1000 True Fans – 14000 Readers in 10 Months.

operation_

Wow!

Ten months has passed since I started my quest for 1000 True Fans. I was diligent in posting until an accident with my father had my life flipped upside down. Behind the scenes, though, I still plugged away, trying to grow my mailing list.

In these ten months, my mailing list grew to over 14000 readers…and is still growing, but, at the same time, I’m working on cutting out people that appear that they’ll never be a true fan. I want to maintain an ACTIVE list that sits around 10,000 subscribers. (Why 10,000? Purely a balance between being effective…and cost effective.)

So, of these 14000, how many are true fans?

Honestly, not that many…but enough. When I send out an email, only about 30-40% of the people open it…and 7% click on any links. So, of 14,000 people that’s about 4500 opening the email and 1000 clicking something…but mostly freebies/giveaways.

A good test of my true fans is to see how many of my newsletter subscribers clicked the link to purchase my latest new releases.

  • I sent Witch or Treat out to about 4000 subscribers. Of these, I had 211 click the link to purchase on Amazon.
  • I sent The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives out to about 10,000 subscribers, and I only had about 100 clicks…but many of my true fans are on my advanced reader team or ordered it on pre-order. All in all, I sold over 500 books in the month since it’s been released. (Still not at 1000 true fans.)

So, on this journey for 1000 true fans, this is what I’ve learned so far.

Your best fans come from slow, organic growth. Patiently waiting for people to read your books, fall in love with your writing style, and join your mailing list (or follow you on BookBub/ Facebook/Etc.)

  • I get a few organic sign ups every day…and that’s because I have stories out there. The more I publish, the more signups I receive. I adore little notes on how they fell in love with some of my characters or love my book.
  • The key here is to ensure joining your mailing list is visible in your printed books. I have a nice page in the beginning of the book and another link at the end (see the graphic I posted below.) I also have links on my Facebook page, website, and amazon bio about all the ways to follow me.If you enjoyed... (3)

Participating in anthologies, has been more effective than I expected in extending my reach. I have spurred a lot of new interest in my Superhero Wife World through my short story published in Witch or Treat. This brought me a lot of exposure to fans who enjoy stories like mine. I have another short story coming out in 12 Days of Christmas which I hope brings similar results. I’d love to have a full novel in a box set someday.

Participating in freebie giveaways is not a bad thing, as long as you don’t allow dead weight to sit on your list & cost you money. (When I say “dead weight” I mean those that use false emails or a separate email account they never use to redeem freebies. I love anyone who opens my emails, whether they click or not.) What I like about having some stories out there for free, is they attract readers I wouldn’t have run across any other way. I classify these giveaways into two groups: Individual downloads where a reader is interested in your book specifically and downloads the story or group email collection where a reader enters a contest to win free stuff and all the hosting authors receive the email address.

Either way, these are much faster ways to grow your list…and some, like the huge multi-author group email collections, can get you up to 5,000 emails in a few months. I was in a Science Fiction & Fantasy paperback giveaway this summer that brought me 5000 subscribers, but note, of these, only 1100 are still on my list…and of these, only about 300 have ever clicked a link. BUT, don’t discredit this. It’s a wide net, but if I end up with 100 true fans from this, I’m happy.

These mailing list signups that come from freebie giveaways are are like like running sand through a sifter. Most of the small grains pass through, but when all the dust settles, you’re still left with a few good pebbles…or fans in your sifter. Most of my Advanced Reader Team has come from this method, and they are wonderful to work with. I also have some close fans that sprung from a few freebies. Also note, many people sit on your list and haven’t had time to read your stories yet. Most of the time, they open an email here and there, and I appreciate the casual interest.

Another tip is a good automation/welcome series can help trim out some of the sand that is passing through. I send a three to four part series and if someone doesn’t open any of them, I send them one more titled Have you been receiving my emails? from a different email account. If nothing is opened, I remove them from my list. If they open the one from gmail, they get added to my “send from gmail only” list.

My frustrations!

