It’s been a weekend of two halves, with regard to my writing. On one hand, I have made a tiny bit of progress with “Gregory 1” – the first Gregory Hardiman book, set in Cambridge. I have learned a lot about coroner’s inquests, and I have decided on a couple of confidants for Gregory – yes, a coroner, and perhaps a surgeon as well. I found John Conant – a magistrate – an invaluable part of the Sam series, as the two men were able to discuss their work, and I feel I need someone in a similarly educated position for Gregory. (I have also discovered that he doesn’t like being called Greg; Samuel Plank was perfectly easy with being called Sam, but Gregory insists on the full Gregory. I wonder why…)
And on the other hand, I have been running an experimental Facebook ad for the past five days. I have a dedicated Facebook page for my non-fiction business book “The Solo Squid: How to Run a Happy One-Person Business”, and for weeks now they have been tempting me with a £5 “credit” to try an ad to promote the page. And in a moment of weakness – OK, a moment when I should have been writing but convinced myself that doing something commercial to promote a book was actually just as good as writing [spoiler alert: it isn’t] – I went for it. I signed up to spend up to £1 a day for five days promoting the squid page to potential buyers of the book, with an ad to entice them to click on a link taking them to the Amazon page for the book. I will admit that I didn’t put a great deal of thought into the ad or its settings, simply accepting the Facebook defaults for most of it, on the basis that as this was my first ad, they would do their best for me in order to suck me in for future campaigns. I did limit the ad a little, by asking for it to be shown to both genders in the age range 25 to 58 [I figure that the very young aren’t setting up their own businesses quite yet, and those at the end of their working lives aren’t looking for guidance], in the US and the UK [prime English-speaking nations] and with a declared interest in entrepreneurship. This netted me a potential target audience numbering 11,000,000, which Facebook assured me was ideal. And off we went.
Five days later, Facebook informs me that my ad run has finished. Over the five days it was seen by 1,399 people, eleven of whom clicked the link. That cost me £4.80 of my £5 credit – or just under 44p per click. Looking at the Amazon sales figures, I see that in the same period (10 to 14 June 2020) I sold no copies of “The Solo Squid”. I’ll keep an eye on the sales in the next few days in case one of the eleven clicks put the book in their basket for later purchase, but based on this small and most unscientific experiment, I can safely say that I will not be investing the Grossey fortune in Facebook ads. Back to the writing board.