The Story (Cartel) Continues

Story CartelUpdate on my Story Cartel launch. My goal is to share every detail I can so you can see what would work for you.

Last Monday we sent out a special edition of the newsletter, and posted the same content here at the blog. We had launched the download at Story Cartel on Friday so we’d have the page’s URL for the post and newsletter.

By Monday morning, 9 Story Cartel members had already downloaded the book. This was before the newsletter and post went live.

The day of our launch, 9 more people downloaded the book; 6 of them newsletter subscribers. (One of the earlier downloaders is also a fan who follows everything I do closely, but I’m still pleased they discovered my launch on their own.)

According to Story Cartel’s data for average downloads per review, the 18 downloads shouldn’t result in any reviews. Yet yesterday one of the early Story Cartel members, not a previous fan, left a 4-star review at Amazon. (Thank you very much!) I’m already ahead of the curve.

One glitch in Story Cartel’s data is that when I download the daily list of subscribers, it’s not in any order. I can sort it myself for the data provided, but the date of the download isn’t part of the data. And it’s not in chronological order; new subscribers may appear at the top one day, then at the bottom the next. As a data geek from pre-computer days, this irks me. As a database web guy, I know how easy this would have been to set up from day one, and I’m baffled that something as obvious as “when” isn’t included in the data.

I can figure out for myself that the reviewer downloaded it no later than last Monday, and had read the book within a week. However, since their review specifically mentions reading it on one sitting (also mentioned by a friend who texted me about her gift copy on Saturday) I could have figured out they’d read it quickly.

Curious bit: after the flurry of activity Monday, there have been zero downloads. Does it take more time? Are my social media messages flawed? Is this just how Story Cartel works?

Next week, I’ll share more data, and give you samples of the messages we’re posting to social media and the frequency for each network I’m part of.

Note: you have 18 days to download A Long, Hard Look free at Story Cartel, in exchange for your honest review. It’s the best book I’ve written so far.

10 thoughts on “The Story (Cartel) Continues

  1. According to the SC stats, I should not have had any reviews, but I did. I think their stats are flawed or perhaps outdated. The number of downloads I got seemed to come in waves. So if you have no downloads for a few days, don’t panic because in my experience, it’ll pick back up. Also keep an eye on your reviews, because additional ones may filter in well after the time of your launch on SC where folks scooped up the free book but read it later. I ran into this scenario too.

  2. Their stats are based on authors who don’t have a strong network like you and I do. I don’t have 1,000 vaguely interested people, I have 100 real fans. Very different conversion rate.

    Waves. I remember you saying that. Good reminder.

  3. I was excited when I checked out Story Cartel, but ran into a glitch — at least for me — so will ask your advice. I already bought your book from Amazon, so when I signed up and checked it out on Story Cartel, it appears I have to download the book in order to review it, but I don’t need two copies.
    While I was pondering this, I did download another book (Travel Tales from Exotic Places like Salford, that, so far is proving really interesting.)
    Since the idea behind this Story Cartel venture is getting reviews for Amazon, would it be better to leave a review on Amazon? Or would it be useful for me to download your book again so I can leave a review on Story Cartel?
    How in-depth would writers like the review to be? “This book is really interesting” probably won’t cut it, but do they want to hear if something makes no sense, so-and-so doesn’t come across as a real person, here…and there… the story line breaks down? Could I say “Travel Tales…” is a rather blah title and would do better for a subtitle? Etc.
    I’d like to read other reviewers’ comments and see how others do it, but I haven’t figured out how, or if I can.

  4. Story Cartel doesn’t host the reviews. They ask readers to post a link to a review anywhere online: Amazon or elsewhere.

    Helpful reviews sell books. “i luvved it all up” doesn’t do an author much good; a 5-star review which is inarticulate doesn’t help others decide whether or not to buy the book.

    The short version of “how to review” is give others enough information to make up their own mind about the book, where or not you liked it.

    Here’s an article I wrote a while back with more information about writing a useful review:

  5. It takes along time to get reviews. Unlike a movie that you go see in two hours then bang, you are done. Many people download a book and may have others in the queue that are in order of reading. Then…finally your book gets read and if the reader is motivated he/she will place a review.

    That’s the nature of the beast. We all want our book to be a sensation.

  6. Thanks for this info. I want to read your article, too. I know a reviewer isn’t a beta reader; a “fellow writer” would have to be careful in that regard.
    I like the thought of letting others make up their minds. I’ve read some reviews on Amazon that really trashed books and writers I really liked. to each his own, eh?
    I’m glad I checked back this evening. For some reason your comment follow didn’t work for me. I thought I confirmed it.

  7. Joel, I did a Story Cartel promo right at the tail end of a long promotion push for my book of short stories. I was burnt out, so I didn’t make a big effort of trying to list it on the myriad book-promotion sites, only including the free download notice in my newsletter and a blog post.

    So, I was pretty happy that among the paltry 54 downloads, I got six reviews, mostly 4 & 5 star, with one 3. That compares with a KDP free download of over 8,000 copies of my first novel, which resulted in one review. I’ll use Story Cartel again with my next novel, and up the heat on the promo a bit.

  8. I think it’s a steal at $25, and I got a discounted version when they first switched over to their new model and only paid $15.

    I guess that’s useful information for folks, that it’s not a free service, huh?

    $25 per book launch. I’ll add more next Monday.

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