The Facebook ad drops off tomorrow, so I thought I’d share some stats with y’all. (An Amazon “Lock screen” ad starts on the 15th to the 1st of August. More on that — on the 1st of August.)

I targeted the ad to females between the ages of 25 to death (Facebook calls that last part “65+”) in Australia, UZ, USA, Canada and Greenland. I opted to spread the budget evenly across the time period. (The Amazon ad is set to spend the budget as fast as possible.)

demographicsI honestly am not that surprised that the respondents/ad clickers skew to the older age. And the click per impression increases with age.

I don’t unfortunately, get to see what the sales demographics are. Amazon doesn’t provide that information. Maybe the Amazon ads do.

If I run another Facebook ad (not yet decided), it’ll be males with the same age demo and women 55 to .. ever.

The reach dropped off after about 11 or 12 days, so I think a campaign more than 2 weeks long is a waste of time, especially if it’s targeted. The Amazon ad will run for two weeks. If it’s successful, I’ll run it again, but first runs will be limited to 14 days, maximum.

(There might be a correlation between the drop and the 4th of July — but the US was only one of the markets, albeit the largest.)

Also not surprisingly, 65% of the ads were viewed on mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc.) and 35% on desktop/laptop.

What were the sales like, you ask? I still have my day job, but the first two weeks of sales were about triple a normal fortnight sales for a single book.

Up next, Amazon.

 

 

 

07. July 2019 · Write a comment · Categories: writing · Tags:

Book number fourteen is behind me and I’m going to take the next six months or so and devout it to cracking the marketing problem.

The goal of any author is to get name recognition, eyes on the books you’ve written, hopefully sales, fame, fortune and a life of leisure. Right now I’d just be happy with the eyes.

Fortunately we live in a digital world with scads of avenues of attack.

Like all problems, we need to define what success looks like before attacking the problem. I’ve given this a bit of thought, and while the avaristic part of me wants to target sales, right now, eyes on either my Amazon/iTunes page or web page related to the book I’m flogging is a satisfactory result. Sales would/should be then driven by cover/blurb etc. which is all on me, and another variable.

Avenues of Attack

It’s a digital world. There are a number of avenues and I’m going to try as many as possible. But given the nature of all experiments, I’m going to attempt to control the variables. Ideally, I shouldn’t change more than one at a time so I can see the impact of that change.

Facebook Ads

Say what you will about the evils of the Zuckerberg Empire, Facebook’s targeted ads can be pretty effective. Targeting can be based on country, age, interests, gender and possibly a couple of other variables. You can set the budget and time frame. I’m trialling this now.

Google Ads

Tried this before, and success was limited, but I’ll have another look with different targeting variables.

Amazon Ads

Not as much targeting is possible, but the platform is THE platform people go to look for books. There are a couple of options: 1) Sponsored products, where your book appears alongside searches for similar keywords or products, and 2) Lock screen ads, with your ad appearing on Kindle lock screens.

Podcast Ads

Something new for me. There are podcasts with Patreon tiers that include ads with every podcast. They read the ad and your URL about three-quarters of the way through, do listeners don’t drop off at the end.

Twitter promotions

On the cheap end of the scale, very limited timeframe but do have an impact.

NetGalley

This is on the steep end of the $ scale, but it is going to be part of the experiment. They offer a couple of tiers of service, from a six-month title listing to a listing plus a marketing package. Investigations ongoing.

The Experiment

For the next six months I’ll be trying all of the above, staggered in time, and with varying target audiences (where possible). The goal will be to increase eyes on either Amazon/iTunes pages or the particular web page for whatever book I happen to be flogging.

In play right now:

  • Facebook ad, Females only, 25-65+ in Australia, UK, Canada, USA and Greenland. It’s running at a 1.5% click rate (77 clicks for 5900 impressions). Notably, 85% of the clicks have been women over 55 years old. If I run this again, it will be for a shorter period of time. The click rate drops off over time. It appears that some of the ads run on Instagram also. The ad runs until July 15th
  • Twitter Promotion: for $15  Mark Lee will plug your book to his 54.8K followers. (I checked with twitteraudit.com and 90% of those followers are real). It drove a lot of traffic to my Amazon page and appears to have triggered a couple of sales.
  • Podcast ad: Comedy Film Nerds feature Chris Mancini and Graham Elwood and usually a guest who talk about the latest movies, trailers and pop out movie spoiler reviews every once in a while. One of their Patreon levels offers an ad service where they’ll read the ad and your URL. I’ve just signed up — they ad will have its first run this week. I’m going to run this for a couple of months to see the effect. The URL is to the Jeremy Brookes web page, so I’ll have pretty good analytics.

