Thursday, July 25, 2013

Do Facebook Ads Work?

In the last couple of months since the release of my new book, Blood Moon, I've been attempting various ways at marketing myself. There are so many books out there and so many good writers. One book scores while another book bombs without any real rhyme or reason that I can see. I am pretty confident saying it doesn't really depend that much on one book being better than another. There are LOTS of well written books.

(Side Note: Case in point would be the book, The Cuckoo's Calling, which was barely scraping by in the sales department. Then the word was out that the author was J. K. Rowling and sales skyrocketed. Was her book somehow better than other crime novels because it was written by her? I am dubious. But her name has built-in marketing power.)

Today on Facebook, I accidentally clicked on their marketing link. I'd never considered an ad on Facebook. I think I've maybe clicked twice on ads I see in the sidebar. But I found myself thinking, "What the heck?" What could it hurt to try?

So I created a Facebook ad this morning for my book, The Ninth Curse. I chose to only pay for clickthroughs, rather than impressions. Who knows if an impression does anything at all?  An impression probably works better for a product that has a multi-faceted ad campaign, and I was only going to be advertising on Facebook.

I set my daily advertising budget at $2.22. That would allow for 3 clickthroughs per day. The total period of my advertising will be 30 days. So even if I spent my entire budget, I would be well under $70 for that month of advertising. Not bank-breaking, by any means.

Not sure if this will do anything to boost sales, but I thought it would be an interesting experiment. I'll keep you updated on my results over the next month.

UPDATE: After only 1/2 hour of my ad being available on Facebook, I have had 3 clickthroughs! This suprised me. Also, I clearly do not understand the cost per click. Although I had 3 clickthroughs, I've only used 74 cents of my $2.22 budget for the day. It looks like the price per click varies depending on a number of algorithms I don't understand. We'll see if any of the clickthroughs result in an actual purchase!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Marketing Yourself is Hard

I am not a social butterfly kind of person. I have a small circle of peeps that I interact with (mostly family) and I'm cool with that. However, I think that limits my capabilities at marketing myself... which stinks.

Many writers are introverts. Possibly because we express ourselves better on 'paper.' I do a better job of explaining myself in the written word than I do speaking off the cuff. In fact, I've been known to put my foot in my mouth more times than I care to remember. Introvert does not mean silent. At least, not in my case.

Combining limited social skills with introversion results in a horrible marketer. I feel self-conscious talking about my books, promoting myself with guest blog posting, or mentioning the fact I'm an author. I carry around business cards with my book cover and a blurb on the back, but keep forgetting to hand them out or feel goofy doing so. I need to figure out how to get over this!

I think my book, "The Ninth Curse," is just as good as many books out there for sale. Although I was published with a reputable smaller publisher (thank you, Samhain, for taking a chance on me), my sales were pretty anemic. I didn't expect big things, but I was hoping for slightly better sales once my book made it onto Amazon and was available as an e-book.

Honestly, I believe the biggest problem I had was very few reviews. I've had an acquaintance or two who bought my book tell me they enjoyed it, but they did not take the time to review it. Frustrating to say the least. You really need a LOT of reviews in order for someone to believe that a new author has the chops to write a good book.

The other thing I have heard is that the best thing you can do is to write another book. Recently, I uploaded a new book to Amazon. Self-published as an experiment. Blood Moon is in the same genre as The Ninth Curse, paranormal, but is directed at a teen audience. Without the backing of a publisher, I am definitely floating in a huge sea of self-published books. I am not sure if this really helped me at all.

On the one hand, I enjoy sharing my writing with anyone willing to take a chance on it. On the other hand, I get frustrated that I haven't done a better job of getting the word out there about my books. I suppose I should just get back to the writing, since I'm better at that part. Either I need to ditch my loathing of promoting my work, or I need to stop complaining about it.

For all those readers out there my plea is that you write a review if you love a book. That's the only way an unknown author even stands a chance to sell her books. So, please, take the time to write a review today. The author will be grateful for it.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The cat came back...

We have two cats at my house. They don't get along that well. One is more of an outdoorsy cat that lives on our boat cover in the summer and sleeps in the garage most of the time in the winter. This cat, Mackenzie, is a great hunter and is lean and mean most of the time. Just this spring she actually killed a rabbit and dragged it through the cat door into the garage leaving only feet and a few other parts behind. So, yeah, she's pretty tough.

Our other cat is a mess. Arrow is overweight. She has asthma. She broke off her two bottom teeth somehow and had to have emergency surgery over Thanksgiving weekend last year to stop an infection in her gums. She doesn't jump well. She's more of a housecat who likes to think of herself as much cooler than she really is.

Yesterday morning my husband noted that he had not seen Mackenzie for a few days. We were trying to remember the last time she'd appeared in the yard (we have a pretty big, unfenced yard in the wilds of Idaho). My last memory of her had been a barbecue on Sunday night. I couldn't remember if I'd seen her come in the house to eat since then.

My husband called her outside before he left for work (yes, he worked on the 4th of July), but Mackenzie did not appear. Since I work from home, I took a couple of breaks during my day to look for her. I called her several times. Only Arrow appeared.

I was worried. We have coyotes and other wild creatures in our neck of the woods.  Although Mackenzie is pretty adept in her outdoor lifestyle, you just never know when something bigger and badder might get the best of her.

Yesterday afternoon I was glad to see Mackenzie make an appearance to eat at the cat bowl!  She walked in as if she'd been there all along. I was so relieved.

On our way to the fireworks display last night, we drove past a neighbor's hay field that had been recently cut. My husband mused that perhaps Mackenzie had been staked out near the field for the last few days taking care of the mice whose homes were exposed. That seemed like a reasonable explanation.

What a relief, though, to have our Kenzie Cat back home! We had something else to celebrate yesterday...the return of a good friend.