What am I missing?

Created over 1 year ago by Kim Whale with 21 comments
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Img 1188 Billy O’Keefe · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 9 likes
What @Tal M. Klein said here:

Good old fashioned hustling - At least 20 hours a week was dedicated to outreach. Emails, texts, snaps, DMs, there are always people somewhere in your network that have still not pre-ordered your book.

I cannot second this enough. One on one outreach is magic. And not just to family and friends you’re regularly in touch with, but anybody you’ve ever had a positive interaction with. If you message it right and make that message personal, they’ll appreciate your reaching out more than you realize. And you’ll be continually surprised who immediately buys after getting your message.
Photo 4  47220 Kim Whale · Author · added over 1 year ago
I like the tip about tweets. I am rusty as can be at social media. Thanks! 
Tal bio Tal M. Klein · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 6 likes
I’ve gotten a lot of messages asking me for tips. As many covered below, I’ve given away most of the secrets to success. The one thing I want to reinforce is that I spent 40 hours a week (I clocked in and out, just like a real job) on managing my contest. I divided my time into:

Demand generation - Creating content to entice readers. For example, I probably wrote like a hundred tweets, but through experimentation, I found that this one had the most bang for the buck. This was hard work, doing constant analysis of what was generating interest and conversion. 

Content creation - Constantly think of stuff to entice new readers and keep old readers coming back. I had weekly videos, pictures, etc.

Good old fashioned hustling - At least 20 hours a week was dedicated to outreach. Emails, texts, snaps, DMs, there are always people somewhere in your network that have still not pre-ordered your book.

Anyway. You don’t have to do what I do, but be principled about managing your time. It’s crucial to effective campaign running.


Unholy pursuit poster A. White · Author · added over 1 year ago
Joni, I thanks you for you reminded me of something I hadn’t thought about. Digging through my old snail mail address book. I did  find a some I had been sending Christmas , birthday and such for years but normally only look up their addresses for card mailings.

I  also talked about authors helping each other by coming out of your comfort zone or preference zone. When I first arrived here in May, I didn’t know a single person but that didn’t keep me from pitching in and helping with whatever I could. I put several on my Facebook page, blog pages and anything I could do to help, I even made several purchases and I wasn’t funding at the time and I didn’t "know" any of these authors. I can’t say the books I helped out with were all my personal preference. But I knew some one who might like it. If we are all going stick to our personal taste genre in whom you will help out then you are defeating the reason Inskshares was created.

     Please, everyone do not give a person the reason you won’t do something is you works or the fifty other excuses I have heard. We are all busy living a life outside of here. That’s like telling someone: Your time is more important than theirs,  when everyone’s time is very important. All it take is a simple yes or no.

But back track a moment before you say no. Let’s supposed someone you turned down or refuse to help here on Inkshares  eventually becomes the next Ray Bradbury   or J.k. Rowling,  and you need them to write you a fabulous recommendation to your dream publishing company. It could happen for you never know; life has a funny way of unfurling.  Well, guess what? Most likely they aren’t going to do it unless they are a saint.  That’s why every single person who writes me and many haven’t written me, I do my best to help them the best anyway I can because I don’t know what down the road of life. No, there’s no guarantee shall you help them and they become famous they will turn around and help you. But that’s just a chance you have to take in life, I firmly believe if you do a good deed someone will do a good deed back unto you. It may not be the one you helped but someone will. 

15230176 Joni Dee · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 8 likes
Hi guys, 

Questions like that of Kim’s, is something I get on a weekly basis, and other authors too. I want to give the same advice I gave @A. White who reached out to me, and explain what took me a good month and a half of campaigning, and a lot of conversations with other authors, as well as Jeremy the former CEO, to learn.

I’ve honestly tried every strategy on the face of the planet trying to raise orders, many of my strategies failed, but eventually some succeeded. Here’s what I’ve learned, take some of it or not at all, at your own discretion.  I’ll also repeat stuff that excellent campaigners and authors such as @Tal M. Klein and @Ricardo Henriquez said in older threads - I don’t have the links but it’s worth searching for their posts, they taught me a lot.

I won’t survey the tactics that failed for me such as book stores and book clubs, as they did work for others. So I’d encourage you to think outside the box no matter what. 
First of all, Facebook and Twitter should be considered with a touch of scepticism, IMHO. While they are imperative to make sure people you know hear about your book, the chances of converting "likes" & "RT"s to actual orders are very slim. 

These are the most useful tactics I did manage to work with.

(1) Actual Social Networks - not just your own! Ricardo said wisely that you are selling yourself and not your book. What’s 10$ for family and friends to support YOU ??
My wife & mine social network alone banked about 150 orders, and yes that meant nagging people on WhatsApp numerous times, and emailing the world (I found that a bulk email gets dumped by 8/10 people while personal email gets dumped by few). Don’t be shy of reaching out to old college buddies. Nobody is off the list - was what we said - unless they had a recent misfortune or death in the family. 

Then move on to friends and family friends’ social networks. Write them a generic email that will support yourself and your cause. Pledge a sum of the orders to charity if you think that may tip the scale for people who don’t really know you.
My top referrer in this campaign is my 70 year old  aunt - she sent an email I’ve written for her to all her friends, which incidentally are not poor and are readers, that alone banked about 55 orders! top referrer.

(2) Reach out for Inkshares authors - ask for their orders, whether with credits they have or actual money. If people are active and like your work - they’ll order. But the bulk of orders won’t be them, and you need to give people here time. I have a day-job and two kids ages 10 month and 2.5years - do u honestly think I can read every book I am being sent on the spot. I do listen and try my best to read books of anyone who reached out to me or DM’ed me, eventually. 

(3) Support fellow authors - Find an author who’s in same stages of the campaign as you and preferably same genre. Compare notes. Maybe he’ll have a few friends that will look into your book - worth asking. I know some people here don’t like it when authors ask their base to order another author’s book and vice versa, but if the genres match and people aren’t held back to keep bugging their crowds with requests, this can be legitimate to a small scale.
In all honesty, I doubt more than a handful of people would allow you to bug them to order multiple books, so nurture these gems that do and make sure you choose wisely.
I have a friend that asked me to explain to him how to stop Inkshares emails, and another who told me, after ordering my book, that he was at a point where he’d do just about anything to stop getting my texts. message conveyed? Nag nag nag.

(4) Landing page -  I found this landing page I did useful.  This was advise by Jeremy, who’s been following Tim Farris, a Kickstarter guru. Look, it won’t bring orders but it’s a nice gimmick.
This is a good time to say that a website is pretty imperative, IMO.

(5) Create a buzz - A movie, a givaway (cups for top referrers is a concept I copied from Tal Klein but made original ones for the campaign), charity pledge, anything that will zest your campaign a bit and can create a buzz amongst your friends. I got the marketing department in my firm to step in, especially when they heard about my charity pledge. They sent a pitch about my book in the company newsletter and portal. OK true, this banked ’only’ about 40-50 orders from a company of 4,700 people (percentage-wise it’s not impressive), and not everyone is working in a big firm, but I am sure colleagues would help. Buy them a beer as a reward, or go on a coffee run (I only bought 5 coffees so not everyone would jump on that)

(5) Goodreads - This was probably the most unrewarding channel. I reached out to 300 people, and asked them to read my preview , bundled in PDF for their convenience http://www.jondbooks.com/download-pdf/
remember work under the assumption that people who are not on inkshares will not click into Inkshares straight away - would you?
Make sure the PDF has a link to preordering. Admittedly the response rate was disappointing with 40 Yes, and only 12 orders... but I got in touch with some great people.. Oh and make sure you don’t spam too much there, I got an official warning from them at the time :-)

A couple of notes:
Thank you’s are very important. You are not J. K. Rowling. yet. if somebody ordered your book - please thank them. It will come across down to earth and very polite.
Targets - make sure you work with targets. if you need 5 orders a day until the end - you need to know that you can rest when you hit 5, or stay up when you didn’t. The dashboard is not accurate and doesn’t know what you know and expect. Count out national holidays and days off for you, you’ll need it to keep sane and save your relationship/marriage if you are in one. But it’s important to keep track of the figures and not be left in a situation where u suddenly need 17 orders a day - much less feasible.

