BTS028, Book Blogging Tour, MailerLite Frustrations, and Rewriting a Thriller Novel
Book Blogging Tour, MailerLite Frustrations, and Rewriting a Thriller Novel
During the last week in February, I faced the infamous chicken or the egg scenario, that every author faces—book reviews or sales. And, I make progress with growing my fiction email list. By now, you’re probably wondering whether I started rewriting my second book after all of that planning. If you are, then you’ll find the answer to that question as well as many more in this podcast episode, so stay tuned.
Just to let you know, this episode was recorded on Wednesday, 1st of April, so this show is primarily me looking back at the week starting from February 24 to March 1.
Growing My Email List
In the last podcast episode, I mentioned that I wanted to focus on growing my email list and getting book reviews. And, I’m proud to announce that I followed through with this goal. For now, I want to focus on growing my email list. To aid my goal of growing my email list, I decided to change the settings on the BookFunnel link for my reader magnet, the Lawn.
What was this change?
In the landing page settings, I changed the email subscription setting from ‘must opt-in” to an “optional opt-in.” After I made this change, I was concerned that no one would opt-in. As a result of this one change, I received three subscribers overnight. The fiction email list for my James Lalonde series has grown from 12 to 18 subscribers in MailerLite.
I know that’s only six subscribers but these people are six strangers from Facebook, who have never heard of me or my books. As per the screenshot below, you’ll notice that I’ve had six downloads and seven claims. Only one person chose to not opt-in to my email newsletter. That’s a far cry from what I had originally thought would happen.
Here are my stats in BookFunnel.
The other change I made was adding offers to my author Facebook Page and changing the cover images to advertise my reader magnet, the Lawn. Next week, I think I will focus on advertising the offer for my short story, instead of boosting a post, just to see if it converts better. Another thing that I’ve been doing right from the start is keeping the BookFunnel subscribers in different groups or segments.
While we’re on the topic of using MailerLite, I keep having a problem where emails are “failing” to be processed through an automation queue. To correct this I need to manually add them back into the queue by selecting all of the email addresses and then selecting add back to cue. This action, adds the emails back into the queue at the point where the email failed. But, it’s manual and I need to go in and check that no emails have failed. I don’t have to tell you how frustrating it is to babysit an email service. At present, this has happened twice on different automation sequences.
Did I mention that I have ten automation queues?
There is a part of me that’s regretting leaving MailChimp. Yes, this is a regret for me because I never had this problem and I could set and forget my automation queues and only update the queues as needed.
Boosting a Facebook Post
On Monday, 24th of February, I shared a blog post featuring the first chapter of my crime thriller short story, the Lawn on Facebook and boosted the post to my predetermined target audience. Over a seven day period, I chose a budget of £30.00 or $38.31 USD. Because Facebook is a US company, they do not add sales tax until advertisement has come to a close. The VAT brought the ad spend up to £36.00 or $46.00 USD.
What did that ad get me in terms of clicks and subscribers?
The stats from my boosted Facebook post.
My boosted post reach 5,975 people, which resulted in 208 clicks. In the previous segment, I mentioned that I received a total of six sign-ups for my short story, the lawn. That’s a three percent sign up rate, which isn’t brilliant. But, I only spent £36.00, so it’s not a big deal. On the other hand, I paid £6.00 per sign up. So, I guess it depends upon your perspective.
The good news is I now have something to compare the next set of Facebook ads too. As always, in the next podcast episode, I will let you know the statistics from promoting my offer, which you can see in the screenshot below.
Here are the stories and excerpts that I’m offering my audience at the moment.
Getting Book Reviews
In order to get book reviews for my debut crime thriller novella, Missing I’ve turned to a group of services. The reason for this is because I launched with a small email list. During the week I applied for three services. These services are Many Books, Reedsy Discovery, and a Book Blogger Tour.
On Monday, I applied for a Many Books promotion focusing on getting Retail Reviews. All I had to do was fill out a Google Form and I’ve been waiting for a response ever since. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t received a reply or even an acknowledgement, and I’m not sure if I’m going to get a response because it’s now been seven days.
And, now for the second service. After scrolling through Reedy’s list of Book Promotion Sites, I found a service run by Reedsy called, Reedsy Discovery. This service connects your book with readers who are interested in reading books and leaving an honest review. It’s important to add the list of reviewers Reedsy has is at “over 150” and that’s across all genres. The service doesn’t disclose any further data beyond this.
