So How Did that Reedsy Thing Go?

So How Did that Reedsy Thing Go?

Greetings all,

youtuber-2838945_1920
Image from Pixabay. 

A few weeks ago, I’d mentioned I wanted to give Reedsy a try.  The bottom line up front is I’m disappointed.

I spent nearly $200 U.S. for a little more than an hour-long conversation. That conversation was full of advice. I honestly believe a lot of it was good advice, but that’s not what I wanted.

I was coached to prep a Facebook Add campaign. The coach worked with me on my settings and audience. As with every FB campaign I’ve ever done, I had about 45 clicks; I spent $50, and didn’t have a single book sale.

This means I spent about $250 for an hour-long conversation, a few coaching sessions and absolutely no book sales.

So here’s my opinion on paying money for advice. First, the advice should be followed. I’m still working on a number of things the coach spoke with me about. (I’m not naming him because I truly think he tried to help me. I’m not angry with him, and I don’t want him to receive any bad publicity.) My time is super limited, so I have to prioritize it.

My problem is that man made his money. He’s about $100 or so richer. I’m about $100 or so poorer.  He’s got what he wanted (money), and I’m still invisible to the world at large. I wanted someone to market my books, and what I got was advice about how to market my books. Again, the advice may or may not be solid. However, when I go to Burger King, I don’t want advice on how to make a burger; I want a freaking burger. When I go to a car dealership, I don’t want advice on how to make a car; I want a freaking car. When I got to a marketer, I don’t want marketing advice; I want someone to market my book.

Chart     I’m more than willing to either pay a flat fee for marketing efforts or share a portion of the profits of books sold, but I’m so tired of people making money from me, making me no promises, and ultimately not helping me sell a single book. I thought Reedsy would link me with a marketer who would take a fee, market my book, and that marketing would result in actual sales. What I got was more of the same I’ve gotten from all the other people who claimed they’d help me. They get their money, and I never hear from them again.

Case in point, I sent the coach a message telling him the adds netted zero sales. I’m out $50, and I have nothing to show for it. That $50 may not seem like much to some, but it’s a Christmas present for a member of my extended family. It’s a donation to my church. It’s a night out with my wife. It’s a portion of my life I invested on a dream. That $200 (roughly) I spent was even more significant. It’s a large portion of an edit on one of my books. It’s about a third to a fifth of a cover for a book. After a week, I have yet to hear back. No advice on where to go from there. No consolatory email.  And why? What incentive does he have to so much as offer me a “sorry brah! That sucks!” He’s got his money.

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A snipping of my AMS overview from a few months ago. 

Any marketing money I spend from here on out will go to marketing. If I hire a marketer, he or she won’t see a dime unless I actually sell a book. And if that’s not the way it works, I’ll continue to figure it out on my own. I dream of the day I can invest in other things. Maybe if marketing companies don’t work the way I want them too, I’ll start a new company where we only profit if you profit.

If any of you know of a company like this, please feel free to let me know about it in the comments below.

So yeah, this was a disappointment. My wife and I talked about this before we took this step. We had to be willing to basically blow this money. We hoped for the best, and it didn’t work out.

As sad as it makes me, I’m blessed to have had the funds to take this chance even if it netted me nothing. Sure, I lost out on a lot of other things I could have had (see above), but those aren’t things that we can’t recover from or save to do. It’s the immediacy of those things that are the root of my frustration at the moment.

climbing-2264698_960_720     I’m still undaunted. What I’ve essentially learned from this is never to give anyone money for advice. I get plenty of advice from people I know personally who actually want me to succeed. They don’t charge, and if what they say doesn’t work, I only lose what I gave on the actual effort.

I’m still working hard to get up to 100,000 impressions per year (by estimate, so 3,350 a day) on all of my titles. I’m pretty close. This requires a bunch of effort. I get one book to hit the mark, and then it slides a little. It’s way more observation and tweaking than I thought. I’ll make another post about how that’s going, but that is one step designed to get people to the Amazon buy page for a book. I might see an increase in clicks. (I hope to, and I have.) However, that doesn’t mean I’ll see an increase in conversions yet.  (In fact, my sales are down.)  There will be work to do once I meet this goal. Still, that’s for another post.

concept-1868728_1920    I strongly urge hopeful authors to learn from my lessons. First, you’re marketing platform should be rolling long before you release that first book. Second, don’t pay people for advice. Pay for actual services. Reedsy still has a few things I am interested in (book reviews), but those are actual services, so it’s an exchange I feel more confident about.