Even with this solid mailing list, many of my emails to “true” fans are filtered out by the readers’ email service. Google throws them in their “Promotions” tab while other services filter them to spam because they’re from a mailing list. Its frustrating not to be able to contact my loyal readers.

To overcome this, I’m focusing more on growing different social media channels instead.

Facebook is my favorite, so I’m trying to use it more. I have twitter, but don’t find much engagement. Facebook has been good to me. I’m diversifying my posts to add more variety and interest. Check out my page HERE. I started posting about my life running a zoo. Cute/Fuzzy animals always gets some attention. What I don’t like, is Facebook still filters out who see’s your posts…unless you pay to promote it.

Also, I’m trying to grow other services. With each new release, BookBub sends an alert to my followers. Amazon does the same thing, so I’m trying to get my readers to follow me on these two platforms. (Shameless plug: Follow me on BookBub HERE and Amazon HERE.)

In Summary! (I know, this has been a long post.)

My goal is to filter out the dead weight on my newsletter and add in quality subscribers. What I’m learning is it’s a never ending process. New people in, old people out until your left with a tight list of loyal followers.

The best followers come organically…and the best way to get these is simple: WRITE MORE BOOKS AND BE IN MORE PUBLICATIONS!

Thanks for following my journey! I’ll update again when I learn more. If you’ve been following my growth, here’s how my audience has changed in 2017.

Copy of operation_

If you want to get caught up on 2017’s journey to find 1000 fans, check out the 1000 “True” Fan Landing Page.

Do you have any tips for me? I’d love to hear!

I’d also love to answer any questions you have.

 

1000 True Fans – Extending Your Reach

operation_ (22)

Happy June!

We’ve been at this 1000 True Fans project for over five months now. I’m changing the structure moving forward to one big project per month. (With only one post to go along with it.)

I’ve been measuring my fan growth by my mailing list growth, but not everyone is a fan of mailing lists. In fact, many people HATE email, but it’s clear in novel marketing that an email list is critical to sustainability and growth, but there are other ways to reach people…and different people than those who don’t mind being on a mailing list.

  • Facebook page likes
  • Twitter followers
  • Good Reads follows
  • Book Bub follows
  • Amazon Author follows

All these help diversify your message. Even if some of the people overlap, and appear on your newsletter as well, you’re just extending your reach. An important advertising principle: People need to hear something seven times before the act on it.

So…How do I grow my reach with the above?

With a similar method to mailing list growth. There’s no easy answer as it takes work.

Here’s some simple steps to grow the above.

  1. Ask people to like your social media/author pages. I have it on my blog, in my newsletter, email signature, and links on other social media as well. This does bring me some followers.
  2. Focus on consistency with posting on twitter (pre-scheduling some posts) and facebook too. (I’m up and down with this, but am adding pre-schedule posts to my monthly calendar.)
  3. Cross promote with other authors specifically for social media growth. Similar to how I’ve been using a free book giveaway and participating in multi-author giveaways to grow my newsletter, you can do similar things with follows. There are many authors out there looking to grow their reach as well. I found one to participate in for June, I can’t wait to see how it turns out. Here’s what it looks like that you can win $100 by participating. To find these authors, you need to watch Facebook author groups or coordinate your own. Another way is to guest post on other’s pages. Facebook parties/takeovers. Blog tours. Participating in a contest (using a service like Rafflecopter) is another option.
  4. Paid advertising. Using Facebook/Twitter Ads, Amazon giveaways, etc. I know that whenever I run a Facebook ad to promote a new release, a side effect is a whole bunch of page likes.

What ideas do you have? I’ll be trying these out during June and will report back on my progress in July.


For those of you following my newsletter subscriber growth, here’s how I’m doing so far:

Current Mailing List Subscriptions: 3371 fans / 1000 true fans (Up 1000 people since last week! I did it by participating in a group giveaway where we all share the signups. I expect a high unsubscribe rate as they pass through my new subscriber email automation, but perhaps some will turn into true fans.)

