It all started when I saw that everything I was doing was wrong. At least in marketing.
Of course, I'd been concentrating on research and publishing, so that wasn't so bad. But the research wrapped up, and all those hundreds of books I'd published in the last year never took off. Except a tiny handful, which just tended to prove my research results: Fiction discovery has been dead for awhile, while non-fiction runs on search engine discovery.
On my site, I'd bought into a lot of conventional wisdom about blogging and podcasts being effective marketing. And those same people had sold me an expensive monthly payment for a site which (surprise) hosted blogging and podcasting. But one day, I was out of room on that site - I couldn't upload more materials without a lot more cost and hassle.
That forced me to review what I was doing.
And then I consolidated here. Because Gumroad has everything integrated now. And they get paid when I get paid. Simple.
It also showed me that I was carrying a lot of freeloaders in my email list. Some 500 people who had come in for free ebooks and hardly clicked on anything since. They tuned in for the entertaining stories of cute calves and kittens, but don't want to pay for anything to improve their lives.
They are just voyeurs.
So I'm now going through the soul-searching and spreadsheet-crunching to figure out who I can get to actually opt-in here so I can give them the best quality service and recommendations. All while I keep building up this site as my backend.
And my new subscribers will opt-in here (or not) and that's the sort out.
Frankly, I have to be willing to "waste" most of that existing list to find the active people on it. And rebuild it from nearly nothing. I won't have to, but I have to be prepared to.
This then becomes a new stage in my life. Something that was predicted. I'm shifting from mostly research to mostly marketing (and in both cases, writing fiction on the side.) Because the later part of research is publishing and promoting your findings. Packaging your books and materials into useful sets of salable merchandise. Marketing.
Funny, if you ask me.
Because while I've been doing this research, I've gotten all the necessary tools and references around me to do just that.
The first step was to adopt the metaphor of "moving upstairs of my own bookstore". Making it easier to oversee my work selling - or not. And having a backroom (or renting the empty storefront next door) where I could hold courses for people to come and learn about these marvelous books and what they contained - which help them improve their lives.
So if all these people who find my emails interesting don't want to come along, that's fine. I'm used to being alone without being lonely. But still like talking to people.
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The general plan:
- I figure to be writing a couple or three newsletter-ish emails a week and separating out my active reades from my inactive ones.
- First, I start getting rid of the really inactive ones. Then I work back to those who have done more, but still haven't opted in. Just deleting these from my database instead of unsubscribing, in case they want to come back.
- Then I work up a format to keep my Gumroad readers updated on the changes each week - recognizing that I'm a publisher and posting/emailing from that viewpoint. To be frank - I'm hear to help you find books/materials/courses you'd like to buy.
- At some point, I quit writing the other big newsletter with the cute calf and kitten photo's. I just copy/paste the updates on my other site and let the voyeurs unsubscribe as they want. And go back to the free plan on that email provider.
- Meanwhile, I start working up ads to place, using that saved income to finance them. Bookbub for fiction, but I don't know where to promote the other areas - yet.
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Luck to us all.