Coming up:

  • Amazon Ad: July 15th to July 31st. I’ll target it as much as possible based on information I get from the Facebook ad. The first run will be a lock screen ad.
  • Google Ad: 1 Aug to 15 August. Again, as targeted as possible based on previous ad analytics
  • NetGalley: This will run for six months from 15 August. I’m going to buy the listing as well as marketing. I doubt I’ll get the money out that I put in, but it’s something I’ve wanted to try for a long time. If nothing else is should push reviews.

At the end of September I’m going to have a look at the results and plan the next quarter. I’m going to be as transparent as possible and I’ll post updates as useful information becomes available. If there are other avenues you think might be helpful, let me know in the comments.

So…

In twenty-seven days (June 30th) I’ll be releasing book number FOURTEEN (that’s a lot of words — deleted during the editing process) and it’s called The Murder of Jeremy Brookes. It’s available now for preorder, but I’d like to get some reviews under its belt before (or immediately after) its release.

The genre is Crime-fiction, specifically of the Private Investigator variety. It’s set in a smallish town an hour south of Sydney, Australia. It comes in at about 73,000 words.

The blurb is as follows:

McGinnis Investigations has been operating a small but successful shop in Campbelltown, an hour south of Sydney, for over a decade. Business has been what you’d expect in a sort of rough town in a sort of rough country, with an ever increasing circle of rough and tumble clients spreading the word that Dan McGinnis’ team could get the job done, but only above board.

Nothing shady, nothing illegal, frequently successful and frequently just skirting the line.

But nothing could prepare Dan McGinnis for the depths he would plumb when a wealthy Sydney surgeon visits his office and asks him to investigate her husband’s murder. Her husband, Jeremy Brookes, was legal counsel for the owner of a right-wing media empire.

The police say he was killed during a mugging gone bad. She thinks it was a targeted attack.

Crossing powerful media types, the real killer and two other cases that seem to be connected drag Dan and his team into the darker side of politics, money and corruption.

If you’re willing to leave a review before June 30th (the first week of July at the absolute latest), leave a comment below. I’ll email you back, we’ll have a chat and if we come to an agreement I’ll shoot you an epub version for your reading enjoyment.

Cheerio, Tony

 

The Murder of Jeremy Brookes

McGinnis Investigations has been operating a small but successful shop in Campbelltown, an hour south of Sydney, for over a decade. Business has been what you’d expect in a sort of rough town in a sort of rough country, with an ever increasing circle of rough and tumble clients spreading the word that Dan McGinnis’ team could get the job done, but only above board.

Nothing shady, nothing illegal, frequently successful and frequently just skirting the line.

But nothing could prepare Dan McGinnis for the depths he would plumb when a wealthy Sydney surgeon visits his office and asks him to investigate her husband’s murder. Her husband, Jeremy Brookes, was legal counsel for the owner of a right-wing media empire.

The police say he was killed during a mugging gone bad. She thinks it was a targeted attack.

Crossing powerful media types, the real killer and two other cases that seem to be connected drag Dan and his team into the darker side of politics, money and corruption.

“The Murder of Jeremy Brookes” is available for pre-order now, and will be released on June 30th, 2019.

e-book: Amazon | iTunes | Barnes & Noble | Kobo  USD$0.99 until July 31st, $2.99 thereafter.

Paperback: Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AUS ($16.99 USD /$22.37 CAN (??) / $27.49 AUD (??) ) [Excuse the bizarre non-US prices. Limited control with that.]

Businessman using laptop computer

The first chapter of your book is the onramp to the world you are creating. It needs to be broad and hinderance free, sucking your reader into the vortex that is your story.

Which is why I’m re-writing mine, and you might want to consider re-writing yours.

I don’t know about you, but when I wrote the first chapter, my level of confidence that the story would end the way I thought it would was at, on a good day, 80%. I had a rough plot outline. I knew generally how the story would unfold, what the major plot points were and how the resolution would tie back to the beginning (though, to be honest, the resolution I ended up with ties back to a different part of the beginning, and in a much more satisfactory way).

The onramp I wrote was to a literary freeway that I didn’t quite get to.

And really, by the time you’ve written 80,000 or 90,000 words, you know your characters a lot better. You’re in their skin a lot more. The subtle characteristics you’ve developed in them, the mannerisms, the verbal back and forth between characters, is smoother, snappier, better by the time you’ve reached the end of your book.

But, unless your reader is a psychopath, buyers don’t read the last chapter to decide if they are going to purchase your book. Amazon’s “Preview” doesn’t preview the last chapter. Your best chapter shouldn’t be the last one, it should be the first one (but only marginally better than all the other chapters).

So one of the final editing tasks I will do, once I’ve cleaned up the rest of the manuscript, is to completely redo Chapter One.

What do you think? Let me know below.

 

Write. Now.

