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Experimenting with Amazon Ads

Hello friends,

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I want to spend my marketing dollars and have decided to stick with the only thing that seems to have been an effective way to sell books and that’s Amazon ads.

I didn’t put too much effort into the ads when I tried them out before but I did see sales unlike just about everything else I tried.

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This year I’ve decided to spend some more time and money experimenting with Amazon ads.

Here has been my experience so far…

I ran one ad for the paperback version of A Night Game and one for the kindle version of Aster the Spirit Talker. Doing one for the paperback and one for the kindle wasn’t something I did on purpose but I did notice that I was selling paperbacks but not ebooks.

I was breaking even on what I was spending vs. what I was making.

The Kindle ads were costing me money but the paperback ads were making me money.

The Kindle ads were getting as much or more clicks than the paperback ads but making no purchases. I believe it’s because people might be finding the book interesting so they click but when they see the book isn’t free (as readers seem to expect their ebooks to be) they don’t “purchase” it.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I wasn’t completely sure it wasn’t just one book outperforming the other so I did a little experiment by creating a kindle ad for A Night Game. As with Aster, I lost money on the ads–no sales made but plenty of clicks.

Today, I turned off both Kindle ads and created a paperback ad for Aster. Fingers crossed that it sells like A Night Game has been doing and I start seeing a good return on my investment. It would be even more awesome if a few of those people who purchased the paperbacks would returned to leave a review.

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Photo by Dana Tentis on Pexels.com

 

Another little observation–books seemed to be purchased steadily during the week but not on the weekend. I’m going to keep an eye on this and if it appears to be a trend, I’ll probably pause my ads on weekends.

I’m also going to take some time to read this handy dandy information from Amazon and maybe I can find more ways to improve my ads.

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I promise to share any tips and tricks I find without charging you money to take a course. So stay tuned and wish me luck! 🤞🏻

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Do you have any experience with Amazon ads? Are there any tips you have to make the most of them? I’d love if you’d leave them in the comments.

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Maybe I didn’t save the world but I sold some books

Hello friends,

Welp, I did it. I put on a dress, a cloak, and I went and geeked it up. I didn’t cry in my car and turn around and head home after all. I put on a smile and marched my fabulous ass booty on into the expo and set up my table and books.

I sold some. I signed them. I chatted with strangers. I made friends with a little boy who was just hoping that someone would ask him for his autograph. I did. I made his day. He asked me for mine and took my recommendation on trying a cherry tootsie roll and it totally changed his life! Well, maybe not but he did agree that they’re mighty tasty and it gave him the energy to hunt down Godzilla, rescue me from him, and stuff the monster inside a poke-ball, thus saving–not only me–but the entire expo, maybe even the world.

Here’s my pal…

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I chatted with people who, even if they didn’t buy a book, did sign up for my newsletter and I think that’s a success in itself.

I won’t say I enjoyed myself completely. I was alone a lot of the time and I was freezing. Btw, I’ve never been so grateful in my whole life for wearing a cloak. I think I might wear them more often. It was warm and I think I looked pretty fantastic in it.

Lesson learned: I can get over my anxiety. And although I might feel awkward on the outside, people seem to find me pretty freakin’ charming (maybe one guy a little too much who kept coming over to tell me how photogenic I am).

I didn’t sell all my books but I did gain confidence. I got comfortable using my Square and smiling at and chatting with strangers. And there are more people in the world who are reading one of my books. That’s the best part! Because what’s a storyteller with no-one to tell stories to? Answer- Sad.

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Traditional publishing vs. Self-publishing

Hello friends,

As you all know, I’ve been sticking it out in the querying trenches, and it’s been hard on my heart. I know I need to develop a thick skin and over and again I’ve heard, “Remember, this is a subjective business.”

Yes, I know. I completely understand that. I know market trends matter. And I also know that nothing makes sense. Seriously.

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Listen to this…

I have a friend who works as a literary intern. So basically, she wades through piles of query letters to sort through those the agent may be interested in and she also reads manuscripts for the agent as a screen before the agent reads them. Here’s an example of what I mean when I say I know that nothing makes sense. My friend read a book that, although it wasn’t her favorite genre, she couldn’t put down. It was a page-turner and was incredibly well written. She passed the book on to the agent who said that she really gobbled it up but wasn’t going to take it on. Why, you ask? Oh, because the author had approximately 11 books published through small presses. The agent actually called him a hack even though she agreed the writing was very well done. But it doesn’t stop there, friends. The intern asked if he could publish under a pen name. The agent said he definitely should but still wasn’t going to take him on. In the same conversation, the agent asks the intern to read another book. The agent had already read it and said it was “a mess,” written by a debut author. A MESS people! And why was she willing to take on a manuscript that is a mess? Well, because the author was a District Attorney. Goodness knows no one can write things unless it’s true to life. Good thing when I wrote my middle grade fantasy about witches, I really was one.

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So here’s the point of this blog post. I’m starting to think it doesn’t matter what I do or how many years I spend writing new books. I can continue querying agents until my heart cracks one too many times and just becomes a pile of dust ready to be blown away like a fart in the wind.

Since I started this blog and started working hard on my social media presence, I’ve had countless people ask me where they can read my writing, tell me they enjoy my blog, and ask me when they can buy my book. Am I missing out on sales and sharing my work because I’m so wrapped up in worry about the stigma associated with being a self-published/indie author? One, who by the way, makes 75% of royalties rather than 15 or maybe 35%. It’s no secret that authors have to do their own marketing whether they’re traditionally published or self-published. Does it really matter that my book isn’t available in a bookstore? I can’t remember the last time I went to one anyway. I buy everything on Amazon.

Just out of curiosity I did a poll asking whether or not people buy books from self-published authors. While it isn’t a large sample, I was surprised by the results.

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Most people said they do or would read a book by a self-published author. I tried to think back to the time before I thought about publishing any of my work at all and wondered…did I have any bias against self-published books? No, I didn’t. Not at all. If I perused books on my kindle, I would pick whatever sounded interested. I didn’t care who wrote it. I didn’t check the publishing house. I didn’t even look to see if it was a self-published book.

So where did I get this idea that there was a lot of bad stigma surrounding self-published authors? I realized it was from other writers, authors, and traditional publishing.

As I query and collect rejection letters, I’m reminded again of all the times someone has said to me, “I love your blog, where can I buy your book? Or do you have anything else I can read?” And I’ve had to say no. Why? Oh, because it’s sitting on my computer where–quite possibly–no one will ever see it.

I know that there are quite a few (especially romance) indie authors who have done quite well for themselves. So why don’t I try?

I know I need to

  • Pay for proper editing
  • Pay for good cover art
  • Pay someone to format things correctly
  • Invest in marketing myself
  • Maybe hire a PA

But two of those things I’m going to have to do anyway. I’m not going to slap some poorly crafted, first-draft turd up on Amazon and call it a day. I’m going to work hard to showcase my work in a way that I can be proud of. Something that when I sell, I get to keep a large portion of royalties for myself, to invest in myself and future projects. I’ll also have more control over…EVERYTHING.

Yet here I am. Still questioning what I should do? But why? Perhaps it’s the validation. Maybe it is me wanting to be accepted by other authors as a “real” author. But I can tell you, I’ve read a lot of self-published, indie press, or yet unpublished work that I have adored and I’ve read traditionally published crap that I couldn’t bring myself to finish.

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I would love to know what you all think. Please leave a comment below.

And as always…

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