Category Archives: Conundrums

Editing challenges; literary exercises, encouragement and advice.

How to push products on Google AdWords (final): synopsis

Alas, I’ve exceeded what I thought was my total budget of $50 and have ran my first AdWords campaign for two weeks now.  It’s been one hell of a ride. I have to admit, I’m getting a little misty eyed over my keyboard.

Here’s a final screenshot of my AdWords campaign for my novel, [The Wharf]:

You did well, little campaign.

316 clicks for $55.65 ain’t bad. I settled on the magic bid price of $0.30, which ended up netting me around a 13-14 cent CPC (cost-per-click) and an overall value of $0.18/click. The novel sells for $2.99 and our take is $2.06, so roughly one in ten clickers must purchase a copy in order to break even. Sadly that was hardly the case. Over the course of this entire campaign I only sold a handful of copies attributable to these ads. Maybe my ads suck. Maybe my book sucks. Or maybe that’s just how the game goes. If I were selling a higher-priced product or I were able to entice a higher ratio of clickers into actually purchasing the book things would have been different. But I’m going to cut my losses for now and focus on other non-paid platforms for pushing my novel.


Must you talk like that, monkey?!

MailChimp dashboard

Please stop.

How to push products on Google AdWords

This was my first experience using Google AdWords. It’s a powerful, flexible ad platform, but it’s a bit more complex and perhaps less self-explanatory than Facebook Ads, the other platform which I have prior experience with. Some of the great features both Google AdWords and Facebook Ads share are a low price of entry ($50?), extreme targetability, super-detailed analytics tools, a reassuring spending cap, and relative ease of use. And of course, they’re both free, aside from the click-thru price, which will usually run between 80 cents to a dollar per click. This is a basic run through, with images to help explain the process and highlight a few issues I ran into.

Your first campaign! Yay!

Obviously you’ll need a Google account. Go to, set your time zone (note, this cannot be changed once registered, so double-check!), verify and you’re ready to go. Are you nervous? Don’t be!

Which countries will be so lucky?

You’ll be asked to name your campaign and then run through some basic settings. The default country setting pretty much covers the globe, but since [The Wharf] is a novel primarily written in English with smatterings of Japanese, I made things more specific.

How much can you spend, and whom, if anyone, will you exclude?

Here’s where things get juicy. I left the bidding options automatic, as suggested, and dropped the budget from $10 to $5 a day. Why? Because I’m cheap. You’ll be prompted to take a tour for ad extensions–just wait. We’ll get to that later, and when I clicked that link the first time it opened a new page in the same browser window and I lost my progress. Really, Google? Under demographics I excluded anyone over the age of thirty-four, since [The Wharf]‘s ideal readership is pretty much pasty reclusive nerds who stay indoors and watch anime and get off on how many monitors they can hook up to their computers, i.e. mostly otaku guys/gals in their late teens to early thirties.

Make sure to choose a really clever group name

Now it’s time to get that ad up! First creat a group. Google AdWords will suggest a number, assuming you’ll likely be creating more ads later when the first one you make doesn’t generate shit in the way of hits.

Don’t be dismayed if your ads don’t turn out as awesome as mine.

Once your group’s set it’s time to create the ads themselves! The ad generator is sufficiently intuitive and I didn’t encounter any snags. I created one text ad and one image ad, opting for the 250×250 square image size. Photo size is limited to 50k, though note the resolution in the previewer doesn’t reflect the quality you’ll enjoy when you click “View full size image ad”. My text ad was approved almost instantly, while my image ad took about an hour to process. I assume Google doesn’t permit pornography or otherwise explicit material in ads… Buncha party poopers.

Quantity over quality?

Aaahhhh keywords. You are the apple of my eye and the bane of my existence. I’ve had to hash these things out so many times by now that I pretty much winged it. Google seems to suggest more specific search combinations, and will give you some ratings/suggestions on your keywords, not to mention advice. I couldn’t manage higher than a score of “5/10”, which registered for “Jesse Bull” (my co-author), while my name, ironically, only returned a “4/10” (what are you insinuating, Google? Do you think he’s better looking?).  I went pretty heavy on the keywords (23 to be exact), most of which ended up “Eligible”, though the bulk of what you see here turned up “Rarely show due to low quality score”, whatever than means. You can change keywords at any time, so don’t sweat it too much.

Because I use Google+ so often…

You’re almost there! Ad extensions offer additional features for your ad that can potentially prove quite powerful depending on what you’re selling. The only one I ended up tacking on was Google+ integration, since I have a Synthetitree/Wharf page on that social network, and it’s beautiful.


Just in case you’re unclear on your financial commitment, once things have processed you can always go back and check your budget cap under Billing > Settings > How you pay. The default cap is $50, so I went with that. It’s not because I’m broke or anything.

This fucker kept popping up.

You may see this annoying red window periodically while you’re working. At first I was alarmed but I started ignoring it. I never lost any data during the process aside from that stupid “Take the tour” snafu, so don’t be alarmed if you see this.

There you have it! Hopefully your new ad/s will grab as much attention for your product as you’d hoped for, and for a decent price! Just be careful what you wish for.

I’m sure David’s not the only guy

that can fill that hole… In fact, it doesn’t need to be a guy, per se… Theoretically you could stick just about anything up there that’s not too big.

While He Was Away by Karen Schreck

A sample of the “burgeoning genre of literature about the Iraq war”.

Image borrowed from [Early Nerd Special].

Facebook’s disappointing IPO

came as a shock to anyone? With ads like this? No wonder your click-through rate is abysmal, Zuckerberg.

I’ve been told things are “too small” before…


Facebook/ Youtube problemsbut never my video player… 😦

There’s no such thing as a bad request…

…except for the request that can’t be found.

Need more icons


on the taskbar…

Disgruntled toilet-goer


Why Uzbekistan?

NYC Taxi Passenger Bill of Rights

NYC Taxi Bill of Rights

My favorite rules? First two!

Essential reading for New Yorkers! Yellow cabs are a public transportation service, funded by taxpayer money. Don’t be abused by greedy, rude, impatient drivers–know your rights! Next time a driver tells you your stop is “too far,” or demands you pay in cash, memo his Driver ID # and threaten to report it to 311. Or do like I do and tell him to go “fuck [him]self!” Note: this technique doesn’t usually fly with female companions.

[image courtesy of]

%d bloggers like this: