Speaking on RRR

Aaron Lamb is delighted to be speaking about my writing and the self-publishing industry on Triple R’s Multi-Storied, Weds 29th Nov, 2017.

https://www.rrr.org.au/program/multi-storied/

Tune in for some practial tips and a good chat.

Speaking at the Digital Writers Festival

I’ll be talking about all things self-publishing. I will unpack the process of self-publishing your book. This practical seminar will take you through everything that’s involved in getting your work out there, the way you want to.

Watch live and for free here:

http://2017.digitalwritersfestival.com/event/self-publishing/

How to guide: Google Ad Extensions

So now you’ve got your first ads up lets make them really shine.

Ad extensions are simply more real estate for you to show what you are about on a Google ad.

Here’s an example from my favorite charity Oxfam.

oxfam ad.jpg

You can see four extra parts to the ad to click/tap on. Get involved, give a monthly gift, make a donation and help provide clean water.

Imagine what you can do in that space?

Hop into adwords and navigate yourself to this screen. Go to ads and extensions (the blue box highlighted below) and then the extensions tab at the top. Your screen will not have any extensions at the moment. google-guide-ad-extensions.gif

Hit hit that blue plus button and you’ll see a list of options:

ad extnesions part 2.jpg

We are going to focus on site links as this will enable you to drive more people to your website.

You can add your site link to either your entire account, to campaign or to an adgroup. I’d be specific if you can. Add it to an ad group your are focusing on. Just use the drop down box under ‘add to.’

Next create a site link. Think about your website and what you’d like to tell people.

For instance I want people to know I’m here to help, so I might write an ad to help them get to my google guide.

It should look like this:

google ad extension guide sample.jpg

You can add as many as you like. Four seems to be the best number.

You can use it to tell a story or highlight parts of your work you want your readers to know about that aren’t on your home page.

Go and test it out!

Here’s my step by step marketing guide.

Pre-order Apparent Magnitude

Melbourne. End of the world.

Daria and Abby survived the end of the world, but may not survive the bureaucracy of their home, New Town. With several expectant mothers and not much medicine, Daria and Abby must scavenge the suburbs and city avoiding escaped zoo animals, and distractions like millionaires homes and abandoned shopping centers. But, are they really alone?

A post-apocalypse dark comedy about friendship, family and feuds.

This is the first episode of the series and is 14,000 words long.

Pre-order today.

 

Facebook targeting 101

Facebook.

What it does well?

Awareness and engagement with you and your work.

What it doesn’t do well?

Immediate sales.

Why bother?

Because Facebook is the lead into your world. Facebook is the start of the sell, Google and Amazon are the end of your sale. If people on Facebook like the story you are telling with your characters and your book, they will come back later and download a sample, or better come back later and buy.

How do I reach these people?

Targeting! Here are the basics.

It’s so important. The first thing you should know impressions, eyeballs, views etc etc are all vanity metrics. They are great if you are coke-a-cola or Apple because you’ve got millions of dollars, if you are like me and you’ve got a couple of hundred bucks, then steer clear of vanity metrics!

Targeting will ensure that the clicks you are paying for are right for you.

Facebook will allow you to target your ads to a certain audience. For instance, I write sci-fi, so I target my ads to people who like sci-fi. I can also target deeper than that. My type of sci-fi is dystopian fiction so I can target people who like dystopian fiction.

Find your people!

Open up Facebook ads and start a new ad for clicks and you’ll see this:

facebook tips for self publishing

It’s the most important part of what you’ll do on Facebook. Play with it today and try to get the perfect audience that has about 100,000 to 200,000 people. SAVE that audience so you don’t need to do the work again. When you log back into your ad account you can select that audience here:

facebook tips for self publishing saved auidence.png

 

 

How to guide: Google search

Google search. Your name number 1.

Search for your name in google. What do you get? Other people? Random stories? Search my name and what do you see at the top of the results?  Aaron Lamb, Writer. It’s a search ad and it costs me less than $10 a week. That’s what you want too!

This is the introduction to the basics.

Step one. Set up a Gmail account. It’s free and it takes a couple of minutes.

Step two. Go to adwords.com

This is where all of the search ads are built. This is where you have your name as an ad.

Step three. Set up a campaign

ON the left tab, you’ll see a button for campaigns. Click or tap that, and you’ll see this:

Now hit that blue circle with the white plus symbol and select New Campaign and you should see this:

There are A LOT of options here, but we are going to keep this simple.  Select the first one Search Network, then select website traffic. The other options are for an advanced campaign. Now enter your website URL in the box and hit continue.

You should see this screen:

Campaign name is just something for you so you know what your campaign is. You can call it My Name, or Branded Search. Whatever makes sense to you. Then hit yes to add the display network. You’ll get seen in more places!

Now scroll down the page until you get here:

This is the part that will spend your hard earned cash. You can select manual or automatic bidding. My advice would be automatic. If your name happens to be the name of someone who is famous then you’d want to do some more advanced work and you’d pick manual.

For now automatic will do until you become a famous writer.

Now enter in an amount you’d be happy to spend a day. Please note that unless you have lots of people search for you already you might not reach that amount. For instance, if one click costs $1 and you have 2 people clicking but your budget is $10, then you’ll only spend $2!  Cost Per Click is what it’s called. You pay for the clicks.

Site links, extensions and call outs are all worth doing, but I’ll cover those in a more advanced post.

Congrats. That’s the campaign setup.

