So lately, I've been thinking.
Yeah. I haven't been able to write much, so it's given me plenty of time to consider where my writing career needs to go and what I need to do in order to get there.
The main thing for me is my approach to social networking.
But then something happened that made me re-evaluate EVERYTHING. And I warn you, this is going to be a downer if you're a self-publisher.
So... What happened?
It started with The Vanished Knight getting over 175k reads.
The pictures I used for its cover and for the one on The Heir's Choice are creative commons pictures. I'm not really worried that I'll get sued or anything like that but, you know... The more people read the story, the more nervous the free image idea makes me.
Besides that, the fact that I used two swords on the covers kind of limited the direction in which I can go for book 3, which I'm planning to publish later this year.
So. I started designing new ones. While doing that, I did my usual thing of going to Amazon and searching my genre (Epic Fantasy) to see how my covers compare.
And I noticed something very, very worrying.
Amazon now cuts off search results at 20k books. No matter what I did, I never got more than 25k books out of my search.
Maybe there's a way, but I'm only a run-of-the-mill user type. You know, the exact type of person who'd be looking for a new book to read.
You're seeing the problem, I assume.
Even if I enter the specific key-phrases into the search, I still couldn't find my books, presumably because I'm not ranking high enough.
Which, as a person only barely starting out in the publishing game, is a nightmare scenario.
Because in my world, all this means that if you're going to self publish or going to go the indie route, you better go in with a huge following of your own.
So what's a girl like me to do?
She puts all her chips on the table.
I'm doing really well on Wattpad. (175k reads for Fantasy is nothing to sniff at.) The Vanished Knight has its own built-in fan-base. But it hasn't reached critical mass.
But it'll get there. But to get there, I have to re-think my strategy.
I'm taking a leap of faith and posting The Heir's Choice on there as well. And I'm going to keep posting books on there for the foreseeable future. Because for me, Wattpad has something that Amazon doesn't:
But, of course, this brings me to my big concern:
I want to make a living as a writer.
Which means that making my work available for free kind of defeats the object. (Except if you totally correctly point out that there's no chance at making a living if readers can't find me.)
I've also decided to join Patreon.
What is Patreon?
Basically, it works on a similar concept as Gofundme or Kickstarter except for one major difference. With Patreon, the point is for patrons to pledge small monthly amounts (that they can pick) that will be paid over to the artist every month instead of one big fund that is aimed at something specific.
Here's a bit of a better explanation (but the video is about per-artwork pledges. I'm too prolific for that.)
If you'd like to help me out, you're awesome-sauce. All you have to do is click here and pick your poison. (There are rewards available if you want them.)
But what does all this mean?
For one thing, I'm changing my focus. To me, it makes sense to direct traffic to Patreon, so it also makes sense to use that as a hub and branching all of my social-media out of it.
For one thing, Video gets better responses on Patreon, so starting next month, I'm moving over into Vlogging. I'll still update this blog, but I think this is going to be the next step. I'll still be writing posts here and there, though, but it makes sense to make sure that my time is spent on content that I can use everywhere.
As part of my Patreon rewards, I'm going to start hosting a weekly online hang-out, but you're all invited anyway. I'm thinking that as my fanbase grows, it might be a great way to give my favorite writer buddies (I.E. you) some extra exposure.
There is also an All Posts page on Patreon where patrons can interact with each other and me, and I think this has vast potential as a different kind of social network.
So come on! It's only $1 to get in where all the cool kids will be. Please do consider helping a girl out. Or just go check out the page and tell me what you think of it so far. :-)
What about my new covers?
I'll share the first two here now. The others will be revealed later in the year...
Thanks for reading!
Thoughts? Anyone think I'm insane?
Any further suggestions?
That is SO frustrating about Amazon. I hadn't realized they were doing that, but it does make sense now that I think about my sales. Boo on them. I'm wishing you all kinds of luck with your new venture and hope it kicks butt!ReplyDelete
That's troublesome they cut it off like that. I should do a search for mine.ReplyDelete
That's a lot of reads on Wattpad. Wish my books were that widely read.
Heather Holden is on Patreon. I don't pledge, so I still just visit her blog.
I had no idea about Amazon doing that either. Wow. Good luck with Patreon. Please do keep us updated how it works for you! :)ReplyDelete
That seems really rotten of them to mess with search results like that. Let me know how your strategy works as it applies very much to all of us:)ReplyDelete
My understanding of Wattpad is that it rarely leads to sales? It's the go-to place for people that want free stuff. That's a huge number of reads - congrats - but is it ranking you on Amazon? Really, you're driving all your traffic away from Amazon to Wattpad. I'd love 175K reads - that is awesome - but I'd rather have 1000 passionate purchasers from one BookBub ad because at least then I'm getting readers and money :) Good luck whatever your road!ReplyDelete
Vlogging scares me. I've only just got used to seeing my face on Skype. Good luck. It'll be interesting to read your follow-up posts on your findings.ReplyDelete
Hubby and I were discussing Patreon in regards to writing one day. Lots of youtubers we watch use it and some make very good money that way. We just weren't sure how it would work with books. Good luck and as an interested author, I hope you post updates on how Patreon is working for you.ReplyDelete
Wow, 175k downloads?! That's huge. I've never heard of Patreon but I'm pretty out of the loop these days. Not quite sure I understand how it works. I'll have to check it out. Good luck!ReplyDelete
I hear you about the discoverability thing. It's definitely my biggest road block right now as well. Though, to be fair, I don't really blame Amazon for capping the search results. Maybe it's just me, but as a reader I wouldn't sift through 25,000+ books on a search result. I'd go through the first 10-20 pages maybe, after that I'd probably do a different search. So even if they didn't cap it, I'm not sure it'd make much difference. Anyway...ReplyDelete
That's awesome you're seeing good results on Wattpad! Congrats! And I love the new covers for your books. I don't think you're crazy for trying out new things. I think it's quite important, actually. I've had my eye on Patreon as a potential "something to try" but I haven't gone there yet. I will be watching your progress with interest, and I wish you the very best of luck with it! :D
I love your new covers! Patreon sounds intriguing. You are always finding new ways to market and that's cool. Amazon sucks in so many ways, but you will prevail!ReplyDelete
We finally moved this week. Still working on finishing all the loose ends, but at least we're back online!
I don't mind giving away some work, but I'm not interested in giving away all of what I write. I dabbled in Wattpad, but it was another social media that took me away from writing. I decided not to continue--at least not now.ReplyDelete
Good luck with your new direction. I hope it does what you hope it will do.
I was feeling so sad and worried about how defeated you sounded and then I get to where you said you were joining Patreon. So am I! I plan to launch my page in August. I don't have any suggestions at the moment, since I haven't even started yet. But I'll be rooting for you, and I will defintely check out your page. Good luck!ReplyDelete
Those are great covers!ReplyDelete
I had no idea about the cut-off...thanks for letting us know! I don't think you're insane at all--I'm excited to see how these new initiatives work for you.
Those are awesome covers!ReplyDelete
I'm a bit frustrated by Amazon as well, but thankfully having my first book up for free there - which takes some serious fanagaling (is that a word that my mom made up or am I spelling it wrong?) - helps with exposure.
I'm going to check out your Patreon account, and I love that Wattpad is doing so well for you. I'm really terrible and stopped updating my Wattpad a while back . . . oy.
I know that Amazon has an algorithm that you need 5 reviews for something, and 25 reviews to land in the "people have also bought/ you might also like" thing and 50 for a shot at a feature somewhere.ReplyDelete
Good luck with your campaign!