As always when I post a negative review, I urge you to take this with a grain of salt. There are so many other factors that can impact how these things go. Just because I’ve come to a decision on how I want to invest my money doesn’t mean you should do it my way. Yeah, be cautious. Make sure you know what the risks are. Don’t be overly optimistic of your results (both Amazon and FB have a company wide average conversion rate of around 10%).

My hope is this post gives you pause. But I don’t want it to be the sole opinion on which you base your decisions.

Thank you for reading,

Matt

 

 

 

 

Marketing Journal: A Push For Impressions!

Marketing Journal: A Push For Impressions!

Greetings all,

frustrated-4201046_1920
Stock photo from Pixabay.

So a few weeks ago I talked about Reedsy. I also mentioned Publisher Rocket. Given that I’m still in a holding pattern on the rest of the Oneiros Log, this turns out to be a good time to offer you an update.

Naturally, I hope for this to become a profitable business. However, the unfortunate reality is after five years, I’m still losing money. This in no way reduces my love for writing, nor does it affect my resolve to keep at it. What this truth does do is challenge me to look at what I’m doing and try to get better.

When I talked to marketers, I had two conversations. The first validated a truth I accepted when I started. I have ten titles available. If I use the wide umbrella of “paranormal,” I could argue that six of them are in the same genre. One of those six is YA. Three more of those six are parts of the first book. When one doesn’t write to market, it’s very difficult to build a platform. I went into this dream with my eyes open to that truth.

caught-front-coverIf you were a hopeful author who didn’t care what you wrote, I’d recommend you search the categories (more on that below) and write to one of the smaller markets and build your following. However, I have stories that have been stuck in train wreck between my eyes for decades, and they want out. Some are more demanding than others. I don’t think I could stick to one thing if I wanted to. This means I have to be willing to accept that I don’t have a lot going for me in terms of platform and market. I am trying to get the Oneiros Log done, and that will give me a complete trilogy (quadrology if you count Repressed, but, again, that is a YA outrigger story) to market to one audience.

The other marketer and I spoke via chat, and we have a meeting scheduled for later today (Saturday). I was clear about my goals and my struggles.

My ultimate goal is to earn $7,000 per month in profit from my writing. That’s the target that will allow me to become a full-time author. I’d probably continue working for two years just to get everything stabilized. Then I would focus on being the author I’ve always wanted to be.

This meeting is hopefully the first step toward making the books I have out contribute to the goal rather than continue to budget for my author career the way some people budget for vacations.

The next thing I did was possible because of some overtime I worked. I finally purchased Publisher Rocket. My desire was to skip straight to the AMS Marketing Keywords, but I held off. I learned a few things by doing that.

Rocket logoA while back, I talked about using the seven KDP keywords to help get you placed into more specific categories. They do, but those keywords are even more powerful. I sort of think of them like free marketing keywords. So I spent the last week going through all of my titles and refining those keywords. Now, since those titles are old, and I don’t have much of a platform, I can’t really expect there to be any night and day changes.

The next thing I did was use Rocket to help me find categories that gave me a better shot to be visible. When one first publishes on KDP, they see some 600 categories they have to try and fit themselves in. Amazon has way more categories than that, and Rocket has a way to find them and rank them based on how many books per day you’d have to sell to be the best seller for that category. From my understanding, being a best seller or a number one best seller for a category does wonderful things for a book and an author’s bank account. I still have to move those titles into those categories, but I just finished identifying them, and getting put in those categories is only an email or phone call away.

As for marketing: I’m actually having trouble finding the first article I researched, but what it taught me (and other sites reenforced) is that each of my book should have at least 100,000 impressions per month.

I was nowhere near that. The short math:

Impressions must happen for anyone to click. Clicks must happen for anyone to buy. You want clicks to lead directly to buys.

Last weak, I took stock of what books were generating the most impressions. Caught was getting somewhere around 40,000 impressions per month. So, without having Publisher Rocket, I just went at it. I created about two new campaigns a night until I reached the point I am at today. As of May 21, Caught had 78,804 impressions during the last 30 days.

This tells me I should be hitting my goal soon (if I haven’t already). The next step in my plan is to get the rest of my books going.

Once I have all of my titles pulling in 100,000 impressions a month, I can use that data to look at my click through rate.

