Coronavirus & ad spend – 2020 Writing Week 11

Mike Grist Weekly Writing Update, Writing 1 Comment

It has been a really weird week – I’m sure for everyone. Tuesday we started self-isolating, and that morning I had to prep a powerpoint lesson with audio over the top to be delivered by colleagues who were still on campus.

Wednesday everyone was off, and I had another lesson to prep and record, same on Thursday, then Friday I had the first online drop-in 1-1 with a student.

I thought working from home would mean more time for writing, but it hasn’t worked out that way yet. Most likely that’s about getting used to the new working environment, learning to do audio over slides (it’s easy), joining team meetings online, and feeling a sense that Microsoft Teams is watching me at all times.

Of course it isn’t. Most people are barely even checking in via Teams chat – so I’m definitely showing up more than them. Next week I think will be much better.

On isolation

It’s not so bad. We’re really fortunate to have a park right in front of us – we can pop around for a walk and not go near anyone. We often stay home anyway on weekends, so it’s not so different – but of course it does feel a bit cooped up.

We could easily go to another park for a walk, a picnic, but not feeling that much desire to do it yet. Maybe soon.

And writing…?

One big step this week was finally finishing editing Wren 3 Reparation. It’s definitely better after this rework – faster, more justified, more streamlined. I’m really happy with it – now I just need to put aside 8 hours to proof-listen to the narrator’s work! That’s a lot of time…

I’ve turned my eye back to book 4 in the last few days. I found a couple of what might be early flaws, and reworked them. I’m up to chapter 15, but I may need to delete a couple of chapters for pace. That’s fine. Make those edits now, and it feels cleaner as I roll on to 16 and through. More momentum in back.

Regarding ads – I’ve been having great success in moving the Last Mayor box set up the charts – it’s been selling 80/90 a day most of this week, and had a bestseller badge on Amazon uk throughout, ranked around 600. In the US it hit around 2800.

Last time this happened was Nov/Dec last year – I was spending up to 100 pounds a day, and I cut the ads clean off because it didn’t seem I was making money. Then the page reads started to roll in. Up to 30,000 pages a day – which was making me a nice profit.

I’m at the same kind of point now. The ads are expensive, they’re working, but the page reads are not there yet. I’m losing money day-by-day, waiting for them to kick in. the thing is, who knows if they will? Maybe people take weeks to start reading a book through KU. Maybe I’m waiting for Amazon to send an auto-generated recommendation email. Maybe maybe…

I better trim daily ad spend. It may be that those big page reads Dec-Feb were not caused by my Nov-Dec ad spend, and were instead caused by something else. Or myabe I exhausted all the KU readers who want to read my book?

Only way to know is with this test. If this one doesn’t pay off, I expect I won’t do a big push again. It’s really nice to be top of a bestseller chart, but that’s just vanity without profit.

Oh – I also read a new book on AMS Ads – Amazon Ads Unleashed by Robert J. Ryan. His main takeaway was how to prune existing ads. It helped. I was already turning off ads/keywords that didn’t get a sale in 10 clicks. It’s also a good move to turn off ones that don’t even get a good click rate. Anything less than 0.1% CTR (clickthrough rate) I’ll probably turn off. That’s less than 1 click for 1000 impressions. Pretty poor.

While doing this, I noticed I was using the keyword ‘Dune’ a lot. It never made a sale. I need to be more on top of my keywords – how many times did I waste clicks and money discovering ‘Dune’ was a bad keyword for these books?

Oh – I also started giving away free copies of the Wren audiobook 1. Hopefully some reviews will come through, but none yet. I heard that I still get paid when people redeem these free codes, so that’s pretty good, and a strong argument to just give them all away. Free money!

Comments 1

  1. Look after yourselves. Hopefully you and Sue have got masks. With her problems with pollen – and it all just starting she needs to be doubly careful. x

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