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Messages - RBC

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Just remember that it isn't just simple math *until* you get past the problems with tiny data sets.  Usually a young ad that has a good ACoS just happened to have an early sale or two that skewed the ACoS.  Often the ACoS will skyrocket as more data is gathered.   I had one ad that sold a 5.49 book on the first click (a click that I paid 0.02 for!).  Despite the really promising ACoS that I briefly saw on my dashboard, that did not scale well at all. :-)

Not disagreeing at all. But seeing profitable ad is a good sign so that's why it's interesting to see if more come and if it can be scaled, even if only doubled (but that at least will cover service spend). This is normal for PPC testing... it takes time and tries.


Performance-wise, of the nine ads, only two ads are seeing any movement at all as far as sales are concerned. One has an ACoS of 15.5% and the other 169.74%. Overall profit to date, $16.00, minus their $49, which means this isnít working for me right now. Going to pull my subscription after January if things donít improve. They mustíve realised that they would get swamped, as I would gladly pay for a service like this if it worked properly. And of course, it's .com only. Not UK.
Anyway, I hope this helps.

So you already have one profitable ad?

That is good. Means you can scale it up and spend more on it. That's when you're $49 spend on service will be paid back... It's gonna be hard to make back $49 spend if author only spends few bucks per day. There won't be enough profit daily to compensate but if someone spends $20 a day on profitable ad, that will compensate for service expenses. Simple math.

Writers' Cafe / Re: - 30 New Premades Added on Sale!
« on: December 13, 2017, 11:56:03 AM »
30 new Premades added on the website. Added some Sci-Fi covers after a long while, have been neglecting those.

Check out the new ones here in preview:

You can browse all designs here:


Writers' Cafe / Re: Series book cover designs? Where?
« on: December 13, 2017, 11:50:17 AM »
Derek Murphy's sounds like a fit:

But honestly, you just ask any designer about serialising covers. Whether premades or not, all is possible. Just have to inquire.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Need to make $7000 by march 1st.
« on: December 10, 2017, 03:06:17 PM »
Piggybacking on this a little. I know people who go to Walmart's clearance aisles, use an app to check what those discounted products are currently selling for on Amazon, load up their carts, and sell that stuff at full price on Amazon. They cover all the nearby Walmarts and I'm told it brings them a few hundred extra dollars per month. 

Cool! Didn't think that'd be possible but that's another option then. :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Need to make $7000 by march 1st.
« on: December 10, 2017, 02:07:59 PM »
Start flipping things. Go to dollar shops or Facebook Marketplace and see what you can buy cheap and resell for more. Often you can find something cheap in dollar stores or yard sales and then flip it online. Heck, sell stuff you don't use from your home! Money you are sitting on.

That is one of the most realistic ways to earn money quite fast.


And here is someone who did that challenge and made over $20k in a month:

All you need is effort to succeed.

From what people re saying the man has too much work already and bombarding him with emails asking about testing are going to make things worse. Suggestion. Why not let the business run (limp) with those on board letting everyone know how it goes and the rest of us keep to the sidelines and await further development. This is either going to work really, really well... or not.

I like the idea, but........ $49 a month????

People need to talk with the owner because now there are expectations that are either too much or not enough understanding about the PPC thing. Communicating clearly is important and if the service provider didn't at first, that's their problem.

Not to mention I said those who use service already should email, not everybody....

It's important to have realistic expectations.

Agencies price PPC management at four figures a month to start. (One-man shops may price lower - e.g. $500/mo.) Then, they get a percentage (10 to 20%) of the client's ad spend. This ad spend is usually at least $1,000 per month, and that's for piker clients. Those whose ad spend is $5,000+ get more attention because they're more profitable for the agency. (duh)

Compare these figures to BookAds' model.

They charge $49/mo. And they're not getting a percentage of clients' ad spend.

This means they need to onboard clients until the barn is filled to the rafters. That's the only way to make this type of service commercially viable.

With the barn filled to the rafters, how much service can you expect to receive? How much time can you expect the company to spend managing the 10 ads they create for you?

I'm not saying the service is bad. Just manage your expectations.

Very true. PPC management is very expensive and is data-intensive work.

One more things is that PPC ads need Testing! Not 'set up and forget it' and watch sales grow. But any PPC service needs time to test different ads and work with author on feedback etc.

So it's not really fair to judge the service after one month. But it's also not really good if they don't talk about testing and don't have at least some level of communication with author about what they think about ads, what they learned this month and what they intend to test next.

I'd encourage those who use them to email and ask about testing and see what's their strategy there. If they don't intend to test and will just leave ads like they are after first month then it's not a great service.

Writers' Cafe / Re: cover art plagiarism question
« on: December 09, 2017, 11:06:19 AM »
You won't get in trouble. You bought the artwork; you can use it how you like (barring any specific terms you may or may not have agreed to). The only way plagiarism would come into play is if the second artist was taking credit for the whole design (using it in a portfolio or for a contest, for example), but that would be the artist's issue and not yours. Clients at my old job often asked for something they had done by another artist previously to be re-created.

Not true if artist used stock images... no one can re-sell stocks and most often we designers use Standard Licenses which limit where they can be used (no POD for mugs, t-shirts etc).

OP, if the original ship is 100% created by the first designer, just ask him about it. He will most likely allow it. :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Humorous Addition to Cover
« on: December 07, 2017, 02:33:19 PM »
Very cool! Did sales increase 25% too on the ad clicks?


Their short About section is there and mention few real names, that's good. Buck Flogging is the guy from multiple projects, like Buck Books... I've heard some good things about Buck Books for non-fiction..

Derek Doepker guys is on Amazon and has non-fiction books. Not doing too bad there.

Tough to judge because internet is very fragmented.. some people don't know Mark Dawson or think he's a marketer just selling courses instead of books. Crazy thing for many on Kboards. Even with podcast he's not known for all indies. So these guys might be doing good but we still don't know them much..

If the service works, $49 is a not much at all. Peace of mind and headaches saved are worth more.

Hopefully, this can be useful.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Website re-review
« on: December 05, 2017, 04:57:44 AM »

It was just a dark mass - in line with the dark fantasy setting of the books - and held no significance.  I have since swapped it out for something a bit more
Celtic - see what you think.


Good, they fit the theme well. ;)

Bumpy bump!

Looks like there are 2 spots left for $199 websites now.

Booking for January as I'm booked for next few weeks and not sure if I'll work during Christmas/New Year's week.

If you need an author website to kick off 2018 this is a great time to book a spot!

Have a great week!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Website re-review
« on: December 04, 2017, 06:58:40 AM »

I implemented a few changes during a bit of free time over the weekend.  I increased the margin spacing between text and images, added 'Reviews' sub headings, added drop shadows to the books - to give them a more three-dimensional feel - and experimented with section colours - these failed miserably, and looked horrid, so I've introduced some section breaks, instead of colours, to break up the content.


Definitely improved clarity. Small tweak but it has made a difference!

Tho I can't figure out what that thing is that you inserted, looks distorted.

Writers' Cafe / Re: foreign pricing
« on: December 04, 2017, 12:39:25 AM »
Same price but in local currency probably.

Joanna Penn recommends to go in and change foreign prices to the prices of the location. Going through the bestsellers and seeing how your prices stack up. If they're too high, might help to lower them.

And that's esp. true in countries like India, Brasil etc where normal price here is way way too high to make sales there.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Epic Fantasy Cover feedback please
« on: December 02, 2017, 04:57:08 AM »
The font is old-school and this is good, but it wasn't done well enough. Kerning could be better etc. Small tweaks would make the type improved and more matching of the great illustration!

2nd cover also needs some type work but it's not very bad in general. Few tweaks and it will be solid cover.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Website re-review
« on: December 02, 2017, 04:53:40 AM »
Thank you for the constructive feedback guys - there are some good points there which I will act on.  I admit that I'm not a fan of one page scrollers myself, but the majority of entertainment sites are consumed on mobile devices now, so I'm trying to cater for the swipe generation who like their endless feeds - not my personal taste though.  I'm not a fan of responsive design either, but I did make three sizes - the smallest size strips away the side graphic.  I'll do some more work on it during next week and implement some of the feedback you guys kindly gave me. Cheers.

Well, it's true that mobile responsiveness is super important but don't mean you must do one-pager. They are trendy but they would fit authors who want a minimalist website, a very much 'broshure' author website where author doesn't want to blog, doesn't want to add too much content and then just add a book to it on the launch date and forget it.

If author wants to have good amount of content, or blog often etc then website should be separated into pages. Because convenience and simplicity is more important. And organising content well into pages would be better than overloaded one-pager website.

So I'd suggest think about the future and see which strategy you'll use and adjust accordingly. If you keep one-pager and just keep adding content it will eventually become too big too complex. If its not that now (almost for me) than it will become in future.

