Hazel Is A Hit! Please Help Keep the Momentum Going!

Hazel Is A Hit! Please Help Keep the Momentum Going!

A while back I did a post on this huge goal of getting 60 sales in a month. The idea was that if I could hit that mark, I’d start seeing a profit. At that time, I was selling maybe eight titles a month. My record since then rose to 15 sales in a month. I need you to understand that was a blessing. God’s grace provided even then. At that time, I thought 60 sales a month was something like two years from now.

Before you get mislead, I did not sell 60 copies of any title in October.

I sold 52!

To say that Hazel had a great start is a horrific understatement from my point of view.

The things to celebrate:

Hazel (all by herself) sold 39 copies and had 989 pages read. The best part is that she debuted about halfway through the month (October 14).

She reached as high as #37 in the Top 100 for Science Fiction Graphic Novels. She more or less stayed in the Top 100 throughout October. As I type this she’s at #208 in that category, but she bounces up to the Top 100 every now and then.

These are all easily the best numbers I’ve ever seen. I’m not positive I’ve sold 52 books in a convention, and if I did, I don’t know if that number of sales was enough to make back what I spent on the table (I just honestly don’t remember).

That means I sold another 13 copies of my other books (which brought me to that ridiculous new record).

Hazel has four ratings and three reviews, all four-star or higher.

Thank you. Those words aren’t very sufficient for this, but they’re the ones I have. I thank God first above all, and I am thankful to you all who supported this graphic novel and this silly little dream of mine.

Now for the context (things to remember):

First, I can’t stress enough how significant it is to sell that many copies and get that high in the Top 100. Caught spent a little bit there on opening day, but that’s about it. To hold in that category (more or less) for weeks is just amazing.

The context is that that many of those sales is a surge that many new releases have, and Collin, who created Hazel and was kind enough to let me tag along, has a better following than me. Our two followings together helped get the word out. Hazel started out strong with a few double-digit sales, and again, we can’t thank you enough.

The challenge now is to keep the momentum going. Since Hazel’s last “big” day of sales (she sold seven copies Nov. 1, she’s tapered off a bit. Sure, we’d like Hazel to increase from week to week, but the fear was she’d just fall off a cliff. That hasn’t happened. She’s steadily sold two copies a day so far. We need to keep that momentum going for a number of reasons. Of course we want to sell more per day. Collin and I both dream of doing more stories with Hazel. We’d both love to quit the day job and be storytellers full time, but to do any of those things, we need to put in the work to keep this arc going.

The marketing is slowly moving in the right direction. I’ve just finished a pass of all my titles. I have to keep a close eye on Hazel because she’s a very unique title in terms of sales and royalties. I’ll be monitoring all of my campaigns for the next three months to let things develop.

Even now, things are going better than ever. I’ve already sold 15 titles this month! (Remember when 15 was a huge new record for me?) Fourteen of those are Hazel of course. This means that Hazel is just doing a lot of amazing things. I hope she continues to do this well, and I hope those who try Hazel out decide to give more of my work a try.

This is honestly a big step in the right direction. I have a realistic shot of hitting 60 sales this month. Now things are a little weird. As great as that is (it’s still a goal met), the marketing for Hazel costs money; the royalties for Hazel take a big hit from Amazon, and Collin gets his well-deserved and rightful portion of those royalties. So while I have hit a major benchmark, one that will definitely help, I still need to work more on the other titles, and I will.

I’m working on The 1,200 right now, I’m pretty close to finishing the read through I’m doing, and then I’ll get to work on the first draft of Discovered, Book 3 of the Oneiros Log. Don’t let that panic those of you who don’t follow me a lot. I have a draft of Discovered done. It’s just a (very) rough draft, and the first draft is where I iron out all those issues before I send it out to Alpha Readers. Discovered is still my main project; I just want to keep the coals warm on other projects, too.

Again, please let me offer you my most sincere appreciation as well as that of Collin’s.

Please help us keep this momentum going. If you haven’t picked up your copy of Hazel, please give it a try. If you have, please leave a review and ask your friends to try it out as well.

Thank you so much for reading,

Matt

Marketing Journal: A New Record For Sales In A Month!