Copy of operation_ (20)

 If you want to get caught up on 2017’s journey to find 1000 fans, check out the 1000 “True” Fan Landing Page.

The Myth Behind Social Media – Guest Post by Judy L. Mohr

As my loyal blog followers know, I’ve never had a guest post. Well, that is all changing right now. 🙂  Judy L. Mohr has been following my blog and commenting her useful tips on many of my posts. When she offered a guest post, how could I refuse? With all the help she’d already given me, I hope she can pass some of the knowledge on to you. –Joy

The Myth Behind Social Media by Judy L. Mohr

I remember quite clearly the thoughts that went through my mind when I started down the path toward publication. Time and time again, I would see a reference somewhere saying that all writers needed a platform. The jargon was bounced around every which way, and I was so lost.

Publishers and agents alike constantly pushed the concept of an online presence. The concept of building a following was just too much, and there was very little solid advice on what to do.

Then I learned the truth.

A writer’s platform is not a website or social media — for that matter, it’s not your books. A writer’s platform is everything that you do to connect with your readers.

This is where those building an online presence tend to fall down. Many writers push their latest book until people are sick of seeing the ads. For those who have yet to publish, it will be blog post after blog post. However, the connection with the readers is lost.

Social media is called social media for a reason — because it’s meant to be social. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. are all about interacting and fostering connections that could be beneficial in the future.

Social Media is About Fostering Connections

Without those connections, you will struggle in a big way to get the word out about your projects. We need help. We can’t do it alone.

To be successful in your social media marketing efforts, the first thing you need to do is stop thinking of social media as marketing, because it’s not. Think about it as an opportunity to meet others, making those contacts that could lead to other opportunities.

The next step in building a presence on social media is to focus your efforts on the networks that you actually enjoy. Choose only the networks that will suit your style and main objectives. Everything else is a waste of time.

Every time I turn around, there is another social media site that many seem to think is a good idea for writers to use. However, if I was to sign up for every site in existence, I would either come across as a fully automated bot, or I would spend so much time on social media that I would never get any writing done.

There is an old saying that couldn’t be truer when it comes to social media and an online presence: it’s better to do one thing well, than to do a half-assed job on multiple things. Don’t spread yourself too thin.

Navigating Through the Social Media Maze

When looking into different social media sites, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does my personality fit this site?
  • Will the site fill a need that my other ones don’t?
  • Do I actually have the time required to service and maintain an account for this site?
  • What is the plan for content on the account?
  • How often do I need to post to the account to build a following and gain attention?
  • Do I have the budget to build the account?
  • What is the goal for the account? How will I know if it’s successful?
  • Why should I spend time on this particular site instead of other marketing activities?

So, what are some of the more common social media sites, and what are they actually useful for?

Facebook

Facebook is designed for longer messages, using complete sentence structures. The site is ideal for networking with other writers or those with similar interests. Because of its longer post format, you can get help on an issue and share your knowledge with others. The sites networking features alone make Facebook a valuable social media site for writers.

Twitter

Twitter’s short message nature (140 characters) has made the site ideal for those who don’t have a lot of time to carefully construct a full post. A quick hashtag search will narrow your feed to just the information you want to see, but you are not limited to just those you follow.

The writing and publishing community is strong on Twitter. Agents hover on the site, posting information about their manuscript wishlists (#MSWL), and any other tidbits of information that they might have. For writers, Twitter can be a valuable resource, even if you do nothing but lurk around gleaning information.

Instagram

Instagram is the perfect playground for anyone who takes lots of photos and wants to share them with the world. Photos have short captions and are tagged to gather attention. That’s what the site was designed for: photos, photos and more photos.

If you are a budding photographer, then seriously look into this site. It could be a brilliant way to showcase your work.

Google+

Google+ was meant to be an alternative to Facebook, however, the community just isn’t there—not really. However, if you frequently use Hangouts, YouTube or any other Google-related product, you will want to ensure that you take a look at your Google+ profile, just in case.

Tumblr

Tumblr can be better thought of as the social media site for bloggers. It’s designed for the longer format posts that are light on copy but heavy on images. It is assumed that users of this site have a blog hosted on Tumblr.

