Back in September, I received a beta copy of the Bad Redhead Thirty Day Marketing Challenge. I was supposed to review it, and normally I try to review books in a timely manner, or at least within a month of being sent them.
However, in this case I made a conscious decision not to do that. It seemed to me that because of the nature of the book, I could do a much better job of reviewing it by working through the thirty day challenge and getting some concrete results. I felt the book's author would get more out of that than if I just reviewed the book as a book, especially since my knowledge of the subject matter would hardly allow me to formulate a coherent sentence about the book's content, so I'd have been limited to reviewing it from the point of view of how it was written and laid out, and with non-fiction I really don't feel that is adequate.
So, on 23 September 2016, I commenced the challenge. At that time I thought it would only take me the thirty days - perhaps a little longer if I was slack and missed days. If I had known it was going to stretch out over more than four months I might have just written a book review!
The first day was easy enough. The beginning of the challenge is all about Twitter. I already had a Twitter account, although I never went there. I could never see the point of Twitter. Really, I still don't, but I've learned to use it. The other thing I did was to note down the metrics I was planning to use for my before and after comparison.
Heaven only knows if these are appropriate metrics, but at least they are something I can easily measure.
Anyway, off I went, working through the challenge one day at a time. I tried to do it every day, but from time to time I missed a day or two, and some of the days took me longer. Day 14, for instance, required a blog post, and the one I had planned was a survey of books on the craft, so I had to finish reading the ones I wanted to talk about before I could write it. By 23 October, 30 days from starting, I was up to Day 16.
Here I hit the big snag and the main reason the challenge has taken me so long. Day 16 required that I have something ready for beta read. And I didn't have anything, not one thing. I had 8 stories drafted and ready for revisions, and another 6 stories and two novels partly written, and another book and three stories in the planning stage. But not a single thing ready for beta read. So I put it in the Pending tray while I finished things.
You would think that my next piece of work would be to attend to the first revisions on one of those 8 stories I'd finished. You would think that, wouldn't you? Being a writer, of course what I actually did was to start a new book. That took up most of November, and on 4 December I finally had a story ready for beta readers. I continued with the challenge, but encountered another major snag later that month when I lost my Internet connexion. Due to the excellence of Telstra's technician, I then remained without Internet for several weeks.
By this time my initial determination had become somewhat watered down, and it took me until yesterday to finish the challenge. But finish it I did, and here is the moment of truth.
Twitter followers - 845%
Facebook followers - 128%
Amazon sales - 13%
Author page likes - 82%
Post reach on author page - 82%
Engagement on author page posts - 167%
Now this can't be read at face value. Because of the long time that elapsed while I worked through the challenge, sales in the last thirty days are not a good comparison to evaluate the effect of the whole challenge, which was designed to be done in 30 days. Also, because of the four and a half months of elapsed time, we are now in an entirely different part of the commercial year - the post-Christmas slump when everyone is broke.
What I did take away from this, though, is two things - one is that despite the downslide in page likes, the engagement on my page posts is way up, and also, every day in my Facebook notifications I'm seeing hits on my pages all the time, which never used to be the case.
The second thing I've gained, and this is the most important, is a good solid overview of the whole self-marketing world. The book contains a lovely reference at the end with all the links, and I am very sure I'll be coming back to it again and again. The book's usefulness is far from ending with the challenge - it's a valuable resource for the self-published writer's toolkit. I may not have mastered anything, but I now have the means to start mastering any aspect of marketing I like, and for someone like me, who used to approach marketing rather in the spirit of a Victorian lady seeing a mouse, that is solid gold.
You can get the book at AMAZON for less than the price of a cup of coffee.