Facebook Paid Advertising Results

Hi friends, members, fellow authors and illustrators as well as all visitors,

(Note, whilst the intention here is not to discourage, it behooves the reader to see the facts for what they are, one person’s careful interpretation of the results)

This article is brought to you with a mixture of cautious pessimism extending to outright disillusionment. We here at PiA have always endeavored to bring to our members the truth, as we see it. I personally have waged a fight against what I see as unfair treatment of self published authors by various interests who purport to support us.

A little while ago I set myself a challenge to see if I could maximize my use of social media to try and extract some genuine results for all my efforts. I went so far as to pay for promotions on FB for two of my pages (The Black Fairy and Red Bear Books). I paid a significant amount for the privilege and whilst the ads generated huge interest in the form of likes, the stats are misleading at best and downright deceptive at worst. Looking at the results, I am tempted to believe that there are forces at work to bring us all undone, whilst ripping us all off in the process. My biggest two targets in this respect are Facebook and Amazon. I won’t go into it in a great amount of detail, but suffice to say there were some very misleading results, one of which I will highlight now.

I kept track of the reports and grabbed screen captures of them as I went. I had listed several countries as targets, among them the US and India. After four days of active ads, I noticed that the report included an apparent massive interest from the US (See chart immediately below)

(Click to see larger picture)

Misleading report 1 for july 2014

 

I knew that most of the visitors were from India because I kept a careful eye on them, so I was immediately concerned (about the results that is). I checked again towards the end of the ad campaign and to my astonishment the results were the reverse (note, only after I had been digging online and screen grabbing every chart and graph). Below are the follow-up results.

(Click to see larger picture)

Misleading report 1 for july 2014 part 2

 

Now, I don’t pretend to know how these things are worked out and I am not suggesting anything untoward is happening, but there is certainly enough information here to suggest something is terribly wrong. But this is not all. I estimate that over the past week alone (according to FB statistics for all ad campaigns), I have reached almost 20,000 individuals and achieved better than 2,000 likes for both pages, (see the two graphs below) in addition to which another several hundred can be added for individual post promotions, which were linked directly to both my blog (www.redbearbooks.wordpress.com) and my Author Page at Amazon. Yet, for all this, how many books have I sold? NONE! Not a single book has been sold on Amazon during the same period. In fact, for the whole of July I managed to sell just two books and one of them was gifted to a friend.

(Click to see larger picture)

Results (as of yesterday) for The Black Fairy FB page

Black Fairy FB Page stats 30th July 2014

 

Results (as of yesterday) for Red Bear & Friends FB page

Red Bear Books FB Page stats 30th July 2014

Now, I’m no mathematician, but wouldn’t you think that with all the interest generated from the ad campaigns, that there would be at the very least a handful of people that followed the link to my Author Page and bought a book at $99 cents or $1.99? I definitely expected so. Something is terribly amiss here. I cannot put my finger on it. To add insult to injury, I did a search for all my books and my name and Red Bear Books on Google and instead of the usual ten or so results on the first page, at best I managed only a few. Again, read nothing or everything into that as you will. I am only relating the facts. I would naturally have thought, logically, that with all the added interest, that it would translate into more results, not less.

It is so hard for each of us to navigate the complexities of self promotion online. Things seem to be getting so tough now so as to be pointless and I am at a loss to explain why. I even tried what Chris (my good friend, The Story Reading Ape) suggested and promoted my books in multiple Amazon countries.

I have tried so hard to remain positive. Those who know me well know that on more than a couple of occasions I have all but given up. What has kept me going is my passion for writing and the support of my many faithful friends. But, I fear it is not enough. I am running out of ideas and fast running out of steam. If anyone can offer their own insight or thoughts on any of this, please, be my guest.

Some positives to come out of this are that I had no idea so many people in India have such a thirst for everything on the Internet, especially where books are concerned. Maybe there is a huge potential market for future books set in India. Another positive is that both pages have around 1,000 likes each, a stat which speaks for itself and somehow might generate trust in my brand.

Please be careful when embarking on similar costly exercises and learn from what I have done. On the face of it the huge numbers reflected in the stats above seem impressive, but I worry we are all being manipulated and taken well and truly for a very expensive and utterly disappointing ride.

Paul G Day,

On behalf of myself and Janice Spina and the Admin team on PiA.

