7 Keys For Blogging Your Book

Today’s link of note is 7 Keys For Blogging Your Book by Edwin Cozier | Book Marketing Strategies and Tips For Authors which is a collection of advice for people who plan to do the Webfiction thing and stick their book up on a blog as they write it. (Or after they’ve written it.)
This ties in with a tip for blogging books I saw recently, which was to write the book, then blog it but also have a link to the finished book up on your site at the same time. Instead of waiting a week for the next chapter, or being forced to read it on the screen, people will often sample it and then go grab the e-book or paper book to read the rest. Good advice!

Rob

Why Project Wonderful both Fascinates me and Depresses me.

My friend Brushmen recently sent me to check out a somewhat new-ish site called Project Wonderful. (Note- if you have adblock on, the site will require you to make an exception to see it properly.)  In simplest terms, it’s an online auction house where people can bid to advertise on websites that have ad content supplied by Project Wonderful. One of the neater aspects of the site (besides that you can bit $0 and win, getting free advertising if nobody else wants the space at that moment) is that as you look at the different websites available to advertise on you get to see both their statistics for the last month and how much people are paying to advertise on that site.

This is especially interesting because the sites are grouped by wide categories (as well as tags) and you can literally use it to see what is working and what isn’t working online in different categories. For example, Webcomics can make a lot of money! The more popular webcomics are getting hits in the hundreds of thousands, and the top webcomics have hits in the millions. This translates to respectable cash ($50+ a day in most cases, up to $100+ a day.) from single ads on their sites and creates a simple formula hits=money. And on Project Wonderful, the money earned is for time that space is rented to advertisers, not by the click, so they really do get that money or more a day.

It goes without saying that most of the top webcomics have a sexual element or are about sex, it sells after all. (Although oddly enough, the top Webcomic on Project Wonderful, MS Paint Adventures, is totally devoid of sex in the extreme.) Also, naturally, the vast majority of webcomics are getting less than a dollar a day at best in advertising because of their low hit numbers.

After webcomics, I decided to check out the writing/publishing options.

It turns out the top Writing/Publishing sites (mostly sites which tend to host stories by various people) on PW get hits in the tens of thousands, and tend to make a few dollars a day. It quickly drops to the thousands of hits, and a few cents a day. Not enough to make a living, but definitely enough to cover web costs. Of course these aren’t all sites (most are probably using Google Adsense instead) and there are likely ones out there doing much better, but it’s still a reasonable sample to work from.

But if you want to see low numbers, then go into the Podcasting section! (This is where it gets depressing…)

The top podcast site on Project Wonderful gets just a few thousand hits a day (compared with millions for the top webcomic) and gets just a few cents in advertising.

It seems podcast sites (like KFAT) tend to suck it the hits department, probably because most of their content tends to be accessed without going to the site. (Podcatchers and iTunes mostly.) After seeing how other sites did, I checked KFAT’s records (I use Google Analytics, have for years.) and discovered that my hit rate is actually pretty steady. (30-40 uniques a day) And that has only slightly gone down in the past year, despite the lack of new content for Audio Drama.

What’s sad is, that I still get 6-7000 downloads a month (and was in the tens of thousands at one point). If those were actual site visits (like a webcomic) then I’d be rolling in advertising money right now. Twin Stars alone would have been profitable, and likely actually made enough to justify continuing it. But the disconnect between the podcast content and the site completely kills any chance of making it profitable. 🙁

Sadly, I think this is what will keep podcasts from really evolving into viable money-making projects on the internet. At best they can bring in enough money to cover web costs, plus a little extra, especially if they do in-show advertising. This keeps them as a hobby, and makes it hard to take them far beyond that, while Webcomics can quickly become money-making machines if they catch on.

Who said comics are dead? (Although that’s not a depressing thought at all!)

