Monday, June 18, 2012

The Facebook Ad Experiment

I decided to try a small Facebook ad campaign to try and boost sales of Special Offers.  Setting up the ad was not particularly intuitive, and I'm still not certain I did what I intended.  I wanted an ad that, when clicked on, went to a post on the M.L. Ryan author page that described the book and gave info on where to buy it on Amazon or Smashwords.  But when I created the ad, there wasn't a preview available so I could see exactly what it would look like.  I never actually finalized the ad, so I tried again but still got no preview. This created a snafu that eventually resulted in my ad manager being shut down.  It took a couple of days to get it up and running, and then I re-did the ad and "created" it.

The ad went live, but I still never saw a preview.  Yesterday, I happened to be on my personal FB page, and my ad came up.  When I clicked on it, instead of going to my author page, it sent me directly to Special Offers' Amazon page.  Which isn't terrible, I suppose, but I'm confused nonetheless.  In four days, the campaign has reached almost 6,000.  I assume that means the ad was posted on 6,000 peoples FB page.  And apparently 40 of those people clicked on the ad.  And in that time frame, a bunch of people have "liked" my author page.  Which makes me think their click took them to my page, not the Amazon site.  So what's with that?

And with all that clicking - which isn't a great ratio, 40/6000 - I've only sold 1 book!  And I don't even know if that sale was a result of the ad or not.  This is all getting quite frustrating.  The book has 13 great reviews on Amazon, 10 of which are from people I don't know at all.  But still, my sales are pretty dismal; around 100 since it was published on February 12.

To add to my angst, a review that was supposed to be posted on June 4th wasn't (don't know if it is just postponed, or if the reviewer hated it so much, she decided not to post a review - hope to clarify that soon), and another reviewer emailed me to say that, while she found the book well-written, she just couldn't connect with the story, so she would not be reviewing it. Does that translate to "I hated it, but I'm a nice person so I thought I would spare you the trauma of having me rake your tome over the coals in print" or "I'm just not that into it so I have neither good nor bad things to say"?  Either way, I've gotten sale's boosts every time a new review comes out, and now there's going to be two less than I thought.  Of course, if the reviews sucked, there wouldn't be a sales bump, so I suppose it's all a wash anyway.

But I digress. I'll let the FB ad go a while longer and see what happens.  If sales don't pick up, I'll probably stop the campaign and try to re-work it in a way that will be more successful.  Problem is, FB doesn't give much help with exactly how to create a successful ad.  There's a lot of "try something and see how it works for you" rather than any usable hints or guidelines.

If that's the best they can do, I can see why the whole IPO thing was such a debacle.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Where and Why Ellicott City, Maryland?

I just realized that sometimes, when I log into my blog, the live traffic feed from Feedjit Now thinks that I am in Ellicott City, Maryland.  Or sometimes, Colorado Springs. And Iowa City. In any case, I do not live in either city, and I thought I blocked my IP address from registering on the feed.  So what's up with that?  I've been to Colorado Springs; it is quite nice, particularly if you like Air Force pilots.  Ellicott City, MD?  Never been there, never heard of it.  But apparently, my computer hangs out there in some virtual networky way. Note to laptop:  If you are going to travel, why not go somewhere really cool, like Tegucigalpa?

Anyone have any idea why this happens?

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Publisher's Ultimatum: Yet Another Reason to Self-Publish

I read a lot of Urban Fantasy-Paranormal Romance.  I can't help it, I like vampires, werewolves and such. Zombies?  Not so much.  All that mindless brain eating gets old fast.  In any event, there's a lot of  UF-PR out there, and most of it is really good.

One of my favs is a new-ish series by J.A. Saare, Rhiannon's Law.  It's gritty and the main character, Rhiannon, is a kick-ass smart-ass (my kinda gal).  Great plots, definitely page turners.  The third book will drop soon, and I can't wait to see what happens.

Unfortunately, the powers-that-be that publish the series think not enough books have been sold, and if things don't pick up, they might cancel.  I understand their business aims to make money from the sales of books.  However, this series is fantastic!  Why don't they try to do something radical and innovative to help sales. Like, I don't know, maybe promote it more vigorously?

I assume that the author signed one of those contracts that would prevent her from continuing the story on her own if it was cancelled.  Maybe not, but maybe she won't continue it anyway because the time spent on Rhiannon, Disco and Payne sans traditional publishing would not be time well spent in terms of her bank account. And I can understand that, too.  But it seems wrong that a great story would fizzle out and readers might never know what delectable twists the author had in mind.

Such is the way of traditional publishing (TP).  How many great reads have been rejected by TP houses because the first sentence didn't have enough punch, or they were tired of that particular genre, or the person doing the initial read had a fight with her significant other?  Which is why self publishing rocks.

This is reminiscent of publishing research in scientific journals in a way.  You do a crap-load of experiments, some have exciting, positive results and some that don't show anything.  But sometimes, the data that shows nothing happened can be incredibly illuminating.  Unfortunately, no one wants to publish "negative" data.  So other scientists may, at some point, ask the same questions you did, not realize you found out your hypothesis was null, and repeat what you did because they never knew you tried it.  It's all quite silly, really.

Just because the PTB think a novel doesn't fit the narrow parameters that define what TPs think constitutes a money-maker doesn't mean it's not a worthwhile tome.  But in the meantime, buy Dead, Undead and Somewhere In Between and The Renfield Syndrome.  You (and I, when they decide to continue the series) will be happy you did.