Marketing Journal: A New Record For Sales In A Month!

Greetings all,

As you can see in the title, I’m quite excited by the news of this month. A while back, I was glad I about 12 sales, but I spent around $200 to get there. That led me to work to bring down my ACOS (which is always important and should be below 70%). That meant decreasing what I spend on clicks and getting my sales back to where they were (or better).

In my last update, things looked good. I brought my monthly cost down to below $100, and my sales were starting to creep up.

This brings us to the last two months.

I spent about $94 in July. You can see the one order, but that’s not the total of my sales, just what AMS tracked as sales resulting from clicks. All told, I had 12 sales in addition to the 2,619 pages read or more. Again, AMS only counts what they can track directly to clicks.

So things were picking up, and at that point I had gotten all the way back to 12 sales (where I was when I realized I was blowing money faster than I could save it), and I had cut my cost in half.

I still have a lot of work to do in this area though. What I know is that most (but not all) of the insane CPC bids have been eliminated, and that saved me about $100. I also did a decent job of finding the obvious non-profitable keywords, which are keywords that get me a lot of clicks but don’t result in any conversions. This is why my monthly bill is starting to creep in the wrong direction again. However, the same sales for half the expenses is a step in the right direction.

So August came in, and I was closer to $100 than I want to be (at least not without 55 sales), but as you can see, AMS saw 10 sales, and there were more.

I’m happy to say I have a new record for online monthly sales, which is 14!

Now I know 14 is pretty pathetic compared to someone who’s profitable (they make money on writing). It’s even worse for those big stars out there. However, anyone will tell you to celebrate every victory.

I don’t honestly remember when I started, but I do remember where, and reaching a point where I have sold more books and had more pages read than ever before is absolutely something to celebrate.

What’s the next step? Well, I scanned my books to see where my impressions were, and I had six books that had fallen well below 100,000 impressions per month. That means I have to get those books back up to snuff. Then I have to track down those vampires that are sucking up pennies and not rewarding me with any conversions. I also want to use Publisher Rocket’s new keyword analyzer function to try and get new keywords that are more profitable.

That’s going to take time, but I usually wait a few months before I do another analysis of my campaigns and add to my keywords. My hope is to get those six (I already have at least two of them) back up to 100,000 impressions per month. Then I can go back into monitoring the campaigns and trying to optimize them. I still hope to reach 60 sales a month (which would theoretically allow me to break even or better), and I’m just under a quarter of the way there!

I’ll keep you all up to date on how things progress. I’m glad to share good news with you for this post.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Marketing Journal: Small Steps Toward The Goal

Marketing Journal: Small Steps Toward The Goal

Greetings all,

I figured now would be a good time to do another Marketing Journal.

I used to think marketing was a set and forget process that was instantaneous. You paid for an add; people saw it, and the money would start falling from the sky.

I was misguided.

Since September of 2020, I’ve been working to address that. You can review older posts to see the play-by-play, but the important part is I did indeed improve my sales, but my costs are still higher than those sales. So naturally I started working to balance them out.

In May of 2021, things got pretty dark. I sold three books that month. But there needs to be context, and there’s more to see.

While my sales were lower than they’d been in a long time, I’d reduced my cost, and that’s progress. In fact, my cost is steadily going down, and my sales are steadily going up. This is super encouraging because that was the plan going forward.

Sure, I want to have a great Average Cost of Sales now and earn money every month, but it’s not a sprint.

Also, May maybe wasn’t the great month for full sales, but it wasn’t without traction. You see, I had 957 pages read. Sure, some may scoff and say that’s only about $4, but it’s something. Then we hit June and July.

My cost went down even further for my June bill, and July posted a bill of less than $100!

As for sales, well, June brought me back to within my quote of 8 books a month (I actually sold 9), and I’ve sold 11 in July so far. If this trend holds, I’ve brought my cost down in half and regained my average sales per month from before I started working to bring those excessively high cost per click key words.

I had 1,320 pages read in June and 3,291 pages read in July.

