Friday, 29 November 2013

How to create an effective Facebook Campaign AKA How to waste less money

You asked for it so here it is by popular demand—How to make a paid Facebook campaign work for you. The first thing you need to know is...*Looks around and lowers voice to hide from Facebook Mafia*... It's so easy to waste heaps of money on Facebook (and any form of pay-per-click) advertising. Really, you can throw unlimited dollars at this thing and it can cause barely a ripple. But on the other hand it can also be an effective tool if you know how to do more than click spend. In my humble opinion there are a few keys to wielding your advertising dollars like a Jedi Master.

1. Make your advertisement look like an opportunity
This means presenting you product (even if that product is your facebook page) in a way that is enticing and or engaging to people. Know the best opportunities to utilise that promote feature. If you're running a giveaway,  you have a product on sale, or free, this is the time to promote. You want to make sure that your advertisement makes the sale, giveaway, freebie, obvious. Consumers are becoming more and more oblivious to adverting, you can stand there waving and screaming "here I am!" all day, and those consumers are going to tune you right out. Showing them what they might get out of it is a much more effective way to gain attention.   

2. Know where you're advertising

Here is a random screen-dump of my facebook Newsfeed just to show all the places and ways ads appear.

Starting on the right hand column, this is a section that users have come to associate with advertising so the effectiveness is limited. The best ads on the right column are sponsored stories. These build rapport by showing you friends who like that post/page/website. Below are regular old ads.

As you can see Newsfeed ads show up in the stream. They're much harder to ignore, and are less obvious as advertisements, especially if they are well targeted. The ad above not only provides the opportunity to like the post, see that there is a giveaway and participate, it also encourages liking of the page. Personally this is where I would want to spend my advertising dollars.  

So now when you create an ad, make sure you know where you are asking for your ad to appear.

TIP: If you want maximum control and flexibility always go directly to the main ads area. DO NOT click those tempting little buttons on your facebook page that say 'click to promote this page', or 'click to promote this post'. You only get a fraction of the options, especially when it comes to targeting.  
https://www.facebook.com/ads/create?campaign_id=255168187930460&placement=connect&creative=header

3. Target—Target—Target
So one of the things about advertising is that you also pay for impressions. You pay for people that aren't really interested but click anyway then click off. One of the most effective ways to save money and get the best results is to target your audience. Make sure that you are only blasting your message to the people who are most likely to be interested.

Important things to target;

Location­—If you're trying to promote a book that is only available in the US, then you really don't want to be paying for everyone in China to click on your ad. Target the promotion to only the countries you want to focus on.  

Age—If your product has adult content, ensure you target people that are over eighteen.

Gender—Okay, I know people get all uppity about this, but really, statistically speaking some products have very clear gender interest. No point paying to advertise tampons to the masses of men, target by gender if your product is aimed at a particular sex.  

Interest—Now this is where targeting comes into its own! This is why you don't click that 'promote this post' button because you don't get this option. Have a book blog? This option allows you to target people with the interest of reading!

Here is a snap shot of the targeting screen


TIP: The smaller your budget the more strictly you should target for best results.

4. Budget—Budget—Budget
So this is a personal thing. It's easy to press that promote button willy-nilly and without a plan. It's easy to decide; I'll just put $5 dollars on here and try it out. Don't. Really Don't. This is the best way to waste money. Set an advertising budget for the year, quarter, month, or whatever period. Then plan the most effective opportunities to spend that budget. Plan those, giveaways, competitions, freebies, etc, and allow as much budget as possible for those events.

TIP: If you have a budget of $20 for the month, it is much more effective to allocate that to a single promotion than to spread it over several promotions. Sponsored stories, promoted posts that involve likes, all gain momentum as people continue to engage with them.

5. STOP FLOGGING DEAD CREATURES!

Advertising isn't a science. You might need to play with different ads and see what works. But if something isn't working, stop doing it and try something else. Don't be afraid to experiment. If you're an organised little bunny, try recoding the details of your campaigns and see what is most effective. 

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Thursday, 14 November 2013

Easiest ever cheats Get Well Soon Pasta

This week I've had the rottenest ever flu, complete with a lovely little chest infection. So I've been quiet on social media, written barely a word, but one thing I can't neglect is these little people in my house who constantly expect to be fed. Like every night they expect a meal, really every single night.

Greedy little creatures. Unfortunately for them, mummy's culinary skills have gone into hiding along with most of my other functions. People always say "Oh you should make soup when you're sick", but thanks, apart from the fact I'm not tracking down a chicken carcass when I'm hacking up a lung, I've also got no intention of chopping till my hands blister, and I'm nowhere near organised enough to wait for a dried soup mix to be cooked enough to not break my kids teeth.

