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Amazon Advertising Services for Indie Authors, Yea or Nay?

| Posted in Advertising, Amazon Kindle Sales |

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If you’re in KDP Select (i.e. exclusive with Amazon), you now have the opportunity to sign your Select titles up for pay-per-click advertising campaigns. As you can see in the screenshot below, your book will appear on other books’ sales pages, under the buy links. (That’s not my book; I enrolled a title in the program but couldn’t find it on display anywhere — more on that later.)

Amazon-Advertising-on-book-pageSo, is it worth trying? From what others have shared and from my experience with other pay-per-click advertising programs, such as Google Adwords, Goodreads, and Facebook, I assumed it wouldn’t be, but I threw some money in just in case I was wrong (and so I could blog about it). Before I jump into my experience thus far, let me go over a couple of the basics, for those who are new to this kind of advertising.

What is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising, Anyway?

There are a couple of kinds of advertising available to us as authors. You’re probably already familiar with the flat-fee stuff, where you pay a site like Bookbub or Ereader News Today $X (or maybe that should be $XXX/$XXXX for Bookbub) to have your book featured for a day. It doesn’t matter how many views or clicks you get. The price is the same.

There are also sites that will display an ad or banner for you for $X amount per thousand impressions. (Not many authors have had luck with these–Banner Blindness is a horrible disease that has been affecting web surfers since 1997).

Finally, we’ve got the pay-per-click stuff, where you pay $0.XX amount every time your ad is clicked. If that sounds expensive, it’s because it is, especially when you’re talking about something low-priced, like an ebook that might only sell for $2.99, netting you a maximum of $2.05 for a sale.

If you’re only paying ten cents a click and one in eight people who click buy the book, you’re coming out ahead, but with most of these sites, you have to pay more like $0.30-$0.50 a click in order to have your ad displayed with any regularity in the rotation. (You’re bidding against other authors for this display space, and sometimes people are desperate and pay far more than makes sense for advertising. Basically, they’re willing to lose money to sell books. That could possibly make sense if doing so can get you into some category Top 20s on Amazon, where your books would be more likely to be noticed and sell themselves, but my first impression of this advertising system is that you’re not going to get enough clicks and sales per day for it to make a difference in ranking, at least at the lower end, where it could help with visibility.)

My Amazon Advertising Campaign

Campaign is a lofty term, since I have one ad running for one book. Since my pen name is the only one with titles in KDP Select, I’m limited with what I can experiment with. So I picked a book that could work as an entry point in the series and gave Amazon the OK to charge my credit card a hundred dollars. That’s the smallest amount you can pay to get started.

Amazon walks you through setting up an ad, and it’s pretty easy, because you don’t have the option to write copy. As you can see from the screen shot, they basically just show the book cover, title, author, and the star rating. If you don’t have an amazing, OMG-must-click! book cover, this program probably isn’t for you. (I’ll admit that my pen name doesn’t have any covers like that. They’re inexpensive stock-photo covers, which is very typical for the genre–I’m not hiring models for photo shoots for my side project. :D)

After you’ve selected a book, Amazon asks you how you want to choose where your ad is displayed, “by target” or “by interest.” 

If you choose by target, you can search for specific items in Amazon’s catalogue, such as books that are similar to yours. This is what I did (I’m sure those authors will be so tickled to see my book on their sales pages). My pen name writes space opera romance, which is a small niche genre, so it didn’t take long to pick out similar books. I picked a couple of the top sellers, even if I hadn’t read them, because I was afraid I wouldn’t get many ads displayed if I was too narrow with my focus (this turned out to be true, even with picking some top sellers, books with sub-500 sales rankings).

If you choose by interest, you get to pick from the book categories at Amazon, but you can’t drill down. I could have my sci-fi romance showing in general romance (not a good idea, since 99.9% of people reading romance are not looking for spaceships and aliens in their stories), or I could have it showing in general science fiction & fantasy. Also not a good idea, IMO, because that’s too broad. Even if I was advertising a book with a much wider appeal, something that falls squarely into epic fantasy, let’s say, I wouldn’t want it showing up on the pages of science fiction thrillers or paranormal romances set in Chicago. Those readers aren’t likely to be my target audience.

So I went with “by target” and picked about 25 books, going for top sellers in the niche. I figured anything with a sales ranking over 20,000 or so wasn’t getting enough eyeball attention to bother with sticking an ad on the page. I could have chosen more books, and I may go back and try and add some more in an attempt to get more impressions, but this really is a small niche, and there aren’t that many sub-20,000 books in it.

The last thing Amazon asks you is how much you want to bid. For my book, The Assassin’s Salvation, it suggested $0.05. I have no idea if it makes different suggestions, based on how much competition is in a particular niche. I would guess so, but maybe someone can verify that for me. Since five cents is so low compared to what Goodreads suggests, I was happy to go with the flow there.

I agreed to the price and clicked the button to make my campaign live.

Results (or not) for My Campaign Thus Far

After the first 24 hours, I checked in. I had about 50 impressions (meaning my ad had shown up fifty times on other books’ pages). I didn’t have any clicks.

I wasn’t surprised about the lack of clicks, given the placement of these ads (since they’re tidily worked into the same column with the buy links, they’re pretty easy to overlook) and the fact that readers are presumably more interested in the book on the page they actually surfed to rather than some random ad on the side. Even if I had an awesome cover, I don’t know that it would make much of a difference, since the ad itself is so small. The book does have over 70 reviews, which is something that’s fairly prominent in the ad.

Since 50 impressions is kind of laughable (you’d really need tens of thousands of impressions to expect to get noticeable clicks and book sales), I boosted the bid to ten cents, to see if that might get me more displays. It didn’t. The ad has been running for just under a week, and it’s only up to 159 impressions (still no clicks).

The good news is that I’m not being charged for those impressions (although Amazon does have my $100 sitting in their bank account), but the bad news is that I’m not getting any clicks and thus I’m not getting any extra sales from having the ads running.

For kicks, I just boosted it to 20 cents to once again see if that might get me more displays. I’m not sure how high I’ll go. Probably not above 50 cents. I may end up asking for a refund, simply because right now it’s not looking like I can even spend the money I’ve paid in.

Sometimes these things (how often ads get displayed) are based on what the CTR or click-through-rate is. Ads that get clicked more often get preferential treatment. But it’s not as if I can do anything to tinker with my copy and try to increase that CTR in this situation, since, as I said, Amazon doesn’t allow you to write any copy.

I’m sure I would get more impressions if I selected that broad “science fiction & fantasy” category and had my ad displaying on books all across the genre, but as I explained, that’s really too broad of an audience for a book in a small niche.

Conclusions

It’s hard to reach any really useful conclusions when I’m only using one book and haven’t even received a click for it yet, but based on my experience so far, I wouldn’t recommend giving this a try if you’re in a smaller niche or sub-category. If your book has really wide appeal (and that awesome cover we talked about) and it makes sense to go broad, maybe you could get some clicks and sales. I do have a feeling, though, that in going so broad, you’d end up paying a lot for few results (i.e. paying for clicks from people who aren’t your target audience and who aren’t going to buy the book).

I would absolutely love to hear from other authors who have tried the program. Have you had different results? Anything positive to report?

 

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Comments (50)

Thank you for sharing this. I worried that would be the case. This helps me avoid a pitfall. Sometimes, I’m not sure if there is any advertisement that does help sell books.

There are a couple of threads on the Kindleboards where people have tried this. Not one person has had anything positive to report.

Thanks for sharing. I have overlooked those little ads myself. It looks like it more of the buy from here and sample things.

A better placement would be above the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought”. I would notice it then.

Probably so. But as an author with other people’s ads on *my* book pages, I don’t particularly want to lobby to have them any more prominently displayed, heh.

Do you know if these ads are blocked by ad blockers? I don’t know any person that doesn’t run ad blocker on their browser, so an ad may be “severed” up but that doesn’t mean people are seeing it.

I don’t know, Stephen. Do you see them when you surf around on Amazon? I just have the pop-up blockers, so I see regular ads with Chrome. I’d guess it’s actually a pretty small portion of the internet surfing population that bothers hunting down ad-blockers (or knows how to install anything). I could be wrong though!

I just checked. I use Firefox with Adblockers, and I’m not seeing a single one of those ads on the right hand column.

That space always ends with the “try it free” part where they offer to send a sample.

I looked and I don’t see the ads.

not using adblockers can lead to more malware. I didn’t know any one didn’t use them. 🙂 They are extensions for your browser and are very easy to instal.

Again, good post. Thanks.

Maybe having a Mac makes me lazy. 😀 I haven’t had much trouble with malware, and Chrome blocks all of the pop-ups already–those are the only thing that annoy me as a surfer. I don’t mind Adsense or banner ads or the stuff like Amazon is showing. On the book sites, I actually want to see the ads, since I buy them, too, and want to keep an eye on what’s working (or, in this case, what’s not working!).

Thanks for sharing your experience, Lindsay. Was The Assassin’s Salvation priced at $3.99 when you ran the ad? Would Amazon allow you to advertise a free book? Maybe that would result in more clicks.

I’m just brainstorming here. From what I understand the beta testers gave Amazon very negative feedback when they tested the ad service. I wonder why they went ahead with it.

You *can* couple an advertising campaign with a Kindle Countdown deal, so I’m guessing you could advertise a free book, at least for a few days. You’d have to decide if it’s worth it to you to pay X amount per click for something that’s free. If a lot of people clicked, you could burn through your hundred dollars quickly and only get a couple hundred downloads, if that. There are a lot of advertising sites out there where you can get a couple hundred downloads for $5 or $10.

Interesting. I just spent half an hour clicking through my prospective comp titles in Amazon to see which ads popped up. As I expected, the ads aren’t targeted very well. My adult PNR comps feature mostly thriller ads (not romance), and a pair of YA books. I doubt these ads are effective.

Only one advertising author hit her genre every single time – Bella Forrest’s Shade of Vampire series. Her ads pop up whenever I click on a PNR heavy hitter (Kresley Cole, J.R. Ward, Gena Showalter, etc…) which is probably very effective. She seems to be the only advertiser hitting her target in my genre. I wonder how she managed that.

She might have selected specific authors/books to target rather than simply going with the broad targeting.

That makes sense. She hit Twilight too.

Lindsay, can you confirm that Amazon have actually taken the $100 from your account?

The feedback we’ve had so far echoes your experience – very negative results, but as best we can determine from feedback the $100 is not being taken at sign-up.

Some users seem to think they can cancel at any time and walk away and Amazoj wil just chare for the clicks that did happen. But if that’s so, what point having a minimum commitment.

If Amazon are taking the $100 then for every 10,000 indies signing up that’s a million bucks in the Amazon coffers. Nice work if you can get it. 🙂

I checked, and it doesn’t look like they’ve charged it yet. I seem to recall Goodreads charging it right away (they also have a $100 minimum, IIRC), but I’ll have to see if this is at the end of a billing cycle or if they ultimately only charge you based on the clicks you receive.

I didn’t sign up for this but I’ve yet to see *any* ads on my book pages. I didn’t know what they looked like until you posted that picture. Not very effective advertising if they don’t put up the ads.

Heh, they’re all over my book pages and have been for a while. You can have them. 😛

I also experimented the same way you did with a $100.00. I’m in a larger category–mystery/thrillers. Had the same result as you. After more than a week I had only 60 impressions and no click-thrus. I cancelled the ad and there was no charge. You can cancel the ad anytime which is a good feature. On a side note while scrolling down the Amazon book pages with my trackpad I’ve accidentally clicked on one of those ads on several occasions. The location of them is not ideal. So I imagine that the author of those ads was charged for my accident.

I can say “ditto” to your experience. After 4 days with about 70 impressions, but zero clicks for my Space Opera, I closed the ad out.
In my case, I can’t see that they ever charged my credit card anything.And I see zero billed and zero balance.
I would rather see a professional advertising service to help you with ads, and a flat fee for a certain number of times per day your book’s ad is featured.

