Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Understanding Cascade Sales/Views, and Why More Products Means Steadier Earnings

One of the most common pieces of advice I see from writers is that you should always work on a series, because it's a guaranteed income. While I don't agree with that wording (nothing is guaranteed in the world of entertainment), the nugget of truth they're trying to get at is sound. In short, if you write a series of books then you are getting your readers invested in a bigger project, and making them feel like they're obligated to buy the next one in order to see what happens to their favorite characters. However, you don't have to write a series in order to net yourself more readers; just by virtue of writing a book that a reader liked, they're going to want more from you.

When they go looking for it, that is what I call a cascade.

Once the rapids get them, they're all yours.
In short, whenever you release a new piece of content (whether it's a book, a blog, a video, etc.), you're tossing a rock into a pool. Whether the initial splash is big or small, it causes ripples. Those ripples represent the way the impact flows outwards, and how even a modest initial splash can still have meaningful repercussions down the line.

I'll give you an example of what I'm talking about.

So, for those who don't know, I write a gaming blog called Improved Initiative. Not all that long ago I put up a post titled The Non-Problem of Making Monks Fit Your Setting. Short version is that there were some people out there who had cognitive dissonance about mixing "Eastern" martial artists with "Western" fantasy, and thus they just banned these kinds of characters. I wrote the piece pointing out how it's really not all that much of a stretch to include multiple kinds of fantasy in a single, collaborative project, and gave some examples of how you could make it work. As long as everyone follows the rules, you should be fine. I'd also written an older article, 5 Tips For Playing Better Monks, which I linked in that post, since I was talking about monks and such.

Apparently this was a sore spot in the gaming community, with a lot of people agreeing with my points, and an equal number of people vehemently disagreeing that you could ever have more than one strain of fantasy active in a given game. That led to some rather spirited debate in the comments, but it also led to a lot of people sharing the article around. While it snarfed up about 10,000 views in its original release run (not bad for one of my gaming articles), the advice article about playing better monks also got a thousand reads and change out of the deal. Which meant that, in addition to how well the actual post did, I got another couple of bucks to put in my pocket as a related but separate post of mine also caught some of those ripples.

That is, essentially, how a cascade works.

Keep The Cascade in Mind

Whether we're talking about book sales, article views, blog reads, you can get a cascade out of nearly anything. And often times it's the things you don't expect that yield some of the biggest results.

Which is why you need to always look at the impact something could have, and make sure you set up your marketing in such a way that you get the biggest possible splash onto your already existing content.

Or that the new fire re-ignites old ashes, if you like that metaphor better?
For example, when I wrote an article about Bartitsu, which is basically Victorian-era MMA, I made sure that I linked an article about Glima, which is Viking-style wrestling, just in case it got popular with the fight crowd. I always make sure to link back to my archives when I write new articles, making sure I can direct the flow of interested eyeballs to go read older pieces in a particular category. And when I come out with a new book, I make sure to mention My Amazon Author Page so that interested readers can see the whole spectrum, instead of just the latest installment.

Any given cascade might be a one-time runoff... but it might not be. There's always going to be a few readers out there who don't just read one article, watch one video, or buy one book. They're the ones who bookmark your site, who favorite your channel, and who add your work to their wish list. Those people were just curious readers when they clicked your initial link, but now they're budding fans.

Once you get those readers going deep down the rabbit hole, they're yours. But you need to make sure you gave them more than just one thing to look at. Because some readers will just walk away after satisfying their initial curiosity... but those who want more are going to happily dig through your archives, pick up older works, and just have a merry time spiking your views and sale counts.

As long as you left them a signpost for where to go next, that is.

That's all for this week's Business of Writing! If you'd like to see more of my work, take a look at my Vocal archive, or at My Amazon Author Page where you can find books like my sword and sorcery novel Crier's Knife!

If you'd like to help support my work, then consider Buying Me A Ko-Fi, or heading over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page! Lastly, to keep up with my latest, follow me on FacebookTumblrTwitter, and now on Pinterest as well!

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