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Weekly Write-Up: January 9th 2019

by Tom Ashford

Welcome to the SPF Weekly Write-Up, where each Wednesday we’ll be collecting together the self-publishing news of the week so you don’t have to.

This week: BookBub Ads success stories, Forbes is developing an AI to write its articles, and the best bookselling street in London.

The Best BookBub Ads of 2018

As many of you probably already know, BookBub Ads are a great way to get your book in front of a large (and particularly book-hungry) audience. But with varying costs involved – and as with all advertising platforms, no guarantee of success – are they worth investing in? Well, luckily for us, BookBub have provided examples of the most successful campaigns of 2018!

One of particular note is Adam Croft’s, for his book Too Close For Comfort. As BookBub mentions, Adam is a particular big fan of BookBub Ads, having even created a course for them as part of SPF’s Ads for Authors! They go on to say that, “Adam set up seven ads for this book using the same image, each with a low daily budget and targeting the fans of a different thriller author on Apple Books, B&N, Google, and Kobo. In the two weeks they’ve been live so far, the ads have driven over 2,500 clicks altogether, and the version with the highest CTR is sitting at 7.4%!”

Not too shabby at all. You can read the full article (with plenty of other examples) here.

AI Ghost(copy)writers

How would you feel about a computer writing your stories for you?

This summer, Forbes introduced a CMS called Bertie, which “recommends article topics for contributors based on their previous output, headlines based on the sentiment of their pieces and images too.” Nothing wrong with that, I hear you say. It’s simply a more efficient way of allocating work to those best suited to complete it.

Well, how about this? They’re now testing a tool that writes the rough copy of articles, which can then be polished up by actual human writers. Sort of takes the skill out of it, doesn’t it? I wonder how those journalists feel, knowing that their copywriter jobs are soon to become those of copy editors.

Still, it seems to be working. Though they won’t comment on whether the Bertie tool is enabling their writers to increase their output, they have said that since introducing it they’ve doubled the amount of loyal readers they attract each month.

If people start using AI to write their stories and simply act as editors to clean the copy up afterwards, I will be very disappointed indeed.

The Real Life Diagon Alley

I’ve lived in London for five years and I only just found out that this place even existed.

Not Diagon Alley, of course – though this street was apparently the inspiration for the famous (and fictitious) Harry Potter location. Cecil Court is a 17th Century alley (though the buildings date back to the late 19th Century) in the heart of London known as the ‘Bookseller’s Row’, because it’s home to nearly twenty antique shops and second-hand independent bookstores. Very quaint and very quirky.

Somehow I’ve passed through, had a drink, and yet never realised what Cecil Court could offer a writer such as myself. If you happen to be visiting the city, make sure to pencil in a stop – you might find a rare first edition!

Tom Ashford

Tom Ashford

Tom Ashford is a professional copywriter, author of numerous dark fantasy and sci-fi novels, and the Head of Content at the Self Publishing Formula Blog. His books include the Blackwater trilogy and the Checking Out series.

He lives in London with his wife, in an apartment that doesn’t allow pets. Find out more about Tom here.