Action Writer’s Block Contains a Treasure

The Action Writer has a choice…

Continue the quest and capture your reward, or starve?

Why “Action” Writer’s Block?

This is to narrow my audience to those who share the same genre I write in.  In my case it is even more succinct as the espionage genre.  Does your mystery feel like a game of hop-scotch?  Are your dynamic battle scenes outclassed by the Texas Hold-em match back in the barracks?  Does your detective keep banging his nose on the same door?

For other genres, I will guide you through your troubling blocks with scenes containing confrontation, a crisis, or the climax.

“So, What’s In It For Me?”

You deserve a personal approach, and I will guide you through obstructions that have challenged your writing.  I am a genuine warrior.  I can train you in the art of conflict.

“What Qualifications Do I Have As An Action Author?”

By claim and challenge.

My claim is as third generation veteran: Born to the culture.
As an “Army Brat,” I have lived all over the world.  Two years in Asia, and three years in Europe before I was thirteen years old.

At age fourteen, I set my foot on a four year long path toward West Point.  A memento of that commitment is a small book called “Bugle Notes.” It has always been within reach.  Next to it on the shelf is “Infantry Attacks,” Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.  While in Germany, I lived within a mile of his home and grave.  I wandered across, around, and through a lot of bunkers in my youth, one located within several hundred yards of a Nike nuclear missile site.

At age sixteen, I had read the guerrilla campaign journals of:
General Võ Nguyên Giáp
Ernesto “Che” Guevara
T. E. Lawrence
George Washington
Francis Marion
Felix Graf von Luckner
Simón Bolívar

At age eighteen, I was reading Army Field Manuals for survival, hand-to-hand combat, and guerrilla warfare.  And by that age, I had been practicing some of these lessons in my back yard in Fort Carson: maneuvering grounds, some vast valleys filled with tanks that were napalmed on practice runs by the air force.  I’ve found many grenades in my youth.  And I rigged a smoke grenade in a roadside trap.

At age nineteen, after having been passed over for West Point, I planned my enlistment in the Navy with its six year obligation for advanced training.  Before I pledged my oath of service, I had built out a time line of those six years, and when I would make my promotions, six of them, in four years.  Four years and three months later, I had achieved every mark.  This was rarely achieved in less than twelve years for the average sailor.  I had a nineteen year head start.

My claim as Action Author is as a multi-generational artist:  Born to art.

Even though I was born to the Warrior class, my parents were art experts and designers of jewelry.  Even though my Great Uncle had been a simple cowboy, stage coach driver for Wells Fargo, and a Texas Ranger, he was proclaimed “The Cowboy Artist of Texas.”

My claim as Action Author by challenge is through effort:

At age thirty, having capped a successful career in high technology, I finished work on two BA degrees, English with an emphasis in writing, and Cinema with an emphasis in analysis.  I then took my thesis script to Hollywood to pitch it—door-to-door.  100 doors (I had a list).  100 rejections.

“How Do I Recognize Writer’s Block?”

Your writing is undoubtedly at the top of its form, but you never seem to get around to plunging into it with the same gusto that inspired you in the beginning.  The source of this energy drain is unique to you, and only solutions that are genuine to you will work.

As a leader of men, I can spot troops out of formation, falling behind,
…and I tighten their discipline.

I can see over-written stratagems
… and I expose their weak rigidity.

As a warrior, I recognize the roots of cowerdice
… and I inspire confidence.

 

Authors Marketing 2021

The Business Plan part of this for me (a typical author of limited means) begins with this prodigious first level outline:

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Products and Services
  • Marketing Plan
  • Operational Plan
  • Management and Organization
  • Startup Expenses and Capitalization
  • Financial Plan
  • Appendices

Authors Marketing 2021

More Facebook Ads A-B Testing

Yes, two more side-by-side ad runs today.  And another story of Facebook oddity.  I am using the same graphic that Facebook first rejected (too much skin) to then relent and allow when I challenged their denial (yes, you can do this, but only with the press of a button).

Both A and B contain this image, but one was simply a re-run of the original ad, and it was approved (without objection) within 10 minutes.  The second was a new post using that identical image (the whole point of an A-B test where I test the ad copy), but new text.  That took 12 hours to approve (with no objection, curiously).

“A” Ad Copy

What if your Action Writer’s Block was because you’ve ignored your villain? Discover how this mysterious energy can can be valuable to you.

“B” Ad Copy

Writer’s Block is your gold…
…What if your troubling villain refuses to release it?
Do you want what is yours? Act now. Recover the hidden riches your block hides within your villain’s ignored needs.

Authors Marketing 2021

Comps for the Author

Comps is a publishing stem-term with several possible meanings and applications, all of which go to how your work fits into the marketplace.  Doing this reveals your style, genre, and audience in a short-hand to industry pros.  It can also reveal how topical your story line is, offers an indication to how audience size might expand by timely proximity to headlines.

When you get serious about writing agents or publishers, both will want this done.  Your prospective agent will need comps to pitch your work to publishers, and publishing editors will need your comps to pitch to their circulation editor.

Comp can be described as the shortened version of the following.  You can choose to focus on one word, like comp-eting and build your list.  However, doing it for all variant meanings of comp will reward you more.

Comparison: titles of works that exhibit similar qualities found within your work.

Competing: titles of works that exhibit contrasting qualities found within your work.

Completing: titles of works that exhibit open-ended qualities finished within your work.

Complementary: titles of works that exhibit qualities that are different but fit those within your work.

The discussion of business competition is expected by every investor, and even though this isn’t strictly a Start-up Business Plan, you need to have knowledge of those who write in your genre.  By building your comp list, this exercise will function quite well for this business expectation which is a successful strategy.  It will also help clarify advertising campaigns that allow targeted ads (Amazon, certainly).

For my own work, I would draw comparisons to titles from Lee Child (Jack Reacher) and Gérard de Villiers (Malko Linge) as examples of action and espionage.

Authors Marketing 2021

Advertising Budget and Books Sold

Here, I am going to give an ensemble of responses to the questions
1) how much, percentage wise of income, do you spend on advertising?
2) How many books, ballpark, do you sell a month ?
3) How many kindle page reads?

2% … not making enough
5-10%
10% … 5-700
10% … sell 5-10
10-40% … 30 books
13-15%
15%
15-30% … 3000 sales … 29 mil pages read

25% … 200 copies
25-30% …1000
30% … 400 books … 800,000 page reads
30% … 3000ish sales … Million+ page reads.
35% …
25%-50% … 4,000 – 5,000 book
30% … 2000 sales … 3million page reads
40% … 2000-3000 sales … 5-10million page reads

45% … 250 copies … 200k page reads
50%
50% … 300 copies

60% … 1800 sales … 2.4 million KENP
80% … 50-60 book

There are a lot of loose ends to these numbers.  Some respondents had a deep catalog to advertise, and thus more material to sell.  Of note, however, is that budgeting your advertising expenses at roughly 30-50% appears to be a realistic figure.  What remains is how much you want to earn in the same period.

Authors Marketing 2021

Meetup.com Designs to Attract Writers

As the title suggests, I focused  my efforts on writers, and I went several steps further in refining that field.  My specialty is as a Consulting Editor for Action writers suffering from Writer’s Block.  I will help transform their blocks into a genuine release of successful writing.

I crafted my language to always call this Action Writer’s Block as in one Meetup named: Lift The Siege On Your Action Writer’s Block; and another named: Discover the “Gold” Villain In Your Action Writer’s Block.  As the meetup Lift The Siege On Your Action Writer’s Block has 20 members after two weeks, it has sent me two visitors once, and one short visit from another (2.5 vists per 20 members) in two Meetups out of four scheduled weekly events.

Again, typical.

Of particular note, however in light of these sparse returns, is that as I was polishing up my new Meetup named: Discover the “Gold” Villain In Your Action Writer’s Block I was gaining new members faster than I could edit the page.

Learning: early joiners are there; and this is the magic of Meetup.  I just have to make it work magic for me.

Next: Time to get radical—another blood bath of members and Meetup pages.

Authors Marketing 2021

Facebook Ads Without Outside Links

What does this mean, Richard?

This comes from Rusty Shelton who is a frequent contributor, speaker, and lecturer at the San Francisco Writers Conferences for at least the last three years.  He offered that Facebook prioritizes advertising that keeps the reader’s eyes on Facebook.  By that, he meant Facebook will withhold your advertising from a certain population if you seek to move them off Facebook.  Or, you will get viewed last in the list of ads pushed toward a reader.

Facebook offers a number of labels for a call to action (Book Now), and they all presume off-site links to a business landing page.

There is a no-button option.

This is the basis of my next round of advertising …
using a promising graphic that is popular,
the no-button option with “share” as the goal;
and a new ad copy that is now fuller.

Why fuller, longer, built out?  With this no-button option comes full text display with the graphic, instead of the truncated text with graphic and a “see more” prompt.

Authors Marketing 2021

Facebook Advertising

I have run four $10 advertisements on Facebook recently (over a three-four week span).

I wanted viewers to click a button that would lead them to my new Meetups, which, in turn, would lead them to my Patreon pages.

I reached 4097 people, in total.  I got 40 clicks, in total.  Individual returns went wide of that average.

My first Ad ran 1 day with no clicks. The accompanying text was vaguely addressed and limited to women.

My second Ad ran 2 days with 12 clicks.  The accompanying text was expansive and included men and women.  Men responded 2:1

My third Ad ran 3 days with 11 clicks. The accompanying text was repetitive and included men and women.  Men responded 2:1

My fourth Ad ran 2 days with 17 clicks.  The accompanying text was targeted (using a premise: “what if …”) and included men and women.  Men responded 4:1.

Take-Home

Targeted text, longer duration.

Authors Marketing 2021

A&B Testing continued

This is an update on earlier trends.

I am running two ads on Facebook right now.  They have identical copy, but different graphic support.  They are also set to run 5 days, instead of over my previous 2-3 day dips.

My goal in the side-by-side advertisement designs was to differentiate reactions to obvious male-female gender roles portrayed in the graphics, and who, male/female, responded to them.  Facebook Ad Center gives me the ability to restrict my ad’s audience to these same genders (and age, and many other separables).  However, I did not restrict my audience in this run.

Male oriented graphic is in black and white (Dore).  Female oriented graphic is in full color (Titian).

These are my final results:

ALL $10 budgeted ads have found an audience of 1200, with one outlier (of 5) at 1700.

Male oriented (B&W) graphic draws an audience of 4:1 men:women.

Female oriented (Color) graphic draws an audience of 2:3 men:women

The proof of the pudding is in the click counts:

Male oriented (B&W) graphic draws a click count of 23

Female oriented (Color) graphic draws a click count of 43

So, the next round should focus on both sexes shown and in color (as in the Female oriented)

Authors Marketing 2021

Meetup.com As Targeted Services Advertising Channel

No doubt eyebrows went up at the phrase targeted services.  Services?  Isn’t this about selling books?  Things?  Yes, but….

You will observe familiar problems that transcend services vs. things model of marketing.  I am pitching my services because authors need other revenue streams, and as we generally become subject matter experts in our researches, you can cash in on that too.  However, for those who are strictly concerned with selling books, I promise you valuable insights.

As I am the host to three Meetups, I bring you the experience of having hosted Meetups for 17 years.

My peak enrollment for any single Meetup was for a tech community focused on Artificial Intelligence.  There I had 165 members.  However, I never saw more than 12 at any one Meetup.  Of those, half were steady visitors.  I used all the methods at my disposal as advised by Meetup (they should know), and it never budged even with the most attractive of inducements: the $1,000,000 Netflix Challenge to design an algorithm to boost their film prediction accuracy (“Here’s another title you might enjoy”).

For that period of several months of Meetups (weekly), the number who participated varied little from that max of 12, more often 8 or 9.  Let’s call that a committed 5%, the rest were not even tourists who might wander in to see if we were within grasp of all that cash.

This is typical.  I have observed much the same spread of percentage numbers for all sizes of Meetups.  The lesson to observe by this simple observation is that you need 20+ members to see one face other than yours at a Meetup; and that is pushing the boundaries of chance.  I would say 50 members is roughly the ignition point of steady participation.  Again, this conservative upper limit comes with experience.

Just two months ago, I had 200 members in three groups, but with the pandemic, I had let them idle too long, and they obviously appeared mordant to the few that had visited within the last 6 months (about 60 of that 200).  I tried to revive those groups by funneling them into one Zoom session, but even the 60 were unmoved to respond.

I cast them all off and started over.  Three new slates—and your entry point into the process of starting your own author-branded Meetup.

Next: the story of those blank slates filled in.

Authors Marketing 2021

A&B Testing

I am running two ads on Facebook right now.  They have identical copy, but different graphic support.  They are also set to run 5 days, instead of over my previous 2-3 day dips.

Performance differences are appearing at roughly the half way point.  But, first, those differences in content.

My goal in the side-by-side advertisement designs was to differentiate reactions to obvious male-female gender roles portrayed in the graphics, and who, male/female, responded to them.  Facebook Ad Center gives me the ability to restrict my ad’s audience to these same genders (and age, and many other separables).  However, I did not restrict my audience in this run.

Male oriented graphic is in black and white (Dore).  Female oriented graphic is in full color (Titian).

Male oriented graphic draws an audience of 3:1 men:women.

Female oriented graphic draws an audience of 1:1 men:women

However, the final numbers will be more meaningful.

Authors Marketing 2021

Facebook Ad Center

While running two ads, I discovered a remarkable reaction: Post Shares

Suddenly it all became clear.  A shared Advertisement is a Gold Vein that runs well beyond the advertisement’s time-slot.

Into the future, that one reaction is the sole purpose of my ad’s life.

My topics need to be Evergreen engaging—still snappy, and always current.

Authors Marketing 2021

A Pitch In Five Act Format

THE LIONHEARTED AUTHOR

THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT
Writer’s Block is a metaphor for the underlying problem we will be working on together.
The Block is what impedes you; or surprisingly, what has you over-activated.
Impedance is found expressed in avoidance.
Activation is found expressed in deflection.
Both are emotionally tied into fear, shame, or disgust.
Culturally, they are tied into rejection or guilt.

INCITING INCIDENT
Intellectual puzzles and writing exercises are unsustainable and uninspired.

CRISIS
Life demands the Lionhearted Author: “Put your foot to the path!”
I am your guide through the six realms of rebirth and existence.
We will test your passion within the Chakra centers of your Kundalini spirit.

CLIMAX
You reclaim your strength from former obstructions.
I am here to exercise the tone of your psychological wholeness.
We will examine the challenge won in the archetypal Champion’s fulfillment.

RESOLUTION
Bring joy to our writing experience and fulfilling acceptance for our work.

Authors Marketing 2021

4 November 2020: This is the beginning of this author’s journal in developing a marketing plan within a business plan.

But, before I embark upon this, this post is evidence of my efforts to tie my blog to Facebook postings on both my services site and my author’s site.  So, ongoing housekeeping is part of this first missive.  You should be mindful of taking care of business is one leg on the one legged milking stool.

Why do this?  Passing posts from my blog into Facebook?  It consolidates and controls the flow of message. This falls under the Business Plan heading of How Do You Plan To Do It?  And there is a second, more valuable business consideration, your asset: Intellectual Property.

There three forms of ownership on the web:

  1. Shared platform: social web sites can suddenly go dark (or, at least your pages);
  2. Rented platform: you pay for space to spread your content from others’ platforms;
  3. Owned platform: you spread your content from in your own platform.

Hence, my owned platform is the source of my messages, and the location of my landing page.

I want my owned platform material feeding Shared and Rented platforms.

In turn, I want Shared and Rented platforms to feed buyers to my my owned platform.

Authors Marketing 2021

Where To Start?  The Tyranny of Choice

With the list of Business Plan headings posted and put out of the way, I had to choose one of the headings to cover.  If you are a linear person like me, you start at the top with the Executive Summary.

The Executive Summary is where you as the author (the entrepreneur in business terms) has to set the hook for your reader (the investor in business terms).  It is all about Ego (rewards in business terms) in promotion.

I can write with these flourishes because I have judged many Business Plans, and in scoring a plan, the Executive Summary is in an exalted position of every Business Plan.

