This is going to be another boring post for anyone not interested in self-publishing, but it’s the most efficient way for me to keep a record so skip it if you’re not interested. I suppose it would be more efficient of me to post it on my seldom-used business blog — which I haven’t even updated with Cici, oops — but I’d never remember to look for it there, so it goes here.
So, I published Cici a week ago, to all the usual spots. Much though I love her, I have very low expectations for Cici. My most similar title is A Lonely Magic, which is the book that I spent the most money on by far — professional editing, professional covers, advertising on multiple sites, NetGalley membership to get reviews, etc. and which… well, has not rewarded said expenses. ALM was the book where I tried to get serious about self-publishing and while it was an interesting experiment, being serious did not lead to success. (Grace has earned more money in its first four months than ALM has in over four years. Ouch. Sadly, this is not because Grace is making me rich.)
Anyway, I’m sure a self-publishing guru would tell me that I need to spend money to make money, etc, but eh. Maybe someday, if I ever get a real job and have extra money floating around. Meanwhile, I would prefer to continue to eat. So I’m not spending money on Cici, much though I adore her.
My sum total of marketing dollars on Cici was $5 on a Facebook ad sent exclusively to people who have liked my page. That ad reached 161 people, had 37 engagements, and 6 clicks. So if each of those clicks led to a sale, I might have sold 6 copies because of the FB ad, therefore spending $5 to earn $15, for a profit of $10.
I also sent out an email to people who have subscribed to my mailing list. Mailing lists are such an interesting thing: I bought a book recently about being a mailing list ninja, something like that, and apparently I should be using my mailing list to chat with readers, “engage them,” and most definitely not to simply tell them when I have something new published. Because apparently telling readers that there’s a new book is asking them for something as opposed to providing them with information that they supposedly wanted to receive? But I honestly hate email, I don’t want junk cluttering up my inbox, and I really think that if anyone actually wants to hear from me on a regular basis they could just read my blog. I view my mailing list as being the people who simply want to know about new books. But apparently not so much: of the 1415 readers who have signed up for my mailing list, 474 opened the email, and 100 clicked on the link. 14 unsubscribed. 2 reported me for spam, sigh. These are, of course, not terrible results: the industry average open rate is 17.2 and mine was 33.7 and the industry average click rate is 3.6 and mine was 7.1. So at least I’m running better than average.
BookBub also sent out an email to my followers there, approximately 6000 some. I know they did because I follow myself and I got their email. And the chance exists that Amazon will also let people know, those who follow me on Amazon. (I just started following myself so I didn’t get anything this time but maybe I will next time.)
So, potential marketing outreach: 1415 mailing list readers, 6000+ Bookbub followers, 500+ FB followers, 300+ Twitter followers, and the 30+ of you who read my blog.
Total sales for week one – 103:
- Amazon: 85
- Barnes & Noble: 16
- Kobo: 2
- Draft2Digital (Apple, Scribd, Tolino, Overdrive, etc.): 0
- Google Play: 0
I think there’s some conversion rate thing that I’m supposed to figure out — around 1% of the people reached decided to buy? That’s probably not a bad number for professional marketers.
Anyway, I’m really just saving this data for future reference. Cici obviously doesn’t look like my other books, so it’s no surprise that she’s a niche read. Someday I might have to separate out my identities so that people who like true fantasy, no romance involved, aren’t mixed into the audience who likes romance with a little fantasy involved. But at the moment that’s far too much work and I’d rather spend my time writing. Or doing laundry, which is what I should be doing right now!
And meanwhile, far more importantly with Cici, I have been really delighted to hear from people who enjoyed her and loved the ending and even more delighted that no one’s spoiling it. I usually try to avoid reading reviews because they are not good for me, but I’m totally reading every Cici review that comes my way because I so enjoyed writing her and really like reading that people enjoyed reading her.
Sarah Vivian said:
I LOVED Cici; thank you so much. And I LOVED Fan too, so please write more!
Definitely writing more Fen, I was working on her yesterday and so enthusiastic I woke up early this morning to get started again! Thanks for reading!
I didn’t realize that you could tell whether someone actually opened up an e-mail. I have a couple that I just delete, but don’t want to unsubscribe from. I think I’ll take the time to open them up before deleting them. I’d hate to make the senders feel bad. One of the lists is for Advanced Traffic Control System, or ATCS and it’s a program that tracks train movements. I keep subscribed because one day, when I can find the time, I want to be able to learn how to use it. LOL Ah me…
I don’t really feel bad, I just don’t want to waste people’s time. I’m probably going to go through my list and delete the people who don’t open emails, because if they don’t want them, I don’t want to clutter up their inboxes. Of course, if I was any good at this business, my mailing list would include 20,000 people by now and most of them wouldn’t have the faintest idea who I am, LOL.
Hope to be able to read Cici soon. Waiting for a time when I can really enjoy it. I hope one day to benefit from your self-publishing data so keep posting. Works for me.
I am definitely not the example to follow for self-publishing. There are people doing very, very well, and I am not one of them. But I do want to do better, so tracking my data is useful for me at least, and if it’s interesting for you, that’s a nice bonus!