Introduction to What to Expect from Professor Slots in 2018
Hello, and Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a productive 2017. It sure felt like I did! With this article, I thought you might appreciate a brief recap of what my Professor Slots brand has accomplished so far, but most importantly give you a good idea of what to expect from Professor Slots in 2018. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
This article has the following sections:
- Deciding to Write;
- Failing to Publish Traditionally, Luckily!;
- Launching a Business;
- Making Progress in 2017;
- What to Expect from Professor Slots in 2018; and
Deciding to Write
My Professor Slots business through Jon Friedl, LLC was officially launched on October 31, 2016. Yes, that day is Halloween. I chose Halloween as a launch day to recognize my feelings that starting my own business was, in some ways, scary-scary.
I’d originally decided to start a business when I won a car at a casino on August 31, 2014, but I had a few well-intentioned but naïve false starts. I spent the rest of 2014 through March of 2015 taking notes of everything I’d learned and anything amusing I’d seen during my extraordinary experience of winning 90 taxable jackpots in 9 months and then a car.
In March of 2015, I went on a cruise to the western Caribbean with my sister. This was one of those free 7-day cruises Total Rewards provides for two. I’d had one such cruise in 2014 (Alaska was nice!), but thought my sister would appreciate going someplace warm during the tail end of winter.
I’m not a particular fan of warm weather, but my sister is. I’m fond of her, so she enjoyed herself (for the most part) while I spent much of my time writing a book using all the notes, thoughts, and memories I’d been collecting.
I also had a few conversations about winning at slots with the other passengers on the cruise, from which I observed something I realized to be incredible. Of the ten people I spoke with, at least nine or possibly all ten just kept on talking with me. It dawned on me that, if I’d been writing, say, a cookbook, only one or perhaps two of those individuals would have continued the conversation as they had.
So, that particular working cruise taught me that I had a great idea. Winning at playing slot machines was a topic people liked. This motivated me to launch Professor Slots, which I thought at the time was all about writing and publishing a non-fiction book.
Failing to Publish Traditionally, Luckily!
It took about another year to finish writing my book, Learning To Win, after which I began looking for both a literary agent and a publisher. This was one of those false starts I mentioned.
It turns out that publishing a book of non-fiction was quite a different process from what little I knew about publishing a work of fiction. Non-fiction books actually start out as book proposals which, if sold to a publisher for an advance and all that, is only then written by the author.
Also, when a book proposal is sold to a publisher, then the publisher is the new owner of the content outlined in the proposal. The publisher decides what the title is. The publisher decides how to market the book, including how much or how little to market it. So, what about the cover art? The publisher decides. I was very surprised by all of this. Who knew?
But, it was worse than that. That was how it used to be, and has evolved somewhat from that process. Publishing has changed a lot in the last five to ten years. Once, publishers would effectively market the book for an author. If that book didn’t sell, if it took a loss, the publisher would usually give the author another two tries or so to successfully sell a book.
Nowadays, publishers want authors to already have an “author’s platform.” It’s not important how many Twitter followers the author has, but rather the speed at which they have been gaining Twitter followers over the last few weeks and months.
I remember what a literary agent said to me at a writing conference I went to. He said, “How many people subscribe to your radio show? Is it 20,000 or 30,000?” This question was not about my Professor Slots podcast, knowing nothing about podcasting at the time. But, it was the question that started me thinking about having a podcast.
Launching a Business
With traditional book publishing being a non-starter due to not having a quickly growing audience, or rather a quickly-enough growing audience, I turned my attention to self-publishing.
A second false start for me was continuing to be overly concerned about traditional publishing. I’d been warned that I could ruin my chances of ever being able to publish a book in the traditional manner if I self-published instead – and subsequently failed at it, as most do. Low sales, I was told, would be taken as evidence I would never successfully publish a book in my lifetime, and would therefore never get a book contract.
Frankly, the publishing industry is scared spitless of the self-publishing approach. I can appreciate that their careers are in jeopardy because of all the changes of late. And, using the old, old dream many have of being a successfully published author is an effective way to try to stop people from self-publishing.
But I recognized this pattern for what it was, and began to understand my motivations for wanting to be a published author. I didn’t want to be a published author. It was a goal and not a need. What I wanted to do was help people and, by genuinely doing so, make enough money to pay off my student loan debt and, this is my stretch goal here, to have some left over for retirement.
So, in April of 2016, I grew into the idea of having an online business. I set a goal of launching the business in October of 2016, as a lot of preparation was necessary. I learned about Word Press and website Themes, starting a Limited Liability Corporation, the importance of starting an email list as early as possible, and I learned about social media.
I’d gotten compliments from friends about my personal Facebook account. Otherwise, my LinkedIn account was decent for someone in the aerospace profession. I won’t even mention my old Myspace account! But, that was all I knew about social media. I spent a month or more individually learning about each of these: Facebook Pages, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and YouTube.
I combined all of these social media accounts to promote a Professor Slots website on which I was going to regularly post articles about slot machine gambling. After about a year, Google Analytics showed that I had average number of 12 website visitors per day. Ouch.
Make Progress in 2017
In 2017, as the saying goes, I pivoted my Professor Slots business. According to the largest podcast host, one blog website out of every 2000 has a podcast if the owner is male. It is a far higher ratio if the blogger is female. With something like 600-million bloggers out there, podcasting is a great way to distinguish yourself. So, I did.
I had a lot to learn about podcasting, but I did the work and successfully published my first episode on September 17, 2017. About two and a half weeks later, I published my second episode and have been publishing an episode every week since then.
At this writing, I’ve published eighteen episodes and have another 40 episodes planned. The Google Analytics statistics for my Professor Slots website shows a 5x jump in average daily visits in only 3 months. After 30 days, each of my podcast episodes has an average of 200 downloads and is listened to in 32 countries. Now, that’s progress!
