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Progress Report 2022 Week 35

Last week, I set some ambitious goals. Not only did I want to push past the half way point for Evolution’s Hand Book 2: Dying Breath’s third draft. I also wanted to fiddle around with some of the marketing bits for Evolution’s Hand Book 1: Executive Action. Did I make progress? Or did something new and shiny attract my attention? Let’s look at the numbers first.

Progress Report 2022 Week 35 By the Numbers

I ended up with a net loss of 147 words this week! But that’s great news.

One of my beta readers commented that portions of Dying Breath were a little wordy. Going back through for the third draft, I have to agree! For the first time I can remember, I chopped three or four consecutive paragraphs, then didn’t have to do anything to the next paragraphs to compensate. I had been so intent on detailing the scene that not only did I get distracted. I distracted my beta readers! Those passages didn’t move the story forward, and they didn’t add anything to the characters.

The most important test? The chapter read better after I removed those paragraphs. So out they went!

Progress against Last Week’s Goals

Get 50% of the Way through Dying Breath’s Third Draft

As you probably saw in the graphic above, I’ve revised 43 of the 74 chapters in Dying Breath. That means I’m about 58% through, if my math is right. Which is not a given. Math and I aren’t exactly friends.

Now, the most observant among you might remember that I had 71 chapters last week. This week, I’m reporting 74. What’s up with that? Well, most of my chapters run around 2,000 words. Some run a bit longer. It’s not a hard and fast rule. Instead, it’s just how things work out. I came across one chapter that was over 4,000 words. It contained two only loosely related sections. Another was even a little longer. So, I took the opportunity to carve them up. The flow felt better afterward.

One change this time around: I’m working on the third draft in a single pass. I’m not trying to work on Book 3: Primary Target or Book 4: Blind Exodus at the same time. Currently,. I have one book in print (Book 1: Executive Action), one book nearing publication (Dying Breath), a third book in first draft form (Primary Target), and a fourth book in the plotting stage (Blind Exodus). I found that I started to get confused who was where and when, so I think focusing on one book at a time is going to work best for me.

I know to be most effective, I need to focus on one book at a time. But man do I want to get to work on Book 4: Blind Exodus!

I mean, maybe if I was writing another book in a different world/series, I could pull it off. But so much in each book depends on who knows what and when that if I get even a little confused, it’ll be chaos.

I’m still on track to release Dying Breath on or around December 1, 2022. Please think positive thoughts!

Revise the Amazon blurbs for Executive Action

My Amazon ads continue to not get many impressions. I think I’m still under-bidding, but that’s a topic for another day. I noticed that the small number of clicks I did get weren’t generating the sales numbers I wanted. So now I need to figure out why. Here’s the progression I’m using to interpret what Amazon ads are telling me:

  1. Not getting many impressions? Probably means I’m under-bidding
    1. The opposite of this would be getting too many clicks at too high a cost per click
  2. Getting impressions but not many clicks? Probably means my ad copy is ineffective; also check keywords to make sure I’m appealing to the right audience
  3. Getting clicks but no sales? Might be an ineffective blurb and cover. If either suck, I won’t get any sales. Also, the price might be too high or it might be the first book in a series where the second book isn’t published (I’m going to test this theory in early December!).

I’m working my way through this list. I’m getting the bidding fine-tuned, so I’m seeing slightly more impressions. I’m beginning to see slightly more clicks, too. But not enough sales. So, I revised the blurb for the Ebook and the paperback. Which leads me to how I tested it.

Run Another BookBub Ad to Test the Effectiveness of the New Amazon blurbs

BookBub’s Partner website makes it easy to setup ads.

I didn’t want to wait for the Amazon ads to generate enough clicks, so I watched David Gaughran’s YouTube video called BookBub Ads Tutorial: how to reach up to TEN MILLION readers. I don’t want to sound hyperbolic, but the video was a revelation. If you have any interest in advertising your self-published books, I can’t recommend this video though. I used it to create a couple of sample ads, per the video’s recommendation, to fine-tune my audience and ad copy. Then, I ran one more to test the new blurb on Amazon. I got a lot more clicks than I ever got from my Amazon ads. And I got more sales than I expected.

So now I’m confident on the blurb (or more confident, anyway). I’m still very confident in the cover. But I’m not so confident in the price, and I know book 1 without book 2 is a harder sell. So, I’m throttling back on marketing until book 2 comes out.

Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2022 Week 35

This week, I intend to:

  1. Finish 80% of the third draft of Dying Breath
  2. Stretch objective: Finish the third draft of Dying Breath
  3. Super stretch objective: Incorporate the beta readers’ feedback into Dying Breath

What Do You Think?

How do you gauge your ads’ effectiveness? I’ve love to hear about your experience! Please feel free to share in the comments!

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