9 of those happened before I even started promoting it. These are clearly Story Cartel regulars who grabbed the book. One of them left a 4-star review of A Long, Hard Look so that’s super.
During the time it was free 14 more people downloaded it. I recognize 6 of the names from my newsletter or other places.
What’s not clear, or even possible to know without asking, is whether the other 8 downloads were the direct result of our promotion, or just more Story Cartel regulars who would have downloaded anyway.
My goal in picking apart the data is to determine what, exactly, an author gets for their $25. Thus far, though we’re far from finished here, my $25 has gotten me:
- one 4-star review, and possibly a fan (their review says they want to read more of my books)
- at least 9 but as many as 17 copies of my book in new hands (the other 6 out of 23 are people who could have gotten the book in a free giveaway here, without paying Story Cartel)
There are some vague benefits of exposure I’m not listing because they’re not only completely unquantifiable but possibly nonexistent. My book hasn’t been included in Story Cartel’s weekly email or in any other overt promotion other than my own, so any exposure directly attributable to Story Cartel is unknown.
Last week I mentioned that the list of names and email addresses of those who download the book includes no other information: not only does it leave out the date of the download, a simple piece of information to include, it does not include where the visitor came from which is also, in general terms, easy to grab from web browsing data (or, if they chose to, by asking in the download form: “What brings you here? [ ] Author promotion OR [ ] I’m a regular” or whatever.)
Story Cartel does themselves harm by not capturing and providing better data. I suspect they’ve done more good than I’m aware of, but with zero empirical data to say so, who knows?
They’re also not clear enough about the review process. This is how it actually works:
- You write a review somewhere else: Amazon, Goodreads, Bob’s Book Reviews and Lawnmower Repair (Story Cartel doesn’t seem to specify what constitutes “writing a review”, another potential hole.)
- At Story Cartel, you simply paste a link to your review at Amazon or wherever.
They’re also unclear about why you would do this. There’s a drawing, and you might win something. How many winners? Is it a print copy? Obviously you already have the digital copy. Sure, some of these details are in the fine print, and the review process above is, in fact, explained, but not clearly.
Busy readers and browsers need a big red button to click. They don’t want to read 3 paragraphs explaining what to do and how to do it. Story Cartel fails some fairly basic web usability standards Jakob Nielsen and Jared Spool taught us back in 2003, which is like ancient times in web years.
Contacting the New List
I sent a single email to folks when the free download expired, thanking them, and asking them to please consider leaving a review. Three recipients responded. Two of them are subscribers to the newsletter.
The non-subscriber had not been able to read the book on their computer. Not sure where the disconnect was there, since most folks either have a digital device to read digital books, or already have software on their computer to do so. But I sent that reader a Kindle version (their preferred format) and we’ll see what happens.
One of the newsletter subscribers mentioned they’d never even been able to download the book successfully. I sent them both Kindle and ePub versions.
The other newsletter subscriber just needed help understanding the review process. I get that completely. As mentioned above, it ain’t clear enough.
My email to that list of 23 said that I’d be contacting them 2 more times:
- to remind them a day or two before reviews closed at Story Cartel
- when it was all wrapped up; this will include all my contact information and an invite to sign up for the newsletter
After that, I’ll archive that list. I’m not adding them to my regular newsletter, and won’t be pestering them again. My feeling is that they shared their email address in exchange for information about that book, not my self-publishing services or anything else. Permission isn’t transferable. It stays where those people believe it belongs. I respect that.
Next week, final numbers for reviews, plus anything else that crops up.
If you missed Sue’s comment last week, here’s a link to the image quotes we’ve been using for this campaign and for general marketing: http://www.pinterest.com/sueawesome/a-long-hard-look-a-chandleresque-cozy-by-joel-d-ca/