Crazy work, Saint Justice tweaks and AMS tools – 2020 Writing Week 7

Mike GristWeekly Writing Update, Writing Leave a Comment

This week was crazy at work – I had my first session in the Main Lecture Theatre – 400 capacity, and it was pretty much full. 340, apparently. I think it was not the easiest group either – the lecturers who mostly run this cohort are struggling to control them, make them be quiet, make them stop cheating.

I was running a session on plagiarism.

It’s definitely the case with this new job that every new class I come into, I have to grab their attention and hold it. Normally as a teacher you do this once at the start of term, then don’t need to keep doing it. Here I do it every time – and it is definitely more tiring than the other way. Grabbing and holding the attention of 340 noisy people?

In the moment it’s exhilarating. Afterward the fatigue of it set in like a bruise. I always felt like week 1 of a new term was mentally draining. Now I get that mental drainage with every class. However, I’m already prepping ways to deal with this. It may be that clapping does the job. A lot easier than doing the ‘shhh shhh’ BS.


Saint Justice tweaks

I did a lot more tweaking of Saint Justice. I changed the cover figure – after doing a photo shoot with me as the model yesterday. That was pretty fun. Shame that afterward I got sick with flu and have been laid up all weekend. Now I have a library of running figures that I can use for future covers. Here they are- covers 1 and 3 now feature me as the protagonist:

It now seems that the cover 2 guy is too skinny. I may swap him out for me as well, if I can be bothered. It takes time.

What changes did I make to blurb? Well, biggest may be actually on the FB ad – I found a guy saying he got clicks for 12p on FB, so I looked him up on the ads library, and found he was using a really simple hook. I adapted it slightly to this:

“He uncovered a shocking terror network that would devastate America. Now he’s on the hunt…”

Ran it as a FB ad, and immediately halved my click cost! Damn. Now I’m down to 12p a click. People want to have the excitement given to them in 1 or 2 short sentences. Make it clear. OK.

At the same time, I checked my FB ad conversion rates and they are around 4%. Is that better or worse after tweaks? I don’t really have that comparison data. Approx 1 in 20 is a sale. At $2.99 (I just bumped the price) I’m making $2 profit per sale. Twenty clicks cost me $2.40. So, at absolute best, I’m 40c under. Most likely I’m much more under than that.

So the goal is to up readthrough. I think one issue through all the books is the damage taken. Not only to Wren, but to those around him. In book 1 almost everybody we meet dies. The good guys. The bad guys. Random people on the side. On top of which the ‘civil war’ killed 3000.

Ugh. Wren gets 3 of his cult members killed. He gets the old truck driver lady killed. Mason gets killed. Who wants to read another book with such a poor success rate?

Some of those I can change. There’s no need for the truck driver lady to die. Even Mason could survive. That would be nice. I wish I had a way around killing Henry and Abdul. Even let Eustace survive too! Poor dummy. I’ll do something with that.

AMS tools

I just found a new tool – really the the thing I was looking for last week aslo – called YakPal. It can grab every ASIN number off a top 50 page in one go. So I can harvest 100s of the top ASINs in seconds. Before I would have to click them all one by one. Now – scoop and done.

I’m feeling I need to advertise the zombie set more widely. Its rank is dropping, and I want to buoy it up. A wider range of ads may cut it. We shall see.

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