I did a writey-things post this week! I’ve been running Amazon ads for the first books of both my series off and on for several months now, and I want to share how it’s going.
First, the money things. I’ve spent about $100 since the beginning of December across 3 promotions. (That’s either a ton, or nothing, depending on how you approach the whole self-promotion experience. For me, it’s an acceptable cost, given the results.) Gross sales directly attributed to the ads are at ~$70 dollars now. I’ve also sold through other books in the same series in time frames that suggest readers are working down the list, and I’ve seen sales or full Unlimited reads on all but one title each month for multiple months, for the first time ever. (Again, comparatively speaking, this sales history is either pathetic or fabulous. It’s easily 3x more than I sold without the ads, and I put in minimal time doing it, as opposed to the relentless grind of social media or in person marketing.)
Am I making money? No. But as my marketing professional friends keep insisting (backed up by lots of numbers and quotes from research articles) regular-price ads, unlike promotional ads, aren’t about making money. They’re about visibility and access and availability. The ads aren’t paying for themselves, but I am gaining readers and not bleeding out cash I need for roof & groceries. I’m pleased.
I am not doing a step-by-step how to set up Amazon ads because all I did was follow the advice in another blog. rogerpacker.com had a great overview. Just search the site for “amazon ppc ads.” That and the help features in the program are all I’ve used.
Here are three things I’ve learned on my own.
1) The pause feature is key for me. Amazon lets you set up ads for a length of several months at a time with budgets of $100 each (but no actual money spent) so I can get set-up out of the way, check on them every week or two to adjust the bid up or down or change which one is active. If one is performing poorly, I can pause it and
2) Picking your categories wisely and bidding at least the average bid makes a huge difference in response. I played around with different ones, terminating them after a week or two if they didn’t perform, until I found categories that seem to work for different titles. (Romance sub-categories seem to get more hits than straight thriller or straight SF, for example, so I throw the ad into both categories for the titles that qualify.
3) The system does have its glitches. I’ve learned that if the ad is not recording things in every box after a week because something’s gone wrong at the programming end.
Summary: you can get a lot of punch for your pennies from this program if you’re not looking for a strict & immediate profit balance. It’s a tremendously flexible, low time-demand way to get your book seen and hopefully bought by more people.