So I thought I’d give you a snapshot on just how far off I am. My hope is, as I get better, you’ll see that I’m doing is working. Why isn’t it working now? Because I haven’t been doing too much of anything. Time is a valuable resource. I spend the bulk of my time happy with my wonderful family. I spend time with God studying the New and Old Testament. So I was using my time to write (which I love), but my books aren’t selling (which makes me sad). The goal is to turn things around by focusing on my AMS marketing. Will it work? Stay tuned and find out. (You can help by purchasing any or all of my books!  Just saying.)

My Current stats:

BOOK                                    IMPRESSIONS                  CLICKS         ORDERS (BOOKS BOUGHT)

Caught                                  78,804                                38 (BAD)       1 (NO FUN)

Bob                                       20,453 (BAD)                     12 (BAD)        0 (SAD)

Power of Words                 40,069 (BAD)                     11 (BAD)        0 (SAD)

Repressed                            34, 740 (BAD)                    9 (BAD)         1 (NO FUN)

Sojourn                                 29,210 (BAD)                    22 (BAD)       0 (SAD)

Stealing Freedom               4, 718 (TERRIBLE)          5 (BAD)          0 (SAD)

Testimony                             33, 028 (BAD)                  11 (BAD)       0 (SAD)

 

I left out info for the individual parts for Bob because I only have about one campaign for each of them, so it’s probably not good.

It looks like we got Caught up to speed. I’ll know for sure June 1. I’ll probably do a few more campaigns just to be sur. My first goal will be to get them all to 100,000 impressions a month. Then I can worry about that devastatingly bad click-through-rate. According to my research, I should be getting clicks about 35% of the time or more. I think my highest click-through-rate is about 7%.

One thing I can do now though (and intend to do during my meeting with the Reedsy marketer) is work on converting those clicks into buys. How often do I want that to happen? Let’s look at the math.

Screen Shot 2020-05-22 at 12.58.28 PM
My current AMS page looks depressing.

After Amazon takes it’s cut from one of my sales, I make a maximum profit of $2.79 (on average. Most of my books are between $2.99 and $3.99, but let’s just work with this number for now). If I pay 25 cents a click, that means I could have about 10 clicks before I lose money. My goal is to convert one out of every eight clicks into sales. The way that happens is making sure I get my book blurb on point and reviews. I can’t actually do much about reviews. I hope people read and review my work, but I don’t have a way to make that happen. I can look at my blurbs and make them as strong as possible. My hope is this marketer will help me with that.

Why one for every eight click? Because if I can keep it that low, I could make 9 cents a sale. Not the best sales rate ever, but I have to start somewhere, and my current one per fifty four clicks is costing me about $20 a month. The perspective is that flipping it from a loss to a profit is the right progression.

We have to think positively. Rather than stay fixated on the lack of sales and reviews, the more-productive (and less painful) mindset is to look at what can be done to get better.

So here is the starting point and plan of action, the two things anyone needs to execute a plan.

Wish me luck!

Thanks for reading,
Matt

Reedsy: What’s This All About?

Reedsy: What’s This All About?

So I was watching a Kindlepreneur video, and it introduced me to Reedsy.  I don’t want to take away from the video; you can watch that here.  The long and short is Reedsy seems to be a gift to the author world where it provides a one-stop-shop for your needs: Cover art, editors, marketing, you name it.

The down side? Well, because the company is very selective in who it links authors too, the prices are higher. How much higher? Well, that’s what this post is about. I’m looking to see if this company has what I want at a price I can budget for.

Signing up was easy. It took a few seconds. So next up was looking at what they offer.  Let’s start with editors. I’m happy with Sara, but it’s always nice to see what is out there.

I searched editors for Betrayed since that’s what I’m saving up for. I was pretty frustrated because I can find a paranormal romance editor, but just plain paranormal? Nope! Still I found an editor who looks great (worked for Angry Robot), so I sent a request for a quote. The good news is this makes it very easy to find the type of work I’m looking for. What I want to know though is what is the price range I’m going to need to budget for. I don’t know about other authors, but I have a very limited monthly amount I can budget with, and I need to see how this site’s services align with my budget. Unfortunately, I’d have to fill out the form to get a quote, and I don’t actually have time to do that right this second and write this post, so for now, I’m going to work on filling out the form and follow this blog up with more data.

I also looked up another service I truly want some help with: Marketing. So what if I want some help marketing Sojourn in Captivity?  Well, I found marketing for Space Opera, and I found a hit. I sent a request for a quote to him as well.  I actually filled this form out first.  We’ll see what we come back with.

