On Releases and Finding Your Audience

I don’t do big releases, as you may have noticed by hanging around here for a bit.

I essentially write a book, get it ready to go, and then when all the links are live do a blog post, send out a message to the newsletter, sometimes remember to post about it on Facebook, and update my website to list the book. Oh, and usually throw an AMS ad or two at it.

(By the way, not only did I release the four books I told you about two days ago, but I also released the six books in the Easy Excel 365 Essentials series, too, yesterday. That would be Excel 365 Formatting, Conditional Formatting, Charts, Pivot Tables, The IF Functions, and LOOKUP Functions. Usually I wait to do that for a bit after the main release since these books are derived from the core series but I had a few days to wait until 2023 so got them ready then and also wanted the LOOKUP Functions book out there ASAP for anyone who knows Excel but doesn’t know XLOOKUP. Anyway. More books. Yay. Now you know. Go learn XLOOKUP if you love VLOOKUP.)

By releasing the way I do, it usually means that I don’t have a lot of work that I have to do leading up to a release, but that I then get to panic that the release was a complete failure for the next week or two after the release date.

Sometimes longer than that.

Since nobody knows the books are coming, most readers aren’t ready to drop money on the day of a release. And it takes time to get ads up and running and in front of the right audience. And for a book to get any visibility from ranking well.

Which means generally for me I don’t see what a book has the potential to be for a month or two.

And sometimes a book doesn’t get launched into the right place or in the right format so it takes even longer than that.

For example. I had that new pen name book I randomly wrote and published last year. I felt like writing something that didn’t fit under any of my existing names so I took a week or two, put it together, put it in audio, got it out there and…

Nothing. It died.

I put it in KU and ran a few AMS ads on it, which got clicks but no reads to speak of and no purchases.

In audio all I can see in real-time (ish) is what’s happening on ACX, which also was ugly. It’s a shorter title so not one that would attract subscription listeners.

I basically wrote it off as a dud. Until I checked my wide audio numbers for November which only came out yesterday.

Lo and behold, it turns out that maybe the market for that particular book is libraries. Because when I saw month-end library listens for the audiobook, that was a promising number. Not huge, but a high enough number to make me think month two could be good if it keeps going.

It took six weeks to know that, though.

Another book I released many, many years ago didn’t get any sort of traction until it was in audio two years later.

Which is all to say that unless you’re savvy as hell about who buys your books and exactly how to position them in front of that audience and also write the types of books that people need day one (so a hot series on the fiction side or a buzz-worthy non-fiction title that everyone wants to be able to talk about), don’t judge your books by their early performance. Things will sort themselves out over the long haul.

It’s also not over until you’ve published in every possible format you can think of, which probably means it’s never truly over…

Anyway. Today’s release-related thoughts. Off to update the website with some book links I guess. Or to have dinner maybe…(The admin side of launching ten books in a week is downright painful.)

Free Book and Excel 365 Essentials

As I mentioned, I like to start off a new year with a new release so I feel like I’ve accomplished something for the year.

This year’s new release is the Excel 365 Essentials series, which includes Excel 365 for Beginners, Intermediate Excel 365, and 102 Useful Excel 365 Functions.

You may see some symmetry in those titles compared to the original Excel Essentials series (Excel for Beginners, Intermediate Excel, 50 Useful Excel Functions, and 50 More Excel Functions) and that’s because these are the updated versions of those titles.

Now, to be clear, the original Excel Essentials series still very much has its place for any users of Excel up to Excel 2019 as well as any users who need to worry about backwards compatibility with an older version of Microsoft Excel.

So if you want to learn how to use Excel and be able to function in any version of Excel, then the original series is still your best choice.

But Microsoft has made enough improvements to Excel over the years that if that’s not a concern for you, then this new Excel 365 Essentials series is the best choice. Because it incorporates things like a faster way to apply borders, how to use pivot charts, as well as some of the newer functions that can completely replace older functions.

For example, XLOOKUP, which is available in Excel 365 can take the place of VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP, and perhaps a few others. And TEXTJOIN takes the place of CONCATENATE (at least how I used it). And IFS replaces the need to use nested IF functions.

All tremendous advances. (I may in fact have included a marriage proposal in 102 Functions for whoever developed XLOOKUP, it’s that amazing a function.)

So if you want the latest and greatest, Excel 365 Essentials is my take on that as of December 2022. If you need tried and true and won’t fail you no matter which version of Excel you use, stick to Excel Essentials. And, of course, if you have Excel 2019 then the Excel Essentials 2019 series is there for you. (All links can be found on this page.)

Now, I also mentioned a free book. I put together Excel Tips and Tricks, which is a short little book that includes my favorite shortcuts and ways to make life easier. Things like freeze panes and print titles are covered in there, for example.

In ebook it is free on all major retailers. Amazon may or may not price match on any given day, but if they aren’t it’ll be just 99 cents there. But all the other retailers who are sane enough to allow free pricing will always have it free. Or you can get it on Payhip direct from me if you want. There is also a print version available, but that is, sadly, not free.

So there you have it. Enjoy!