Amazon Web Services and Facebook Ads for Books

My husband and I spent our Monday working on our side projects.  As a modern day author, marketing and publicity is just as crucial as writing, so I make an effort to understand the current technology trends.

Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services is the latest rage, and I wanted to get myself acquainted with it.  My husband explained Amazon Web Services is like buying a computer at a hosted location. It has less restrictions than locations hosted by others, and best of all, its free for a year!

My husband and I setup my account, following step by step instructions from a youtube video, and patted ourselves on the back when we were done. Then what?

I had hoped Amazon Web Services would allow me to use Google Analytics for my blog. Google Analytics supplies statistics on who clicks on your site.  Eventually, I would like to use that information to tailor my blog and website to the interests of my readers.

My Fallout with Amazon Web Services

Unfortunately, I came to the conclusion that most sites on Amazon Web Services use WordPress because they are easy and free to build. This was disappointing since free WordPress sites don’t allow free use of Google Analytics.

Another reason to use Amazon Web Services is to manage the computing power your site needs. While I have dreams and hopes of having a highly read website, at this point, WordPress can handle my number of readers.

I learned a lot, but ultimately, I decided not to use Amazon Web Services. I’d be interested in the benefits others are finding for their blog / author website hosted on Amazon Web Services.

Facebook Advertising

I wasn’t going to let my disappointment with Amazon Web Services ruin my day off. I turned to advertising, and where best to advertise but Facebook!

My goal was to determine what type of ads potential readers respond to the best. I created two ads.  One with a cover of the book and one with a witty picture. Both are included below:

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Facebook is picky about the amount of characters in the message and the amount of text in your picture. They also require you to create a facebook page for your service or product.  Here’s the link to my book series facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AfterlifeLessons

I setup a campaign for these ads with a budget of $100, and after a week I will go through the data and report back.  In addition to which ad resonated best, I will also see the breakdown by demographics, age, and geography.  Pretty neat!

What other facebook advertising tests are others running?

Introducing The Light of Supremazia on Amazon

“You think the dead we loved truly ever leave us? You think we don’t recall them more clearly in times of great trouble?”

Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

The Light of Supremazia, book #1 in the (after)life lessons series, is dedicated to those who have passed away, but who’s spirit remain with the living.

The book is now available on Amazon (CLICK HERE!).

About the Book

Think it’s difficult to get into Harvard University? Try Vita Post Mortem Academy, a prestigious high school where John F. Kennedy teaches a class called American Ghosts stories, Albert Einstein grades science tests, and history’s most brilliant and deceased minds make up the rest of the teaching staff. Not a problem for Jules Winklevoss, one of the few who can see spirits.

Getting into school was a cakewalk, but Jules learns not all spirits are engaging and inspiring teachers. Fourteen years ago, Jules’s family thwarted an evil spirit’s rise to power. Now, the evil spirit wants revenge on all Winklevoss’s, beginning with Jules. As if evil spirit problems aren’t enough, add best friend drama, unattainable boy crushes, and homework to the mix, and needless to say, high school is going to be dreadful. Jules is determined to protect her family and keep herself alive, even if that means delving into the world of the dead.

afterLIFE Lessons Book 1 - The Light of Supremazia

My Kindle Scout Experience

My Kindle Scout campaign for my book, The Light of Supremazia ended this week. Unfortunately, my book was not selected to be published by Kindle’s publishing house.

Stay tuned for another blog post with the link to buy the book on Amazon through their Kindle Direct Publishing website (aka self publishing).

I am sad, but as I mentioned in my first post at the beginning of the campaign, it was a great marketing effort and a way to get supporters involved.

As the days ticked by and I reviewed my stats, I had a feeling I wouldn’t win. The are bloggers out there with tens of thousands of followers. When they post their book on Kindle Scout, they automatically have tons of votes. I’m not saying this is unfair, just a reality. Blogging and writing books isn’t my day job, so I was starting from a few yards behind already.

I also wonder if the cover sells the book on these crowd-sourcing campaigns.  How many people actually read the free excerpt from my book?

Or perhaps September is a bad month to market a young adult book since most kids are back in school?

Kindle Scout is vague when it comes to the actual parameters to “win.” For others who are looking to try Kindle Scout, here are the stats from my campaign:

KindleScoutStats2 KindleScoutStats1

GhostFeed and Wikispirit

Its fun inventing things for my novel. I love putting a fantasy twist on existing items. Here are two of my favorite from my book, The Light of Supremazia.  It’s trending as HOT on Kindle Scout!  Three days left to vote for it on Kindle Scout!  CLICK HERE!!!

GhostFeed is a social, content-driven news and media site reporting all things relating to the spirit-seeing world. It has updates on the latest spirit gossip and nostalgic lists of spirit-seeing pasts.