Pinterest

If you are working on a book about crafts or a cookbook, then Pinterest might be the perfect site to connect with your readers. Many of the users on Pinterest gather crafty ideas and others posts of that nature. However, the ability to share posts is limited; it’s designed for sharing photos.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a networking site for professionals, such as engineers, businessmen, doctors, editors, etc. This is where professional freelance writers and editors can connect with potential clients. However, fiction writers are unlikely to connect with their readers on this site.

DeviantArt

This site is designed for photographers and illustrators. If all you do is write, and nothing else, then DeviantArt is not for you. Saying that, if you are looking for an illustrator for your work, many of the illustrators on this site have portfolios that showcase their awesome talent.

Snapchat

Snapchat is a newer beast, designed for teasers. Messages are sent to followers, then disappear after a short period of time. The lack of longevity of posts means that followers might not see your messages. Unless you intend to have fun with teasers, I would be leery of incorporating Snapchat into any online platform.

Reddit

The biggest attraction of Reddit is the feature revolving around asking random questions. This feature makes this site good for general public publicity. In addition, there are writing communities where you can get advice about publishing, etc. Exactly how this might work within your own platform—only you can answer that.

Periscope

Periscope is meant to be Instagram for videos. The site is still in its infancy and is struggling to gain a hold. It is interesting to note that the live features on Facebook and Twitter came about because of Periscope.

Sites NOT Suited for Networking

While there are many sites out there for making new connections and fostering working relationships, there are many sites and apps that are NOT intended for networking.

ANY site or app designed for dating was never intended to advertise your writing. Do yourselves a favor: don’t go there.

Programs and apps like Skype, Google Hangouts and Facebook Messenger are great tools for having private communications with people on the other side of the world. However, these were designed to foster connections that already exist.

 

I know that it can all be overwhelming. At the end of the day, all I can really recommend is to start with only the sites that attract your attention. Build your network and following on those first. Don’t jump on the trend wagon because everyone else is going. Focus your efforts on the sites that will help you achieve your ultimate goal, whatever that goal might be.

Remember, social media is about making connections. Use the right site for making the connections you need.

 

About the Author

Profile_JudyLMohrKiwi Judy L Mohr is a writer of fantasy and science fiction. She is also a freelance editor with Black Wolf Editorial Services (http://blackwolfeditorial.com), working on projects from writers around the world. When she isn’t writing, editing or doing something for writing within the local community, she is hosting her own radio show about science on KLRNRadio (http://klrnradio.com/shows/conversations-in-science/). Judy is the author of Hidden Traps: A Writers Guide to Protecting Your Online Platform, which is slated for release come August 2017. You can follow her crazy adventures on her blog (http://judylmohr.com) or on Twitter (https://twitter.com/JudyLMohr ).

Website Ad V2

 

1000 True Fans – Is Twitter a Waste of Time?

operation_-21

We’re jumping into month two of my quest to find 1000 “true” fans, focusing on social media. If you would like to get caught up on last month, check out the 1000 “True” Fan Landing Page.

Review of Past Week (Mission 4: What’s your Platform?): ??? Success.

Last week was all about determining your platform. The homework was to go out and make some contacts, do some guest blogs, basically, network. It’s hard to say if this was successful or not, since the payoff is in the future.

What I have lined up:

  • January 30th  – Spotlight on Amateur Sleuths for Mystery/Thriller Week
  • February 19 – Guest Post for Mystery/Thriller Week (Article I wrote on “Medications as Murder Weapons (in fiction writing, of course)”
  • February 26th – Author Interview
  • March 10th – Author Interview
  • March 17th – Author Interview

We’ll see if it turns into much of anything–at the very least, I really enjoyed writing the article “Medications as Murder Weapons (in fiction writing, of course)” Okay–before you judge me, remember, I’m a pharmacist.

How did this week turn out in terms of mailing list growth (my measure of success)?

Drum Roll…Ready?

