Today, with the assistance of Uzair from India, I launched my first Facebook advertisement. Normally, I wouldn't consider myself an idiot, but Facebook's advertisement creation process made me feel like one. Hence, Uzair.
One observation I noticed is that we didn't use the "power editor" for FB ads. I've heard that the power editor is robust, powerful, effective, and all sorts of wonderful things. It's also damned confusing and difficult to use. If there's anyone out there who'd like to teach me how to use it, please contact me. I promise not to hurl my computer through the window during the tutorial.
I attended a couple of webinars on FB advertising and neither one proved helpful. They were sales pitches. Look, folks, if you're going to promote your webinar as offering useful information, then said useful information should not be "Hire me to do this for you."
So, let's get back to my ad.
FB's ad creator doesn't allow for scheduling advertisements--unless you're willing to pay an outrageous fee--which seems totally absurd. Why wouldn't scheduling be included to make it easier to coordinate marketing efforts? For instance, to run an advertisement (which I am) for the first week of December, then I have go launch the ad today or really early on December 1. I can't just set start and end dates, which one might think would make common sense.
FB has the advertiser set daily rates. They offer default amounts: $5/day, $50/day, etc. Or you can enter in the amount you're willing to pay per day. I'm not sure how this works, but apparently the ad remains effective until a maximum number of "clicks" (determined by the daily rate) are tracked. Since you may be curious, let's just say that I'm betting my second year's royalty payments on this marketing effort. Fingers are crossed.
FB also has weird campaign objectives, especially in the power editor. My campaign objective is simple: I want people to buy my books. (Honestly, every author wants that. I'm just being blatant here.) My books are sold on Amazon. I want the link to take people to my author page on Amazon to buy my books. Pretty simple. FB doesn't have a "go here to buy" option, which I find frustrating.
I'll quit griping now.
So, dear reader, if you've been waiting for my books to go on sale, now's the time to buy. Every e-book in the Holly Bargo catalog is on sale for $0.99 through December 7. Stock up your digital library. And leave good reviews. I need those, too.
We start this week's blog with a promotion. Hen House Publishing will offer all e-books by Holly Bargo for only 99¢ each from December 1 through 7. Spread the word and indulge yourself a little to escape the holiday season stress.
Oh, the irony
Yesterday morning as I was chasing down freelance gigs, I came across the following buyer requests on Fiverr that tickled my funny bone, or maybe I should say the irony button.
I come across a lot of dishonest people wanting to hire vendors to do their homework for them, but few are quite so blatant as these. Of course, I did not respond to them. Some things do not deserve the dignity of a response, rather like those RFPs seeking writers who will work for less than $1 per hour.
Unfortunately, it must be the month when students are scrambling to turn in assignments, because I've come across pitifully few good gigs in the last three weeks. That means that I'm begging for work. Therefore, if any of you reading this is in need of a good writer or editor, please consider me.
As is appropriate for the fourth week of November, I would like to express my gratitude for clients, family, and friends for their business and support. I truly appreciate you.
Yeah, you knew I wouldn't get all mushy.
I imagine I'm not so different than many authors who occasionally check the reviews of my books. Of course, I hope for positive, glowing reviews that not only give me warm fuzzy feelings but also inspire others to purchase my books. Of course, not everyone who reads any of my books will like every one of those books. That's realistic and, frankly, where I find the most useful feedback--in those sour lemons.
Russian Gold received a particularly negative review, honesty soaked in venom. However well-marinated in vitriol, those very good points that reader identified showed where I failed the story. I responded, hoping to initiate a civil conversation and, perhaps, persuade that reader to consider reading other books. I hope that she'll give me, as an author, another chance.
In my response, I addressed the reader's main points. She replied and countered with a couple other observations that were spot-on--things that I and my other beta readers should have noticed and didn't. I asked that reader if she were interested in serving as a beta reader, because critical feedback always helps.
Addressing those issues before publishing the book would have made it a stronger book. That doesn't mean I would alter the character(s) and their action; however, it does mean that characters and their actions would make more sense. In short, there would be more explanation, more background, and more reason for those actions.
But the book's out and I'm not likely to change it now. I did, however, revise the cover blurb (book description). I hope that will provide some direction.