These are my "words of wisdom". I hope it will help some of you. People here are great and can be very helpful, personally, while I didn’t order every book tossed my way, I made time for anyone who asked me for guidance. 

This will be the last thread I participate in for the time being, lack of time and the urge to work on a sequel and copy edit my book are too time consuming. But feel free to email me at ydital gmail address or DM me here - I promise I’ll reply.

remember the most important thing is not to let anyone tell you that you cannot do it. And also, if you fail - don’t miss out on the lesson - and make sure to better prepare for the next campaign.

@Kim Whale GOOD LUCK ! 
Unholy pursuit poster A. White · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 2 likes
Kim, your work is great. You aren’t missing anything that I can see. I’ve found that  Book clubs can be powerful agents. Once one or two get behind you they’ll champion your book pretty much how a publishing company does.  Try the local ones first, these are ones you can meet personally and tell them about your work. The drawback to this is they aren’t always exactly open to the idea of the crowdfunding agenda. However,  I do warn__some of the old Garden Club type can be a little intimidating but they’ve lots of pull in the literary world. I started this form of networking because I hadn’t been offline in years and didn’t have a large collection of emails any more.  But vast exposure can be equally as important as sales. Because once the hype of the sale is over among the immediate peers no one outside of them will know who you are.  This is where the non online crowd comes into play. They’ll keep the exposure going long after their initial reading of your work.  Before anyone reminds me that this is an online project. I know that but please do remember the vast majority of your sales will come from those offline as to why I said find them and include them in the procedure of creating your book.
Photo 4  47220 Kim Whale · Author · edited over 1 year ago
Thanks guys. Like I said, not giving up on this even if this book doesn’t make it. I will just start a new book. I have many ideas for more, and i like to think they’re quite good. Lol I hope this one goes the distance, but if not, I have more tricks up my sleeves. 
Victorianphoto1editauthor2 Christopher Lee · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 2 likes
Yeah Kim, just keep your head up and engage everyone you can. You’d be surprised at who comes out of the woodwork to support you. Also I must agree with Robert, if at first you fail, just pick yourself up and try again. Second fundings have been successful!
Batten003 web400px Robert Batten · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 3 likes
@Kim Whale - don’t lose heart. It is possible your current campaign doesn’t succeed, but even if that is the case (and I’m not predicting anything here right now), it doesn’t have to be the end. Get involved in the communities (these forums, Critshares over on Scribophile, the Inkshares community on Goodreads, the Inkshares Reddit group, etc). Engage with other readers and writers, then try again.
Photo 4  47220 Kim Whale · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 2 likes
Thanks for the articles, P. H. James. I had read the latter, not the former. The former was a tad depressing. I do not know that many people. However, working on this campaign is now more for me about the work than the result. I love reconnecting with people I haven’t talked to in forever, and having them back me is touching to say the least. Getting to know the other authors on Inkshares has also been great, as I feel now there are more of me in the world than I knew. This is becoming a pursuit that has given my life direction above the usual drudgery, and even if I do fail, which, by the former article’s model,  is a certainty, it will have been worth it. I will still finish the book and give a copy to my supporters for free if need be. 

But underdogs win every now and again, so I will push until the end, using the tools everyone has suggested. Thank you all for your input. Sorry for so much cheese this early in the day. 
Jebnbubl P.H. James · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
Content on the page (videos, images, polished chapters) is certainly very important. But the most important factor by far is one’s overall framing, and understanding of what it takes to successfully crowdfund a novel.  