Good luck!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Writing in two genres - one website or two?
« on: December 01, 2017, 10:13:33 AM »
Probably two would be best.

But if you're really really clear on the website for both, it can be pulled off. It would have to be well structured and clearly separate parts of website for genres. Like even on homepage, you could give readers option to choose what they want to browse, which genre, and then they can click through to the genre-specific page. Separating book page into categories isn't hard either.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Website re-review
« on: December 01, 2017, 10:02:36 AM »
Hmm... nice visuals. Definitely looks like Fantasy website at first sight.

I hate 'Hamburger' menu's, esp. on Desktops (they work on mobiles just fine but make little sense for me on PCs).

The website title could be a bigger and centered, possibly with visual background too, not just black color...

I'd avoid making website so long. Lots of scrolling, lots of info. Might just be personal preference but people are not happy to read big long text 'walls'. So it's crucial to break it up well or have them on separate pages.  Speaking of breaking up sections, there are lots of different topics on homepage and they are not differentiated (it's usual on websites to have every other section's background be different, so black and white for sections 1 and 2 and then they repeat). Changing colors for backgrounds of sections gives rhythm and breaks up the text nicely, makes it easier to read. Especially on one-page websites.

Design-wise, I'd have 3D book cover mockups as the flat ones just look like banners almost now. 3D would separate them well from normal website graphics. Also section headings and paragraphs needs more 'white space' between edge the edge of left side image. Now they are way too close to it and it just looks amateurish.

I like that you have more original angle for email list as a club! And it should be close to the top of website for sure, it's more important than book show off.

When I resize browser window, the website doesn't seem fully mobile responsive. I'd suggest doing resize for browser window yourself and see how it looks. For some reason the slider at the bottom is there and the text doesn't responsively adjust to the phone screen size (could just be on PCs and look fine on Mobile phones). Do check that.

In general, not the worst website for sure. It's a bit weird that it has that left side image always but that's also differentiation so it can be and bad. If you like it, keep it. Could site be better? Yup. But is it in need of dire redesign... mostly not. :)

It loads up pretty fast, doesn't seem to have glitches. Enough content too so it's not an empty one.

Design-wise, it is a bit old looking, the colors, the fonts, they all look a bit sad. The colors give that feel. There are no visuals so it might look better with them, it probably will, but even then, those two dominant colors on the website are a bit bland and old... old retro feel, of like 1999...

Sign Up page is also a bad idea. Not the page itself, but it should be called something interesting, not 'Sign Up'... And it doesn't have a sign up form inside so that's just inconvenient. As a rule, make people click as little as possible. Especially off of your website. Sending people to other page is bad, many might just close the window instead of clicking 'Back' button. And yes, that's not fair.. but it's Internet, 'X' is just little bit away. For sign up form, download free plugin like Sumo or other sign up forms (just search on Wordpress plugin depository).

Some fonts are too small, and being fancy looking that makes them hard to read. So if you can, make headlines and paragraph names bit bigger.

Avoid posting full posts and blogs on pages, short previews with an image is better. Long text walls are scary and people click out. So Extras page is nice idea, but it has too much stuff. And is a bit hard to read due to fonts.

Dig that you have a tagline and it's an interesting one. Good way to set up the tone for site.

So it's not a bad site, it definitely needs images and you shouldn't even ask feedback until they are done honestly, as that means a lot. They might boost website feel a lot.

In any case, good luck with the site! You've placed some building blocks and seems you will do fine with content. And site will improve as time goes!

Writers' Cafe / Re: AuthorCats
« on: November 30, 2017, 08:05:37 AM »
I would disagree that it's like Wix because you'd also have to find and pay for hosting. Wix and Squarespace have it included.

Again, that being said, sometimes quality specialized premium plugins can cost up to 90 or 100 dollars for lifetime access. Some good themes cost 60$. (But some awesome themes cost 29$). So maybe, maybe, depending on what's included in this Authorcat it could be worth it because it combines many plugins functionalities. You know, if you're getting the equivalent of one theme plus 4 premium plugins, maybe ok.

And then again, if a theme (or integrated platform or whatever) isn't updated, it will soon have bugs. In theory this AuthorCat will continue to be updated , but who knows. I doubt many authors would use it at this price point. The authors who have this budget can hire designers, and the authors who don't have this budget will find cheaper options. If not a lot of authors use AuthorCat, I doubt it will continue to be updated.