The $100 is the max they charge you, and they only charge the used portions every once in a while.

You can stop any time you want and won’t be charged any more, but it will automatically stop at the $100.

If you stop now, after zero clicks, you’ll never be charged a cent.

Thanks for the heads up, Roland. I’m wondering if *anyone* is getting clicks and sales with the program!

I ran a campaign for a week, got 700 impressions and zero clicks, even at .06 and .07 bids.

Thank you for this very informative post. We appreciate you sharing!

Thank you for sharing so much. It’s been a great help and yet so disappointing too. 🙂

I tried this as well. After a month of gradually increasing my maximum payment per click, I ended with about 16000 impressions, 40 clicks, and a total of 1 sale. That one sale for a 3.99 book cost me 7.99. If I had been more patient and left my payment per click lower, I probably wouldn’t have lost as much money, but I also may not have seen even that single sale.

Honestly, the numbers just seem too small to bother with the service at this point, at least in my experience.

Ads are never better than direct marketing channels, such as BookBub, ENT, etc. That’s been true for 100 years. Advertising is for building brand/presence, not sales.

HOWEVER, these FB ads start to mimic direct marketing by letting you target readers to *some extent. This isn’t as effective in the US due to ad-blockers and general buyer immunity to getting blasted with Amazon ads all the time. But it works well, reportedly, with foreign market sales. For example, a colleague of mine did this program for similar books for Amazon Germany and kicked butt on sales. Of course, this means you have to get your book translated into that language, get your foreign rights in place, etc.

I’m very curious is these ads work for English readers in foreign markets. That may be too small a segment, but I’d like to try it someday….after I use up my budget on more effective campaigns, of course!

Lindsay, I was wondering if you’re still doing this? I started about a month back and now have about 55,000 impressions. It seems like there are lots of lessons to be learned on this. Also it probably works best with multiple books.

What has your experience been lately.

After almost 2 months, 1200 impressions and no clicks. 😛 I definitely think I was too narrow with my focus to get much attention, but I haven’t heard anyone talk of impressive click-through-ratios.

I ran an add and got 150 clicks and 3 buys of my main book, about 5 buys during that time of a secondary book. So, not so good. I am trying one more time to experiment with targeting and click price.

I think, though, that most of you are right. I will let you know if I come anywhere close to breaking even!

I have to say I’ve been very adventurous on my book and choose the $100 limit as well on the target/ interest option. I was very broad in my areas of target choosing every genre and not limiting my self. I also chose to spend 0.54cent. Also thought of targeting people who buy DVDs or movies. I have gotten 62, 600 impressions 38 clicks…lol. Just trying my luck. I guess you have to be adventurous.

Thank you, Lindsay, for sharing this information. I was about to try amazon ads after getting no results from everything else I attempted. The last thing I need right now is yet another bad experience, and you saved me from that. (BookBub, ENT, ReadCheaply aren’t options for me. I may have to result to standing on a street corner with a table full of books . . .)

Thanks!

All said and done, what is the best way to promote then? What trick is working and getting authors more clicks ? Any experience to share?

You seem to have the best chance to stick right now by ad-stacking (lowering the price of your book and booking ads on several mailing lists/book sites) over the course of a few days. Here’s what I paid for on an upcoming advertisement for a boxed set I dropped to 99 cents for the week:

July 29 — Bknights (on Fiverr)
July 30 — BookBarbarian / ReadCheaply / Fussy Librarian
July 31 — Bargain Booksy / GenrePulse
Aug 1 — Kindle Nation Daily / Ereader News Today
Aug 2 — Bookbub

Bookbub is the big one, and if you can get them, you have a real chance to sell a lot of books and maybe stick at the top of your category for a while.

