Return guest Patty Jansen, who continues to make a great income from her fiction without being a mega seller, joined us today (live from Lindsay’s office) to talk about different types of mailing lists we can run as authors, organizing group promotions, and using a global approach to marketing that will gain you fans on all the platforms and all over the world. (She may be one of the few of us with a big fan-base in South Africa!)
Here are some of the specifics that we covered:
How Patty invests more into her series that are proven sellers with an 80% read-through rate.
What kinds of advertising she’s doing to keep a steady stream of new readers trying her books and signing up for her newsletters.
The Kboards post that led to her writing three books for authors, talking about the tactics she’s used to grow to a full-time income even without being a huge seller on Amazon or “sticking” there with new releases.
How she has found luck targeting markets that most people don’t advertise to because the countries don’t have Amazon stores (she specifically mentioned South Africa and sending people to her newsletter signup page where they could get free books).
Gauging trends and what’s working when you have more of a “long tail” approach.
How Patty is going to approach selling ARCs on her site of a series she will later release into KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited to give that a try.
Whether she is worried about pirate sites or not.
The different types of mailing lists Patty has (one is her author one and one is more of a promo mini-Bookbub style list) and how she goes about acquiring subscribers and making both profitable.
Which mailing list host you might want to consider — if you’re going to grow a list as large as you can, perhaps with group promos and Instafreebie, you’ll definitely want to get set up with a provider that’s cheaper at higher numbers of subscribers (she recommended MailerLite).
Some common mistakes that authors make in regard to mailing lists.
How she gauges success with her mailing lists (open rates, link clicks, etc.).
Whether authors need the mailing list hosts with higher tiered plans that offer more bells and whistles.
How often authors should email their subscribers.
Different types of auto-responder series that Patty has tried.
Using the WooCommerce WordPress plug-in for managing sales and email.
Whether it’s a good idea to ask questions and invite fans to email back.
We chatted with return-guest Patty Jansen this week, a science fiction and fantasy author who’s gone from a part-time income to a full-time income since we interviewed her in 2015. She’s also started running some very popular group promotions for SF&F authors, and we asked about the nuts and bolts of that, as well as if it’s been useful for improving her bottom line and selling more of her own books.
Here’s a little more of what we covered:
The challenges of splitting focus between multiple series and genres
Planning ahead (how far) and committing to publishing installments in series
Wrapping up series that aren’t huge sellers and focusing on ones that show more potential
How Patty’s big SF/F promo has evolved to have more than 500 authors and 4500 reader newsletter subscribers
The nuts and bolts of how her promos work
Curating a big promo and keeping it a good value for both readers and writers
Some of the pitfalls of trying KU, especially as an Australian author, and why Patty is staying wide for now
Whether new covers on older books are worth it
Staggering a launch to try and make a book sticky on Amazon
Trying to target less frequently targeted countries with Facebook advertising
For the second time in the history of the podcast, we had a guest on tonight (we’ll be having guests on a lot more often, so if there’s someone you would like to see — who might actually deign to talk to us — let us know). Australian science fiction and fantasy author Patty Jansen came on to talk to us about self-publishing, marketing fads, and how she has ended up selling well on the non-Amazon platforms, especially Kobo.
Here are a few of the topics we covered:
Patty’s publication history (including a Writers of the Future win) and why she opted for self publishing
The benefits of belonging to an online workshop
If there are any specific challenges to selling science fiction and fantasy, as opposed to other genres
What’s helping her to sell on Kobo and some of the other platforms where many authors struggle to gain traction
Some tips for selling books on Google Play
Is it worth following the trends and trying to write what’s popular?
Organizing multi-author promotions and why you would want to
Is it still a good time to be an indie author, even if things may be getting tougher, and it’s not as easy to break in?