This is encouraging to say the least, and it indicates that the plan is working. The trick is to keep moving forward and not get impatient. I won’t be ready to reset my quota for another month (I always get a three month average), and there’s still about 10 days in July, so I might have a few more sales! (You know you can help with that part, right?)

It’s still my dream for this series to become the “How I Became Profitable” series as opposed to the, “This is what I’m trying,” but that’s all time, patience and (of course) God’s will. Next year, we plan to go back to conventions, and hopefully that will have a positive impact as well.

I’m going to keep working, and I appreciate you all stopping by to see how things are going.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Marketing Journal: I Like Sales, But I Can’t Overspend

Marketing Journal: I Like Sales, But I Can’t Overspend

Gretings all,

It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on the marketing efforts, and this turned out to be as good an opportunity as any.

I started out continuing the plan I had been working on. Spending $174.47, I had four sales and 1,646 pages read directly tied to the clicks I had.

I say directly tied because I had more than four sales.

The month of December had a was a bright spot for me. I had ten sales, which held true from my last run in November. Continuing in the direction I was going always led to an increase in sales. The problem was that my ACOS (the Average Cost of Sales) was still just too high. Sure, I got orders. Sure, I got reviews. But spending $147 to earn less than $60 isn’t good business. I didn’t want to panic though. I wanted to wait one more more month to see what would happen.

I also wanted to try something new. You see, I read this post (somewhere on Kindlpreneur bout marketing to a German audience. It basically said there is indeed a market for fiction books written in English, so I figured, why not?

So I walked through the process (it was fairly simple) and uploaded a few of my pre-made folders I had already set up. Since starting, I’ve spent about $40, but I did sell a paperback!

Then the numbers for January came in.

I did have another ten sales, and that’s great (sales are always good) but more than $200!? Something had to change. I did a little more research, and came to a conclusion:

No one in their right mind should bid $.45 for a click. I don’t claim to have been in my right mind, so I don’t feel too ashamed. I really started digging into my numbers and the research.

First: Most of my purchases came with great ACOS, the problem was they were buried in keywords that weren’t resulting in (obvious) sales. There were a few keywords where the ACOS was too much, but I was paying out the ear for sales that weren’t making up the difference.

So I started going to my reports and looking out for any clicks that cost more than $.25 cents. This is a good spot to start. Ideally (according to my research), you should expect any keyword to take between 10-20 clicks before you get a sale. So my goal is to work with keywords that are effective at bids between $.15-$.25 while eliminating those above.

How’d it work out? Well, the good news is I’ve brought my cost for February back down to $126.97 (as I type this). That did have an effect on my sales.

As I type this, I only have four sales for February. I’ll admit, for that stretch you see from Feb. 11 – Feb. 23, I felt awful. I kept having to tell myself that it’s just bad business to spend more than $200 for only about $28 in sales. I still lose about $170. I can’t do that, and I don’t want new authors to have that issue. Yes, more impressions leads to more sales. Yes, more clicks leads to more sales. this month proved that even though I don’t see the sales on the Amazon Advertising page, those sales are related in some way.

So the next step in this evolution is to optimize my campaigns as I mentioned above. I’m still going to use keywords to generate more keywords. I’m still going to work on what I call the King Keyword list, a document composed strictly of keywords that resulted in sales and/or pages read.

I will continue to eliminate all campaign bids greater than $.25. I’m also pausing any keywords or campaigns that have proven to be ineffective. For instance “Batman” as a keyword got me more than 60 clicks, but those 60 clicks didn’t net me a single, observable sale.

What I learned in doing that was that I do have keywords that are performing well (a Click Through Rate higher than 1% and ACOS below 70%). I just have a lot of keywords that aren’t working for me, and I have to manage and refine those keywords. Any new campaigns I set will be based on the range from $.15-$.25. I’m letting the Germany Add Campaigns work for a while. Most of the research I’ve seen says it take about three months for a campaign to gain traction. I’ve also started some of AMS’s Product Sponsoring campaigns. Those will also run for three months while I observe the data. Then I’ll start working to optimize those campaigns.

The hope is to evolve on this platform until I earn money from marketing rather than just spend money for the sake of making sales.