But there is a reason people suggest the soup thing. It's easy to digest, nutritious, keeps the fluids up, apparently there's even medicinal benefits. This is where I'm glad I'm Italian. There is this clever recipe my grandfather used to make (I'm not going to even try and get the name right) when we were sick, that's so super easy even I can make it when I'm sick.

It all goes into one pot, there's next to no chopping, it's delicious, and is actually REALLY medicinal. It's not technically soup but it's pretty close. This isn't the kind of thing you have to measure out.

Get Well Soon Pasta

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)
  •          1 packet of Spaghetti
  •          1 whole tomato per person
  •          Fresh Garlic
  •          Butter
  •          Parsley
  •          Salt


Method
Add the packet of Spaghetti to a generous pot of well salted boiling water. Add the tomatoes to the pot and cook according to the manufactures cooking time. When Spaghetti is cooked remove from heat. Scoop Spaghetti with tongs (you want to keep plenty of water) into a large bowl. Place a cooked tomato on top. Top with 1/2 to a whole clove of fresh crushed garlic, a large knob of butter and a sprinkle of parsley.


This is an old family favorite. The delicate tomato, and the buttery goodness is just yum, and it does make you feel better.  The fresh garlic has fantastic medicinal benefits especially for colds and flu's.   

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Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Christmas Gifts For The Book Obsessed!

Christmas is on its way and WHAT TO GET?! Well here are some ideas for the book obsessed to get you thinking. Vote on your favourite to win an Amazon eBook of your choice.

1. Create your own Booklovers Hamper

Why not make your own Booklovers Hamper? Luxury Hot Chocolate, marshmallows, a bookmark, a snuggly blanket, a book they'll love. Or maybe it'd be a bottle of bubbly, a new extra-large wine goblet and Amazon credit. You can customise it to match your loved one.



2. Book light
I hate traditional book lights although they are handy. But there are all different kinds. Check out some of these ones on eBay.





3. Creative Book Shelves

Why not be creative and repurpose something into a unique bookshelf?
Here's one idea I love from Design Sponge. You can make this in a pattern and colour to suit their style!

5. Book Ends
Find a beautiful and creative set of bookends to match their d├ęcor!




Okay, obvious right, but here is why you should get one for your book obsessed family member who has yet to jump on board the digital revolution.
The sheer accessibility of reading material. The idea that even an isolated person or someone with limited transport options can access books anytime. Not to mention that any book can become a "Large Print" book. Then there are free books and the fact that an ebook is usual less than half the price of its print equivalent. And if they're still not convinced go a step further and make it easier—set up their Amazon account and link it to the device for them, and 'gift' via Amazon the book they've been dying for. Incentive right?

You can pick up a basic Kindle relatively cheap.  Of course by doing this you could be enabling a serious addiction :P

DONT FORGET TO COMMENT THE NAME OF THE EBOOK YOU'D LIKE TO WIN ON FACEBOOK AS WINNER WILL BE CONTACTED VIA FACEBOOK
a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you enjoy this blog why not follow with Google, Networked Blogs (Facebook) or by email, so you never miss a post!
I have started a mailing list for those who missed it. You can sign-up here and it’s also in the Sidebar.


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Friday, 1 November 2013

THE ANNOUNCEMENT: Wherein I Get A Freaking Three Book Deal!!

I am so very excited and over the moon to share this news with you........

I just signed a THREE BOOK DEAL with ELLORA'S CAVE!!!

For Her Protection, For His Protection, and Close Protection, a smart erotic bodyguard series will be published by Ellora's Cave!


*Screams, throws confetti on self, and dances like a maniac*

Yes, it's actually true! I have contracts and everything to prove it. But seriously, until I physically held those babies in my hand I didn't believe it... I wasn't even excited, I was just thinking...oh shit, they've totally made a mistake and now they're going to realise and it's all going to be over!

Because this—this whole book deal thing happened almost exactly like this...



None of the ways people tell you it's supposed to happen, and almost all the ways they tell you it will NEVER happen. Like you know "An editor/agent is never going to request from the sample on your website", or "A publisher is never going to contract an unpublished author on proposal", but they actually did. And not just any publisher—THE publisher of some of my all time favourite author idols, like Cara McKenna and Sylvia Day! I'm pretty much in awe of the company I've just been invited in to.

But before you follow me home, knock me over the head, all to get access to my FGM, let me tell you it wasn't just—MAGIC— BAM—BOOK DEAL—and I got to that point where I was the hopeless snotty mess sobbing in tatters first.


I'm not going to do the agent/submission stats thing because it doesn't really apply here, although I can tell you I've always been uptight conservative on that front, but I will tell you how it happened because I know how much these stories kept me going.