GhostFeed

Wikispirits is a collaborative encyclopedia about all things spirit related. Want to know who was the first principal of Vita Post Mortem Academy?  Look it up on Wikispirits.

Wikispirits

Vote for The Light of Supremazia on Kindle Scout here!

What do you invent for your fantasy novels?

That Time I Elbowed Jimmy Fallon

What better time than now to tell you about my serendipitous moment with Jimmy Fallon?

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The Year: 2003.  It was Christmas time during my freshman year at New York University.

Thirty-Fourth Street was lit up with strands of red and green lights and packed with tourists.

My best friend, Emily, had taken the Long Island Railroad, and when I picked her up from Penn Station, she gave the bums a tentative glance.

I was going to assuage her concerns.  I had just finished my first semester, and felt on top of the world. Manhattan was my kingdom, and I was going to show my best friend how I reigned as queen.

We walked along Sixtieth Street arm and arm, our heads held high, immune to the cold and unaware of our innocence. Bursting through the old time-y double doors, passing by the opulent and playful oddities, we announced our arrival.  We were the most important people there.

I walked straight up to the distracted hostess…

…and waited…

…and huffed…

…and waited…

…and put my hands on my hips…

…and waited…

…and right as the hostess looked up with a condescending smile, I felt someone push against my arm to get past.

No.

I was the queen in her kingdom. No one was going to get their table before me.

I pulled up to my tallest height, pushed my elbows out a little more, and would. Not. Let. This. Person. Past.

Just as I was about to give this guy a piece of my New Yorker mind, I caught of glance at the line-cutter.

Giggles erupted.  It was Jimmy Fallon.

Too high to notice, Jimmy probably didn’t have a clue what just happened, but Emily and I went from confident, controlled ladies of Manhattan to hysterical, little girls.  We rushed out of the restaurant as quick as possible.

afterLIFE Lessons Book 1 - The Light of Supremazia

Unrelated to anything I just wrote, vote for The Light of Supremazia on Kindle Scout!  CLICK HERE!!! 6 days left!

A Cast of #Actors for Your #Book

I think coming up with a cast for your book is a great exercise.  Just like pinning ideas on a pinterest page, it helps you determine qualities of your characters and brainstorm traits you didn’t think about.

I put together a cast for my book currently posted on Kindle Scout, The Light of Supremazia!  It’s about kids who can see spirits and attend a high school run by famous dead people.

Jules Winklevoss would be played by Kiernan Shipka, also known as Sally Draper from the Mad Men series.  Just like Jules Winklevoss, she can be tough, brave, snotty, and vulnerable at the same time.

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Jules has two best friends at Vita Post Mortem Academy.  Dahlia Langdon is the shy and awkward friend who grew up in a prestigious, broken family.  She would be played by Ariel Winter from Modern Family.

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Jules’s other best friend, Logan Klomp, is a know-it-all, lovesick half-Asian dude who doesn’t care about fitting in.  He would be played by Nickelodeon’s Ryan Potter.

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Jules’s equally brazen, but less approachable, sister, Sharpee Winklevoss would be played by Emma Watson.  Honestly, I picked Emma because she looks a bit like Kiernan, and of course I loved her as Hermione.

Emma-Watson

Sharpee’s best (and only) friend is Chase Hastings, a rich kid, living in his older brother Ryder Hastings the Third‘s perfect shadow.  Chase and Ryder would be played by Nash Overstreet (from the band Hot Chelle Rae) and Chord Overstreet (Glee).

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Vote for The Light of Supremazia on Kindle Scout!

What exercises do you use to understand your #characters better? Share with #author @alanasiegel (click to tweet)

Technology in Literature

To make a contemporary novel timeless, an author needs to balance the use of outdated technology and the most recent fads and trends.

As a reader, you never noticed the lack of computers in Harry Potter, no matter when you read it.

However, the book series and TV show Pretty Little Liars would never have succeeded without the inclusion of cell phones.

Technology is constantly improving and here to stay.  I think it is best to include as long as the technology isn’t a short-term craze.

PhantomFollow

Since my latest book is a young-adult fantasy novel, I recognized my core audience uses technology all the time, so I decided to invent an app.

The Light of Supremazia is about a girl who can see spirits. PhantomFollow is an app that tracks spirits, and its gone viral at Vita Post Mortem Academy. The more famous or rare the spirit, the more points the player gets. See the app in the app store above. 🙂

Vote for The Light of Supremazia on Kindle Scout.

How do you deal with current #technology in your #writing ? Join author @alanasiegel in the discussion (Click to tweet)

#Harry Potter had no new #tech – timeless? Share with writer @alanasiegel (Click to tweet)