The last thing this site gives (not nearly the last I’m interested in, just the last one I’m looking at today) is Book Reviews.  They offer a review for $50.  That’s in my budget, and reviews are helpful. The form was a little tricky, taking me a minute to figure out, but the gist is I upload my book and fill in some basic information, and then they have reviewers who look at it.

So the marketing information I requested took about 20 minutes to fill out. From here, I wait and see what comes back. We’ll follow this post (as I said) up in another, but my hope is this trial can help others see if this is a good fit for them.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

 

You’re Not Stuck! COVID Delays Don’t Mean You Can’t Do Something As An Author

You’re Not Stuck! COVID Delays Don’t Mean You Can’t Do Something As An Author

Greetings all,

handcuff
Image by Achim Scholty from Pixabay. 

I want to share a frustration I have with people sometimes.  People can let one obstacle beat them. I can’t go to the gym, so I can’t work out. Really? So lack of access to a gym prevents you from doing pushups or sit ups?

 

I don’t have any ground beef, so I’ll order out. Why? Does ground beef constitute the entirety of your food options?

That doesn’t mean that people don’t face obstacles. It doesn’t mean that those obstacles aren’t frustrating at times. However, we as human beings choose. We choose to let our circumstances defeat us, or we choose to endure our circumstances and move forward in the ways God provides.

As a nation, America is face with more restrictions on their lives that they’ve ever face. The malls are closed. There are no sports. And, for me, all the conventions I had lined up were cancelled. That’s a huge bummer!

IMG_2318Since conventions are my number one method of sales (and not profit), this means I’m at an extreme disadvantage. The hardest hit is that no sales means no income, which means I can’t save up money for edits on Betrayed. I can’t save for a cover. Even the money I had been budgeting is set aside because we want to be prepared for any true financial issues.

So the challenge question: Does this really mean I can’t do anything as an author? No!

You can too. First, for you hopeful authors who constantly say, “I want to write, but I just don’t have the time!” What, exactly are you spending your time on now? Maybe you’re blessed to still have some form of employment. That’s great. However, it’s not like there’s a game you “need” to catch anytime soon. It’s not like there’s a new movie you “just have” to see.

You can write that book right now.

caught-front-coverWhat about people like me? Well, the first thing I’m doing is working hard on the outline to Discovered (which looks to be a big one, by far the biggest of the trilogy). The other thing I’m doing is working a bit more on marketing. I’m building more campaigns for Amazon Marketing. Even if no one is buying now (and they are, even I sold a book or two this week), when things start moving forward, I’ll have a new armada of advertisements ready to go.

I’m blessed to be able to telework during this time. I’m still working. Heck, I might be doing more work than I would be doing if the building were open. This means time is still an issue. It might still be the biggest issue. However, what time I do have to myself, I spend on some form of writing. I might also do something else, but I chip away.

In the Navy, a common phrase you’ll hear is, “I don’t care what you can’t do; tell me what you can do.”

This attitude, this frame of mind, is essential. This time in our lives is definitely a challenge. We’re all worried. We wonder if we’ll get sick. We wonder if our finances will hold up. However, if we focus on our problems, we turn a blind eye to the solutions that are out there.

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Image by Steve DiMatteo from Pixabay.

The challenge I offer you is this: Whatever you do, make sure you understand you’re making a choice. Even refusing to do anything or “failing” to make a choice is still a choice.

Naturally, you have the right to choose whatever you want. My problem would be if you try to avoid or lament the consequences of that choice as an excuse for why you can’t do something.

The guy who says, “I could write that book, but I’ve been meaning to watch the entire ‘How I Met Your Mother’ series for years now,” will get no beef from me. However the guy who complains about how he never has time to finish a book while watching that show may get a different reaction from me.

So here are a few things you can do if your finances prevent you from buying a cover or paying for editing services:

Draft another book.

Make revisions on another manuscript.

Study marketing.

Work on building your marketing plan.

Build your email list.

Send your readers an email (man I’m terrible at that).

This period of stress in our lives does create problems, but it doesn’t mean we have to give up on our goals.

I wanted to share these thoughts to motivate you to get moving in some way. This isn’t unique to writing either. Maybe spend some more quality time with your kids. Maybe turn this into an “in home” second honeymoon. Chip away on those home projects you’ve “been meaning to get around to.”

This time is stressful and challenging enough. Let’s use it to look for opportunities.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

 

 

Standards and Deadlines: The Balancing Act

Standards and Deadlines: The Balancing Act

(All images taken from Pixabay.)