Updates Soon

Hi fellow authors and illustrators,

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am back from holidays and looking forward to updating everyone. Our plans here at PiA are to continue to offer the best advice, articles, interviews, resources and support we can. I have been conducting several experiments with different ways of promoting my own books and I want to share the results with everyone soon. One of the more exciting results has to do with paid promotions on Facebook. Yes you heard right. I paid for ads promoting my main page. I am surprised at the results and when I have a moment later on, I will write a longer article. In the meantime, Janice has been busy with an update, which I will put up on PiA in Brief later on.

My wife and I have enjoyed a fantastic holiday overseas and we both feel re-energised and ready to get back into the swing of things. I am very excited about some of the things happening in the world of publishing and cannot wait to share.

Cheers,
Paul G Day
On behalf of the PiA team.

For All My Author & Illustrator Friends

Hi friends, fellow authors and illustrators,

In August this year, PiA will celebrate our first anniversary. As I write this article our site stats stand at 5,710 views, 919 comments and 10, 821 individual page visits from 66 countries. This is a huge achievement. Janice and I set out to not just provide a platform to encourage our fellow authors and illustrators, but also to provide an opportunity for them to showcase their work, share their publishing journey and encourage each other to keep writing, persisting and growing.

Our unstated aim was to make a significant impact on behalf of self published and indie authors the world over. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of a small handful of individuals, we have done just that. But as we head into a second year, there is an opportunity to do so much more. PiA is not there for all authors. Let’s face it, out of all the so-called authors out there, only a small percentage of them are actually capable of producing outstanding work, at least as good as anything you might find published in a book shop. We are not perfect, but, we set our sights high, accepting nothing but the best. Of all the fifty or so applicants, we have had to knock back a few, either because the standard was not high enough, or else they had questionable practices. One such applicant caused me great personal concern when I realized that many of the “reviews” of their books, were, well, fake. This is not only a shame, but actually works against legitimate authors who have done everything right.  That’s why Janice and I have made sure that every single author or illustrator with membership of PiA is credible, established and a positive influence in the world of Indie Publishing.

On a personal level, I am never satisfied to just sit idly by and be happy with some success. I want to achieve so much more. I know Janice is the same and judging by the tremendous support we have had from the likes of Chris Graham, JZ bingham, Sarah Mazor, Deanie Dunne and many others, many of you are as well.

Having achieved the great success over the last year, as demonstrated by not only the stats, but the quality comments and feedback, I believe we can achieve even greater things for the remainder of the year and into 2015.

You are all important to us. But building a site like this requires that everyone chip in and do their bit. That’s why I am asking now for contributions from members. I am going to make some tough decisions over the course of the next few weeks and cull those members who have not made the effort to contribute, yet who have been afforded the privilege of being listed. This is an opportunity to have a say in the direction we want to head. You can contribute by posting (or sending in) articles about writing, publishing etc. or submitting blogs or links to blogs, making tutorials, interviewing authors and illustrators and in many other ways. Contact myself at paulday98@yahoo.com or Janice Spina at jjspina@myfairpoint.net.

A site like PiA is only as good as its weakest link and I personally feel it is not fair to allow members to be listed who have either never really contributed, or else only once or twice at the beginning and no more. Janice and I went to a lot of trouble recruiting in the early stages and a few people made commitments they need to honor, otherwise, truthfully, they cannot maintain a membership on this site. Membership is a privilege and with that comes a responsibility to be part of the conversation.

It’s easy as authors to isolate ourselves and promote our own work, whilst ignoring the efforts of others. It needs to be a two way street. It’s a tough gig, writing, producing and promoting your own work, but unless there is a genuine sense of community here at PiA, we are wasting our time. I want visitors to come here and see a vibrant, supportive and energetic community of writers and illustrators. I want this site to stand out in the crowd, to be a genuine force for direction and change. Janice and I both want this to move from a good site with moderate success, to a great site with real influence. This is not just because it is good for us, but because it is good for all of you as well.

I look forward to the challenges making PiA a great success brings and I wish each of you success, as you continue to grow in your endeavors to become professional indie authors.

From Paul G Day and Janice Spina.

Are you ready for what your dreams may bring?

Dear authors, illustrators, friends and visitors,

Ok, so we all want it, regardless of how we think, or what we might say. Fame, or at least to be known for something. In our case, as authors that means we want to leave a legacy, our legacy, our work. But are we ready for it?

What would happen if tomorrow, you woke up in the morning to the news that you have so longed to hear, but never dreamed you would. By some miracle, your latest book has skyrocketed to the top of the sales charts in your chosen genre. Let’s take it a step further. Your name is now everywhere. People are talking about you and not just those within your small circle of online friends or on your friends list on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram. I’m talking about people you’ve never met. From all around the world.

