Web serial to ebook: mistakes I made so you don't have to!

Responses

  1. Blaise Corvin (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    How do you tell how many people are borrowing your book on KU? I just see pages read.

    I feel kind of foolish that I don't know fairly basic stuff like this.

    I thought I was doing pretty well to hit #500 on Amazon and best-seller in my genre a week or two ago with my book launch. Then a member of my writing group just published and hit #300 in a couple days. :P

    My goal is to hit #200 or better on Kindle with my second book.

    I should probably make an OP like this thread's too with what I've learned and what I did... but from my perspective, every book/writer is different and it's really hard to capture lightning in a bottle or give specific advice.

    I pretty much ignored most of the advice I got from most published writers other than a couple writers in my writing group. This worked for me, but it might not work for everyone.

    One of the biggest lessons I've learned is that online serial audience does not necessarily translate to book sales. I have much lower viewership on my website than some other well-known writers but I managed to have a fantastic first book launch.

    I've effectively been able to fast track my business plan by a full year.

    It seems like there is a large element of luck. Most indie writers won't make a lot of money at writing. Personally, my end goal is to write as a job, so I started out with a marketing plan. I think this was one of the smarter things I've done.

    At the rate I'm going now, I'm expecting a very successful second book launch early next year.

    I'd like to publicly thank Chrysalis for all the advice and knowledge I've gotten over the last year. It honestly helped a lot, especially the insights into the realities of the industry.

    Visit my site, http://www.blaise-corvin.com. I have punch and pie.
    I also have two stories: Delvers LLC and The Crimson Artifice. :)
  2. Blaise Corvin (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @leoduhvinci I think your second cover is very plain. If you're trying to sell books with a thumbnail of your book cover, a blob of color is not going to cut it.

    Your cover doesn't have to be complex, but it should be striking.

    What I did with my artist (my cover was the first she ever did) was study what is selling in my genre. Then she emulated what seemed to be working with some input from me.

    Research, research, research. I cannot stress that enough. The most successful first novel of my writing group (so far) has 400 reviews in less than 4 months. The writer is a very organized person and does tons of research.

    @leo, you seem to be a marketing machine so I think this approach will work for you.

    To all writers: If you can get on Fiverr and see multiple covers that vendors have sold and they all look similar to yours, go with something different.

    Sometimes even a bad cover can work if it's unique.

    Visit my site, http://www.blaise-corvin.com. I have punch and pie.
    I also have two stories: Delvers LLC and The Crimson Artifice. :)
  3. Chrysalis (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @Blaise I don't know the exact borrow numbers, but I can guesstimate based on number of sales and bestseller rank development. I know more or less how many sales / borrows a day are needed for a certain rank. I only paid close attention the first month, though. These days I don't even look at the bestseller rank anymore.

    This isn't basic knowledge at all, so no need to feel foolish. :)

    Even if only a small percentage of your serial readers buy the book, the size of your following still helps a ton during those early days after publication. Those initial sales get the Amazon algos churning in your favor, and a following is more reliable than any marketing service I know of. For that reason, I dare say that web fiction authors with huge followings (like you, Blaise) need a little less luck than the rest of us do. :)

    Anathema, a web serial about the effect superpowers would have on our world. http://anathemaserial.wordpress.com/
  4. Blaise Corvin (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    I can't figure out how long a KU "page" is. :/ If I knew that, I could calculate general reads with division. I really want that number so I can calculate some sort of expectation for my second book's launch.

    From what I understand, October is going to be a small pot of KU $$ too. I feel like this is evidence that the gods of writing are punishing me for going KU.

    Visit my site, http://www.blaise-corvin.com. I have punch and pie.
    I also have two stories: Delvers LLC and The Crimson Artifice. :)
  5. Chrysalis (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    A KU page is 200 words, more or less. It depends on your method of formatting.

    Your Amazon book stats should tell you the amount of KENP that were assigned for your book. For instance, my first book has about 478 KENP and the second almost 800.

    KU payouts stay roughly the same. Right now they're about 0.0046$ per page read.

    Anathema, a web serial about the effect superpowers would have on our world. http://anathemaserial.wordpress.com/
  6. Chrysalis (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Oh, and unless you publish novellas and short stories, I don't think KU is a bad decision at all. Right now it's about 85% of my income - sales are abysmal, but I get steady page reads every day.

    In fact, my books are so long that I get more money from a full KU read-through than I would from a sale.

    Anathema, a web serial about the effect superpowers would have on our world. http://anathemaserial.wordpress.com/
  7. Blaise Corvin (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Ah - I googled it. Mine is 631.

    It's under "BOOKSHELF" then click on "PROMOTE AND ADVERTISE"

    On that screen, Under "Earn Royalties..." it tells you the KENPC #

    Yay! I have new metrics. :)

    Visit my site, http://www.blaise-corvin.com. I have punch and pie.
    I also have two stories: Delvers LLC and The Crimson Artifice. :)
  8. mathtans (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Just want to say, I really know the pain of #2. My 'books' as I call them (I haven't seriously considered publishing, but also bundle arcs together) have what I would call climaxes and end narratives -- but even so, a lot of Book 1 is actual setup. You only meet all the characters and get much foreshadowing - the future temporal war itself isn't revealed until Book 2. The protagonist isn't experimenting with temporal powers until Book 3, and the plot with her mother that I set up way back in Entry 3 doesn't start arcing to resolution until Entry-friggin-81 (Book 4). It wasn't entirely intentional, it's more how I saw it. I'm sure it's possible for me to gut the thing and rewrite it, but I don't have the desire, it took so long to get this far.

    Related, Chrysa, I'm curious about how you'll be treating the standalone novel (assuming you know yet). Would it be more of a prequel to the rest then? Or something after that doesn't necessarily spoil the other ones? Or something with secondary characters, such that your mains are seen, but off to the side -- possibly even something concurrent? I'm also wondering about your marketing it as "Book #3", since I've found people tend to gravitate towards *1*, and might not start with 3, even if you declare it a stand-alone. (Book 0 maybe?) I know I've told people they can start with any book, but aside from k-fish starting with Book 3, I don't think anyone's taken me up on the offer. Note a bunch of this is me musing, maybe you haven't thought that far yet.

    Final thought, I suppose everything is relative. When I saw Blaise's remark "I have much lower viewership on my website than some other well-known writers but I managed to have a fantastic first book launch." I was intrigued... but the later implication of a "huge following" makes me think it's probably more than 12 readers, huh? :)

    Writing a Time Travel serial: http://mathtans.wordpress.com
    Writer of the personification of math serial: http://www.mathtans.ca
  9. Dary (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Imagine how something like Dune (Book One in the Desert Planet Saga) would fare with such an ADD audience...

  10. Blaise Corvin (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @mathtans between all the places I post, I think I had about 7k regular readers to my web serial before I published. Compared to people like Leo, that number is not very impressive. :P

    @Dary I think you do readers a disservice. Dune is still one of the greatest SciFi novels ever written and it remains popular to this day. Good stories stand the test of market shifts etc.

    Marketing only goes so far. We need to understand our genre and what sells. People don't buy the first book in a series to read 100k words of introduction.

    One thing I've learned over the past few months from Chrysalis is her unflinching and accurate market analysis.

    Visit my site, http://www.blaise-corvin.com. I have punch and pie.
    I also have two stories: Delvers LLC and The Crimson Artifice. :)
  11. Walter (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @Blaise: 7k is a lot of regular readers. I don't think you have anything to be ashamed of there.

    @Dary: I think Dune would have done just fine with this audience. It's been a while since I read it, but I seem to recall the opening being pretty gripping.

    Even if the opening wasn't grabbing people, once just a few folks read through it they'd start a word of mouth deal, like what happened with the first HP. I believe that stories that are absolutely amazing will inspire readers to convince other people to read so they have something to talk about.

  12. Team Contract (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @Blaise 7k??? That's a huge amount. How do you actually determine this number? Is that the number of unique visitors each month? For me, I think I only have like 3 for certain readers, but I do get around 500 non-unique visitors per month.

  13. Chrysalis (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @Blaise 7K definitely qualifies as a huge following. I have around 500 regular readers. And that's already more than average for WFG, I think.

    @Mathtans it will be a spinoff in the same universe and following the same timeline, it's going to be set around the time of my second book, or maybe immediately after it. The protagonists will be Wisp and her kiddie gang - Wisp is a minor powered who was mentioned once in my second book but never got any screentime. I'll try and make sure the book isn't too spoilery, but my goal is to give readers an impression of what happens on this timeline so they're more motivated to continue beyond the build-up of my first book, if they decide to check the main series out. For instance, phrases like "Let's not talk about what happened to Dancer..." (Dancer is a main POV character of the Anathema series) will come up.

    @Walter the first HP book was actually extremely unsuccessful. It only took off after it was republished in the States (the first time was with an UK publisher I think). So luck / timing / circumstance are definitely factors. Word of mouth might happen or not depending on how dedicated your initial readers are - one of your first 5 readers could turn out to be a SUPERFAN who tells 5000 people on Reddit and social media about your book. Or all of your first 1000 readers could turn out to be passive and not talk about you or your story.

    Anyway, to restate... already having a large following is a MASSIVE advantage, also in regards to word of mouth.

    Anathema, a web serial about the effect superpowers would have on our world. http://anathemaserial.wordpress.com/
  14. leoduhvinci (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @Blaise I definitely think you have me beat on unified readership. Mines pretty scattered, and I think the numbers are pretty fuzzy.

    For me: Reddit 6k, wattpad 2k, RR 300?, blog 1k-3k, mailing list 2k, radish 1k. I have no idea the overlap, but that does account for the overlap over my 3-5 serials. And I don't know how regular they are either.

    Note taken on the cover. I'm on a strict time line trying to get it published in the next 10 days for some commitments that would be very disadvantageous to miss, so idk if I can fix it but I'll reach out. Thank you for your input- being color blind, I can't tell. I think it looks great, but from a marketing perspective you are right.

    Also, bear in mind that it's not only your Amazon ranking that counts but how long you stay there. I think I topped at #250, but your afterburn has lasted a lot longer than mine.

    Right now, any chance I have to trade $/time for readers will be utilized. I'm focusing on growth.

    Blaise, like you my goal is to earn enough to write for a career. I could do so much more if I had the time.

    View more from author Leonard Petracci,including fantasy and fiction stories, at https://leonardpetracci.com
  15. Dary (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    For everyone citing readership/sales figures, bear in mind that the average book only sells around 2-3000 copies. If you've a readership in that range, you're doing pretty well!

    *Edit* Google suggests the average figure is around 250 copies a year, BTW. So yeah, if you're building your expectations around anything bigger than that, don't.

Reply »

You must log in to post.