In typical Reedsy style, the website was easy to navigate which made submission easy and painless. A submission coasts $50.00 USD or £38.80 GBP. From memory, I think you need to select a date that’s more than 30 days in advance. The date I selected for my novella to go live was on Tuesday the 31st of March. And, so far, one reviewer has picked up my crime thriller novella. I received that notification on Friday.
Book Blogging Tour
After much deliberation, I’ve decided to say yes to the book blogging tour services that I enquired about in January. The tour I signed up for will have a duration of seven days and costs $80.00 USD. As a part of the service, the organiser Sarah Hardy promises a minimum of seven book blogger reviews, but can not promise whether the reviews will be positive or negative. For obvious reasons, the service needs to be scheduled two months in advance. So, the book blogger tour for Missing will start on the 28th of April.
Over the weekend, I received confirmation that 14 book bloggers want to read my novella. I’m yet to pay for this service, partly because I haven’t received a payment link. At present, I’m both excited and nervous about my book tour, partly because I now know that people are reading Missing.
I know. It’s so strange to write a book then be a little panicked about people reading your book. But, that’s where I’m at right now.
Once again, I felt tempted by Kindle Unlimited again, partly because I feel frustrated by my marketing efforts. But, being in Kindle Unlimited may not change that experience for me. On top of that, I can’t delist my books because I’m enrolled in the kobo subscription service. As I result, I plucked up the courage and asked for the Kobo promo tab. All I did was send off an email and ask for the tab.
It was that easy.
I applied for a daily deal in March and was knocked back. Most of the promotions available are for free books which is a bit unexpected partly because I’m in the mindset of trying to get more sales. After much deliberation, I’m starting to see the value in giving away books for free because you receive one review for every 100 sales. So, this author is changing her tune about free promotions.
French Translation Update
We’ve finally reached the point in the podcast where I’m going to sound like a total nag but, it’s worth sharing, anyway.
So here it goes.
On Monday, I asked Roland about the French Translation and where I could persuade him to use a translation created using. Artificial Intelligence. My husband said no a few months ago and mentioned he wanted to do a bespoke translation, where he chose every word. I thought I might give him a nudge and see if I could turn him over to the dark side of AI. Roland said he didn’t want to use AI for the first draft because he was worried it would cause him to make lazy choices while translating the English elements of my story into French. The example he gave me was a police constable is simply called an “agent” in French, and he wasn’t sure how the AI would handle instances like this.
So, my husband won that argument.
Book Two Update
On Thursday, I decided to start rewriting the first act of book two because there are minimal changes to that part of the story arc. In the first act, there is only one new scene, setting changes but no changes to the plot at this point. Before I started rewriting the first chapter, I already knew how I wanted the first line to sound. Knowing this made the rest of the chapter much easier to write.
During the rewrite, I spent a lot of time researching how to describe certain sounds, because I tend to leave elements out like this as I fast draft. I had a tonne of fun researching locations, types of trees, and tracking my characters movements through the grounds of trinity college, all in the spirit of adding a level of realism to the story.
At the moment, I’m considering writing a prologue set during the time of Henry VIII, but I may add this as a chapter one and avoid calling it a prologue.
In a webinar on writing thrillers, James Scott Bell gave this advice as a way of preventing readers from skipping it, thinking the chapter isn’t important.
At the start of my writing day, my word count was at 46,853 words. Upon finishing rewriting chapter one, the total word count for Book two is 47,268. I added a total of 415 words rot the story and chapter one is now revised. The first chapter was edited using both Grammarly and ProWritingAid, and now it’s ready to be analysed by AutoCrit.* To use AutoCrit, the entire book needs to be finished.
If you have any questions or have tips on book marketing that you would love to share with me, please leave them in the comments section, below.
Thank you for listening, and happy reading and writing, everybody.
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I’m Amelia. I write Mystery Novels under the pen name A. D. Hay. And, I’m the author of Missing, the first book in the James Lalonde series. On this blog, I help new writers to finish their first draft, prepare their manuscripts for professional editing, and when they get stuck in the first draft phase or are confused about the revision process. Right now, I’m editing and preparing my soon to be published mystery novels, Duplicity, 24 Hours, and Immunity for publication.