Monday, September 23, 2019

Managing My Mailing List

Balancing new email subscribers with old is a good problem to have. This balance for me is because I am using MailChimp as a starting point. They allow a generous 2,000 subscribers before they start charging you. (Most other companies are around 1000 subscribers) However, I am currently gaining around 18 subscribers per day through all my various methods. That means I could fill up the entire 2000 subscribers in about 3 - 4 months, even if I started with 0.

Here is where the balance comes in. I want to continually check to make sure I have the right people and an engaged crowd. To do that, I’ve sectioned off my list into two lists. The first is a slower build with a less engaged crowd and has a singular focus: share free deals I’ve found. In exchange for these free deals, I have those places market my books, if they are a fit for their readers.

Readers that are engaged with my books go on a second list. These readers get more information on what I am writing and review copies. I also interact with this list in a more personal manner, sending individual emails out and looking for more genuine connection. Ultimately, this is my focus for my mailing lists: build up readers that connect with what I am writing.

The flip of this also needs to be considered. I am not going to keep anyone on a list they don’t gain value from. Currently I am making two “archiving” rules. If they are on both lists, remove them from them from a list. That way, each person of the 2000 is unique. Next up, I want them engaged. I measure that by how many emails of mine they’ve opened. If they’ve had the opportunity to open up 2-3 emails, but didn’t, they may not be very engaged. (I send out an email to each person about once or twice a month) That means they’ve ignored my emails for two+ months.

If I were hungry for mailing list contacts, I would send out one more unique email that was a “I show you haven’t been active. Are you sure you want to continue?” Then, if they don’t do anything with that for a few weeks, remove them. However, with a rate of 18 people coming in per day, I don’t feel like I have time to manage that extra leg of the journey. That being said, when I move above the 2000 and need to start paying… perhaps it may be worth it?

Monday, September 16, 2019

Ready for a New Week

This weekend I finished up editing the beta version of two Halloween stories. The first is “Dead and in Working Order” which features mummies. The second is “Masonic Werewolves” which might need a bit more tweaking. I am hoping to have the final tweaks on this story completed in the next few days. I also just sent out the mailing list email for the month, so that will hopefully work well. The only thing I haven’t had much luck on lately is writing my main novel, but that will hopefully change this week. I am hoping to knock out three chapters of the main novel this week.

The only other downside is that my audio book bundle of Vampire Caving 1 – 3 hit a snag that I thought might happen. Apparently for every bundle you need a unique intro/conclusion. Hopefully I can get that fixed up and ran through extremely quickly. I’ll email ACX once that’s in to see if I can get any kind of rush on that. The hope is to give out Audio Codes on that September 24th. Normally it takes two weeks to go through audio review, so that’s an extremely tight timeline.

Another interesting recent change is that I’ve been using my Evernote to capture more and more random writing advice tid-bits. The hope is to build up a big reserve, then sort it into a style where it will be easily accessible. I also want to start “book reviews” in my Evernote that list what I liked/disliked about various books. The hope is to emulate the good stuff and edit out any of the bad stuff in my writing. With luck, my writing will get better and better, or at least more even. Onto a brand new week, with Halloween around the corner!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Tired but Accomplished

It has been a ridiculously busy week for writing. I’ve had to work towards preparing multiple stories for Halloween. I’ve now completed them and need to continue the process of cultivating them through the various stages. With any luck, I’ll have a Halloween Bundle #2 ready for 2019’s Halloween. I also put together a bundle of Vampire Caving 1-3, so that I can start sending that out. I’ll know if that works through the systems over the next couple of weeks. My hope is that I get that completed before the month is through.

Ultimately, I have a massive amount of work I am trying to figure out, but in a way, it’s worth it. By using these systems I’ve discovered, I can have my work pay for itself. That means that by the time I am full done with each story, I have a new well-rounded product on Amazon. These stories have been edited, decent covers, and some reviews. They have multiple ways to consume the stories (digital and audio) so that they gain the most readers possible.

I think that this is amazing and exciting! I’ve found a path that allows me to build stories without the massive out-of-pocket expense that many authors face. I get to choose what makes me happy to write, so that if I want a trio of Halloween stories, I can do that. If I want to build more in a particular universe, I can do that. If I want to try out longer books, I can do that. Any subject I choose, any length I choose, I can get them out into the world. I am feeling tired, but happy in what I’ve produced over the last few weeks.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Feeling Accomplished and With Direction

Time is tricky, because it can feel so abrupt and life can feel so large compared to what time we have. I think with this writing thing, I am having success because I am ignoring how hard it can be. If I stopped and thought about all the work I’ve poured in, and all the work I have left to do, I would be paralyzed. In this moment, however, I’ve just accomplished a good chunk. 

  • I have another small story done and thoughts for yet another story. 
  • I’ve built a release schedule based on promotions I have planned out. 
  • I have the promotions planned out, to pay for the production costs. 
  • Finally, I can see the trajectory of my current marketing and how well it is working.

I am feeling accomplished because I have the direction I need for the next year+. There is a lot to accomplish, and I am excited about building those accomplishments. With any luck, this writing thing will continue to grow, and I’ll grow alongside it. In time, I would like to split the royalties that are made with this effort three different ways: producing more books, retirement funds, and some fun money. It would be nice if this effort could grow and grow, until it got to be something sizable and amazing. However, looking back at where I am at now, it feels sizable. I got a lot of amazing stuff and I am looking forward to building even more stuff.


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