Rob

Swallow and Dragon – A Chinese Swordplay Novel

Link

Swallow and Dragon – A Chinese Swordplay Novel. is a new ongoing translation of a Taiwanese WuXia novel from 1959. A little fantastic for my tastes (I like my WuXia heroes slightly more grounded) but looks pretty interesting overall!

The possibilties are good for Novellas in the e-book age- But how much to charge?

I just read an interesting short article on the possibilities of the Novella (short novel- 20,000-50,000 words) which have come with the rise of the ebook. In short, Novellas weren’t really practical to produce in print form for their size-cost ratio, but now in the age of ebooks they are very much practical and possible. The issue would be setting a proper price point for them.

Amazon’s Kindle provides a tricky example- on the Kindle your book needs to either be below $2.99 or above it. Below $2.99 you as a writer recieve 30% and Amazon takes 70% of the profit. Above $2.99 that reverses and Amazon gets 30% while you get 70%! So the question becomes- do you charge $2.99 in hopes readers will consider it worth the price? (Especially when some full novels are out there for $2.99?) Or do you charge under that, take the loss in profits, but increase your possibility of people buying your Novella?

Or, are Novella’s the perfect $2.99 product? Quicker to write and produce, but still long enough to justify the cost for the reader? (If only there were a viable $2 price point on the Kindle, to get Novellas in at less than a $2.99 novel , and more than a 99 cent short story.)

What do readers expect? Are they disappointed with only a “short” 20,000 word story? I priced my first outing Hot Soup (which clocks in at just over 10,000 words) at 99 cents, which seemed reasonable since it’s clearly a short story. However, would a reader feel cheated to pay $2.99 for a high quality work only twice that length?

Either way, there are possibilities here. Novellas can let short stories breathe, and keep longer ones from being unncessarily bloated. They may also be a fast form of reading for an ever faster world!

Webfiction day.

Aside

Thus ends Rob’s big day of research into Webfiction. For those who have followed this little journey- congrats! I won’t do this every day, but when I’m doing research I will sometimes use this blog as my “note pad” so that others can see what I’ve found and benefit from my research if they wish. It’s part of my new approach to blogging and using this space in a more interactive way.

Webfiction- How long and how often?

I spent the afternoon catching up on the Webfiction World podcast, and while it had many interesting bits, a few tips from Episode 2- Hows, Whys, Dos and Don’ts stood out for me. One of the hosts MCM did some research (although he doesn’t mention where) and found that Webfiction “postings” should optimally be 1000 words or less in length. (More is offputting to some of the more casual readers.) They should also be posted on the same day(s) each week to promote habit-forming and so the readers know when to check back, and optimally one day a week so as not to burn out the writer. (If the writer wants to do it twice a week, fine, but the more days they do it, the higher chance of burning out or missing days.)

He also suggests that if writers miss their appointed day, they post a “sorry” notation and don’t post again until the following week. (In other words, don’t break the rhythm.)

Good advice, I think.

Rob

Making Money From Online Fiction – I’ve Done It, So Can You

Making Money From Online Fiction – I’ve Done It, So Can You – Novelr has some great advice from someone whose done it and made a profit essentially giving away a free product. He has some really great notes on the effectiveness of Paypal buttons as well, very scientifically mapped out-

I’ve tried PayPal buttons in various places around my sites, and this is what I know: a link in the right sidebar gets clicked 0.21% of the time. The same button in the left sidebar gets clicked 0.01% of the time. The link can be “below the fold” (not visible when the page first loads), but too far down and your click rate drops to zero. Putting the link inline almost never works (0.002%), and at the start of the text, it’s utterly useless (0%). Placing a link at the bottom of a chapter or page often works, but you need to be careful that the reader feels a sense of closure when they see that link. Cliffhangers and wrap-ups work nicely (1.1%), but if you’re just arbitrarily cutting the text mid-stream, those links never get clicked. And sometimes you get hate mail.

Webfiction World | The Webcast Beacon Network

Link

Webfiction World | The Webcast Beacon Network.

A Podcast about the world of writing fiction online!