Author Topic: Reader magnet length, does it matter?  (Read 1025 times)

alhawke

Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« on: January 23, 2022, 04:07:13 AM »
I'm working on producing a reader magnet for my newsletter. So far it's looking like it'll be a short story that's about 40-50 pages. Is this doable, or do you guys see readers only get enticed by full-length novels?
 

JRTomlin

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2022, 04:54:35 AM »
I used a novel merely because I suck at writing short fiction. I hear that a lot of people successfully use short stories.
 
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Writer

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2022, 07:14:23 AM »
Short magnets of 5-10k are sufficient for drawing organic subscribers. If you want to participate in inorganic list-builders, on the other hand, some of those require novel-length works. Personally, I wouldn't take the time away from paying projects to write anything over 10k as a magnet, though. If you want to do the inorganic builders, you can always use one of your older, non-KU novels, if you have any.
 
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alhawke

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2022, 07:23:11 AM »
I used a novel merely because I suck at writing short fiction. I hear that a lot of people successfully use short stories.
I feel the same way. I don't like writing short stories either. But I have a short tagged to the end of an upcoming novel that I was thinking of using.
Short magnets of 5-10k are sufficient for drawing organic subscribers. If you want to participate in inorganic list-builders, on the other hand, some of those require novel-length works.
My current one is about 9k. Thanks!
 

alhawke

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2022, 07:27:30 AM »
Another question: Aside from websites and Bookfunnel/Story Origin/Prolific Work promos, does anyone post their magnet anywhere else? It'd be nice to "sell" for free, but then I'm thinking the story wouldn't be much of an incentive for my newsletter if it's offered elsewhere??
 

LilyBLily

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2022, 08:15:08 AM »
Some people do make their reader magnet available for sale--but only as a paperback. Mary Kingswood, sometimes a poster here, does that, and those shorts are certainly more like 20k than 5k or 10k.

I think that's a great compromise. You might pick up some sales, can advertise discreetly that the ebook is free to subscribers, and can also position the book with a .5 in a numbered series as you can't officially on Amazon. Plus, you've already paid for a cover; might as well use it.

As for lengths, the shorts I have written so far have all been novella length, 20k. They were about characters who'd already appeared in another book, and I wanted to tell their story without making a whole song and dance about it at 50k or more. The short I'm currently writing is nearly 5k and, since I'm doing it by the seat of my pants, I don't know yet how long it's going to be. I hope only 10k. I want it to be done this month!

I've also looked into offering deleted scenes from another of my series; those might only be a few hundred words and may only be useful if I turn that series into a box set and want to add something special without writing anything new. So many ideas...     

When I was participating in BookFunnel cross promos, I usually offered a book that was free in KU, or my reader magnet, or an excerpt from a book as a sample. I believe a printed sample to hand out to the public is one of the best good sales tools ever, but they are expensive to produce, and who is doing the book fair/crafts fair/reader convention stuff these days?   
 
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idontknowyet

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2022, 10:34:36 AM »
My reader magnet is over 80k, because i cant write short books.

I told my editor i was going to write a novella this year. She's still laughing at that idea.
 
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alhawke

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2022, 10:52:01 AM »
Some people do make their reader magnet available for sale--but only as a paperback. Mary Kingswood, sometimes a poster here, does that, and those shorts are certainly more like 20k than 5k or 10k.
Print is a great idea to look into. Thanks for that! Not sure how much sales one could get, but I could sell it super cheap if it's short as it'd be lightweight. And I can see it not competing so much with a free ebook.

 

JRTomlin

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2022, 04:08:49 PM »
Mine is for sale in print. Rarely sales but it is an occasion few extra dollars to pay for the book funnel fees.
 
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DmGuay

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2022, 12:24:31 AM »
A reader magnet can be MANY things!

I didn't have one for forever, but still got organic sign ups. In part, because I spent a lot of time designing and optimizing the content of my newsletter. (Content relevant to the interests of your genre fans= a newsletter they look forward to getting.) But when I did finally produce a magnet, I saw a huge jump.

My magnets have grown over time. Just start with what you have.