Current Mailing List Subscriptions: 31 fans / 1000 true fans (No change from last week.)

copy-of-operation_-3

This Weeks Mission: Optimizing Twitter I’ve been using Twitter for less than a year. I never really understood what this crazy blue bird meant. Everyone’s tweeting–well, so what? It wasn’t until I attempted my first Kindle Scout campaign that I created an account and tried for some followers…which quickly grew into 2000+ of them.

I thought, GREAT! Two-thousand people will hear my message. I should be able to get votes for my campaign…or sell my book…or get mailing list sign-ups, right?

Wrong.

I had formed the opinion that twitter is useless…a waste of time…BUT many people are saying that it’s quite effective. My conclusion can only be I have no idea what I’m doing. I began doing my research.

So, what is twitter’s purpose? Twitter is more of a social gathering. A blogger friend of mine gave the analogy that twitter is a bar. (Check her blog out here for more twitter information.) I’ve also heard it’s like a party. You go to meet people. Make connections. Many writers (unfortunately, me included at times) tweet promotional tweet after promotional tweet. If somebody showed up at the bar or party and sat besides you, chatting nonstop about the product they were selling, you’d get up and move pretty quickly.

How can I use this to my advantage? Think of those people you want to hang out with. What makes them attractive? Common interests? Humor? Great charisma? Full of useful information? You want to capture this in your twitter posts. I’ve read multiple opinions on a good ratio of promotional information vs. quality content, anywhere from 5% to 50% of tweets can be promotional. I think this depends on what you have going on at the time.

How much time will this take? I don’t want social media to take over my life…but, at the same time, I do enjoy the connections and learning new things. My struggle that I want to overcome this week is effectively using my time to create QUALITY interactions…MEANINGFUL conversations…TRUE FANS. Plus, I want time to write…and enjoy my family…and maybe the outdoors, if summer ever comes back.

My goals this week: After reading through the books listed in the “learn more” section below, I’ve come up with the following game plan for myself. My goal is to get a handle on twitter, begin to form some relationships, but don’t get caught up in a time sucking adventure. I want to form a sustainable method to continue to grow my reach. There are so many things that can be done, but this week, and into the future, I just want to focus on a few easy steps.

  1. Grow quality followers: I guess you can follow 1000 people a day before twitter jumps in and wonders if you’re a robot or not. I can’t imagine the time this takes. You don’t want to randomly follow people. Ideally, connecting with people with similar interests or those that will be interested in what you have to offer. So…how do you find these people? There’s many ways, but I’m going to start by looking at the lists others have added me to. I know I’m on some scifi/fantasy lovers, indiepublishing, and blogger lists. Those are the people I’m looking to connect with. I’ll follow some…with hopes of meeting somebody new. Perhaps the goal of befriending 30-50 people per day. (Goal: Spend 5 minutes per day on this.)
  2. Engage in quality conversations: Start building a list of those people you want to watch and frequently converse with. I’ve learned, with 2000 followers, my twitter stream is a mess and that’s not the best place to go. I’ll create my own lists, perhaps: Fans, Writing Buddies, Fun People. (It’s a good enough start.) Also, follow certain hashtags. I’m starting a Kindle Scout campaign, so I’ll follow that hashtag. I’ll also watch #writetip, #indiepub, #twittertip THEN, I’ll get chatting. Perhaps a goal of starting 3 to 5 conversations per day. (Goal: Spend 10 minutes per day on this. Don’t have to do it all every day. Just some here…and there.)

Of note, twitter is an interesting platform with lots of little nuisances (like setting up your platform, who can see conversations, visibility of lists, etc.) If you don’t know anything about it, I’d recommend diving into a how-to guide to get the basics.

Key takeaway: I had been tempted to do some account automation to make this whole process easier, but I’m glad I didn’t. I don’t even look at Direct Messages, so why would I expect my followers to? I’m very genuine and wish to continue that platform.

Learn More: You can find out more about twitter in these books I read to get a handle on what the heck twitter was.

Next Week: Facebook!

Let’s learn from each other. What twitter tips do you have?