War of Gods (Damian) Series by Lizzy Ford

The War of Gods (Damian) Series

The “War of Gods” series by Lizzy Ford is a paranormal romance series depicting
the ongoing struggle between good and evil – and the immortals and their human
mates who are caught in the middle.

The first book, “Damian’s Oracle” (released October 2011) is the story of the White God and his Oracle, the cool beauty, Sofia. The second book, “Damian’s Assassin,” (released November 2011) is about the White God’s assassin and the woman who heals his heart and body. The third book was released 02 Dec and tells the tale of the White God’s chief
immortal and the mysterious, beautiful Magician he risks his life to save.

Book One: Damian’s Oracle

Inspired by Slavic mythology, Damian’s Oracle is the entree into the ongoing battle between good and evil over the fate of humanity. The White God, Damian, and his Guardians protect the world from the Black God and his monsters while rescuing Naturals – humans with extraordinary paranormal gifts – from the Black God, who would kill or convert them.

Re-released October 2011.

Purchase from:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

Smashwords

Book Two: Damian’s Assassin

Re-release: 19 November 2011

Sequel to Damian’s Oracle. With the White God in Europe, Dustin is left alone in Miami to protect the Grey God, a man-god struggling with his identity, and the White God’s mate. One of the Black God’s vamps in Miami suddenly goes rogue and starts killing humans by the dozen. Dustin initially doesn’t think much of the ruthless, human-hating thug, Talon, until it becomes clear that the vamp is receiving help from otherworldly beings whose intentions are nothing short of destroying humanity.

 

 

Purchase from:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

Smashwords

Book Three: Damian’s Immortal

Available: 02 December 2011

Book 3, War of Gods series. The White God’s most trusted friend, Jule, has his powers stripped by the Watchers. They give him an impossible mission: find the
mysterious Magician and kill her, before she reopens the gateway between the realms. Jule quickly discovers the beautiful Magician is not what the Watchers claim. Afraid of her own powers, the Magician has lived a sheltered life, a near-prisoner of someone determined to use her magic to destroy the human world. The Magician, Yully, must choose between her loyalty to the man she views as her father and Jule, the man whose touch brings her hope and happiness after years
of fear.

Meanwhile, the young Black God is growing into his powers, with the assistance of a being that shouldn’t exist, and whose presence threatens to alter the balance of power between Good and Evil.

 Purchase:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

An Update to my Facebook Ads Adventure

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article detailing my experience trying Facebook Ads to build our Facebook fan base. If you didn’t read that article, the synopsis is I got crushed. I targeted a very specific and relevant niche and decided to try a CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) ad. I ended up with a click through rate near 0.02 and paying around a dollar per new friend. That isn’t very friendly! Figuring out the value of targeted Facebook friends can be tricky, but I know our magic number isn’t one dollar.

I thought because I did my research and had targeted such a narrow audience, that CPM would be the more cost effective method of using Facebook ads. On paper, it should have been.  In reality, it wasn’t.

After a week break, I decided to give it one more try. I would leave my targeted niche the same, my ad the same, everything the same except switch from CPM to CPC (cost per click). After a few hours, I could see I had made the right decision.

Facebook Ads CPC campaign 1 results

Facebook ads CPC CTR screenshot

Facebook Ads CPC campaign 2 results

another campaign screenshot

$51.51 spent for 300 clicks and 233 ‘likes.’ That’s $0.22 per ‘like,’ which is one fifth the cost of the ‘likes’ I got through CPM. For those of you keeping score at home, my click thru rate was more than TEN TIMES higher with CPC vs. CPM. These were based on several days’ worth of results. Same ads, same targeting – the only change was CPM vs. CPC.

This is a really, really gray area for Facebook Ads. I expected to see lots of articles on this phenomenom but I didn’t. It could be a coincidence, or it could be some logic in the Facebook ad system to place CPC ads higher the CPM ads. I’m not saying that Facebook Ads does this or any other form of shenanigans, I’m just sharing my results to say that – if you’re going to experiment with Facebook Ads – you should definitely do a small CPC vs. CPM test to see what works better for you.

Everything I said in my last article and video about Facebook ad targeting and ad design still holds true, I would just ad in one more small test to measure CPC vs. CPM.

If an indie author emailed me today and asked for advice in testing a Facebook Ads campaign I would tell them this.

  • Read my two posts on the subject and watch my video
  • Get a Facebook Ads Coupon (if your eligible) so you can do $50 worth of testing for $8
  • Dedicate your first $10-$15 credit to finding the right targeted niche. Pick two or three small niches and run a $5 daily budget with each of them to see which one performs better.
  • Once you’ve got your niche, the next $10 should go to settle the CPC versus CPM debate for your niche.