However

There is another exalted position in every Business Plan, and it is consulted first.  It is the Financial Plan.  You fail at your writing here, then nothing else will be read.  So, this brings us back to where to start.  I will offer a new sorted list, and the solution is found in priority.

At this early stage, finish your high priority work before anything else.  My examples using less abstract annotation and more author specific guides will be posted.

1 Financial Plan (to show you know what real costs are)

1 Executive Summary (the reason for the investor to buy into your opportunity, and your ASK)

2 Management and Organization (biographies of principles)
2 Marketing Plan (which market, who competes, what advantage, what risk, when)
3 Startup Expenses and Capitalization (your ASK in comparison to your investment)
4 Company Description (what market or service sector, size, and position)
4 Products and Services (what do you have to offer?)
4 Operational Plan (how are you going to do this?)
never Appendices (no one reads this)

Action Writer’s Block

THE LIONHEARTED AUTHOR

THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT
Writer’s Block is a metaphor for the underlying problem we will be working on together.
The Block is what impedes you; or surprisingly, what has you over-activated.
Impedance is found expressed in avoidance.
Activation is found expressed in deflection.
Both are emotionally tied into fear, shame, or disgust.
Culturally, they are tied into rejection or guilt.

INCITING INCIDENT
Intellectual puzzles and writing exercises are unsustainable and uninspired.

CRISIS
Life demands the Lionhearted Author: “Put your foot to the path!”
I am your guide through the six realms of rebirth and existence.
We will test your passion within the Chakra centers of your Kundalini spirit.

CLIMAX
You reclaim your strength from former obstructions.
I am here to exercise the tone of your psychological wholeness.
We will examine the challenge won in the archetypal Champion’s fulfillment.

RESOLUTION
Bring joy to our writing experience and fulfilling acceptance for our work.

Authors Marketing 2021

Advertising

Well, that seems to get the cart before the horse, but I have arrived at this point with momentum already going, tests performed, lessons learned.  In fact, you can see the ad already posted on this Facebook page.  Its creation process makes a story of its own, but later.

The ad’s purpose is to drive audience to my Meetup group for “Action Writer’s Block.”  Further, it is part of my Marketing campaign for branding by identifying a very specific segment of writers.  The lesson here is to declare that community, and aim for them.

From all of the Business Plan headings I offer to cover, Marketing and who do I serve can be best seen in this Facebook ad’s (Boosted Post) audience profile:

Audience Details
Location – Living In United States
Age 45 – 65+
People Who Match Interests: Entrepreneurship or Writing, Education Level: College grad or Some college, Relationship Status: Married, Domestic Partnership or Widowed, Income: Household income: top 10% of ZIP codes (US), Life Event: Anniversary within 30 days, Upcoming birthday or Friends of Women with a Birthday in 7-30 days

Two day campaign:
Estimated Daily Results
People Reached
1.2K – 3.4K
Link Clicks
34 – 97

This is a short run that I have tested to the same purpose two weeks ago.  Net result of that campaign was no conversions.  This time I use new graphics oriented towards writers of action genre using the action term of siege as a metaphor for writer’s block.  There are other considerations of course, and even as I pressed the Publish button for the ad, I saw an improvement I can make next time.

My mistake in the text introducing the graphic was to repeat the button’s label which is an action “Lift Your Action Writer’s Block Siege.”  Next time, I will post an inciting phrase, “Are your action scenes bottled up?” that is solved through this action phrase as the button label.

Action Writer’s Block

Discover the “Gold” Villain In Your Action Writer’s Block at my free meetup.

You are an action novelist with Writer’s Block, or you write in another genre where you are blocked on scenes of confrontation, crisis, or climax.

Discover how obstructions to your writing center around the unfilled and deeply rooted needs of your antagonist.

I am a consulting editor here to guide you through psychological, archetypal, and spiritual realms of crisis to face the source of obstruction.

Seize the golden opportunity of your discovery and confront your block much as your hero would challenge their antagonist and embrace this climactic learning moment.

Celebrate a rejuvenated freedom of expression and clarity achieved through accepting your antagonist’s genuine identity expressed in their authentic nature.