Trying a Facebook Ad

When my mother self-published her memoir at 85 and then a book about Dad’s life, I set up a Facebook fan page for her. Gradually friends, family and fans of her books discovered it and she had almost 100 LIKES on the page.

I’ve been wanting to spread the word further, so I decided to try a Facebook advertisement. They offered $5, $10, and up or set your own price. Uncertain what the return would be on this investment, I opted for a modest $3 a day for 2 1/2 days.

Here's the statistics for the Facebook ad that I ran.
Here’s the statistics for the Facebook ad that I ran.

Figuring that her memoir of growing up in the 1930s appealed most to older women with a Kansas background, I opted for those demographics for showing the ad. So Facebook showed the ad to 426 women from the evening of July 1st to to midnight on July 3rd. Of that number, 30 opted to LIKE the page and become fans.

Will any of these new fans be intrigued enough to take the next step and buy my mother’s books? I’ll let you know about that next month. In the meantime, I spent a mere $6.72 on the ad campaign. That’s about the price of a fast food meal.

Here are further statistics on the Facebook advertisement results.
Here are further statistics on the Facebook advertisement results.

The new followers on the Gail Lee Martin fan page are age 55 and up. Total fans are 60% in that age range, with only 8% male. Most are from the Wichita area and other Kansas locations like Olathe and El Dorado.

I may try another ad in a few weeks with more diverse demographics. Perhaps I should include men and a wider age range or wider geographic range.

For now, I need to post topics on the fan page to keep the members interested and engaged.

My Blogs

I probably diversify too much and end up not giving any of my blogs proper attention. The one you’re viewing now is my catch-all. I might promote one of my niche topics from Hubpages or write about a trip I took.

Here are my other blogs:

Discovering Mom is my blog about facets of my mother’s life. She died in 2013 and I’m working my way through the loss.

Discovering Mom Gail Lee Martin… gone but not forgotten

Finding My Civil War Ancestor follows the searching I’m doing on my great-great grandfather’s life. Hopefully, my search methods will help others in their family history project.

Summer in New Hampshire extolls the joys of summer at the lake and in the woods in that beautiful state.

Then and Now shares the family history of the Martin, Joy, Vining, McGhee family lines. My distant cousin and my sister are helping me with it.

I’ve recently started a photo blog on Tumblr called My Solivita. It gives me a place to share my Florida photos and to tell about the lovely retirement community we live in.

In December 2014, I created my first stand-alone website. The topic is Florida Decorating Ideas. I hope you’ll check it out too.

Another site where I journal is called Niume. It gets all the bits and pieces that are too short, too personal or somehow don’t fit elsewhere.

My Mom’s Book Won a Kansas History Book Award!

I worked hard on the editing and arrangement of my mother’s memory pieces into a book called My Flint Hills Childhood: Growing up in 1930s Kansas. It’s available in paperback at She was thrilled to have her writing turned into a book for family and friends to get copies.

It turned out that the book had a wider audience and the local historical museum carries it in their bookstore/giftshop. Even more satisfying, is the book was selected as the 2010 winner of the Ferguson Kansas History Book Award. The award was announced at the Kansas Authors Club convention last week.

I hope that will lead to more libraries ordering the book for their collection and also more reviewers commenting on the book in various magazines. The author (my mom) has a fan page on Facebook.  There’s even a book club guide for the book.

I’ve created some webpages to feature background information about the book. Take a look at those for information about feedsack dresses, raising a baby badger and other topics related to the book.

Book Club Guide Completed

Back in October, I wanted to create a teacher’s guide and also a book club guide for my mother’s book, My Flint Hill’s Childhood: Growing Up in 1930s Kansas.  Here was the plan:

  • The guides will be available as Squidoo lenses and hopefully will prove useful to book clubs or teachers that might want to use the book.
  • I don’t have much of clue on what teachers might find useful and what normally goes into a teacher’s guide for a book.
  • I’ll have to search around on the internet for examples of these and also for book club guides.
  • If anyone runs across examples of these or has suggestions for content for the guides, please let me know. Send links or post a comment on this posting so I can follow up on it.

I finally gave up on the idea that someone would send me great tips on how to put one of these together. Plunging in and putting something together by guess or by gosh, and now it’s done. I’ve posted it online and you can see the Book Club Guide for My Flint Hills Childhood on Squidoo. I haven’t finished the teacher’s guide yet. If you belong to a bookclub, suggest the book for one of their discussions.

I Love My Bookclub mousepad
I Love My Bookclub by booklovergifts
Browse other custom mousepads at

Addictive Personalities

I wonder about myself sometimes. When I try something new and it turns out well, then I want to keep working on it. Lately I’ve been trying out Squidoo. It makes a great place to promote my mother’s book. It takes some time to create each lens, but I think the topics will draw the right people over the years. The topics I’ve created include one on Tyro, Kansas and one on pet badgers. Quite varied, but both relate back to My Flint Hills Childhood.
The other topics that relate to the book are An Old-Fashioned Christmas, An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving, and An Old-Fashioned Halloween. In additon, I’ve created one on Feedsack Dresses and one on the Flint Hills. Other topics from the book that might make good Squidoo lenses include Making Rag Dolls,  Being Quarantined, Bertha McGhee’s Life, Vining Genealogy, McGhee Genealogy, and School Days on the Prairie.

I need to stop for awhile and get back to editing my dad’s book. That’s the trouble with some of these websites. They are just really fun once you get past the initial learning stage. I still have a lot to learn about Squidoo and making quality lenses (webpages) there, but I’m off to a good start.

Love This Vintage Photo

My mom turned up this photo of her mother during my recent visit. I’d never seen it before. Wow, it’s hard to imagine my grandmother in the early 1900s on a motorcycle.

Take a look at that bike! I love what my grandmother is wearing. Her name was Ruth Vining and she lived in Tyro, Kansas. To read more about her life, check out my mother’s book, My Flint Hills Childhood: Growing Up in 1930s Kansas. It’s hard to tell is that’s smoke around the back of the motorcycle from the exhaust or just fading or damage to the old photo.

If you’d like to know more about the motorcycle, a reader clued me in that it’s a Flanders 4. With a little internet research, I found an old ad from 1911 that features it.

Here’s a web page I created on Hubpages with more about this motorcycle and photos of other vintage motorcycles.

Ruth Vining on Albert's motorcycle_editedRoxio

Checking the Stats

statistics for My Flint Hills Childhood (paperback edition)
statistics for My Flint Hills Childhood (paperback edition)

I love checking statistics on things I’ve worked on. WordPress does a great job of providing statistics on my blog efforts.

Now I have another place to check frequently, my mother’s book on Blurb. The site gives weekly statistics on the number of viewings of the book. Since they are having a contest this month, her viewing have taken a big jump. The contest was right on the heels of the book getting a mention in a USA Today article, so that probably contributed to the increase in viewings.

My contribution to the book involved pulling in the content (text and photos) that Mom sent me, and working out the layout. Then I proof-read the book as well. I guess I did the book design work and editing. My part was much easier than Mom’s as she wrote most of the content over a twenty year period.

It would be great if you would vote in the contest. The prize for the writer is $3,000. Make my 85 year old mother a happy author! To vote, just go to Blurb’s contest and get a username/password to vote. In the search box, put My Flint Hills Childhood to vote on Gail Martin’s book. You can only vote once on an individual book.