Author Platform Report December 2016


OK then, that was what we’d call an “interesting” month.  I’m summarizing my author platform development for the month as “developing”, and I think that’s the best way to put it.

The Stats

  • Newsletter subscribers  27.  But there were “issues” here. (see below)
  • Podcast downloads: 7 and there are “issues’ here as well.
  • Book sales:  4 (Yeah!)  LOL  (Flee or Kill: 1  2047: 3)
  • KU pages read: 58
  • Free ebook downloads: 0 and yes, there are issues here as well.

Behind The Scenes


To begin with, the site sat on the Rainmaker servers using the remnants of a subscription I had (from the gardening/non-fiction side of my writing life).  But when push came to shove, I decided the cost of the site wasn’t appropriate for a beginning author.
I like to keep my site costs to a maximum of 10% of revenue and given I had $0.00 in sales to that point, I couldn’t justify the $US 900. for the site.  The state of my fiction career couldn’t afford/require that kind of behind the scenes power.
I moved the site to my host (GreenGeeks.com) or rather it was moved for me by the tech folks there.  As an aside, I have nothing but praise for them – they’re great and fast.  I like the hosting and service. (No affiliate links or anything here).

The New Site Move Meant

So here we sit.  A new host meant I had to install all the plugins from scratch, and get everything hooked up appropriately.
There were two functions on the site I had to replace.  One was the podcast server (I returned to Libsyn.com) and the other was the mailing list (Went to Mailchimp but wait for it).

Podcast

Moving the podcast to Libsyn was easy.  They  did it for me. But my original host “somehow” lost the first 6 podcasts and they weren’t uploaded (not on iTunes either)  I had to upload those from my files. No big deal and now it’s all sitting there on Libsyn.
Downloads? Well, the old download records were lost when I moved to Libsyn and the new stats are just starting to show.
I have 7 downloads for December which I’m not upset about given I didn’t do any podcasts and the move took it all out for half the month.
Evaluation: I’m going to continue with the podcast.  I’m starting to relax into it and have fun creating them. We’ll see how it all turns out in the end but for the moment, I’m continuing.

Mailing List

And here we have another fubar.  The old mailing list exported nicely and I moved it seamlessly to Mailchimp. All’s good there and Mailchimp is a great product.  I like their stats and services far better than the Aweber platform I built my business around (and was grandfathered into some ridiculously low pricing.)
But here’s the thing. I don’t want to maintain email lists. 
I want to write. I’m tired of having to set up emails, manage forms, subscriptions etc.
I’ve taken the easy way out.  I installed the WordPress plugin Jetpack to do this for me. I can decide what gets sent and what doesn’t so I don’t flood subscriber inboxes.
It turns out that WordPress won’t allow a direct email import of an existing email list. (Spam prevention.)  I’m good with that but it means the existing subscribers at Mailchimp will have to subscribe again at my site.  Given I started with 54, I expected to lose 75%.
Subscribers as of Dec 31.=  26  (So 50% agreed to the manual move.)
To Subscribe: Open the Comments Form and under it is a box that says “Notify me of new posts by email”. Click that and fill in your email.
Or, go to the sidebar on any article and fill in the form there.

Ebooks

Vellum     I purchased this ebook layout tool and I’m delighted with it.  It’s relatively simple to learn and use and it produces an outstanding looking product.  This is particularly true in comparison to my normally/simply produced ebooks.  I’ll be using it on all ebooks going forward and I intend to republish all non-fiction ebooks as well.
As I noted in a previous post, I’ve uploaded both 2047 and the Wild Hunt short story ebooks to Amazon. Both are in Kindle Unlimited.
Flee or Kill was uploaded on Dec 17
Total sales for December: 4
Total KU pages read: 58
Income: $1.64  (a tiny bit more depending on the KU payout for December)

Results and Evaluation:

Website
The move to self-hosted was relatively smooth, if a bit complicated to get everything sorted out. As I write, the site is functioning nicely and as far as I know, readers are receiving updates.
I note the kerfuffle last week when I didn’t check the “send” box correctly and some things got sent out while other things didn’t. Then I had to scramble to get it all sorted out.
Podcast
Moved and software sorted out but no new episodes. Ready to go in New Year.
Sales
I celebrated with the first KU series of pages and seriously celebrated on Dec 13, when the first real sale happened.  Whoever you are, you made my week.
Writing
Writing got somewhat sideways during December with all the tech-stuff around the move, and the holiday season.
The next book is now underway.  I’ll resume normal writing and updating early in the New Year.
Thanks for reading.

2 thoughts on “Author Platform Report December 2016”

  1. Doug, as an aspiring writer (who found you when I was a failing gardener), I follow your posts with great interest. It seems to me that the aggro you are going through is a great lesson for any writer trying to navigate the online world. I realize you want to write fiction but I find your posts invaluable for teaching How To, or more aptly, How Not To.
    Re this particular post, it seems like WordPress is the go-to for a reason. I sure would hate to give up the ease of mail.chimp though. Best of luck with all the techy transitions.

    1. Thanks for the kind comments. The move to WordPress mailing systems was a short-lived experiment. The list went back to Mailchimp after a few posts. Part of that reason was me not “getting used to” hitting the right buttons on what was to be sent and what wasn’t to be sent. And part of it was simply deciding I wanted more control of what went out and how it went out to readers. Bottom line – the list moved here and back again within a few days. Interesting lesson that I’ll be writing about next month. And yeah, science fiction has been a part of my life since I was old enough to take books off a library shelf – consider it a lifelong dream to write my own. And if not now… when? 🙂

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