Got a deleted scene? Or character sheets? Offer that.
Then, if you get time to write something else-- a short story, a bonus epilogue, etc. something bigger and better, then offer that.
Then if you get the time to write a prequel novella or a bonus novel? Then offer that.
You don't have to have it all figured out right this second. Your reader magnet(s) can grow and change over time.

As for diverting time away from "paid" writing...
No writing you do is ever wasted, so that short story or novella you offer to your list today? You can always repackage it and sell it later down the line.
(ie I'm writing short stories in my series universe. It started as me just trying to learn HOW to write short stories. I release them to my list for free as a bonus for being on the list, then I dangle them as sign up bonuses. And, once I have enough, I will repackage and sell a short story anthology as a full price ebook/paperback.
I "advertise" my freebies in the back of my books, on social media, and on my webpage -- freebies are here: https://dmguay.wordpress.com/freebies/ Two short stories and a free 45k word ebook guide to B movies. I write horror comedy, so this is relevant to the interests of my fans-- and they can get them either direct download link via bookfunnel AND I have links to all of them in my newsletter welcome email. )

I found the bonus content episode of Six Figure Authors SUPER helpful. Lots of ideas https://6figureauthors.com/podcast/how-to-use-bonus-material-to-sell-more-books/

Oh, and as for $$$. When I wrote a 12k word Kevin vs The Mothman, so many people asked for it in paperback. I hesitated, but eventually released it in paperback. It's sold over 100 copies since August in paperback, which basically paid for the cover. Having a paperback hasn't reduced its effectiveness as a sign up bonus, either. Not sure why. Maybe some folks will buy everything you do, but just aren't interested in another email? Who can say.

 
D.M. Guay | Web site
 
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Lorri Moulton

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2022, 04:34:48 AM »
DM, nice website!   :catrun

Author of Romance, Fantasy, Fairytales, Mystery & Suspense, and Historical Non-Fiction @ Lavender Lass Books
 
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DmGuay

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2022, 05:01:05 AM »
DM, nice website!   :catrun

Definitely not deluxe. But it does what I need it to!
 
D.M. Guay | Web site
 
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alhawke

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2022, 06:34:54 AM »
For those interested, this all came up because I was writing a prequel taking place 20yrs before my witch series trilogy. I tagged a 10k short story to the end with my main character popping up again. With second thoughts, I realized that, though it'd be artsy to have a short story end a prequel, it doesn't package nicely. Nor would it end my story or follow the romance trope well. Hence my 10k separate short story grint.
I didn't think I could write short stories until now.
Oh, and as for $$$. When I wrote a 12k word Kevin vs The Mothman, so many people asked for it in paperback. I hesitated, but eventually released it in paperback. It's sold over 100 copies since August in paperback, which basically paid for the cover.
And that answers that. Thanks again, DmGuay!
 

Crystal

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2022, 09:55:13 AM »
IMO, if you are wide, you should offer a full-length book as your magnet. Maybe even permafree + book two free with signup. There is almost no reason to not do this.

If you're in KU, things are more complicated. KDP reps have told me, on numerous occasions, you can send a KU book to readers if you send it directly to their inboxes (no BookFunnel, for example), but this is much more technically challenging.

The best magnet will be the next thing readers want (which is why book one free + book two free with signup is great). Bonus content related to the current book is good too, but that will be very genre dependent. Romance readers love extended epilogues and male POV bonus scenes. I am guessing thriller readers aren't interested.

IME, prequels don't do much for signups. But I hear good things from other people, rom time to time.
 
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LilyBLily

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2022, 10:41:50 AM »
I offer a 20k novella as a sign-up freebie. I was going to put it into my box set (hopefully, out in early February) but then decided to write a short story instead out of sheer laziness. It's easier to write a new story to put in the box set than to change out all my "Here's your freebie" ads inside my books and on my website and so on. Surprised myself by starting and finishing the first draft this month. It's about 9k.

What I see as an issue is offering a freebie book. I don't want to offer one that sells well, but if I offer one that barely sells, will freebie-hunting readers deign to read it? Will they sign up at all? What's their incentive?
 