After these steps you will have: starting getting new connections, figured out what your optimum niche and pricing type is and still have $25-$30 left in credits to spend to bring in new connections. If you’re eligible to set up an Facebook Ads account and get a coupon, then that’s a pretty good return on an $8 investment.

If you have any specific questions feel free to post them here or email me via our contact us.

10 Sites that Make Free RSS Directory Submission Easy

Guerrilla Wordfare RSS Feed

As part of my constant SEO self-audits, I decided that I needed to submit our site’s RSS feed to RSS directories other than Feedburner. I didn’t expect this free RSS directory submission exercise to be fun or to bring us much traffic, but I haven’t had nearly as much time as I would like to link build lately. I thought this might be a quick and easy way to expand our exposure.

Last weekend I started with a list of what claimed to be 40 of the internet’s top free RSS directories. Some of them wanted to charge me money to submit my site. I instantly left those sites. Some of them took everything short of a DNA sample before they would consider our site. I submitted our site to those but it probably wasn’t worth the time. Some would only list our site if we back-linked to their site with a large, obnoxious button. I’m not in the business of creating a directory of directories so I didn’t take them up on their offer. The ones that upset me the most strung me along through step after step with promises that this step would be the last, only to then try to charge me for the listing. If I ever meet the people responsible for those…..

Out of this list of 40 I found 10 sites that made free RSS directory submission a blast. They asked for nothing in return, didn’t waste my time and tried their best to make up for the 30 other sites. I’ll share these with you now so that you can submit your site to them and then take the rest of the day off without the guilt that “You didn’t do any work on the site today”.

10 Sites that make free RSS directory submission easy

http://blogdigger.com/add.jsp
http://www.plazoo.com/
http://rssmountain.com/
http://www.millionrss.com/
http://www.feedsee.com/
http://rss-one.com/
http://www.5z5.com/Suggest-A-Feed/
http://www.rss-directory.us/
http://4guysfromrolla.aspin.com/func/addres/rss-review/userlist?rid=1427020&cob=4guysfromrolla
http://www.feedplex.com/

All of these sites have a Google PageRank of at least 3, and none of them have blown up my inbox with spam yet. Submitting your blog to these 10 free RSS directory submission sites won’t bring you a flood of traffic, but it will be a tiny bit more search engine visibility for your site for very little effort.

Regarding the aforementioned lack of time to do link building, I’ll bring this up for the first time ever on the site. If you have a writing related blog or site and are interested in doing a link exchange with us, use the contact form and let me know.

Making a Facebook Fanpage Picture Using GIMP

Last week I wrote an article on “Getting the Most out of your Facebook Fanpage Picture“. I got a lot of great comments about the post on this site, Kindleboards and Facebook. It’s a great feeling to know that I’m helping people. While I’m not an indie author myself, I obviously have a very strong connection to the community and am glad I can contribute to it.

I also received several comments from my new Kindleboards friends saying that – while my post did a great job of explaining why you want a custom Facebook fanpage picture banner – it didn’t explain how to actually make one. This comment really made me smile because it’s 100% true and very surprising for someone who inserts an instructional video in most of his posts. I didn’t make ours myself and I’m not a graphics designer so this is far from my area of expertise. There are a lot of great instructional videos on there on using Photoshop & GIMP (which is a free Photoshop equivalent) but telling people to go watch videos and figure things out wouldn’t be my style so I made a ten minute video on using GIMP to make a custom Facebook Fanpage Picture.

Using GIMP to Make a Custom Facebook Fanpage Picture Banner

I’ll pause here while you laugh at my “design skills.” 🙂 It’s now obvious to the world why, I pay a designer. I know that’s not an option for everyone and it sure wasn’t an option for us at the beginning so it’s important to give advice to our do-it-yourself readers too. GIMP isn’t the easiest program in the world to learn but I hope this at least helps you get started on the right foot. There are a lot of people who are far more qualified than I am to answer specific design and/or GIMP questions but if you have any let me know and I’ll try to find out.

Once again, if you do make your own Facebook fanpage picture banner or have one made for you post it here for all to see!!

How to Get the Most out of Your Facebook Fanpage Picture

A few of my social media and SEO posts are long and involve thinking and (shudder) math!! This post is the exact opposite. It’s short, sweet and easy and requires so little thought you can read it with your morning coffee.