I’ve been writing for about 20 years. Everybody writes for different reasons. One of course is money; early on, I was in that group: I thought writing was going to make me rich or something. Now, I just write because I write, mainly. That being said, I don’t do anything else but write, read, edit, just surf the net reading about publishing and everything; I’m addicted to the whole thing to be honest. Further, I’m one of these writers who lives at the top of the Ivory Tower. It’s just me, what I think is my genius, and lots of free hours to spend as I want . . . mainly on the things I mentioned above: writing, editing, reading, surfing the net about publishing. Personally, I think I have more knowledge than 99% percent of the people in publishing out there. That being said, I really don’t give out tricks of the trade . . . things that I’ve picked up over the years. But sometimes I do. I read over all the comments above. Everybody’s wrong. Not only are you wrong, but you’re actually on the right path, you just don’t know it. First, selling books is a bitch. Everybody knows that. That being said, not to digress anymore, I think if the authors who posted above remember this little fact that slips our minds sometimes when it comes to selling books, you’d see how using Amazon’s advertising platform above, even with 0 clicks, is still very beneficial to you, and not only that, but it’s even great that you have all those free impressions without being charged! (And no, I don’t work for Amazon.)

Years ago, very early on, when I got the itch to write, when I thought I was going to become the richest writer in America with the largest house in Palm Beach, throwing the most gigantic parties the universe has ever seen, I spent countless hours at the library. I read all types of books dealing with publishing. I figured at one point, if I was in college, all these books I read, I’d probably have two phds. Anyhow. Part of the 3-headed monster, Cerebus, marketing and advertising and pr . . . all books on these three subjects, all kind of related, said the same thing when it comes to selling anything. If you remember this lesson, you won’t doubt yourself as much, and you won’t think you efforts are in vain.

I’m going on the basis that all writers who posted above are unknowns. All the books said, when it comes to selling anything, when you’re an unknown–trying to make a cold sale, it’s virtually impossible. For a potential reader to buy a book from you, that potential reader, on average, has to have heard of your name or your product, and in this case, your book, about seven times beforehand.

Ask yourself, say you had 1,000 impressions using Amazon’s platform above, how many of those people actually saw the impression? But better yet, of the people who saw your impression–your name and book, how many of those people had seen your name or book’s name before? I’d have to guess none.

You as a writer–if you’re an unknown, look at it this way, honestly, from what I’ve read in the books, tried and true, you really have to touch a potential reader–a cold sale, seven times.

A side note, to touch a potential reader 7 times–to make them aware of your book–to have the thought of you or your book lingering in their mind, personally, I believe you have to have your book on no less than 50 platforms or plugged into 50 different outlets.

Just think about it, if you only have 7 outlets, and you’re an unknown, what are the chances that a potential reader–a cold sale, is gonna tap into all 7 of those outlets? I’d say none. There’s no chance that potential reader is gonna cross paths with the 7 or so outlets or platforms you have set up. No way.

All the above being said, all the writers who used Amazon’s advertising platform above, who think it was useless, I’d say this. Say for example, you got 0 clicks and 1,000 impressions. I don’t know how many readers actually saw those impressions. That being said, let’s say 500 saw them. So what you did is this (and for free may I add), you’ve touched those 500 readers one time each; they either know your name or your book’s name now. Next time they come across your name or book’s name, they won’t be unfamiliar with you: it won’t be a cold sale. It’ll now be a lukewarm sale . . . potential sale.

I think everybody above is on the right path. They just don’t know it. If you can get free impressions from Amazon, take’em!

Also, think about your own experience. Don’t you every now and then again see an ad for a book. Don’t think much of it, because you’ve never heard of it. But when you see it again, it clicks something in your mind. I don’t know what it is, but it does.

Anyhow.

As a marketing person for more years than I would like to admit, and a new author, I totally agree with your analysis. I spent 2 1/2 years writing Above The Safe Zone with a co-author, and knew that selling the book would be a monumental challenge. I think if Gone With The Wind was written by an indie author today, the author might be posting comments about few clicks and dismal sales. I’m starting to think it’s pure luck. Books like The Hunger Games, Divergent, 50 Shades of Gray, and now The Martian by Andy Weir, who I believe was an unknown author, went viral. Now if we only knew the formula.

You make a lot of sense. Thanks for your advice.

