So How Did that Reedsy Thing Go?

So How Did that Reedsy Thing Go?

Greetings all,

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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.

Screen Shot 2020-05-22 at 12.58.28 PM
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: What Happened With Reedsy

Marketing Journal: What Happened With Reedsy
Chart
Image from Pixabay.

A few weeks ago, I did a review for Reedsy, in which I told you about efforts to work with marketing. I wanted to do an update on how that’s progressed.

First, in my personal efforts to get my AMS impressions for each of my books to 100,000, I now am on pace for that mark for four of my titles. I am seeing more clicks. I’m not having any such luck with conversions though. The plan on that end is to still get my impressions up. I can work on the conversions once I’m finished with the impressions.

After a few internet-related delays, I had my scheduled phone call with the marketer I met through Reedsy. He was polite and patient with my questions. We started with an overview of my platform, which needs some work. I took notes on that, and I’ll chip away on that to-do list as I find time.

My goal was to discuss AMS, but the marketer (I’m leaving names out for at least the time being because this is an in-progress review, and I don’t want to create any issues where there may be none.) was much more focused on Facebook Ads.

So my own prideful thoughts were wrapped up in what I wanted to do, but instead of kick up a fit or redirect, I wanted to pay attention. The marketer is the expert. I need to listen to him and honestly think and apply the information he was giving me. I told him my fear. I don’t know how many campaigns I’ve done on Facebook, but I’ve never once had a single conversion on any Facebook campaign. He was surprised to hear that.

He gave me a lot of guidance, and I got to work developing one of what will be three FB campaigns I try. Again, this scares the crap out of me because I don’t personally trust FB adds. I worked on getting the first campaign ready. Then I sent him screen shots of the campaign and its settings.

He gave me timely feedback, and we think this campaign is ready to go. It starts on the 11th, and we’re going to monitor to see how it goes. I’ve already told him that if I spend another $50 for absolutely no sales, I’ll consider this experiment a failure. There is some bias on my part because of my previous experimenting with FB adds. However, this time I have someone talking me though the process, and my hope is that by going through this process with him, I’ll realize what I’ve been doing wrong this whole time, and I’ll see an actual Return On Investment and even a profit.

caught-front-coverI’m marketing Caught because I’m working on getting Betrayed (which is about to be sent to Sarah!) published and drafting Discovered. The idea is to read Caught now because the other books are on the way. I targeted Readers who own Kindles and like horror.

I’ll update you on how that went, but I want to clarify a few things even I know. There’s never any guarantee any marketing campaign will ever yield result. Obviously a person should stop doing things that don’t work. The only thing I can really expect is that people will click on the link. Conversions have a lot more to them than just getting people to click the link. For instance, even my current efforts on AMS are a good example. I’m not getting about 7-10 clicks a day, but I haven’t had any sales since I started this effort. I’ve had a few hundred pages read on KU, but that’s about it. So there’s more work to do even after I get people to a book’s page. I’m more patient with AMS than FB because I’ve seen sales as a result of AMS, and (as I’ve mentioned) I’ve never seen a single sale result from FB.

The trick will be evaluating the data after the campaign is over. Again, the whole point of this series is to help other authors who are like me (or people who aren’t published) learn how to be more successful. Stay tuned to this part of my blog to see how things went.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Marketing Journal: A Push For Impressions!

Marketing Journal: A Push For Impressions!

Greetings all,

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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.

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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

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.