Reflections of an indie writer part 2

It occurred to me that my first Reflections of an indie writer article mostly just talked about my developing philosophy regarding being an indie writer and didn’t really include any of the different strategies I employed. What worked? What didn’t? etc. etc. so, I thought I’d spend some time thinking back on 2018 and then on some new goals for 2019. Maybe something I pass on here, you could use or try for yourself. The indie writer is foremost a community.

Let’s kick things off with…

Failures (the best way to learn)

  • Patreon…yup, I took the perverbal dive into the murky depths that is Patreon. The idea sounded good, the notion of developing a different kind of relationship between artist and consumer where consumers can elect through different amounts of support ($) the level of interaction. Authors in general usually offer insider looks of new books, exclusive short stories, supporters as characters in stories, to even a monthly sighed paperback subscription. It all sounded kinda interesting and I took a chance. Four months later with only a single supporter offering $1 was a good kick to my ego and forced me to reevaluate who I am as a writer and where I wanted to spend my energies towards. While the interactive exclusive stuff sounded cool, in the end I came to painfully realize that the best way I can ask for support is for readers to buy my books. And that is plenty enough for me.
  • Amazon ads…I’m still struggling with this one. Its a simply system to be sure, but the return on investment has not been fruitful. In fact, the last ad I ran on Amazon didn’t even go anywhere, it just sat there stagnant with zero potential buyer clicks until i finally closed it out. I’ve read that Amazon ads supposedly yield good results. Be that as it may, I never saw diddly. I also don’t understand the Amazon follower thing. Its not transparent enough to allow any sort of data tracking. I can see the emails because I follow myself. That’s really the only way i know how it works or not.
  • BookBub International…while I was able to score a BookBub International Feature Deal, I failed to realize that my $0.99 KDP countdown deal did not auto populate outside the U.S. So when it came time for BookBub to do its magic, they could only release the feature deal alert in the United States. It kind of bummed me out because the title I had selected, i believe, would have done really well internationally.
  • Negativity…if you walk into anything in life thinking you’re going to fail, you will fail. Read my part 1 reflections from last week if you want to hear about my struggle with believing I was a failure.

Okay, I think that’s enough kicking myself around. How about some…

Successes (celebrate & share victories)

  • BookBub Featured Dealoh yeah. While I did list the international deal as a failure, that was mostly user error on my part. Overall, BookBub has helped tremendously with my success in 2018.  I had two titles that were eventually (you have to be persistent and understand the selection rules) selected which helped catapult those title ranks which trickled down into a sustaining revenue of direct sales and Kindle Unlimited page reads which trickled down even further into my back catalog. BookBub is a surefire return on investment, the trick is making the most out of it by doing a lot of small things like ensuring you have some clickage at the back of the book for other books and/or website readers can find you at.
  • BookBub ads…are easy and have yielded positive results. While I’m still learning the ends and out of how to procure the most “impressions” and ad clicks, BookBub offer a large community of readers who could potentially see your ad and click on the book. While not as a high of a return on investment as a Featured Deal, I believe it has brought some good exposure.
  • Smart Investments…are usually surrounded by a lot of dumb ones too. The idea of Smart Investments is understanding that you have to put-in to get-back, that is you have to invest in your product to make some sort of return. Being very frank here, you cannot slap any ole word document onto Amazon and expect to bring in droves of readers. Listen…if you think that scenario is going to happen, you need to wake up. Even if your story is the next best thing, you need to do the work to lure in readers. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but people do not know who you are. They certainly do not know who i am either. Invest some money and entice readers with a professional genre specific book cover as they scroll through all the other thousands of books on Amazon. A dreaded but thought out synopsis will help. Keep in mind, having a good story is how you maintain readers, not necessarily how you obtain them. And lastly, do not invest what your not willing to lose. Book covers, editing, marketing are all areas you should invest some money in, but set a budget at what you are comfortable spending and losing. I’m not trying to make the analogy that selling books is like gambling, but it kinda is sometimes. Oh, and lastly lastly, time is our biggest investment, do not invest too much of your time in mastering marketing. I like to do an 80/20, where 80% of my time is devoted to writing and 20% is devoted to marketing what I wrote.

Well, in a nutshell, that was my learning experience from 2018.

What are some goals i’m aiming for in 2019?

  1. Reading more indie fiction.
  2. Writing more.
  3. Focus marketing at what I’m good at.
  4. Keeping to my 80/20 rule.
  5. Promoting indie others more.
  6. Have fun.

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