DmGuay

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2022, 10:44:42 AM »
IMO, if you are wide, you should offer a full-length book as your magnet. Maybe even permafree + book two free with signup. There is almost no reason to not do this.

If you're in KU, things are more complicated. KDP reps have told me, on numerous occasions, you can send a KU book to readers if you send it directly to their inboxes (no BookFunnel, for example), but this is much more technically challenging.

The best magnet will be the next thing readers want (which is why book one free + book two free with signup is great). Bonus content related to the current book is good too, but that will be very genre dependent. Romance readers love extended epilogues and male POV bonus scenes. I am guessing thriller readers aren't interested.

IME, prequels don't do much for signups. But I hear good things from other people, rom time to time.

I'm glad your mentioned genre. I'm pretty sure genre matters.
Romance has some very strong reader expectations, and successful romance authors? They definitely bring A-list talent to giveaways and mailing lists. So if that's your genre, see what the big players are doing. (But still, start with what you have and trade up, if need be.)
 
D.M. Guay | Web site
 

JRTomlin

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2022, 12:10:04 PM »
I think it's more important for it to have good reviews and a 4+ star rating than to be selling that well. That way they know that you're not giving away dreck. Of course, what I use is only available in paperback which never sells all that well for me although it does sell occasionally. But since it is available in paperback people can still see the reviews. 🤷‍♀️
 

Crystal

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2022, 04:15:42 AM »
IMO, if you are wide, you should offer a full-length book as your magnet. Maybe even permafree + book two free with signup. There is almost no reason to not do this.

If you're in KU, things are more complicated. KDP reps have told me, on numerous occasions, you can send a KU book to readers if you send it directly to their inboxes (no BookFunnel, for example), but this is much more technically challenging.

The best magnet will be the next thing readers want (which is why book one free + book two free with signup is great). Bonus content related to the current book is good too, but that will be very genre dependent. Romance readers love extended epilogues and male POV bonus scenes. I am guessing thriller readers aren't interested.

IME, prequels don't do much for signups. But I hear good things from other people, rom time to time.

I'm glad your mentioned genre. I'm pretty sure genre matters.
Romance has some very strong reader expectations, and successful romance authors? They definitely bring A-list talent to giveaways and mailing lists. So if that's your genre, see what the big players are doing. (But still, start with what you have and trade up, if need be.)

You have to work with what you've got, of course. If I was a smarter person, I would figure out an alternative to writing an extended epilogue every. freaking. book. One day...

But you should always make your lead magnet (or your freebies) your best material. This is your chance to win a new reader. (This is also why I want to stop with the extended epilogues. I am over them so I'm not putting in my best).

I see a lot of people giving away whatever book they have that sells least. It makes sense--less to lose--but it's a bad idea. Maybe, if the material is too fan-based, and not appealing to a broader audience, this will work. Otherwise, why are you giving readers your least appealing book, scene, novella, whatever? This is your chance to win them over. Bring your A-game.
 
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Jeff Tanyard

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2022, 09:01:47 AM »
But you should always make your lead magnet (or your freebies) your best material. This is your chance to win a new reader. (This is also why I want to stop with the extended epilogues. I am over them so I'm not putting in my best).

I see a lot of people giving away whatever book they have that sells least. It makes sense--less to lose--but it's a bad idea. Maybe, if the material is too fan-based, and not appealing to a broader audience, this will work. Otherwise, why are you giving readers your least appealing book, scene, novella, whatever? This is your chance to win them over. Bring your A-game.


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Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy (some day) | Author Website
 

LilyBLily

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2022, 11:35:35 AM »
Resurrecting this thread to say some of my least-selling books are in my opinion some of my best books, too. They simply aren't as mainstream as my western romances or women's fiction.

Case in point. I wrote a one-off contemporary romance and found it almost impossible to sell. The keywords that accurately described it have been taken over by other kinds of books--like Russian mafia dark romance or Black street--and the story was never meant to be part of a series, nor did I write any sequels. It sank like a stone. I'd love to offer it as my reader magnet because it's a great story in my opinion. Instead, I offer a novella that links both to my western romances and my women's fiction novels.

