lessons learned


lessons learned.png

So, a new year has just started, and it’s time to look back over what I’ve achieved with my short stories. I published four, two weeks apart between Thanksgiving and New Year.

Publicity and promotion is hard. Most of the time I felt like I was shouting into the wind, as I had little to no feedback on what I was doing. I couldn’t tie what sales I did get to any particular activity in order to reproduce it.

Timingwise this was maybe not the best time to choose. During Black Friday, Christmas and New Year all of our inboxes and everywhere are so full with everyone and his uncle trying to sell things. I was competing for attention with lots of others, most of whom were bigger and flashier than me. So it did feel a bit like I was shouting into the wind.

And there is so much other stuff going on. Organising everything for Sinterklaas, Christmas and birthdays for the rest of my family gives me extra tasks I need to do. On top of write new stuff, and promote these stories. And I do an annual review process where I look at what I’ve achieved in the year and what I want to do next year.

For me, for these stories, setting up pre-orders didn’t really work. In a way it was worth doing, as I could put the link to the next story in the back of the book, but nobody actually signed up for one. Maybe two weeks was too long between short stories. Though it could also be because the stories weren’t related. I can see how for a series it would be more beneficial to run a pre-order for subsequent books, assuming that you know when they will be finished and published.

Kindle Unlimited wasn’t really a success either. I got a few downloads, but not so many pages read. And balancing that against the fact that by being in Kindle Unlimited I couldn’t publish my book elsewhere, means that I think I will make future books available across more retailers, and not make them part of Kindle Unlimited.

And it showed that my design skills really aren’t up to the challenge of good book covers. As everyone says a good book cover is 80% of the marketing – from now on I’ll get someone else to do them!

Short stories are a difficult sell, so maybe the whole thing was against me. But I learned alot. I know how to format and upload a book into Amazon. I know where to find out how each book is doing. I have a plan for where I can promote future books, and how I can organise them in advance.

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