As I’ve talked about before building a Facebook following can be a tough nut to crack without paying for advertisements or giveaway prizes. One thing we all have to make sure of is that if Facebook offers us something for free that we can use to our advantage, we jump all over it.

There was one thing that Facebook was offering that – until recently  – we had been ignoring. When I realized my error, I hung my head in shame for one minute and then took steps to correct it. The thing I wasn’t using properly was the Facebook fanpage picture.

This little tidbit of knowledge isn’t widely known, but Facebook gives us quite a bit of latitude with our fanpage profile picture.  We all have pictures on our fanpages, and most of them look like this.

Normal Facebook fanpage picture

Screen shot of a Facebook Fanpage picture

There is nothing wrong with that page at all. Until a few days ago, ours looked just like it, just with 10,000 or so less fans. The “secret” that I stumbled upon was that Facebook gives you up to 180 x 540 pixels to use for your picture. If they’re going to offer me that much real estate for free, I’m going to grab every last pixel!

I thought about doing it myself but then remembered that I have no artistic ability whatsoever. Anybody who has followed our website long enough will remember the old Damian’s Oracle cover that I designed a year ago and agree with me!  😉 I sent the photo specs to Lizzy and she sent them to our cover artist, Dafeenah, who came up with this:

Full size Facebook fanpage picture

our custom Facebook fanpage picture

The image really draws your eyes to it and sets your page apart from a lot of the others. I was very happy with the way it turned out.  Adding a custom full length banner is an easy way to improve the look and feel of your page. I can also see us swapping out banners when we run special offers or giveaways in the future.

If you’re handy with Photoshop, GIMP or some other graphics program then set the dimensions of your canvas size to 180 x 540 pixels and start designing your custom Facebook fanpage picture. I emailed our graphic artist Dafeenah yesterday telling her that I was going to write this article and begged her to create a Fiverr.com gig to make these banners for people. If you’re like me and you want a great looking banner but you don’t trust yourself to do it, then you can check out her Fiverr.com gig and have one professionally made for five dollars.

Regardless of if you make it yourself or have someone make it for you, as soon as you have one, post it here so we can check it out! I can’t wait to see what ideas creative people come up with for their own Facebook fanpage picture. And as always, please feel free to post any questions or comments.

A Demon’s Desire

Cover for A Demon's Desire by Lizzy FordLizzy Ford’s newest paranormal romance (suitable for young adults) ‘A Demon’s Desire’ is available for free download for your Kindle, Ipad, Nook, Kobo or eReader.

Emma crossed paths with a black witch in an ill-fated love triangle that ended in Emma fleeing and the death of the man they both loved. Two years later, the witch is seeking revenge and strikes against Emma’s family. Emma turns to the only person who can help her: a man rumored to be half-demon with the power to control the shadows. Tristan agrees to help her lift the curse on her family but isn’t prepared for what he finds hidden in Emma’s secrets.

My Battle to Stop my Blog Comments and Forum Posts from Disappearing

Spam isn’t as much of an issue now as it was a few years ago due to spam filters from our email services being so much better. However like anyone else who used email before spam filters, I have fond memories of waking up to 58 emails in my inbox, 3 of which weren’t Viagra related.  I therefore have a deep rooted hatred of spammers. You can imagine my surprise this week when I found out that I was a spammer!

I rarely post comments on blogs or forums due to time constraints. I know it’s something I need to do more, and I’m trying to work on it. Last weekend I wrote what I thought was a long and thoughtful comment on a blog and was crushed when I pushed post and it disappeared. It was probably over 500 words and of course I didn’t copy and paste it first so it was just gone. I figured it was some glitch in the system. I left depressed and gave up on the internet for a few hours. Link building is tough enough without these types of issues.

Later that day I gathered the internal fortitude to try and use the inter-webs again and went and posted on a forum where I posted several times in the past. I typed a short comment and when I pushed the post button it too disappeared before my very eyes. If these places wouldn’t love me, at least our cover artist would. I went to Dafeenah’s site and commented on one of her posts and THAT didn’t show. I then knew I had a serious problem. Dafeenah confirmed that I did indeed get labeled as spam so I hit Google to try figure out a solution.

It seemed the general consensus was that you should contact Akismet and in a week or so they may or may not help you. I used Akismet’s Contact us form and provided my name, email, website and told them that I only made 2-3 posts/comments a week and they were always relevant. Within four hours I got a reply from Akismet saying that they weren’t sure what happened but that the problem should be fixed. I went to Dafeenah’s WordPress site, the comment posted right away. I hit the forum that blocked my lost post; it went right through. Just to make sure that all my problems were solved I went to the blog that blocked my long comment and it worked like a champ.

