Impatience is a virtue

I know. I got it wrong. The saying’s supposed to read “patience is a virtue.” Once upon a time, that may have been true, but I’m not so sure any more.

Yesterday was a big day for me. A big day and a scary one. After thinking about launching the website for so long (I’ve been poised to hit the GO button since April but ran into a few snags), actually doing it was exhilarating.

What scared me? Plenty! Failure and success, to name two. Sure, I’m afraid of failing – who isn’t? Until now, I had no chance of failure … or success. Now I’ll find out. Success? Yep, that’s scary too. Now that I have your attention, I have to keep writing – more novels, short stories, flash fiction, blog posts. In today’s world, silence guarantees you’ll be forgotten. The pressure is on and I have no one to blame but myself.

I had a grand plan for launching the site. I had a spreadsheet with a T-minus days to launch punch list. Beginning 7 days before launch, I planned on posting a single teaser to Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin every day, with hopes they’d catch your eye. Also, I had a series of emails planned for my Gmail contacts.

That plan crumbled the moment I typed my first post on Facebook, which read “It’s coming! Any day now!” Within minutes, if not seconds, of posting that simple message, I had a comment on my wall.

That’s when I realized I needed to switch to Scotty time. You know the drill. The warp engines go offline. Kirk asks Scotty how long to fix them and Scotty says three days, which we all know means three hours. It’s Scotty time.

The world moves faster now. Information travels around the globe in the blink of an eye. Someone in Japan opened my announcement email. Wow! We all need Scotty time.

Not only does the world move fast, it floods us with information. In July 2012, Facebook passed the billion posts per day threshold. As of this month, each Facebook user averages 141.5 friends. I realized that if I trickled out one tiny message per day for a week, most of my target audience might never see them, not in the sea of information drowning them.

So, I completely changed my plan of attack on the fly. I’m no e-marketing whiz. In fact, this was a first for me. I was completely winging it and relying on my instincts to guide my decibel levels in cyberspace. Too little and I wouldn’t get noticed, too much and I’d antagonize those I wanted to draw to my site (that would be you, noble reader).

I posted three short, teaser messages on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, the only social networks I engage with (until yesterday, an admittedly limited engagement). These purposely had no links, to build curiosity.

After lunch, I posted three blog entries to my website in fairly rapid succession. All three were very short and contained links back to the specific page I wanted my readers to view. Thanks to the micro-blogger plug-in on my WordPress site, the blog posts went immediately to all three social networks. Within seconds, my phone, iPad and laptop starting beeping, whistling and chirping with assorted notifications.

Then I sent out two announcement emails using Mailchimp, a free email service, one to my Gmail contacts and another to literary agents I’d previously queried. I had previously loaded up my mailing lists but had never created an email campaign. In less than 30 minutes, I’d composed the two emails and sent them out. Each email had a different landing page.

To finish my seat of the pants marketing blitz, I spent the whopping sum of $6.99 to promote on Facebook the announcement post the micro-blogger added to my wall which, according to Facebook, increased my views 70%. Money well spent.

Here are some of the stats, 24 hours after launch:

– my subscribed reader list jumped 1000%, from 1 to 11

– 5 posts tweeted (and five new followers!)

– 4 shared posts

– 111 likes

– 14 comments (not including mine)

– 574 successful deliveries of the announcement email. 209 opened it (36.4%) and 56 clicked on the link (9.8%). Per Mailchimp, industry averages (I don’t know what industry I’m compared to) are 25.6% and 3.2% respectively. The agent email campaign wasn’t nearly as successful. I knew that was a roll of the dice, but I had little to lose since each and every one of those 40 agents had previously rejected my query letter.

– 2 books sold. My favorite stat.  Yippee! I’m a real author now  To whoever bought them, thank you thank you thank you. I hope you enjoy them.

That ain’t too bad for my first day. And, I had a blast. It was fun to hear all those beeps, whistles and chirps and even better to read your supportive comments. I am more motivated than ever.

Yesterday taught me the value of moving to Scotty time. Had I stuck with my original plan, many of you might not be reading this post.

Till the next post, chris

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