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