If this reader agrees to serve as a beta reader, I neither expect nor want her to be my cheerleader. I do expect and want her to remain critical. Honest, critical feedback helps greatly, although I could do without the hostility. I am hoping she'll accept and bring that critical eye to future books, pointing out plot holes and other aspects that I miss if only because I'm too close to the story.
On a positive note, the very harshness of the review tells me that, although the reader hated the story, she didn't hate the writing. She did not condemn the quality of the writing, which I actually find encouraging. That means I'm on the right track as far as mastering the craft.
Have a sip of lemonade, folks.
There’s nothing so terrifying as a giant leap into the unknown, unless it’s a push over the precipice. On November 30, 2015, I lost my job.
I saw it coming. My client—the company’s second largest—announced their intention of moving to another management company. In all honesty, I didn’t blame the client. Company policy restricted employees to the point of ineffectual passivity and crushed morale. Knowing of the client’s imminent departure, I embarked upon an intense job hunt.
To no avail.
Management, for all their many faults, read the writing on the wall, too. They shoved me out the door without ceremony. Although prepared, I was still shocked and hurt, especially when I learned they’d already hired my replacement (who quit less than six months later). The client association’s president called me at home and expressed her displeasure over the termination of my employment and a glowing letter of recommendation. That offered small comfort.
Following my husband’s kind advice, I took a week to relax and emotionally decompress before applying for unemployment compensation and renewing the job hunt. Over the next several months I managed to snag some interviews, but nothing panned out. Instead, I solicited my service as a freelance writer and editor. Slowly, slowly, the work began to trickle in—-enough to give hope, not enough to pay for weekly groceries. I cannot over-emphasize how supportive he has been; I am blessed in that man.
The job hunt gave way to a part-time gig that I still hold, although I now consider myself a full-time freelancer…er…content consultant.
That shove off the edge of a regular salary proved frightening, even though my husband’s steady employment offered a generous parachute to soften the landing. I’ve been able to ease my way into a freelance career, because my husband’s employment (and six months of unemployment compensation) allowed me to land softly rather than splatter and shatter on the sharp rocks of financial ruin.
So, now I fly. Okay, I hop, skip, and jump with occasional moments of glorious suspension. But those moments make the long hours of unpaid and poorly paid work worth the time and effort. I learn as I go. I find myself grateful for the good clients. The not-so-good clients get the same competent and prompt service, but without the willingness to go over and above the contractual obligations.
I leaped because I was pushed and I’ve never been happier with my career. Too bad it took almost 30 years to get here.
So, to my last employer: Thanks for the shove out the door. I needed that.
I wasn't really sure what to write this week, but the topic dropped into my lap this morning.
A freelancer contacted me (no, I didn't respond to an RFP) asking what I could do to help her improve her proposals. Well, that was vague, so I asked for more information, such as what services, exactly, did she want? Did she want someone to edit existing content or write (or rewrite) content? They're distinct and separate services.
She replied with even more information, explaining that her proposals to provide proposal writing services weren't generating her anticipated response from potential clients. She admitted that her boilerplate content might need a total revamping.
OK, I replied. Are you submitting privately or through a platform? That's important, because bidding on RFPs through a platform is 1) convenient and 2) fiercely competitive. It often boils down to whoever quotes the cheapest fee. If using a platform, what's the maximum character or word count permitted? I asked that because it's best to know what we have to work with; limits on response length can and do restrict detail.
Again, I received a prompt reply. This was looking promising. She attached a sample proposal and asked for my opinion. Well, I wrote back, it's generic. I offered to rewrite her proposal boilerplate, provided she supply the necessary information and posted my fee for the project. The fee I quoted her was about 20 percent of my normal fee for writing a business proposal--a courtesy extended to a fellow freelancer.
And...you guessed it. She declined. I didn't think my fee exorbitant in the least, considering that this project would take about a week to complete, considering all the back-and-forth we'd need to go through to ensure that it satisfied her requirements and fit within the average limitations for document length.
What she did want was for me to point out just what needed to be fixed and to tell her precisely how to fix them. In other words, she wanted free consulting service.
It's bad enough that people hiring "content consultants" don't value the time, effort, and skill that go into crafting their documents; but, having a fellow freelancer try to take advantage of me really stings. I'm sure she'll manage to sucker someone else into providing her with free consultant work.
Sometimes it's hard to take the high road.
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.