Hi All! Happy Day Before New Year’s Eve Day!
Before we start, did anyone else not know that Skinwalker Ranch is an actual place? Only asking because “guess who” didn’t, and a YouTube documentary, based on the book by Knapp and Dr. Kelleher, is on for background noise. Since the renegade royal’s Netflix propaganda fest, I’ve been leery of anything trying to pass itself off as a “documentary,” although this one with its borderline monotonous narration seems legit. Then again, you can get a Ph.D. in parapsychology, so…
Well, it’s been a year. The best one since I started this journey as an indie author back in 2018, and for that, I’m truly grateful.
In 2022, they featured The Butterfly Girl in Haunt, an anthology from Dragon Soul Press; Dead of Winter received a rave review from indie author Lee Hall; and 2022 was the year that this 60-year-old won an award for a Sci-Fi, coming-of-age saga on a platform popular with aged 14-20-somethings. I won a Watty! Hot dang! They still won’t tell me if I’m the oldest person ever to win, but check that one off the bucket list!
New goal: save enough to make two audiobooks.
What else made 2022 so much better? This was the year I monetized my work in earnest. I’ll try to pinpoint what’s worked so far and what hasn’t.
Maybe some of this will resonate with you. Maybe you’ll want to implement one or more of these approaches. And maybe, too, if you see something amiss, you’ll be kind enough to tell me what I’ve been doing wrong. Because there’s always room for improvement, right?
Here’s what made a BIG difference.
- A willingness to learn about marketing. Which began with the admission that “someone” had to get over her fear/insecurity/loathing/self, suck it up, and actually learn something. Because those books weren’t going to sell themselves. I didn’t always like what I read or heard, especially about how much this was going to cost. Being on a mostly per diem work schedule this year, paying regular bills has been tricky enough.
- Leveraging social media. In 2022 (or thereabout), I created a Facebook Author page, opened first-time accounts on Twitter, Gettr, TikTok, and YouTube, and revived a blog that’s been more or less neglected since the twenty-teens.
Is it exhausting, creating ads/copy and posting them regularly—as in Every. Single. Freaking. Day? You bet it is. Some days, it feels like I spend more time promoting work than writing new work, which really stinks. I still don’t know which platform performs better, and even worse, still don’t know who my reader demographic is.
Yeah, the last one’s a cardinal sin, I know. The majority of readers are American with a smattering in the UK and other countries, but beyond this, I have no clue. All the literature says that the Reader Demographic is the single most important thing you should know, but where in Sam Hill do you find these statistics?
- Kindle Vella. Hands down, this has been THE most successful venture for drawing in new readers and providing a steady monthly revenue. Is it making me rich? Hell no! But since publishing on Vella in October 2021, it’s been paying the light bill every month and, when I’m really lucky, the phone bill, too.
- KDP Select. Taking advantage of the free promotion opportunities in this Amazon program also made a big difference (Countdown Deals, not so much). Those 5-day free promotions definitely put my work in front of more readers than ever before. Over 750 free downloads to date with almost 6,200 pages read. It might not seem like much (and you’re probably right), but when compared to the goose eggs for downloads in 2020 and 2021, it’s a downright windfall!
So, here’s what hasn’t worked.
- Paid advertising.
This year, I spent close to $400 on various ads on Book Bub, Best Book Monkey, Snick’s List, Amazon, and Facebook, among others. It’s MUCHO dinero when you’re cash-poor most of the time.
To put it in perspective, after this last storm, three dead spruce trees fell on my lawn (one against the house). The man who cleaned and carted that mess away charged $150. A bargain! For what I wasted on ads, I could’ve had six or seven more trees taken down (lots of dead trees here).
One promo performed so badly, the site refunded the fee, then suggested I lower the eBook price to $1.99 or less. It’s disheartening and not what you want to hear. Anything priced under $2.99 on KDP puts you in the 35% royalty tier, which also makes your return on investment for paid adverts impractical, if not utterly impossible.
- A Mailing List/Newsletter. Mostly because I haven’t figured out how to set this up. Or think that I need it. Isn’t that what Facebook, Twitter, and a blog are for? Also, who else here deletes a bunch of emails from folks they don’t know and for stuff they don’t want on a daily basis? Do mailing lists and newsletters really work?
- Giveaways. Other than KDP promos. They’re expensive and a pain in the butt to carry out.
- Publishing “Wide.” Earlier this month, I moved Dead of Winter out of KDP Select status and published it with Draft2Digital. The jury’s still out.
Wow, this has gone on much longer than planned.
Wishing you all a Happy and Bountiful 2023! Stay safe, and I’ll catch you on the flip side!