From Goats Gruff to Glory, a book by Rik Ravado
Making Money from Writing
Let me first introduce you to my new book, From Goats Gruff to Glory. (click the link to see it on Amazon.com - currently only 99c!) . I'll then share with you my experiences of making money online, particularly on Hub pages and my recent adventures in self publishing on the Amazon Kindle platform.
I’ve been here on Hub pages for just over five years so I have seen a lot of changes in that time both here, at Hubpages but also writing and making money from content generally, on the web.
What's it all About?
‘From Goats Gruff to Glory’ is one of the funniest books to appear in 2013. It appeals equally to adults and children and is already being hailed as the next big thing in literature.
A sequel to the traditional Troll and Goats tale that conjures up a saga making ‘Harry Potter’ pedestrian and has been described as a turbo-charged version of ‘Lord of the Rings’ and the worthy successor to ‘Beowulf’.
My book: From Goats Gruff to Glory
So why this particular book? The seeds of the story began when my own children were young and demanded spontaneous bedtime stories. If you have children or care for other people’s and you dare to tell them stories, then you quickly learn what works and what doesn’t.
Children are surprisingly creative and quickly build their own narratives but rely on the adult story teller to be the custodian of their imaginings. My kids wanted to know more about the troll and the three billy goats gruff.
I named the troll in the story Eric and a whole soap opera quickly developed, set in an imaginary world, driven more by my children’s demands than by my wish to make up stories. I eventually wrote down a few chapters and sent them to a publisher and once the reject letter was received, promptly forgot Eric and the story.
Once I decided to experiment with publishing an eBook, then Eric the Troll, with a better title, seemed an ideal candidate. I wrote a few more chapters making it up around 30,000 words (Novella length). Incidentally, if I get an audience for Eric then I’ll probably publish at least 4 more books in the series.
From Goats Gruff to Glory is a novel for everyone. It takes the traditional children’s story as a starting point and develops a sequel involving Boris the Spider with a head for PR and copyrighting to ‘Cheesy‘ Spread, a chimpanzee with a whole raft of dodgy business enterprises including a media empire that aspires to rival News International.
Add to the mix a female troll more formidable than the Iron Lady herself, as well as Roger a young goat with a personal fortune built on a goat sponsorship scam, and you have a book you just can’t put down.
In the process, the nasty, smelly troll in the original tale, Eric, is redeemed and reformed into a hero. Kid’s love it but so too will you, particularly if you read it to them at bedtime.
Making Money from HubPages
Here are a few thoughts on earning on Hubpages. I still make reasonable money here but generally my earnings are not increasing, particularly on my evergreen hubs. I’ve done well from jumping on one or two popular cultural bandwagons but nothing lasts for ever. I therefore don’t generally write new hubs but tend to maintain the ‘orchard’ I already have.
The fruit tree metaphor is a useful one. Writing a hub is like planting a tree. You need to care for it, feed it and sometimes prune it. If you choose the right variety (of content) then it will bear fruit, hopefully for many years. However, sometimes trees stop producing fruit and you might as well pull them up!
Unfortunately the climate in which we grow our hubs has changed radically. Google (and other search engines) continually change the rules making it harder and harder to write ‘turn a handle’ hubs that earn well. Successful content today must be well written, highly original, engaging and ‘sticky’.
It must also contain the key words that lots of searchers are looking for. What do I mean by sticky? Well, the reader needs to be persuaded to stay on the page as long as possible. It is almost certain that time on page is a key measure that Google uses to determine relevance and quality. Your hub therefore needs to grab the reader’s interest very quickly. Quizzes, polls, videos and photos all help to keep the reader on the page.
People often knock Hubpages but I still think it’s a good place to be. I think the problems Hubpages face are common to most if not all content sites. Many who have left here to make their fortune elsewhere report that the grass isn’t necessarily greener!
Making Money from Writing
I’ve always enjoyed writing as a hobby and produced loads of stuff that never got published. In the days before the Internet I started to get some articles and short stories published in magazines but proposals for novels or TV sitcoms always met with rejection.
These days I find writing content on line much less effort than targeting the declining magazine market. Writing for magazines often involves rejection and then having to rewrite the article for another market.
I’m fortunate in that my day job is mainly writing and attending meetings so you could say I write for a living. I’m a training specialist and Training Needs Analyst. Much of my work involves writing large reports and studies or contributing to commercial bids for large projects.
As most of you know, the world of publishing has undergone a major revolution. The days of an unknown author sending a manuscript to a traditional publisher and it sitting in a tray for 6 months before being sent back with a rejection slip are almost gone.
These days first time authors tend to publish on platforms like Amazon Kindle and wait hopefully for sales to build. The new reality is that the publishing bit is relatively easy. Getting sales is much harder. Exactly like writing a hub. As most of you know, publishing a hub is relatively easy. Getting traffic is another matter!
In the brave new world of eBook publishing almost anyone can publish a book. This creates a new problem familiar to anyone who searches for answers on Google. Just as Google is full of poor or irrelevant content, so the Kindle Store is full of mediocre books. The problem now for readers is finding the good books among all the dross.
So where am I with my book? Well it is published and sitting on the Amazon Kindle web sites worldwide awaiting down loads. My strategy to get it noticed includes online publicity, social networking (particularly on specialist book sites), persuading people to review it and then offering it free for short periods in order to maximize downloads. There is no certainty that any of this will work.
How do I get the free days? Through the Amazon KDP select scheme. You have to price your book at $2.99 or over and make it available exclusively to Amazon. This gives you chance to offer the book for free for 5 days in every 90 days. You also get paid if it is borrowed from the Amazon library.
As far as I'm concerned the jury is out as to whether eBook publishing beats content writing with advertising. With Hubpages you are more or less guaranteed a small regular income from (some) hubs. With eBook publishing you can put in a lot of effort and earn virtually nothing.
The Internet is a cruel mistress and its a jungle out there. Its not enough to be a good writer - you need to get noticed. So good Luck with your writing, you'll need it to succeed!
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