I learned how tough this industry is on my first manuscript—my little book heart baby that I thought was just the best thing ever...until well—REALITY.  So I took some hard but true advice I received and wrote another book, then another one, then finally another one. Finally that last book seemed to be "getting there".

I finaled in competitions. I came second and first. I had requests from contest judges, requests from publishers and agents, and I'd hardly subbed. I learned how to own the dreaded query letter like a boss. Then the rejections came...So I revised, revised, took all the courses, got better critique, revised, took all the advice, revised, re-subbed, and then—rejection. Except the rejections were all like rejection 1: We love your writing but we would have liked if had less ABC, and then just to confuse the life out of me the next would be rejection 2: We love your writing but would have liked if it had more ABC... Yes ABC is the same thing! It just went to show that even if your writing is 'there', even if it's good, even if you spent months revising and actually take all that advice, this industry is so subjective, and tastes so personal, your work still might not find a home. That kinda hit me hard. The idea that I could keep trying and trying forever, get better, do everything and still maybe never get there...




But just as I was about to drink myself under a table, an acquiring editor contacted me and made a manuscript request off the query letter on my website. I have to admit I googled her because I thought I was being pranked...I mean that doesn't actually happen does it? Turns out it does.

So long story short, I subbed and within two weeks I had an email back saying some amazingly flattering and humbling things but that the manuscript I subbed just wasn't a good fit for them and did I have anything else. I told them about my other manuscripts and also about this smexy little work in progress that I hadn't quiet had the nerve to go through with.  A week later I got another email asking if I could I call her on the phone in New York.

That's when things went a little wrong...

I prepared myself all day. I had a list of things I wanted to ask, a list of intelligent professional responses to anything she might ask me, I had my expensive hardcover note-book, I had a coffee and a Berocca because well, NY business hours are pretty much when I am sleeping. I was sorted. It took me three attempts to call...If I'm honest I'll admit I almost chickened out...She answered on the second ring and I LOST MY FREAKING MIND! Poof—brain cells gone.

I couldn't form a coherent thought let alone a coherent word. I stammered, I stuttered, I rambled. In truth I'm fairly certain that I eventually hung up on her before she was done talking. In the end I remember her saying very nice things, and that she loved sound of my smexy WIP and she asked me more about it. I pretty much read my blurb off the page. I'm assuming I vocalised something because I could not actually hear the sound of my own voice as blood pumped so loudly in my eardrums. She asked if I could send her a partial and a synopsis. I went into shock. She asked me about timeframes and I said I'm pretty fast, I got the impression that was the right answer, and she gave me six weeks to get her the proposal.

So the point of me revealing the horror of my total brain-vacation to you is this—editors understand that you are nervous! They like writers, and have compassion for the fact we might not be representing ourselves the best when we are pitching verbally. In fact one of my favourite Twitter Agents says she always requests from pitches for that reason. So these are nice people, relax!

I completed the proposal, edited, critiqued and polished, and delivered it in half the time. We'd discussed that I'd planned for it to be a series, so I included blurbs for the other two books not thinking that they'd be considered. And guess what? After four weeks of constant nervous nausea I got an email offering on ALL THREE!

I read that email so many times. I couldn't believe it—ALL FREAKING THREE! And now the contracts are signed, For Her Protection is finished and a few edits away from delivery, and I can honestly say that even without the deal writing this book has been the best thing that ever happened to me as a writer. Before this I had no brand. I was lost, trying to be writer of all things but master of none. But this book, For Her Protection, found me as a writer. It showed me what I needed to be doing all along. I know it's my best work, and writing it touched me on so many levels. I'm so ecstatic that it gets to be the book I contribute.

I know I've been quiet lately, that's because I've been jumping up and down in the corner and haven't trusted myself to write things without giving it all away! The other exciting thing is I'm coming out of the writer closet to my friends and family.

So I'm sorry everyone for keeping this part of me a secret. Trying to get published is kinda like trying to get pregnant ( I said kinda, okay). It's deeply emotional, you have this desperate yearning, except the odds are not good. Somewhere between 1-3% of manuscripts get published which means statistically I knew I had about a 99-97% chance of abject failure. People tend to think it's just like you hatch a book and then it's like wham—you chose from which publisher throws you the most money. If only! There's a special kind of pain reserved for when people ask what's wrong with your book womb? when are you getting published? So for me, as when I was trying to make a human baby, I only told close friends and family until such a time as I had my twelve week scan contracts signed.

Thank you to everyone who has followed and supported me. I have learned so much from my beautiful writing community and I'm so thrilled to be sharing this news with all of you.

Champagne on me!