Creating A Funnel
In the Indie world of writing there are many opportunities, new discoveries, and pitfalls. The learning process alone can be overwhelming if you are coming into it fresh, or off-the-street, if you will. And if you are writing under the Indie flag, then you already know that there is so much more to writing a book, than just writing. Editing, formatting, compiling, promoting, blogging, and resting (when we can find time) are just a few of the have-to’s in what we do.
I want to talk about the promoting aspect of writing. That comes during and after we have completed our work and are ready to put it out for the world to see. But more so, my post is based on the number of works rather than one piece of work. I am talking about a backlist of work (at least two, but three or more is better) that are currently up for sale. I call it promoting, but to be more specific it is more of a way to promote. It is a method I implemented in an attempt to gain a bigger audience. It’s called, Funneling.
Funneling is not a new term in the writing world by no means, but it is a term that all writers should get familiar with. It is the idea of taking one of your products, in our case, books, and using that one thing to bring awareness to the rest of your titles. In other words, if someone likes that one book, they may go on to purchase a different one and so on. This is especially helpful if you are writing a series. This is a technique used in many different business models for selling goods.
In writing, if you have two or more books available, this means of promotion or strategy, can work well. If your content is good and solid, and well-liked, then there is a good chance you will see results via the funnel. I will give an example base on my plan and results.
There has to be a foundation to make this work. In my case, my first book, Purgatory was up for sale as I was writing my second, Night Dreams #1. Once I was done with that, I wrote my third, Floor Four. I made a decision at that point to put Floor Four up for free, based on the funnel philosophy. I have my books for sale on all platforms and in every store possible - print and ebook.
I sell my books on Amazon, but I do not use Amazon Select - a service that allows you to have your book up for free for a five-day period - but it makes it exclusive to them for ninety days. I bring up the free thing because that is the basis for my funnel. The idea is to generate interest through a free book, and if it is well-received or liked, it may create fans or spark interest in the rest of the books that you have for sale. Floor Four is a novella (around 30,000 words), and a good choice for me to offer as a freebie. It is a stand-alone and not connected to my series.
Before I get to my results, I must admit that putting up my novella for free, a work that I spent a lot of time on to write, edit and re-edit, was a big decision - I know many of you have faced the same dilemma if you have something for free. But, with my plan in mind, I was ready to venture out and see what it would bring. Immediately, my title was downloaded, and I have learned that there are tons of readers who love free.
Floor Four has been free for a year and has been downloaded over 40,000 times which averages out to just over 100 downloads per day. That is a ton of exposure, even if some downloads were just because it was free. I have received over 170 reviews during this time. About two months into this process the sales on my other books, Purgatory and Night Dreams #1, went up by 20%. Now, a year into this project, my sales have increased by 85% and the trend is staying steady.
That is in one year, and I have to attribute those sales numbers to the mouth of the funnel…the freebie! Based on the majority of the reviews, it has been well-received, which, in my opinion, has translated to better sales and more fans. Since the free title was available, sign ups for my newsletter, The Project, have increased as well. Recently, I have released ND #2 & #3, and those began to sell right off, which correlates to the above-mentioned stats.
This blog post is not about how many books I’ve sold, but more to the fact that those sales are directly related to the method I chose to employ . . . The Funnel!
Of course, we write because we love to write, tell stories, and share them with the world. It’s just something we do and if I took a poll of writers, I am sure that nine out of ten or more would say they would still write, even if there was no financial windfall in the end. But the reality is that we put so much time and hard work into our books and stories and have achieved a major accomplishment, that when we put it up for sale it is nice to be rewarded in that secondary way.
In closing, I feel that risks must be taken if you want to test the stigma placed on indie authors. Some may not consider using a funnel or something similar, a risk, while others may never put out one of their works for free. There is no right or wrong answer, it's all a matter of style and taste. What may work of one person may not work for others, and selling a few books doesn’t define success in writing. To me, success is sitting down and writing the story you want to tell, and publishing it.
The best part of what the funnel has brought to me are the new fans of my writing, an audience, and I am now interacting with new readers who genuinely appreciate my style of writing, and in that, I get invaluable feedback, insight and a different perspective on how an outside pair of eyes sees my fictional world.
Good luck with whichever path you choose, but above all, KEEP WRITING!
To find out more about A. Lopez Jr and his writing, visit him at: