shopping bag. Luckily the route from the car park was all downhill, so it was relatively easy with everything loaded on to my trusty trolley. And yes, I realised what that meant for the return journey. If I didn’t already have enough motivation to sell some books!
Arriving at the venue I was told I would be on the 1st floor and no, there was no lift. So after a bit more manual labour I had everything up the stairs and began setting up. For this event I had set myself some simple goals and targets. The first goal was to test out if the novellas were a viable tool to promote my work, as free gifts to entice readers to buy full novels, as low-cost purchases for people not quite ready to commit to a full price novel and as giveaways in the hope they might buy future books if they like my writing. I also wanted to test out a slideshow display I produced for the stall to see if it helped bring people over. The main financial target of the event was to cover the costs of the table (£40) after stock.
I’d set the financial targets low because it was the first weekend out of the lockdown and coincided with the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh. No one had any idea how the event would perform. The organisers had described the typical footfall from past events to be around 400 – 500. This was low for their events but due to it being an affluent area, the patrons usually spent well. The total footfall for Saturday ended up being 315.
The first thing I found was that it was difficult to attract people over to the stall, firstly because of the placement of the stall and secondly because it was difficult to communicate with the masks on. I found that 90% of my sales were from people who would have walked by the stall if I had not called over and attracted their attention, generally asking if they were readers.
Novellas – I was very pleased with how these were received. After speaking with people who you could tell weren’t convinced by the genre or the covers, I’d point out how I’d written the novellas to give people a chance at a low cost to try out my writing style. I sold five novellas this way. I found I need to make it more obvious that the novellas are low cost, so I’ve ordered £1.99 stickers to add to the packaging.
People were very pleased to receive them free with a purchase and also when I started giving them away to people who seemed interested but just couldn’t commit to handing money over. Only time will tell if they produce more follow on sales or even fans.
Free Shipping – The other thing I introduced at this event was free shipping vouchers. I presented these to people who bought the novellas or part of a series so they could buy them from me directly at the same cost as I was selling on the stall. Not only does this give me higher profit sales for follow up books, it also allows me to track what sales have resulted from the events. These vouchers were greatly received.
Having done quite a few events now it was great to be able to provide positive responses to people’s roadblock answers.
“I only read on kindle.” Great. All my books are available on kindle. Have a free copy of both my novellas. I would then hand them a card with instructions on how to get the free books.
“I only listen to audiobooks.” Great. All my books are available on audio and Capital Action is free. I would then give them the free novella card and tell them to go to my website to get the free audiobook.
The only ones I haven’t quite got an answer to is, “sorry I don’t read.” But still I say, do you know anyone who does? Sometimes that works.
Slideshow Display – The jury is out on this. I only saw one person actually look at the presentation. This is likely due to the placement of the table. If it was pointing alone the line of stalls it might make it stand out more. I’ll keep if for the next event and see how it goes down.
Overall I sold 8 books and 5 novellas, and gave away another ten as either gifts for purchase or just because they showed some interest. After stock costs this took me to about £7.50 profit on the day, which is a positive result against my target. I also received a handful of email subscribers from the event. The next event (Guildford 8th May) is larger, and more expensive, but should have a much higher footfall. My target for that event will be to get £55 in profit for the day, but as long as I cover the £55 table fee I will be pleased.
That’s about it this week. Work in progress should improve next week as I have nothing planned which could interrupt my writing schedule. Comments and suggestions welcomed as always.