Today (as I write this – I have no idea when you read this) is the monthly gathering of the NBWG – Northern Beaches Writers’ Group. (Note the correct placement of that apostrophe — we’re good.) (And proper parenthetical punctuation — we’re not fooling around.)

There will, or course, be a spelling mistake in here somewhere to completely subvert my message.

The NBWG (link in sidebar) is a very diverse group of writers who gather once a month to critique fellow members’ writing. Sounds really dry, doesn’t it? It’s so much fun. Frustrating, sometimes, but fun.

Some of the best writing advice I’ve received is from critiques on my work from the fine NBWGers. And some of the best (so far, unknown-ish) writers I’ve met, of many different (really different) genres.

So, to the point of this short post: If you’re a writer (no such thing as an “aspiring” writer. If you write, you’re a writer.) and you want to get better, you need honest feedback from other people who write, and preferably people who write better than you. Embrace the criticism. It’ll make you a better writer.

And if, by chance, you’re lucky enough to be part of a writers’ group, it’s good to sandwich the critique part between a couple of good things from the piece you’re reviewing. That said, if it’s your piece being reviewed and the critique opens with how lovely the font is, you should brace yourself.

This is an advertisement for a TV show that needs no advertising.

The best half hour show on television right now isn’t Brooklyn-99, it’s one of the other shows made by the guy that made B-99.

The Good Place, the story of 4 humans who have died and their adventures in the various afterlives, All the while learning about morality. AND mortality.

There’s so much good stuff packed in each episode, it’s breathtaking. some of the best episodic writing there is.

That’s all. A clip:

 

I was a scrawny, painfully shy, face-stuck-in-a-book pre-teen which, in the neighbourhood I grew up, meant I was a regular recipient of smackdowns. They were fast, messy and painful (for me — though I’m sure the  other guy’s knuckles hurt, too). Messy not only because of the bloods, but because it invariably ended on the ground, a tangle of arms and legs and grunts and hair pulling. And before it got on the ground, any punches were wild swings that connected by luck, if at all.

The point of this isn’t to elicit sympathy. As my pops used to tell me, if you want sympathy look in the dictionary. It’s between shit and syphilis. And I haven’t been in a fight in over forty years.

The point of this is that fight scenes in books and movies are about as true to life as the depiction of writers in books or movies.

I’m watching Equalizer II, the Denzel Washington movie. A conceit in the movie is that he starts a stopwatch when the battle commences and he times himself to see how long it takes out the four or five or a dozen baddies. He’s rarely scathed. (That’s a word, right?) It’s always economic.

I want to read a book or see a movie where adults dumb enough to get in a fight actually fight the way a fight is actually fought. Grappling, but not BJJ style. Messy, flailing, torn shirts, quickly exhausted with no real winner.

I won’t though, will I?

Because people want the hero to lose their first fight, barely, then in Act Three face the same opponent and prevail in a slick, professional manner.

So maybe in this book (the one I’m currently working on) I’ll change it up. See how it goes.

07. January 2019 · Write a comment · Categories: writing · Tags:

A bit of writerly stuff…

I’ve got something like 13 books you could buy, if you felt so inclined, and all fall into the crime -fiction, science-fiction or (one case) crime-science-fiction.

You can find those books on Apple (iBooks), Kobo, nook, Amazon and a few other places.

I’m fine with where someone buys a book. I’m delighted when anyone buys a book. But a weird trend is revealing itself.

I’ve had no sales on Amazon since, roughly, last June. Kobo, nook, iBooks, all have registered a download. Ratios over the past 6 months are somewhere in the 65:30:5:0 for Apple:nook:Kobo:Amazon.

It’s great that folks think my books are worth buying, but what in the hell is happening with Amazon? By their very name they should be the biggest. Have they renamed themselves to Ama-gone?

Anyone else seeing a drop off in Amazon and an increase in iBooks?

 

I’m pretty sure you all have heard of the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, even if only by the movies they have made. The many, many excellent movies they have made. My faves from that list?

  • Hail, Caesar
  • Fargo
  • The Big Lebowski (top of the list)
  • O Brother Where Art Thou (second on my all time favourite list)
  • Burn after Reading (truly underrated)

These guys are genius writers and directors. Among the list of movies they have made, I would challenge anyone to find a bad one.

I would further challenge you to find more than a single good movie made by Etan Cohen. I’ll grant a soft pass to MiB 3, but it barely makes it. Idiocracy, a cult favourite that was in theatres for maybe 72 hours, is the only one on the list I would recommend.

[EDIT]: I failed to point out in the original post (and I hope I’m not too late) that Etan Cohen, the man with the shifted “h”, wrote and directed Holmes and Watson, a movie so bad I would have walked out of it if I hadn’t fallen asleep. It makes Pluto Nash look Oscar worthy.

BE CAREFUL, PEOPLE!