I hope this is helping some of you out there to take note of what to watch out for as you prepare to release your books.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Marketing Journal Dec. 4, 2020

Marketing Journal Dec. 4, 2020

Greetings all,

Since it’s been a few months since my last update, I thought today would be as good a day as any to provide you an update.

My actual report for the last 90 days.

I’m still working the plan I have. I don’t actually know if it’s a good or a bad plan; it’s just my plan. I’d ask anyone with clear, actionable information to please comment below.

The plan is simple: Generate new campaigns based on previous keywords that result in sales, clicks, or a high number of impressions (more than 100 a month).

When I last updated you all, I was averaging four sales a month and spending around (I think) $60 a month. A loss, but my sales were still up. After letting my most recent string of campaigns work for a while, here’s what’s happened since.

I had four print/e sales in September. I also had 822 pages read. That was during what I call an implement month. I had campaigns running, and I used them to track data. Then, near the end of the month and during the beginning of October, I generated a new list of campaigns based on the data provided above.

October looked awesome! I had nine print/e sales and 1,719 pages read!

Even better, I’ve been seeing follow on sales. September and October were both months in which I actually earned a profit. I genuinely think they were my first two months ever.

Oddly, those sales still are strangely hard to identify. I spent $144 in September, selling $11.97 (total not profit) and $177.74 in October, selling $24.94 (total, not profit). So again, I had more sales, but not all of those sales tie directly to the new campaigns.

Regardless, the more I work on this, the more sales I get. I don’t know that there’s anything more to do than continue forward, hoping my conversion rate will eventually improve as my number of sales increases.

So with nine print and e sales in October, the question is, was that just a good month, or is my monthly average actually increasing? Let’s have a look at November.

I had another eight print and e sales and a whopping 4,686 pages read. Yet again, my Amazon Marketing only directly accounts for three of the orders and about half of the pages read. My theory is that I’m gaining follow on sales. It’s just a theory, but it’s the only hypothesis that fits. I did lose money in November. You see, other campaigns on Audible really helped pull the weight and earn the profit, and my Audible royalties weren’t enough to beat the $173 (ish) I spent on marketing this time around. But at my stage of development, I’m just happy to see sales going up. I’m especially encouraged by the pages read.

For those wondering, 2,357 pages read accounted for $10.70 in royalties, which is what AMS tells me tie directly to my campaigns. No, I’m not quitting my day job anytime soon, but I’m moving in an upward trajectory, and that’s something.

It’s my hope that Betrayed will be more successful (still trying to get that out in the spring of 21), but only time will tell.

Interestingly, November fell off a tad, but it was an implement month. I’ve just started creating campaigns based on the data from November. If my hypothesis is correct, I should expect to see another increase in December. I might have to temper that expectation with COVID and government shutdowns, but I’m still hoping.

Regardless, the facts are that I have quadrupled (from two per month to eight per month) my monthly sales average and completely hit a new level in pages read since initiating this plan, and that is positive from any point of view.

I’ll post updates like this every two or three months to track the data. Yes, there is a point where spending hundreds for clicks for only a few sales is going to be unfeasible. Some may feel I’m already there. I don’t. I think I can do other things to improve my conversion rate, and I still think reviews are a part of it. I think as I get more sales and reviews, my conversion rate will naturally increase. I won’t be able to really analyze that until I have a title with more than 25 reviews.

For now, I’ll take some satisfaction knowing I’m selling more books and having more pages read than I ever have, and that glory goes to God first above all, and then you, the readers kind enough to give my work a try.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Finally! A Promotion Website That Works! An Endorsement for Audio Book Boom

Finally! A Promotion Website That Works! An Endorsement for Audio Book Boom

If you’ve been visiting this blog for the past few weeks, you may have noticed how many reviews I’ve had lately.

A few months back, I saw a huge spike in my audiobook downloads for Caught. For the longest time, I was baffled (but happy). But I wanted to see what happened. A flash of inspiration led me to google the book, and there I found it on this promotion website for free promo codes.

You see, Shawn Compton, the wonderful narrator who did Caught, has a royalty share with me. When a copy of Caught is sold on Audible, he gets half of the royalty money. I can only assume he posted his promo codes, which all of us get, on this site, and boy did it work!

