Tes author, Mike Richards, shares how he brings together his author dashboard and the business of education after a successful back-to-school period.
Tell us a little about your author journey so far.
When I stopped work twelve months ago, to take a turn at looking after our children, I started to think about what I could do to possibly earn a little bit of money. Previously I’d uploaded three crosswords to the Tes site. I’d watched the number of times they’d been downloaded, read the two reviews I’d received and acted on the advice of one to improve my product. I knew that there were people selling resources on Tes, so, mostly out of curiosity, I uploaded a couple of comprehensions and a free sample.
How have you used your past experiences to help you as an author?
Before teaching, I ran a postal game and I’d worked out quite early on, that the best way to hook players was to give them a chance to play for free. So I applied this same model to my uploads. Initially it didn’t work. Lots of people downloaded my free undifferentiated Anglo Saxon comprehensions but no one downloaded the paid differentiated version. However, when I started uploaded guided reading activities, like my Harry Potter series, and providing single week samples, everything changed. While I wasn’t surprised that teachers were willing to pay for guided reading, I was surprised by the number of sales. I realised that there was the potential to genuinely “make a bob or two selling resources.”
How exactly do you use the author dashboard?
Firstly I can see which products sell well. Generally speaking, I’ve found that I make steady sales of my guided reading resources which are for seven weeks of questions and activities tied to a specific book. Secondly, from the data, I’ve learned that putting my resources on sale at the same time as Tes is running a sale, greatly increases the number of resources I sell. Thirdly I make use of the author transaction codes to work out exactly how I’m selling against the general backdrop of sales on the Tes site, as well as how many sales Tes is making itself.
Finally, by tracking how much I earn whenever someone uses a voucher code, I know, for example, that about a sixth of my sales in September were to new buyers. Having followed the suggestions from the Tes guide about boosting your sales, I know that all of these new buyers have a link to my shop on the bottom of the worksheets they hand out in class, encouraging them to buy more if the class has enjoyed them. And if I know children, if they’ve liked the work, they’ll pester their teacher for more of the same.
What are your thoughts on being an author on Tes?
Having run my own business and been a headteacher of a UK school, I recognise the value of the massive web footprint that Tes has. If you Google ‘guided reading and Roald Dahl’ for instance, my products appear on the first page of the search! I like the way I can track sales, don’t need to set up a PayPal account to get paid, don’t need to pay for my own domain or maintain a website. Most of all, I love the fact that whenever I produce a new resource, I simply have to upload it onto the Tes website and wait for the sales to begin!