I’m turning into a broken record. But in my humble opinion, this blog post by @Amanda Orneck should be required reading for anyone running, or considering running a campaign. She knows what’s up from experience:


@Tal M. Klein also know’s what’s up from experience and has a great post as well:

Hope these help!
Victorianphoto1editauthor2 Christopher Lee · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 3 likes
Also take a look at what other authors are doing with their Pre-Order Pages. I learned a lot from just snooping about on successful funds.  P.S. I followed your project!
Photo 4  47220 Kim Whale · Author · added over 1 year ago
I will start pushing a bit harder on my real peoples then. And maybe do some art. Somehow lol. Thanks for the tip! 
Victorianphoto1editauthor2 Christopher Lee · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
Additional content superbly helps in my experience. Like artwork, book trailers, videos of any kind. It adds value to the project. This has been stressed by several who have funded already. I’ve heard you need to strike out with about 30-40 of your own network before the external orders start to trickle in. Just keep at getting your core readers committed to the project and have them share as well. 
Photo 4  47220 Kim Whale · Author · added over 1 year ago
Excellent advice. I had thought of book clubs, I will definitely pursue that end. 
Img 20160806 023915 Luke Fellner · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
I didn’t read the other responses, but try making a list of every single person you know and ask them to buy a preorder. Ask your facebook friends, twitter followers, everyone who is possibly connected to you. Personally message them, don’t take no’s too harshly, but these are the people most likely to buy a preorder. You have to reach out to them, ask the ones who say yes to ask their friends and recommend it to the people they know who like books. Let book clubs know about your book, just personally reach people.
Photo 4  47220 Kim Whale · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
Dom, you magnificent so-and-so. Lol thanks again! 
Unnamed Dom L · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
I just got one because of this VERY THREAD! Your book looks awesome good luck!!!
Photo 4  47220 Kim Whale · Author · added over 1 year ago
Thank you for the feedback! I’m glad to hear nothing sticks out. I don’t have much of a preexisting network lol I’ll keep pushing though. Here’s hoping! 
Batten003 web400px Robert Batten · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 6 likes
Nah - never here too often :)
There are a few discussions on here about tactics and what works. You should also look at the Goodreads Inkshares community which was created to focus on how to run successful campaigns. There are lots of discussions there.

I haven’t run my campaign yet, so I can’t talk with authority on what works, but can parrot back some of what I have read / been told:

1. Most of your orders for the campaign - especially the early orders, will need to come from your own network and directly contacting people. You typically won’t see many strangers ordering until you get some momentum.

2. Comments I have seen suggest that a book trailer video on your page really can help.

3. Very mixed and limited results seem to be reported by people doing give-aways etc.

Personally answering your question? None of the above. I’ve seen you pop up in the forums and have noted your project to check out. But there is so much going on in the community, plus a mad rush to get my entry in the Launchpad Competition, that my backlog has growing kinda long.

Good luck with the campaign - I hope it succeeds. I do plan on checking it out before the end of the period!
Photo 4  47220 Kim Whale · Author · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
So I’ve been getting great reviews, and I’m stumping for page views as hard as my Internet-phobic self can, and I havent seen a rise in purchases. Now it’s early days but I want to know if I’m missing something. 

I am working on having a book trailer or something like it prepared in the next week, and I will be rewriting my blurb to better suit the tone now that the first chapter is out. 

So I’m looking for what’s missing. What’s the little thing keeping you/others from pre-ordering. If it’s in the tone, the content, the theme, anything, please tell me. Be brutally honest. 

One thing I’m considering is releasing additional content as more orders are placed, content that will not be in the book but is unique to those funding me from the early days onward. 

If I’m posting here too often, that is also a fair point to make lol.