You’re in the news, your books are being reviewed, not only by a friend, or someone who got your book for free, but by magazines, newspapers, online journals. When you search your name on google, you hit the top of every search page and the list of references goes on and on, page after page. You have your own Wikipedia page. People are blogging about you and you don’t have to beg, borrow or steal just to get interviewed. Your phone is ringing off the hook. Agents have left messages for you. Publishers—yes those very same ones who just a year or two ago weren’t the slightest bit interested—are now clambering over each other with offers of advances amounting to tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It sounds like a dream and for many of us it will no doubt always be thus. But, what if it happened to you? Are you ready for that?

If (and it is a very big if) you were so lucky and the stars aligned, bringing all your hopes and wishes and ambitions to a head, will you be able to cope with your new-found fame?

It’s like people who buy lotto tickets, who say they never really expect to win, that it’s really only insurance in case everyone else does and yet, when it happens—and it does happen—they are not ready for it. They can never be ready for it. Such people are as unprepared as a five year old who has been granted entry to university.

So, if the odds really are stacked against us, why do we invest so much in the hope of what might be? And if that desperately hoped-for and yet still so damn far off day should actually happen, then what? Well, it’s an interesting question. Just say you do get lucky. You may have dealt with many problems on your journey as an author. You may have worked very hard on your own, in your little room, lit by a fading candle because you can’t afford electricity anymore. You’ve left your job, have sacrificed relationships, friendships, a life. You’ve been through the circus of missed opportunities, opening letter after letter after depressing letter, all rejecting you. The pain of that rejection buried itself deep in the very depths of your miserable soul. Yet, for all this pain and anguish, through persistence, you stubbornly refused to give up. Then suddenly, it happens.

Why is this so important? Precisely for the same reasons people who buy lotto tickets are caught unprepared, untrained and ill equipped to deal with suddenly being millionaires. There’s a saying I want you to remember, “Prepare for anything, hope for everything, leave nothing to chance and expect nothing to happen. But, dream, live, hope and die knowing that you gave it everything.”

One day you may well hit the right note. You might write the perfect book for the right audience at the best time. Then you will be known, if not by a few, then many and if you take this advice, you will also be well prepared for that day, though you still never truly dared to believe your own dreams. But the question remains: Are you ready for what your dreams may bring?

Explain This Apparent Contradiction

Special update: This article was written at 12:30pm (Central Australian Time) It’s now 9:30pm and look at what has “suddenly” happened to my stats (See second image). Hmmmm.

(12:30pm 18th June) Hi friends, fellow authors, illustrators and visitors,

I’ve tried hard to avoid being too negative and for the most part I have managed to let some things go concerning Amazon’s practices. But, I want to know if anyone can explain what my own sales and rankings show recently? Take a look at the graphic and see if you can read it without scratching your head and wondering, what the heck is going on at Amazon. I’ve asked them and they’ve replied with some mathematical equation that only Einstein’s children would understand. For me it’s simple, more sales should push me up the ranking, not send me spiraling down in ranking.

falling ranking

 

 

 

(Image below posted 9 hours after the above image)

WTF Amazon update

 

 

My Write Club for Authors

Hi fellow authors and illustrators and all visitors,

Here are some tools and marketing services to help authors.

1. MyWriteClub

A little while ago I trialed a new and exciting tool for authors called MyWriteClub. It’s still in beta, but shows great potential for indie authors. All it really is is a progress tracking social media tool which allows you to set and monitor your own writing goals. This has helped me clarify my goals and the visual progress as a graphic shows me instantly where I am at. You can change your goals according to the evolution of your novel as you go. This tool helped motivate me to finish my latest novel.

But, without linking up with other authors, I am unable to see the progress made by others. This is where you guys come in. Why not visit MyWritClub, link up with me and we can share each other’s writing journey. All you need to do is follow the link to my profile and using my email address (paulday98@yahoo.com), link with me once you are signed up. It’s free and as I said, shows great potential. My handle (user name) is PaulGDay

My Write Club2

 

Progress for Escape from Dark Queen on mywriteclub

 

2. Crowd Funding

There are now numerous opportunities online to get funded for your project, whether you need funds to order a truck load of books to distribute, or you have a book trailer to produce or a website to manage or any number of things that may cost money, crowd funding is definitely a way to go. J Z Bingham has already showed how Crowdfunder has worked for her publishing company Balcony7. (See previous article “A Publisher on Crowdfunder? Heck Yeah” here) But that is the high end of the market for serious enterprise. There are all manner of funding services at the low end for people who jus need anything from a couple of hundred to thousands of dollars to fund their project.  Below are a list of services that might interest you as authors and illustrators: