Post Data Revelations Ads – 2020 Writing Week 9

Mike Grist Weekly Writing Update, Writing Leave a Comment

So mid-week I had all those revelations fuelled by some new data analysis – full post here – but in essence these were the findings:

  • The Last Mayor 1-9 box set has sold 1 copy for every 3 ad clicks consistently for the last 3 months, earning a tidy profit.
  • The Wren thrillers sell 1 for every 10 ad clicks and have decent readthrough, but lose money because the funnel is not deep enough (not enough books at high enough price).

My response was to increase the price of Saint Justice to $2.99 and cut loss-making Facebook ads, while substantially upping Last Mayor ads.

I also stumbled upon a new Facebook targeting option – a 1% Lookalike audience based off my FB page and ad interactions. I’ve done this before but received nothing for it – perhaps because I narrowed the targeting to people who like Kindle, zombies, etc…

Seems that was a mistake. FB algorithms when they select 1% are already pretty good – according to author Andrew Raymond. I set up a US and a UK ad set at 1% and no narrowing, gave each a $5 budget, and…

Incredible click prices. 7c in US – almost 3 times cheaper than my standard around 20c. 11p in the UK – maybe a third cheaper than my standard at around 16p.

Pretty great so far. And am I getting substantial sales? Well – yesterday I got 200 clicks off a $20 budget. I sold maybe 15 more copies than I would have otherwise. That looks closer to 1:10.

But – that’s not all she wrote.

I remember cutting these ads after Dec 2019 because I wasn’t seeing 1:3 rates. But, weirdly, those rates manifested anyway. This must have been due to some other factor – like Amazon sent my book out in some emails, thanks to its strong rank. Perhaps that is what kept the book selling well through Jan and Feb.

In any case – it most likely happened because of the ads.

This morning the box set was #1 in Cyberpunk in the UK – just down to these ads. Around 1,600 in the whole store. It seems only me and Bobby Adair (Slow Burn box set – 550 reviews) are doing much AMS ads in the UK. Fine by me.

#1 in Cyberpunk puts me above everyone, really. It’s pretty amazing – considering I didn’t have a Bookbub or anything. Whoever had a Bookbub in Cyberpunk didn’t sell as many as me? I guess. I only sold 40 – 20 in UK. However we look at it, it’s pretty good.

So, yes. I’ll run these ads for some time, before I properly take their temperature. Amazon reporting can run days behind. Plus – it’ll take time for Kindle Unlimited people who picked it up to start reading through.


I continue to race through editing Wren 3, Reparation, to stay ahead of my narrator. I see issues and get worried, then the next day iron them out and feel better. Maybe the biggest issue in this book is:

  • Anger at soft targets. I knew this as I wrote it. Wren goes after social media hard and brutal. He also goes after a compound that might be seen as hipsterish protesters, hard. He also seems to relish it.

Well. I can remove the relish. Don’t overload his reluctance to do what he has to do, but mention it a few times. Also, make each ‘soft’ target worse. More strikeable. The protesters were collecting weapons and chemicals. That’s legit terrorist behaviour. The social media companies cared most about money, not truth.

It’s better.

I also wrote a little on Wren 4. One chapter. Things took an unexpected but cool turn. Gives the book a unique method for Wren to use to crack bad guys. I haven’t seen it elsewhere. It’s definitely tech-based – these are definitely Black Mirror-ish technothrillers. I try to keep the SF element down.


London Book Fair has been canceled. For the first time I took a day off from work (difficult to do – busy time at end of term) to attend, and they cancel it. So I cancel my day off. There is still SPS Live – on Monday Mark Dawson and team are running their conference, which I will attend.

Mark Dawson also has a writer’s retreat this weekend, starting today, which I probably could have attended. I applied after seeing him post about a space going free last weekend – it looked to be $500 for the weekend, with ad talk, one-to-ones and such. I was still deep into the mindset that Wren wasn’t converting and readthrough was poor – so I needed to do something with the sales page.

I didn’t hear back from Mark. I did my data analysis and realized Wren was losing money primarily because of the pricing. Then when Mark emailed yesterday with (what I suspect is) another empty space, $1000 full price, I didn’t feel the same sense of urgency.

I’d probably be better off reserving that $1000 for my ads. If the box set history holds true, I can turn that $1k into $2k, from there to $4k, etc…


We shall see.

Looking forward to the weekend. Super chill, plus exercise. Life is good.

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