The site is Audio Book Boom. It has two sort of options. One is where they just post the codes for anyone to use on a certain book. The other, which I prefer, is where the promoter receives a shared form with a listener’s email and Audible review information. The promoter can then look at the person requesting a code and send a code out if they wish.

This is easily the best $12 per title I’ve ever spent on marketing. I think the price is fair since audio book codes for titles published after March 26, 2020 don’t receive royalties. They are still downloads, but the purpose for the ACX promo codes is to generate reviews and interest. At worst, this $12 gets you a number of reviews. At best it gets you reviews and royalties, but that only applies if your title was published before that date.

The first test run I did was for Stealing Freedom. The first run got me at least 15 downloads and at least 5 reviews. That means this was the first promotion website I’ve used where the money I paid was actually less than the money I made.

I did another campaign, this time for five of my six titles. In total, both campaigns earned more than 75 downloads and 15 reviews. Again, best promotion results by far. Those are just the direct numbers. I’m seeing follow-on sales for pages read in KU, purchased ebooks, and Audible.

This image was taken from the website so I could endorse their product.

I’ve never been able to land on a BookBub promotion (I would love to hit that lottery), but this is easily the best promotion because it gives me both downloads and reviews.

So if you are an author with a bunch of audiobook codes you don’t know what to do with, do this!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Objective Met! 100,000 Impressions Per Month!

Objective Met! 100,000 Impressions Per Month!

Greetings all,

The bad news is that the streak of weeks with reviews has officially ended, which is sad, but not too discouraging. Not having reviews to share lets me offer insight into other things.

A while back, I posted a blog explaining a marketing initiative I wanted to complete. I reached that mark in early September, and now I wanted to share the results.

One thing I noticed is that I’ve doubled my monthly sales. I have to word it that way because that’s the positive way to say it. However, I was only selling an average of two books a month online, so now I’m up to four. But when I think about this information, I’m still more encouraged. I know that the more people I can get my book in front of, the more sales I make. That gives me hope that more work in this regard will yield more fruit.

In the month of September, I had 1,849,502 impressions and from them 749 clicks. That honestly cost me $157.30, and the four sales and $15 I made hurt a little bit, but we can’t get too carried away because this was always the first step.

So far in October, I’ve had 428,790 impressions and 212 clicks (in just nine days). This means I’m getting views, and I’m getting clicks. Now as expensive as it is, I could absolutely have more clicks, but improving my click-through-rate is something that just takes time and attention.

All images from Pixabay. I just have to keep climbing. Letting go certainly wouldn’t work out for me at this point.

What’s interesting to not is while I have one sale so far this month, and I had four sales last month, only three of those five sales were from AMS marketing, at least not directly. My theory is that people may see an advertisement and make note. Then then come back when they are ready. I also think that the more I work to increase visibility on my end, the more Amazon responds. I can’t prove this theory. I don’t even know how to test it, but I do know that I am doing more now than I was.

The biggest question is how to turn more of those clicks into purchases. One thing I need is your help. A lot of people on Amazon base their purchases on reviews. If you’ve read my work, leaving a review is your way of recommending the book to other readers, and I need those recommendations. I have to try and find a way to generate about 50 reviews per book to have a chance.

The other way to get more people who click on my add to buy my books is to do some work on my book description. I posted a blog about this a while ago. So I have to make time to do that.

So where do I go from here? Well, I want to improve my click through rank and increase my impressions. The way I’m doing this is seeing what key words are being clicked and generating new campaigns based on those keywords. This will easily give me more impressions, but it will hopefully get me some more clicks.

I also have to be patient. Right now I’m losing money much more quickly than I’m making it, but I have to stay this course. People can’t buy my book if they don’t know it exists. The quicker I solicit reviews and get my book descriptions improved, the (hopefully) quicker those clicks will net returns.

Honestly folks, I’m just doing my best here. I don’t know if there’s a better way or not. This is just the approach I’m working on to help my business grow. There were and are a lot of other factors that contribute to my low number of sales. I can’t rewind time and make different decisions, but I can put in the work to to start changing things. Stay tuned to see how the efforts worked out.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

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.

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.

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