The phrase is “Minimum viable product.”

Home under construction
Sure, it has wood and rooms, but I wouldn’t want to live here.

There is a sense to the phrase, but people abuse its meaning at times.  The better concept is, “Create the best product you have in the time you’re allowed.”

I probably am more guilty of this very problem then I’d like to admit. While I have people who read this blog and my work, I don’t have droves of fans waiting eagerly for my next book. So what’s the rush?

Well, for me, I try very hard to release four titles a year. That’s simply not happening this year. Even before COVID-19, it was dicey to even try and get Betrayed out. Without making money on conventions and events (let alone book sales), I can’t pay Sara to edit. So that project becomes “stuck.” I can still work on other projects, so that once things start moving again, I still have direction.

So my goal is always to release good stories in a timely manner. It’s been that way since I was a journalist, and I don’t anticipate that viewpoint changing at all. But I have seen people shove out product without so much as a casual proofread. They do so and say, “Minimum viable product.”

So we’re forced to ask ourselves, “what is viable?”

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Just because you did anything doesn’t mean you accomplished anything. 

I suppose that depends on the reader. If I’m cranking out stories devoid of editing and formatted like a blind man with a new inDesign account, but the readers are still buying and giving good reviews, I’d declare I’m doing it right.

What happens though is that people put minimal effort into their work and then want to complain they aren’t selling.

First, sales is way more about marketing and advertising than product.  I have every belief that if I could just find a way to gain attention in this oversaturated filed, I’d do well. I’d offer a hefty percentage of my sales to the person who offers me actionable information on how to do that, but I digress.

Second, I’ll always believe that effort yields results. While I’m not quitting my day job yet, I’ve improved every year I’ve been doing this. It’s a slow, agonizing process, but all the things worth having tend to be that way.

Each writer has to balance his own process. If you’ve edited your story 20 times and paid editors and tweaked that story to oblivion, then you need to release that story.  You’ve put in the effort, now let it go, and let readers decide if it’s good or not (that’s their job). If you’ve cranked out a draft 30 minutes ago, maybe let it sit a few weeks. Read it again. Find Beta (or even Charlie or Delta) readers. Hire and editor. Hire a professional editor. Listen to the feedback.

youtuber-2838945_1920I’ve talked about my writing process a few times. It works for me. I still make a few mistakes, but today’s self-publishing world makes fixing those mistakes pretty easy (and free).  However, I don’t just release anything and think, “Oh, I can make edits later.” I do know I can do that, but I don’t let that be an excuse to be shoddy in my work.

On the other hand, I have to get the product out, and so do you. Sure, I’m going to keep waiting for the next King Killer book, but I might even forget about it if it takes another five years to release. My anticipation is already nearly gone. However, I would still drop what I’m reading now to grab that book if it came out tomorrow. Most of us don’t self-published guys don’t have that sort of loyalty. We need product to be seen. We need to be on the “new releases” page. We need to build a library.

I’ve heard and seen data that says that’s not right. However, there is still a balance. You can’t have follow-on readers if you don’t have follow-on stories. It’s that simple. There is something to be said about taking a break from writing to market the work you have out there, and maybe that is a good option to look into during this crazy time in our life.

So, the factors to balance are: getting the product out, ensuring the product is of good quality, and marketing the product.

I’m not here to tell you how much time to put into which factor; I’m here to tell you what those factors are. I’m not anywhere near where I want to be in this pursuit, but I’m a lot farther than when I started. If you want to even get to where I am, you have to allot some time for each of these. I’m still learning. I’m still figuring my breakdown out, but if you don’t have one at all, that’s the problem.

My advice in this regard:

concept-1868728_1920Write a freaking book! If you aren’t writing or you haven’t finished the book, you don’t have anything at all to do. There’s no point. Now, while you write that book, you should start building a following. Start a blog. Do character interviews. Build an email list. Use the email list. But, don’t stop writing the book.

When you have a book ready, keep building that following and write at least two more books. Again, I understand that more product doesn’t mean more sales in and of itself. However, if a guy buys your book and wants more from you, shouldn’t you have more to offer?

So there are some who only have that one book they want to write. That’s a completely different circumstance. You’re probably not trying to make a business out of it. But if you are, I offer this advice for you to take or leave.

Once you have three books out. Plan out your release schedule and strategy. Make a business plan.

Execute your plan and evaluate how it’s working. Continue developing new product.