That was one of the most tedious things I ever struggled to read. I made it through 40% and I want a medal. Re Amazon pay per click ads for Kindle, I say this to everyone: don’t waste your time. I have many books available on Amazon. I tried the ad campaigns in fifty different ways. About 3 paid off, but only a handful of dollars. Never worth the bother. One campaign garnered 56,000 views in 6 days. 55 clicks. Zero sales. I thought that was odd, compared to other campaigns, so I went digging. Turns out Amazon had not hooked up the “Look Inside” link at the top of the cover. Of course NO ONE would ever buy a book without having thumbed through a few pages. I pointed this out to Amazon and requested a refund on that one campaign. I provided proof that the link wasn’t there even two weeks after submitting the book. Amazon said nope — they ran the campaign and no refund. I filed a credit card chargeback (their own card, ha ha) and was refunded that way (by force). THAT, I’m afraid, is the kind of treatment I’ve received from Amazon from day-one in every single area. It’s why I stopped giving them money long ago UNLESS THEY EARN IT, which they never do. My advice: Find another way. Their ad campaigns are designed to make money FOR THEM, not for you. They’re operating on the “sucker born every minute” principle and it’s working. FOR THEM. Not for you. They absolutely DO NOT CARE if you ever sell a book. They’re getting rich off the desperation of their too-many authors, and hey’re laughing — at you — all the way to the bank. List your book on Amazon if you want. It’s free. But find other avenues to sell it. Amazon ain’t the answer. I doubt Hemingway could have sold on Amazon.

Kindle ads have worked really well for me, even though I have just a few ratings and am, frankly, new at this.

Tee is right . . . boldness is required. For my book Working Men, I bid 70 cents a click and ended up paying an average of 38 cents. Over a two week campaign, the ad received 56,000 impressions and 362 clicks, from which 10 copies were sold, plus 2576 page downloads from the lending library.

The ad used an iStock image purchased for $16.

I’ll be using Kindle advertising again . . . although I haven’t yet achieved my aim of getting more reviews for the book.

Published my adventure thriller book on Kindle Select on 12 September 15 and started an ad campaign on 29 September. Today avg CPC is $0.35, $100 limit, 2385 impressions, 4 clicks & detailed page reviews but 0 sales.

The total sales on kindle and amazon have been 15 mostly by word of mouth. A few of the persons known to me and who read the book, have enjoyed it immensely and three have suggested that it is perfect for a movie! No one posted any review and cannot figure out if I should get a review done from Kirkus. Don’t know what works, but I have started writing my second book

Don’t pay $400 dollars for Kirkus review! Midwest will give you an editorial review for a fraction of the price.
http://www.midwestbookreview.com/

I just tried amazon marketing services for my book “The Malevolent Twin”. I have about 9,000 impressions, 15 clicks, and 1 est. total sale. I got some ebook sales, and a paperback sale from posting on huffington post article about books. It was free to post comment, and I capitalized on it. I still would rather use amazon marketing services, rather than waste precious dollars on blog tours….

As I read through the comments, the consensus seems to be that this is a waste of time, but I have had a very different experience.

First, connecting your book to specific titles doesn’t work. People go to that title because they care about that book, not yours. You can be creative with your genres – my book is a military memoir, and I advertise in action/adventure as well as military and medical biographies. Cast the net wide! If I was writing Sci-fi romance, I’d advertise in both sci-fi AND romance, and make sure my cover and title reflected my genre accurately. People who weren’t interested simply wouldn’t click. But some would be, and would want to read more.

I started out bidding at 5c, but wasn’t getting more than a few thousand impressions (in a month) and a handful of clicks. After a couple of months, I increased my bid to 8c and started getting more. Impressions don’t sell books, but it does give you data. Out of several thousand impressions, I was getting 0.8%CTR, and my conversion rate was about 5%. I calculated that at that rate, I could pay up to 12c for clicks and still break even, so I increased my bid to 10c. Realize that you won’t get any impressions at all until the Amazon computer connects your ad to a page or keyword.

I went from selling a handful of books per MONTH to selling a handful every day. I’m averaging between 100-200/month. I’m not getting rich, but for every dollar I spend on the ad, I’m making back about $1.50 (about 30c of that is from KU pages read). Those numbers bring reviews now and then for an added bonus.

