Random Thoughts

I currently have the first title of my cozy mystery series available for free until the end of the year and my YA fantasy box set on a 99 cent sale in anticipation of a Bookbub. And I am reminded once again that the best possible promo is when one of the stores picks the title up for promotion.

I was lucky in February to (I believe) have Apple promote the first in series of the fantasy series when it was free, and I’m pretty sure they’re doing so right now or just did so for the cozy.

It’s sort of a black hole where you tell them, “Hey, I have this set to free” and then you suddenly see a spike in downloads on that one store and have to assume that’s where it’s coming from.

But that promo right there moves the needle more than any amount of paid newsletters or CPC ads can for me, especially since, you know, it’s free when they do that.

So if you don’t have the Kobo promo tab, the Nook promo tab, or the Apple contact info, look out for opportunities to get that. (Apple you have to attend an info session or a conference, generally.) And then apply when it makes sense to do so.

Of course, that’s also the argument for writing more content. Because they’re great about including books they think will sell, but ain’t no one wants to promo the same tired batch of books for the next five years. Which means you need to be giving them new material to promote.

(A lesson I can know and still not follow year after year because from what I can tell they rarely have an interest in promoting non-fiction.)

Another random thought I’ve had as I had to update a couple of screenshots in one book and a description of a function in another that were published years ago is that (a) I hate making mistakes, and (b) I kind of hate that no one else notices when I do.

I mean, it’s very possible someone noticed and didn’t think it was worth bringing to my attention. That’s absolutely an option.

But when I was full-time in an office with multiple levels of supervision and a team around me I would catch errors I’d made months earlier and no one else had noticed in the meantime.

Which meant it always felt like I was out there without a net because no one was going to notice the things I screwed up. And we all screw up. None of us are perfect.

And then I’d have the fun moment of “no one noticed but me, but I really should tell someone” which, depending on your boss, can be an “oh, good catch” moment or a “why did you do that wrong, how could you mess that up?” moment. But it had to be done either way.

Man do I not miss that.

I also realized this last week as I recorded a video course on Excel formulas and functions that to me Excel formulas are a language. I read them like I do English. I form all those little commas and parens into complete sentences in my head. I think I do the same thing with computer languages, too. It might be why they feel intuitive a lot of the time for me. Because I’m not seeing cell references and numbers, I’m seeing a written sentence.

Something to ponder. And maybe something to try for those who struggle with either one.

What else?

I think the paper shortage is going to hurt at least me personally. Some of my titles are probably 80% print sales and since they’re printed when sold that means there’s no inventory sitting around to draw from if Amazon or IngramSpark run out of paper to print with. Which on one hand justifies doing some video courses right now, but on the other hand probably just means lost sales.

Oh, and FB sucks. At least from an ad perspective. Not because they aren’t effective. Those ads can be great. I was getting 10 cent clicks on my cozy freebie. But then they disabled my account and I said I didn’t know why so they gave it back. And then I copied the exact same ads for a new audience and they disabled my account and I said I didn’t know why and they said “tough, can’t help you” and I said, “but I don’t even know what I did wrong” and they gave it back again. But never told me what I’d done wrong, so now I feel like anything I do may make them disable it again.

And I’m pretty sure they did it over either a checkbox image in the ads or a series of questions in the ads. Like, why is that an issue? What is your deal. Anyway.

There are days I miss nice, steady paychecks that get deposited into my account every two weeks as long as I show up at the office and don’t anger anyone enough to get fired. (I did far more than that, of course, but really those were the basic requirements.)

But for some reason I like this whole creating things out of nothing gig more. So, onward.

Author: M.L. Humphrey

M.L. Humphrey is a former securities regulator, registered stockbroker (although only briefly), and consultant on regulatory and risk-related matters for large financial institutions with expertise in the areas of anti-money laundering regulation, mutual funds, and credit rating agencies. Since 2013 M.L. has also been a published author under a variety of pen names and across a variety of subjects and genres. You can contact M.L. at mlhumphreywriter [at] gmail.com.

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