Akismet’s spam plugin has always impressed me but their customer service may have even impressed me more. If you notice that your comments or posts don’t seem to be posting, I would head straight to Akismet and give them your information.

Tips for Providing Content and Thoughts on Interacting with your Twitter Followers

If you’re doing what you know you should be doing, then you have a website or blog which you update at least once or twice a week. The bad news is that writing quality content takes time. The good news it you can use the content you write for all sorts of things. The video below shows how to take the RSS feed from your site (if you’re using a blog, your site will have RSS) and automatically send it out on your Twitter feed using twitterfeed.com.

Now that we’ve talked about the methodology to employ to acquire high quality followers and tools to use to help you accomplish your twitter goals faster, it’s time to talk about what to do with all of the twitter followers you’re getting. Long story short, build a relationship with them.

The thing a lot of business in general and authors in particular forget is the “social” in social media. They treat their websites, Twitter and Facebook pages like traditional media. They blast out the messages they want to distribute at regular intervals and then come up with their next message. That dynamic misses the entire point of social media. The social media format is designed for a back and forth dialogue between you and those that follow you. I know that these types of relationships take time and energy, but these are would-be members of the fan base you’re trying to build. If you’re not going to build a relationship with these people, who are you going to build one with?

A lot of authors dialogue with their fans goes something like this:

Booklover14: I have a horrible headache 🙁
Author48: Buy my book, that may help!!

This example is obviously tongue in cheek, but not too far off what I’ve seen on Twitter. Opportunities to show interest in the lives of their fans go wasted while every opportunity to pitch their book gets pounced upon. The worst part is, sometimes the same people that act like this make it big. It happens. Sometimes someone writes one book and gets a big publishing contract. It happens. As frustrating as that can be for someone who has been grinding toward their goal of being an author for years without much success, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should copy them. We have a saying in the guerrillawordfare.com household that gets used quite often: “They’re buying a lottery ticket.” It’s not a flattering term.

Basically, it means that they’re sitting around waiting for that big break. They write a book and put it on Amazon, just like 100,000s of other people. They start a blog, just like 100,000s of other people. They sign up for Twitter and Facebook and post every time something cool happens with their books, just like 100,000s of other people. Then they sit around and wait for a “big break” the same way someone waits for their winning lottery numbers to be called. If you have real talent, you may want a big break but you might not need it. Here is a little snippet from a post on JA Konrath’s blog a few weeks ago:

“As long as websites like Amazon make browsing easy, the cream has the potential to rise to the top. You don’t have to be a monster bestseller. A hardcore niche group of 10,000 fans can support a writer quite easily. Write two ebooks per year at $2.99, and three shorts at 99 cents, and you’re making $50k a year.

But eBooks don’t stop selling after a year. They sell forever. And good books will eventually find more than just 10,000 readers. And every new book you write will find new readers along with old fans.”

That math should give you hope, since those are attainable goals. You cannot afford to let chance decide your fate as an author; you have to try to seize it yourself. If acquiring 10,000 fans is what you need to be financially successful as an author then acquiring them should be your #2 priority (writing good books will always be #1). Taking the time to build relationships which help you reach your goals is a small price to pay.

Free Twitter Tools to Help Speed up the Process

In our last post we talked about how to build a targeted Twitter following for free. This post will demonstrate two popular free twitter tools that can help speed up the process we outlined. There are a ton of ton of tools out there but we’re going to talk about Tweetdeck and manageflitter.com.

One of the things I love most about this system of finding followers is that you can do it in 5 minute chunks. I wish everything was so easy to fit into your daily routine! Tweetdeck helps speed the process up even more by showing you all of your different “target streams” on one page. If you have 5 different terms that you look for new followers from, you can make a column for each 5 so they’re always in front of you. When you log on you can check for any tweets involving you or your friends, and then scroll over to your searches to find and follow some new potential followers.

Tweetdeck is handy, but manageflitter.com is a necessity. As we explained in our last post, un-following people has nothing to do with trying to maintain an “impressive ratio”, it’s about keeping your following/follower ratio close enough for Twitter to allow you to follow new people. If you let it build up then you’ll hit a point where you have 800 or more people you need to un-follow. That will take some long sessions and completely defeats the purpose of using this method.

If you’re using a different twitter client or bulk twitter un-follow tool and you like it by all means stick with it. I choose these two because they were free, easy to use and very popular.

In our next post we’re going to talk about using RSS to automatically stream content from your blog to Twitter and some thoughts about interacting with your followers.