The ads are flaky, and I think that’s Amazon’s formula – I’ll get sales every day for a week, then I’ll go a few days without any. It averages out – I even had two days when sales were so good, I hit #848 in the entire catalog. Then I didn’t sell any for almost two weeks and was back down into the high five digits with the one-book-a-day-ers.

A couple of things people should understand – The number of impressions you get is a result of your bid and in what market you are bidding into. Your CTR depends on having a great cover, title, and a catch phrase for the ad – and 1% is considered very good. Your conversion rate depends on having a good landing page with a catchy blurb that makes people who land there want to buy. They are already interested or they wouldn’t have clicked. Just reel them in.

So before you pass judgment on Amazon’s PPC, realize that it’s a lot more complicated than “Does it work or not?” The PPC thing now drives 75% of my online sales. Everything else I do drives the other 25% as well as my physical copy sales (about 10% of the total) but that means I’m spending 98% of my time on 28% of my revenue. I’m currently looking at eliminating my time-wasters (like Twitter – ugh – I’m obviously not doing that right) and focusing on things that I have figured out how to make work for me.

I’m happy to answer specific questions about this – I’m not an expert by any means, but I do understand the math and am actually selling books with it.

Thanks for this. I’m trying Amazon now, to see how it compares to Twitter PPC advertising. And I’m frustrated by how slow the data feed is (why isn’t the data real-time?!), which makes it impossible to tune your bid effectively. Anyway, if you pop over to my blog, you’ll find my formula for effective Twitter advertising. It’s driving almost 100% of my sales right now. (Well, it would be, except I paused it to try this Amazon experiment.)

Yancy, thanks for that encouraging report on Amazon’s advertising. First of all, let me confess that I’m quite inexpert at computer maneuvering. So, my frustrations may be as much my deficiencies as Amazon’s.

About 3 weeks ago I submitted an Amazon ad for my book, “Human Will” (yes, it’s philosophy/spirituality/science). I was very unclear regarding how to properly set up the ad, but I committed the $100 on my credit card. Within a few days, there were 3 impressions, no clicks. It appeared that the ad went dead. I had set my ppc rate at $.30, but after a couple of weeks with no more impressions, I set the rate all the way to $1.00 per click. Still not a single impression.

Are you willing to give me any pointers or information that might help me out? I’ve already sent Amazon Marketing Services an email to ask for input, because I’m considering cancelling the ad, but could not seem to even find a way of cancelling it.

Any help would be appreciated.

Joseph Schrock

Interesting conversation. Being a newbie, I really appreciate comments from writers who have been at this a while.

I just finished up a campaign using Amazon’s ads for my book Murphy’s Law: My budget was $125 @ .08 maximum per click, although I dropped it to .04 for the last two days. My total spend was $42.32. I got 83,992 impressions and 608 clicks. Of the 608 clicks, I got 17 sales worth $45.42 or a little over $30 in royalties. My KENPs also went up significantly while the ad was running, and I think some of those page turns might have been from people reading the sample pages.

I think my mistake with the ad was not targeting it finely enough. I chose to advertise by interest and I selected every category that remotely applied to get as many clicks as possible. I think I would have been better to choose fewer categories and perhaps that would have given me a higher percentage of sales per total clicks. Anyway, my two cents.

Thanks for sharing this. I was about to experiment with Amazon ads, but since my book is cross-genre and in a fairly niche category, I’ve taken your advice and concentrated on FB ads instead.

I’m writing fantasy adventures. I started my first AMS ad in November, with no experience whatsoever in marketing.

I chose for Product Display, clicks evenly spread over the duration, at 0.15 (for a 15+ age fantasy story).
Now, after exact 1 month, I have 17k impressions, 78 clicks and 5 sales, and I am way ahead on my costs.

I started a second campaign earlier this month (for a teen/y.a. fantasy), with the same details. It stands at 6.4k impressions and 32 clicks, with 2 sales. Again, I am ahead.

All in all, I’ve spent $16.50 for 23.5K impressions and 7 sales. To my mind that is not a bad result.

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