I would rather spend my money on a reputable company that we know will continue updating and developing their themes for the next years.

Yup, that is a difference, but I think it's still a simple good reference point.. can't call AuthorCats just a theme... :)

We'll see what happens, I doubt Nick Stephenson wants to put his name on a [crap] product but if it flops bad then it could close down. But if they move to monthly fees and keep adding features, this can be a great tool for many years to come. And a good business for them, so that's a reason to keep it updated. :D

Time will tell.

Writers' Cafe / Re: AuthorCats
« on: November 30, 2017, 07:17:18 AM »
It's not hard to use WP if you are computer minded, but for those that don't touch anything under the bonnet of a PC program, it's daunting. We're sort of off topic, but if AuthorCats is only available as a Wordpress theme, and people don't use Wordpress, they might be tempted to take that route which won't be easy for most (not all) first timers.

I going to download it now and see if it has changed much in the last four or five years since I used it  ;)

Maybe I will become a convert...

I agree it's a great idea. 

I was thinking maybe your experience with Wordpress was from some years ago. Looks like I was right. It's definitely evolved and simplified and there are big changes coming to make it more similar to Wix etc to make it more visually editable.

I'd suggest giving it a try again. Use a free theme and then install Elementor plugin. That one allows you to edit almost any theme visually. No coding. With only Free versions (premium version available but not necessary for a test). You'll see progress in WP I'm sure! :D

In any case, you should stick to whichever is more convenient for you. IF it has all features needed. Otherwise, no need to switch if it ain't broke. I'm just defending WP in general as I believe in it and use it for my clients and my own sites. I don't want to convince others to convert tho.

Writers' Cafe / Re: AuthorCats
« on: November 30, 2017, 06:15:59 AM »

But back to AutorCats, if anyone is wondering, I'd say it's not worth it. For that price you can pay someone to set up the Wordpress structure for you, with the same features, and then all you have to do is maintain it, which is pretty simple. If you want to DIY, there are tons and tons of themes that look great, and are easy to set up.

I think it depends on future too.. AuthorCats has big potential to become even bigger platform with more features and more designs so in future, $500 price might turn out to be not bad at all. I think they could have done better job communicating the value and then it wouldn't look like a 'theme' which this isn't just a theme. They are essentially trying to build Wix but with tailored and specialised to authors. Which is great idea.

Hopefully, they keep developing and adding features. This can be useful tool.

Writers' Cafe / Re: AuthorCats
« on: November 30, 2017, 06:11:56 AM »
Wordpress is hard to use, especially when compared to the competition. If you're used to it, or like tinkering with software it's a great playground, but the controls are a mess. It's as if someone took all the adjustment tools and threw them into a bucket and then just picked them out at random.

For the uninitiated, it's minefield. For those that love it, like Linux, it's a great playground. Horses for courses, but if you just want a nice shiny website with the minimum of fuss and effort, Wordpress is not the solution. Squarespace - especially if it integrates with Mailerlite (which I didn't know ó learn something every day) would be favourite for the website newbie builder :) Wix and Weebly a close second.

Don't forget these all come with great support. There is no support with Wordpress. Just tons and tons of info and videos to traul through before you find what you need. And then maybe the solution will work, and maybe it won't. Support is there for the Wordpress themes if you pay for them, but by the time you add all these different costs up, you won't be far off, or even over, what you will spend with the others.

And the hackers. Don't get me started on the hackers...

That's just your preference.. WP is not hard... You spend few hours messing with your theme and WP itself and you're set. Plain and simple.

In any case, back to topic. This is off-topic...

Writers' Cafe / Re: AuthorCats
« on: November 30, 2017, 04:01:36 AM »
Check out Wix, Weebly and Squarespace or even Google Sites before you dive into Wordpress (not, unless you are happy coding and spending lots of time learning how to build a site. Wordpress has a steep learning curve and for most is overkill for a basic website.

If you're comfortable using it, then great, but if you're a newbie to website building, put aside a lot of time if you go down the WP route.

Wordpress is not hard at all. It's easy to create posts, pages etc. There are ton of video tutorials for it on Youtube. Learning Wordpress does not take much time if you have a good theme. And often doesn't take coding either. You might have too high of expectations for sites, you're not supposed to know any software just coming into it. No one knows Microsoft Word or Scrivener first. Everything takes some time to learn.

And editing website look has been becoming increasingly easy with Page Builders like Elementor or Divi... no coding needed for normal author website. Making something super cool would, but most authors don't go for that either way.

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