I've been surprised by the short story. It was literally the first short story I've ever attempted and it was fun to write in the same world of my series and use some of the continuing characters and make up some new ones. However, if the public isn't interested in the box set it's in, at under 10k I don't really know where else to place it. Because it uses continuing characters from my series it's not suitable as a stand-alone short for some anthology.
 

alhawke

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2022, 01:23:36 PM »
I've been surprised by the short story. It was literally the first short story I've ever attempted and it was fun to write in the same world of my series and use some of the continuing characters and make up some new ones. However, if the public isn't interested in the box set it's in, at under 10k I don't really know where else to place it. Because it uses continuing characters from my series it's not suitable as a stand-alone short for some anthology.
Is this the short story you were finishing? Is it done? If you find it's not enough of a standalone, perhaps you can just tag it to the series/boxed set?

I'm excited that my short story--the one I started this thread about--is off to be edited and launched as my first free reader magnet on my website next month. It has characters from both my trilogy and my upcoming prequel. I think it will work as a good advertisement for the old trilogy and the new upcoming book, along with advertising my writing in general. I will also be releasing it as a paperback, thanks to your guys suggestions above.  Grin
 

LilyBLily

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2022, 11:44:08 PM »
It's done. I worked in main characters who show up in the next book in the series (Book 4) and minor characters who eventually show up in the later books in the series. Writing short things (this and the novella I wrote last year) has been lots of fun and I might write more.
 

littleauthor

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2022, 03:46:51 AM »
I wrote a 7K short story in my cosy mystery series world for a reader magnet. It's original, not available anywhere except for subscribers. I put it on Bookfunnel at the $20 level, thinking I'd let it do its thing, getting subscribers organically.

And then a promotion of cosy mystery authors writing shorts came up and I was accepted with my tiny newborn list. I've had over 500 downloads of my magnet, which is thrilling but because I'm such a lousy businesswoman, I don't have the subscribers email addresses because I didn't upgrade my account at Bookfunnel. No. Seriously. I did this.

If the reader gets to the end and decides to click the subcribe link--super--but how many people do that? I'm consoling myself that 500 people have been exposed to my series which is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. And I'm drinking. 
"Not working to her full potential."
 

LilyBLily

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2022, 04:48:23 AM »
I wrote a 7K short story in my cosy mystery series world for a reader magnet. It's original, not available anywhere except for subscribers. I put it on Bookfunnel at the $20 level, thinking I'd let it do its thing, getting subscribers organically.

And then a promotion of cosy mystery authors writing shorts came up and I was accepted with my tiny newborn list. I've had over 500 downloads of my magnet, which is thrilling but because I'm such a lousy businesswoman, I don't have the subscribers email addresses because I didn't upgrade my account at Bookfunnel. No. Seriously. I did this.

If the reader gets to the end and decides to click the subcribe link--super--but how many people do that? I'm consoling myself that 500 people have been exposed to my series which is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. And I'm drinking.

Oh, dear. :doh: :HB

 
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alhawke

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2022, 05:09:28 AM »
And then a promotion of cosy mystery authors writing shorts came up and I was accepted with my tiny newborn list. I've had over 500 downloads of my magnet, which is thrilling but because I'm such a lousy businesswoman, I don't have the subscribers email addresses because I didn't upgrade my account at Bookfunnel. No. Seriously. I did this.
That's crazy! Well, here's the reason for their cost. And $100/year admittedly isn't cheap. I hesitated to pay it at first too.
I'm sure if you saw such success, you can rinse and repeat and get many email subscribers to come in another promo.
 
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littleauthor

Re: Reader magnet length, does it matter?
« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2022, 08:43:50 AM »
If I let myself think that I could have nearly 500 subscribers by now, I go bonkers. I planned to get the $100/yr deal in a few months because I like Bookfunnel. (Their emails are funny and encouraging.) I thought I had a long way to go before I could even qualify for a group promotion.

I'll try again in the spring when I upgrade. My list is growing slowly but it is growing. Though I can see subscribers getting weary of promotions being pushed at them too often.
"Not working to her full potential."