Friday, April 26, 2013

Facebook and Me

First of all, let me say that my birthday is not listed in Facebook. I notice that many of my friends list their birthdays on Facebook. Happy birthday to them, but I think it's a bad idea, like announcing your vacation plans on Facebook. Or mentioning your mother's maiden name, or your high school mascot, or the name of your first pet. Or your Social Security number.

Having said that, and revealed (or perhaps only hinted at) the depths of my personal paranoia, I will now say something nice about Facebook. Facebook will sell you absolutely the cheapest ads imaginable.

Yes, I bought an ad on Facebook last week. I was delighted with it. I ran it for two days at ten dollars a day. It was by way of announcing that I had successfully published Monkeystorm on CreateSpace as a paperback.

That was pretty much all I did the week before last, prepare the book for publication and make a cover. As I have surely mentioned to you until you're sick of hearing it, Monkeystorm went up as a Kindle a couple of weeks ago. But some of my friends complained that they had no Kindle, that they in fact detested reading on an electronic device and wanted a paper book.

How hard could that be? I asked myself. Not all that hard, as it turned out, given that the folks at CreateSpace were willing to work with a docx file. Formatting text is for me a little like cutting a movie together. It's satisfying in almost the same way. Word has a command for drop caps! I could put drop caps at the beginning of each chapter! Elegant! In the end I was able to use Word to submit the whole thing, even the cover, which has to be a PDF. I did the cover art with GIMP and inserted it as a picture file. All you have to do is set the margins to zero.

But enough of this technical jargon. The point of the story is that I made an actual book out of my virtual book, which CreateSpace now offers for sale. I set the price at $8.99, as cheap as I could make it and still see a tiny little royalty. Now to get the word out, I said to myself.

So I made an announcement on my Facebook page, with an image of the cover, the angry gorilla face. Facebook said, this could be an ad, Kate Gallison. I said, yes.

They give you options of whom to show your ad to. By age. By sex. By geographical location. By education level. By interest (everybody has entered their interests, right?) By whether or not they already know you. They say, okay, you have chosen a universe of 75,483,221. These people will see your ad. (Actually not all of them will see your ad. Some of them will see your ad.) You tell them, run the ad for two days at ten dollars a day. Within those parameters, they charge by the click. A Facebook patron clicks on your ad, and Facebook charges you, up to ten dollars a day. So now I am a predator instead of the preyed upon. I have bought into their business plan, that of selling their patrons.

Here are my ultimate statistics, according to Facebook:

5,196 people saw the Facebook post that was the ad.

57 people clicked on it.

31 people liked it. Perfect strangers, most of them.

One guy in Utah (Say, I wonder if he knows my nephew Tim) left me a comment.

Of course, nobody bought the book. But, hey. You can't have everything. When I mount my campaign to sell Bucker Dudley I'll have a handle on how running an ad on Facebook works, and I'll try it again.

Kate Gallison


  1. All that weird stuff you know! You're amazing, and it's now clear to me why God meant you to be my Blog Administrator!
    Bob K.

  2. Kate, thus is incredibly useful, as well as charmingly written. Thank you!

  3. Bob, while you were chasing bad guys in Brooklyn I was doing COBOL programming for the state of New Jersey. I am, let me confess it proudly, a geek. Annamaria, one of the most useful things I discovered was that most of the action takes place on Day One, Facebook-adwise. Thus the most effective ad will run for one day. $10. Think about it. Also, your friends don't need to see the ad, since they're following your activities already. So I'm planning my strategy for the next one.

  4. I was very impressed, along with Robert And Patricia, with your immense knowledge in the land of computerana! I barely know the meaning of COBOL! On the other hand, I have been a heavy hitter in some other fields - Latin teacher of gifted kids, modern dance teacher and composer of dance dramas, including one based on De Rerum Natura by Lucretius, a Corporate Employment Relations Manager and Assessment Center Creator of a Fortune 100 Headquarters, a Vice President of Drake Beam, the premier outplacement firm international, published poetry in the Christian Science Monitor, a volume of poems published by The University of the South Press, sold short fiction to a major commercial publisher, and a few other little jobs as Camp Director of the YWCA, Colorado and of the Girl Scouts in Virginia! My agent, who is a VP of the premier agency in the USA, likes my spy novels and we hope to sell any day! But aside from these little items, I keep a low profile and love my series, which feature an ex-CIA agent, a Jewish psychotherapist and the most horrible psychopath on the face of the earth! TJ Straw

  5. P.S. I forgot two of my biggest jobs - Headmistress of a College Prep School in Sewanee, TN and Dean of Admissions of a college in Newport, RI! I think my favorite job was as a career counselor for law firms and accounting firms - now those folks are some brainy and challenging types! tjs

  6. Madame Administrator, what do you charge us peons for a how-to-do on Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter or is it Tweeter or Twit?? I get notices all the time to join folks all over the globe and when I try to my left foot trips up my right foot and I end up with the blank page that says Google in the center. T.J. Straw, D.A. ( A quarter for you if you get D.A. correctly!!!)

  7. Hmm. Well. Your first mistake is doing it with your feet. I'm not particularly effective on Twitter, might as well be doing it with my feet, and Linked In is for business connections, not for the likes of me. If you want to get on Facebook, though, and really there's no reason to, go to www.facebook,com and do whatever they tell you to. I think they want your email and then you have to make up a password. Don't give them any information you don't have to. Keith Snyder won't even tell them what sex he is.