Spreadsheets, statistics, and sums

It’s not the headline you expect for an author, right? It should be more words, plots, and sentence construction shouldn’t it? Yet the more I write, the more maths I seem to have to do!

Because, marketing! Getting my books in front of the readers who need to read them. (Yep, need to, because if I didn’t believe people needed to read my books, I probably wouldn’t be writing them.)


I’ve set up a spreadsheet for the launch of Small Forgotten Moments. It’s a great way to keep tasks which need to be completed each month, reviewers to submit the book to, and local media to contact for publicity all in one place. I did something similar for Grace & Serenity last year, but probably not to the same extent. Despite having several books out, marketing changes – the options available to authors mutate and improve – so I’m forever learning a new and better way to do things. It very much helps that the Vine Leaves Press authors are such a wonderful, enthusiastic bunch!

Statistics and sums

I quite like statistics and percentages and charts. Not enough to want to do them full time, but they’re a great way to procrastinate. The statistics I’m looking at currently are the ones telling me how well my Facebook ads are doing. I recently realised, via the wonderful bunch of Vine Leaves Press authors I mentioned above, that I’ve been doing FB ads wrong. Not just wrong, woefully so. Turns out you shouldn’t run an ad for five days, then create a new one to run for five days the following month, or the one after that…

Turns out, you should have one ad that you try to keep running for as long as possible. D’oh!

This is where the stats come in – cost per click, amount per day I’m willing to spend. Is more better, or can I get away with spending a bit less? Does it make a different to reach, to the number of people who actually click to buy my book?

Facebook do a great line in charts and reports to help with all this, and – of course – I created my own spreadsheet…

Probably the simplest equation Excel has ever seen, but hey, I’m a writer – what did you expect? ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ve only been tracking my stats properly since the beginning of the year, so it’s too early to really get a handle on it all, but all I can definitively say is the more you advertise, the more books you sell. I know, it’s a shocker!

24 thoughts on “Spreadsheets, statistics, and sums

  1. Hi Annalisa – there’s lots of work to do once the book is written – I’ve always admired Elizabeth Spann Craig with the information she gives us along these lines … so well done for starting – and all the best – am happy it’s not me grappling those things!! Enjoy Spring … Hilary


  2. It’s the part no one loves, unless of course you are someone who has written a book about logarithms and statistics! But necessary, and helpful for balancing left and right brain!


    1. It’s all trial and error. I spent most of February experimenting and making mistakes. My spreadsheet even has a column now where I note the mistakes so I don’t repeat them!


  3. One can’t just be creative anyone. One definitely needs a business mind too–and you’re giving that a go, and then some!


  4. I salute your efforts! Marketing/promotion is an area where I definitely need to improve. I’m nowhere near the spreadsheet level.

    I’m glad you’re getting a handle on the tricks of advertising on Facebook. I’ve never attempted it, but I’ve heard that it is not an easy thing to do.


  5. Excel spreadsheets are useful for all kinds of things, aren’t they? Even non-numerical data. I used it for blocking out classrooms and servers.


    1. They are very adaptable.

      I create timelines for my novels, and track word counts with them. A lot of people use them to track writing submissions, but I have a database for that – I love databases even more than I love spreadsheets!

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      1. When you think about it, a database (a relational one, anyway) is just a set of tables, i.e. spreadsheets. The nice thing about databases is you can link the data in the spreadsheets almost automatically. That, and they’re real fun to work with…


            1. No, I don’t know SQL, John. I use Microsoft Access/Excel so all the programming is way behind the scenes. Perhaps I should class myself as pre-basic? ๐Ÿ˜‚


  6. I’m another person who lacks a brain for, and interest in, this mathematical stuff you speak of. Smiles. Good for you, astute woman. Brilliance and compassion – that’s a killer combination you’ve got going.


    1. It’s not easy, and I don’t think a layperson ever masters it (that’s why there are so many degrees in the subject!) But I’ve been Googling and reading as many articles as I can, and adapting the advice to suit me. There’s good information out there! Good luck.

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