Some of that I did. Some of those things are things I failed to do. I’m convinced a large part of my struggles are do to those failings.

Whatever you do, stay at it. Keep working. If you choose to turn away from the goal, make it a choice you’ve made and a choice you’re ok with.

I hope this gives you encouragement and edifies you. Whatever happens, stay safe out there. My prayers are with you all.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Farpoint: Lessons From Disappointing Sales

Farpoint: Lessons From Disappointing Sales

Greetings all,

ChibiFarpointAnother convention has come and gone. Farpoint was a good time. I had a lot of fun. The kids were there again this time, and I got to hang out with my whole family. This really came in handy.

You see, the sales weren’t exactly what I’d hoped.  I sold thirteen books. That’s fifteen less than MarsCon the month before, and no where near the 50 books an event I had last year.

So how do you deal with it? Well, first you keep your chin up. We authors have to have thick skin for so many reasons. You have up and down events and years, and you have to celebrate every high (even if it’s just one page read on KDP), and endure all the lows (sitting in a book store watching people pointedly turn away from you to avoid your pitch).

The next thing I do is try to see what might cause this issue. There are factors.

  1. This event didn’t exactly have a lot of foot traffic. There were several cool people. They were fun to talk to, but there just weren’t a metric ton. I’d be shocked if there were 4,000 people total in attendance. I don’t know the statistics, but that’s certainly how it felt.
  2. I didn’t have a new book. Sure, my Testimony is coming soon, but it’s not out, and Betrayed isn’t ready either (but it is getting close). I had a handful of people come up to me to tell me how much they loved one book or another. Those who didn’t already buy all my books picked something new up, but what did I have for those who already bought the books I’ve published? I think at least five people came buy looking for my newest book, and I didn’t have it.  That’s on me.
  3. I’ve been to several Farpoints.  I intend to be at more. But those people are pretty familiar with me. They’ve bought my books. You can oversaturate an area or a convention. This is one of the main reasons the wife and I are trying to expand where we go.

 

RaidenANDGambitSilver lining: The wife is doing some amazing things.  We had prints this time, and two of them sold. She also sold another 12 chibis! Seriously, those things are adorable! What that did is relieve some of the stress and financial burden from the lack of book sales. I honestly don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have Julie and her art there.

There’s another con coming in a new area. Annapolis ComicCon is next, and that’s a new area with (hopefully) new readers. It’s a one day con that’s smaller, so I have to adjust my expectations accordingly. If I set fifteen books, a few chibis and a print or two, I’ll be pretty satisfied. I also have Four State ComicCon coming up next month too, so those are opportunities to turn the ship around and meet new readers.

I hope this information is helpful. Again, you have to always work to keep a positive mindset in this business. Things come and go, and it’s still fun to write books, and it’s even more fun when people stop by the table to tell you how much they enjoyed your stories.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

MarsCon 2020: My First Con Outside of Maryland!

MarsCon 2020: My First Con Outside of Maryland!

Greetings everyone,

IMG_2318Last week I took a moment to tell you all we were in Williamsburg, Virginia, for MarsCon, so I wanted to take a few moments to let you know how things went.

My main goal for this trip was the try a few new things and to get my work into hands of new readers.

I sold 28 books in total. Sojourn in Captivity drew the most interest, and that makes me happy since Perception of War is really something I’m going to write.  In comparison to last year, 28 books is fairly slow, but there wasn’t a ton of foot traffic at the event, and 28 is still a solid number of books sold based on my historical average.

The real star of the show is my wife. She’s a talented artist, and we had an idea. She takes photos of people and then draws chibi caricatures of them.

IMG_2315A simple paper and ink chibi is $5, and a full-color digital chibi is $15. She got a lot of attention even with a small spot on the table. She sold six chibis (three ink, three digital). She really stole the show in all the best ways, and I love her for the active role she’s taken in this journey.  If you’d like to be a chibi, you can order one by email here. She’s already had people contact her by social media to set up future orders, and that is super encouraging.

Why the art? Product. On. The. Shelf. Author copies of books are costly, and the percentage we make isn’t great. That puts the overhead for a convention at a high mark that’s unlikely to be met.  For instance, MarsCon cost us $708 for just the table and books. I would have had to sell every book I had on its own (no bundles) to make a profit. With my wife’s help, the art can pay for the table, and the books have a better chance to pay for themselves, which would allow us to make conventions an investment for profit rather than a marketing tool.