Also in 2017, I decided to build an online resource for slots enthusiasts. This is a state-by-state review of state gaming regulations and state-tribal gaming compacts, but also includes not just U.S. states but also U.S. territories as well as the single federal district.
I began this online resource with weekly website articles starting on June 1, 2017. I’m working my way alphabetically through fifty U.S. states, five U.S. territories, and one federal district. I’ll work through all 56 articles in 56 weeks, so will have an article completed on each of them on June 22, 2018.
Given the dynamic environment of gaming within the U.S., after the final article is provided I simply plan to start over at the top. Every 56 weeks, I’ll update my review of the state of gambling within each U.S. state, U.S. territory, and federal district. This is, in effect, the online resource I am building for you.
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, U.S. gaming regulations are primarily the responsibility of individual states, territories, and federal district. The only connection federal law has is through the U.S. Department of the Interior, which is the federal agency for approving state-tribal gaming compacts with American Indian tribes. In brief, they are part of the process set forth in the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 for states negotiating a compact with a federally recognized tribe.
In 2017, I began in understand my false starts. It wasn’t just that I wrote a complete book prior to having a book publishing contract in place. It wasn’t just about placing an overabundance of business success on writing a book. What I began to understand was that I needed an audience.
With an audience, I can ask them what they want from me. Maybe it is a 237-page pdf e-book available only on my website. But, maybe they’d prefer it on Kindle or to have a hard copy version. Maybe they (you!) don’t want a book at all. Maybe you want an online video course. Or, personal coaching. Or, any number of possible products. For example, I’ve already self-published a short Kindle e-book on Amazon called A How-To Guide to Casino Slots: What Everyone Should Know Before Playing Slots.
What to Expect from Professor Slots in 2018
With all that being said, I hope that my plans for 2018, what to expect from Professor Slots in 2018, will be quite a bit more understandable. My intent for 2018 is to grow my audience. But, what does that mean? What are my intended actions? Well, let me tell you.
From everything I’ve learned and subsequently thought my way through, my primary goal is to provide good content. In 2018, I will be striving to provide the best podcast episodes I possibly can. No doubt I will get better, or at least that is my hope.
I also plan on maintaining the website articles I already regularly provide, specifically my weekly articles on the state of gambling in each U.S. state, U.S. territory, and federal district. But, also for the show notes from my podcast episodes. From what I can tell, those appear to get some attention and are, therefore, useful for my audience.
Something I stopped doing around the middle of 2017 were additional slot-related articles outside of state-related and podcast-related articles. I’ve already provided two such articles this year, including company reviews of two leading developers within the gaming industry, International Game Technology PLC Fiscal Year 2017 and Scientific Games Technology Fiscal Year 2017, as well as providing yet another with this article and a fourth being prepared for release in a few days.
Finally, I also plan on bring my YouTube Channel online with short 4-8 minute videos. It may take another month to launch this component to my business, again by being interesting and informative, but with the intent of encouraging viewers and subscribers to visit my Professor Slots website. I’ll tell you the reason I am taking on this new avenue of social media. First, it’s to continue to grow my audience. Second, once it’s big enough to ask, I’m pretty sure my audience is going to want something that will include a video. To be pro-active, I need to learn now how to do that well.
In addition to all this, to effectively grow my audience I simply have to promote my content. At this point, promoting is primarily centered around being a guest on other gambling podcasts. I’d done this four times in 2017, with mixed results, but have several more opportunities identified for 2018. There also appears to be an opportunity to provide guest blog articles on other gambling websites, which should be interesting and, hopefully, as helpful as being on someone else’s gambling podcast. I’ll be sure to let you know as these podcast episodes and guest blogs are published.
For those interested, I’d previously shared about 700 posters and slot-tips-of-the-day created in early 2017 and published on social media. Those are unlikely to be seen again, due to the ongoing evolution of Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. I’m glad to have done them, and think they were enjoyed by you, and I certainly learned a lot about what does and does not work on various social media sites, but don’t expect to use them again. Recent changes to Facebook apparently will result in their not being seen by even people who actively follow my Facebook Page even if I did share them.
Summary to What to Expect from Professor Slots in 2018
To successfully explain what to expect from Professor Slots in 2018, I first had to explain what has led up to now. How did I get started? What I have tried? What have I succeeded at? What have I not succeeded at? What are my goals? And, out of all of this, what does my audience seem to particularly like?.
In 2018, you can expect me to grow my audience. I’ll be doing this by doing my best to provide great content on both my website and podcast show. I’ll continue to grow my online resource for slots enthusiasts by reviewing slots casino gambling in each U.S. state, U.S. territory, and federal district.
I also plan on adding videos to my new Professor Slots YouTube Channel. Another important aspect of growing an audience, which is this year’s high level goal, is to promote. Promote, promote, promote. To do so, I’m reaching out to other gambling podcasts. I also have some guest blog article opportunities available, which I’ll be pursuing. I’ll be sure to let you know as these episodes and guest articles are published..
Thanks so much for sticking with me in this article. I truly believe that 2018 will be a great year for my Professor Slots brand. I look forward to serving you to the best of my ability.
Other Articles from Professor Slots
Previous: Scientific Games Corporation FY2017 – Scientific Games Corporation was incorporated in 1984. As the end of 2016, they employed ~8,400 persons worldwide with ~4,600 employed domestically and ~3,800 employed internationally. The business segments they are interested in are gaming, lottery, and interactive.
Next: How I Won A Car – At the end of an amazing 9 months of slot machine casino gambling in which I won 90 taxable jackpots, I proceeded to win a car at a car at a casino. This was the story of how I won a car, based on my detailed notes and memories, originally written down as presented only a few months afterwards.