Now it’s time for your ads.

The adgroup is the group of adverts under the campaign. For instance, this adgroup in my campaign might be Aaron Lamb. Another ad group might be Aaron Lamb Writer or Author Aaron Lamb.

For now let’s just stick to your name.

I’ve filled in a sample for you.

It’s important to use “” and [ ] as these help google understand the search behavior of people and ultimately will cost you less per click.

Now scroll down and hit save and continue, then hit the box that says new ad.

Finally, you get to have some fun!

This is the ad that people will see if they search your name. This is the screen you should see:

You have character limits, so the best thing to do here is trial and error. You’ll see the auto-preview on the right so you’ll have a good idea of how your ad looks.

Google likes to see a few variations so it can test what works best for you so at the top of the page hit the new ad button when you’ve finished your first and do two variations on it. Hot save and continue when you are done. Here’s a sample:

CONGRATS!  You are live.

It’ll take a few hours to see your name pop up in search results but you’ve done it!

This was the very simple guide to search ads.

Next step?  FACEBOOK advertising. Read all my top tips with my Facebook ads for self-publishing guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free giveaways or not?

To be free or not to be.

Should you give your book away for free?

Yes.

There are A LOT of conversations/arguments about giving bokos away for free. KDP offer 5 days every 3 months to give you book away for free. There are a lot of sites like kindle nation daily, freebooksy etc that promote free titles and you can get you book into the hands of a lot of readers.

There seem to be two main issues.

First is that it’s a race to the bottom. It’s us (self-published) vs them (traditionally published). And by making our title free or really cheap we lesson our writing in the readers eyes.

Second is that we deserved to get paid and that the algorithms to boost your book on major sites like Amazon, Barns and noble etc, like paid sales. So it’s better for you to get a paid sale over a free one.

So those are the cons.

But this is what I’ve seen.

First. Is it a race to the bottom? I’ve been going to bookshops since I was a child. Tucked away in the corner of the sci-fi and fantasy section. I read all of the hobbit in multiple trips to the bookshop when I was young! And in all that time I’ve always seen offers. Buy two get a third free. Buy one get one half price. You’ve seen the promotions. They’ve always been there. They’ve just moved online now. So for someone to say it’s a race to the bottom and that self-published titles should never be free, to me, seems crazy. You are cutting off a major source to find new readers and using tactics that book marketeers have been using for years.

Second. Yes we all deserved to get paid. But you need a readership first. How do you get a readership? It’s not through email lists and an ‘author platform,’ it’s through people reading your work and enjoying it and coming back for more!  How can you do that? FREE BOOK DOWNLOAD!

Second part B. Yes the major sites like paid sales, of course they do! But, you won’t get many paid sales if you don’t have a readership or reviews. How do you get both of those? Free book downloads!  Every time I’ve run a promotion for free books I’ve seen a rise in paid sales afterwards and reviews after that.

There are millions of people reading you genre, even if you think it is a niche. Giving your book away for free to 10,000 people is not going to do anything but promote you and your work.

Finish that novel.

The hardest part of writing for me is to finish the book.

There’s a lot of tips out there great communities like at NaNoWriMo for help. I’d start there, the forums are amazing!

Ask questions, get involved and you’ll learn a lot about writing.

Now how do you finish a novel? Here are my top tips.

But first, you have a choice to make. Either, finish the story, or leave it open for a new book. You have to decide what you want to do. Are you writing a follow-up?

If you are chasing book sales then you have to write a follow-up. Your first book hooks people into your work and the second and third make the profit.

Top tip one:
Kill off a character. Death is a part of life. It’s something that no matter what your story is about, death is relatable. It also forces you as the writer to think long and hard about your characters and what they are bringing to your story.

Top tip two:
It’s is tempting to tie up all the loose ends as your characters resolve the central drama of the story. Think about a time when you overcame a drama. Did everything in exactly how you wanted it too? Even if you won? And when it was all over, did you feel like a different person? Did new doors and new ideas open up for you afterward? We are in a constant state of change and so are our characters. Your ending is never really an ending. So don’t end it. Resolve the drama, but not your character.

Top tip three:
Don’t worry about it. Yes the end matters, but people will love it or hate it. Don’t think about the reader and the reviews. Think about yourself. Do you like it? If you do other people will too. You will never write a perfect ending that everyone loves. I had one reviewer that downgraded from 4 to 3 stars because they didn’t like the character’s name!

Top tip four:
Re-read your favourite books endings. Pick up the last chapter and read it. What did you love about it? What did you hate about it? Don’t leave your ending in the middle. Love it or hate it.

The second part of selling

The second part of selling.

There are a lot of people out there with a lot of views on how to sell a book. Just like a baby, there is no perfect advice. What works for one person doesn’t for someone else.

I’m going to tell you what worked for me.

My plan of attack. Use Facebook to generate traffic and clicks to your site and to amazon. Run free promo days on KDP every 3 months and use promotional websites like kindle nation daily, freebooksy, to get downloads. Set up your keywords in the backend of KDP to be relevant for your genre. Test you blurb as often as possible and constantly improve it. Own your name on google search. Present at as many local libraries and groups as possible, use that to get some radio, or mentions on blogs, use that to get more radio and so on.

The second part of selling is all about making sure you are doing all of the above. It’s easy to focus on one fun area (I’m looking at you Facebook) and forget about another.

You need to be doing all of the above, all of the time.

Now go back to the step by step guide and see what’s next!