Now, that dollar amount is higher because I bought essentially two cons’ worth of books. But, if the art (low upfront cost) can pay for the tables, we have a real chance.  This is because books and a table are normally about $444. This shifts depending on the event, but I’m currently optimistic that chibis can not only let my wife have some limelight (she’s always wanted to let her art be her career), but also take a step forward to making our little business profitable.

I hope you’ll send some emails and make some orders.

This was a pretty solid start to the 2020 tour. It was essentially a fun family vacation that allowed me to get books into the hands of new readers, and that was the goal in this case. I’m grateful to everyone who stopped by to support our dreams.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

My 2020 Tour Dates and Locations!

My 2020 Tour Dates and Locations!

Greetings all,

So it looks like my 2020 tour is pretty much set up. Last year I had done six, and I wanted to try and do 12 this year, but finances and life just didn’t seem to allow it. We do intend to do six events this year without adding any comic shops we visit for OffWorld (featuring Hazel), which is now available for your local comic shop to order through Previews. If you have a favorite comic shop or know someone who does, I’d very much appreciate you spreading the word and asking the owners to order a few copies.

Without further delay, here are the 2020 conventions I’ll be participating in:

MarsCon (Jan 17-19) 50 Kingsmill Rd. Williamsburg, VA: This is my first convention outside the BWI area and also my first in Virginia. We wanted to start to spread out, and this is our first go at it. We’re hoping to build on our audience. If you’re a fan, and you know someone in the area, please send them our way.

FarPoint (Feb. 21-23) 245 Shawan Rd, Hunt Valley, MD: I’ve been doing this to a point to where I don’t really remember how many times I’ve been to what. I’m pretty sure this is my third FarPoint. It’s always a good time.

Four State Comic Con (March 21 & 22) Hagerstown Community College 11400 Robinwood Drive, Hagerstown, MD: Again we went a bit further out than we had been going. This will be our first time at the convention. This is a smaller event, but it helps get word out about us.

AwesomeCon (May 1-3) Washington Convention Center 801 Mt. Vernon PI NW Washington DC: PHEW! For a horrifying few months, we thought we missed the window to get in. Truth be told, we did, but we made it into the backup event! I’m absolutely thrilled to be heading back. I’ve done AwesomeCon every year since I’ve started, and I intend to do it every year I’m a writer.

Gaithersburg Book Festival (May 16) 506 S Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD: Another first for us. We also wanted to try and get to more book-oriented events. I’m not sure what to expect, but my hopes are that an event dedicated to books will gain a bit more interest per visitor, where as at a convention, people may be interested in reading, but not all will be. Here, we’re guaranteed to meet people who enjoy reading.

Shore Leave 42 (July 10-12) 245 Shawan Rd, Hunt Valley, MD: Pretty sure this is also my third time at this event. The staff here has shown me a lot of professional courtesy, so I’m happy to be working with them and attending their event.

OffWorld’s upcoming release creates another opportunity for me as well. My hope is to start setting up events at local comic book shops. I haven’t had time to arrange anything yet, but I’ll update this page to include those dates as they get approved.

I’m excited to have another year of events set up. I hope to have a variety of new products also, but I’ll save that for my 2020 State of the Weech.

I hope to see you all at these events and meet so many new people.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

 

 

 

What Is My Brand? What Do You Get When You Buy An M.L.S. Weech Book?

What Is My Brand? What Do You Get When You Buy An M.L.S. Weech Book?

Greetings all,

MLSWeechI’m honestly just watching Kurt Hugo Schneider videos, and in a few, he “writes” a song for a popular singer. My wife and I frequently dance to his writing of an “Ed Sheeran” song.  What he does is look for elements common to the performer, and that got me thinking about my brand.

So branding is an interesting concept. Some writers brand by genre. This guy may write horror while that guy writes romance. If you like the genre,  a certain author will fill that need. I’ve had dear friends talk to me on occasion about how often I jump around. Honestly, I don’t have the first clue how to hold still. I can’t even type a blog like Thumper talking about the forest with Bambi.

That hurts some authors. I would probably be more successful more quickly (an important combination of words) if I stuck with one genre. Readers like to know what they’re going to get when they buy a book.

So if I don’t stay in one genre, what is my brand? What do people who buy my book get?

Please allow me to offer you a list.

