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.

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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,

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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

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