Bob CoverCharacters you connect with: If you read the first ten pages of one of my books, and you don’t feel an immediate connection to the characters you’re reading about, I’ve failed, and you probably won’t enjoy the story. I want people who buy my books to fall in love (or completely hate) the characters.  Here are some examples:

” … keeping me engaged with the plot and the characters with some mad skill.” — A review for Caught.

“Mr Weech does some good worldbuilding here and delivers lots of character development — not just with protagonist Bob Drifter, but with pretty much his entire cast.” — A review for An Unusual Occupation: Part One of The Journals of Bob Drifter.

“While each of the different POVs fascinated me, I found Bob’s voice to be distinctly enjoyable.” — Another review for An Unusual Occupation: Part One of The Journals of Bob Drifter.

“There is just an awful lot to like about Bob. He is a well-conceived, fully fleshed out character that you can’t help but admire and root for.” A review for The Journals of Bob Drifter.

Fast Pace: Even my longest book, The Journals of Bob Drifter, has a pace that moves. I typically write short chapters that let a reader feel like they’re flying through a book even if that book is 130,000 words. I want readers to feel like they’re on a roller coaster that set the world speed record. True, Bob evolves more slowly, but that evolution is spent building anticipation. This fast pace creates a story that’s hard to put down. Here are some examples:

“The story hits fast and you quickly are embroiled in a fast moving action sequence.” — A review for Sojourn in Captivity.

“Repressed was fast paced with nicely timed reveals.” — A review for Repressed.

caught-front-coverSurprises: If you want at least one moment where your jaw drops, and you say, “WHAAAAAAAAAAT?” my books are for you. Honestly, I’m not sure which of my stories has the biggest surprise or plot twist. What I can say is that every time someone comes to me to talk to me about my book, they immediately comment about the surprise. Most reviews mention the end of my stories.  Don’t believe me?

” … and the ending was good.” — A review for Stealing Freedom.

“The narrative direction this story goes (without giving anything away) is both surprising in the moment and completely logical in retrospect.” A review for Caught.

“Caught” is a thrilling psychological horror full of nightmares, gore, and unexpected plot twists. It keeps you guessing every step of the way.” “I can’t remember the last time any novel has surprised me. This shows a clever ingenuity that impressed me.” A review for Caught.

So there you have it. If you like fast-paced books with great characters and surprising twists, I’m your man. All of these were different reviews for different books from a number of different reviewers (though in honesty there are some repeat reviewers because they became return customers).

I hope this gives some of you who maybe haven’t tried my work a chance to see why you might be interested.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

A Shoutout For Kindlepreneur

A Shoutout For Kindlepreneur

Purchase Caught on Amazon or Audible.

Greetings all,

kindlepreneur logoMarketing has always been something I feel is a great weakness of mine. I read a blog here and there. I wander around YouTube searching for guidance. A while back I stumbled upon Kindlepreneur.

I watched a few videos, and what I appreciated was the articulate discussion about how Amazon Marketing Services works. Then I learned about the site’s free course. I figured, what could it hurt?

It starts out super basic, even I understood the first videos, maybe even the first two lessons. Then I started getting clear instruction with actionable guidance. Yes, they do a lot to push KDP Rocket, but I’m actually very interested in using that program as well. Even aside from the KDP Rocket info, I still received information.

But what were the results?

Well, From Aug. 10 to Sept. 27 (48 days), I had 57 clicks costing me $5.67 with no sales to show for it. Now, six bucks isn’t a lot of money, but the no sales isn’t what I wanted.

I started the course Sept. 28. From then until Nov. 7 (41 days), I have 56 clicks costing me $9.21 but earning me $3.98 in orders. Sales and orders aren’t the same. That four bucks is what the customer spent. Given that I had a 99 cent deal going, I didn’t make much.

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 10.27.13 PMHowever, when you look closely at the progress, I feel as though there are a lot of positives. First, I have a 200% increase in orders. I have just about the same number of clicks, and I’m only paying about three dollars more. I also have some KU pages read since then (183). I’m still learning, and I’m still compiling data.

I can’t stress enough how good this makes me feel to see actual purchases. I’m refining and investigating. Also, AMS seems to be making a concerted effort to make it harder and harder to tweak your campaigns. But the information I have now gives me great optimism about navigating those waters. As soon as I can save up the money, I intend to purchase KDP rocket to see how it can help me even more.

So given that I at least feel this has improved my efforts, I felt now was a great time to share this information and that course. It’s a tad outdated, but it still helped me, and if you’re hating sales, I think it can help you.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

 

Purchase The Journals of Bob Drifter on Amazon or Audible.