Amazon Advertising Services for Authors: worth the Cost?
Amazon Advertising Services
First, if you have no idea what I am talking about, please go read the available information on the official Amazon Advertising Services site. https://ams.amazon.com
I’ve put off trying out the new Amazon Advertising Services program because — like you — I thought it might be just another costly dead end. Surprisingly enough, it’s actually working better than anticipated. There are many factors that will affect the stats that Amazon spits out to the dashboard, but for the most part, I’ve found them to be dead. Unfortunately, since Amazon’s ad system is not reporting properly — and they have stated this on the dashboard — I cannot give you any proper stats except for one book.
Is it Worth the Expense?
Format It Yourself! is the only book on which there is a proper cost report. At the time of this article, and over the course of two weeks, I’ve spent $6.59 in bids and seen $20.47 return in sales. According to Amazon Advertising Services, the ‘Advertising Cost of Sales’ is 32.19%. This was a big surprise because I expected this book to perform the worst. I mean … how many people are going to buy a good book on publishing, right?
Another non-fiction book has been a cheerful surprise too. The Book of Life advert has been using up its full daily $1 allowance and retired regularly. There are no reports and the counters stay at zero except for the $9.40 cost. However, I have sold at least 4-6 copies of the book that I am sure were derived from the advertising. I monitor the clicks in Amazon Advertising Services, and then the book sales.
All I can say is that you should not be put off by the lack of stats on your dashboard, but rather look at your books sales. Another important aspect to bear in mind is that some people will use KDP Select to read the book, so you will not see a sale; only page reads. Some buyers might make a note of the page and return a day or two later to purchase the book. These are all unknown variables.
Since I have other titles, I will not go on about them all, but I am seeing increased sales on all of them. I am talking about a tiny budget with good enough results that I will be slowly increasing it next month. You can view the rest of my published books on Amazon here … http://author.to/JoRoderick
Many factors will influence your success rate, and this is not a get-rich-quick scheme. The quality of your covers will impact the likelihood of a click. Your blurb, the viewable book preview, your reviews, and of course, the existing sales rank all play a large role in sales. With publishing, one must remember that this is a multifaceted path to success.
How do You Begin Your First Advert?
It’s rather simple, and not overly complex. Amazon explains most of the details to you on the actual page. I prefer to set the parameters manually because then I am able to add or remove keywords. You need to decide on which of your books you want to promote, how much you wish to spend on a daily basis, and the amount you are prepared to bid in order to win the click process on Amazon Advertising Services.
At this time, I have set $1 to each book daily, but I have varied the maximum bid to avoid spending too much money in a wild fashion. Even on the lesser books with a very low bid, I have had one or two clicks and even sales.
You can set any budget you wish, but if you set a ridiculously low amount, then the outcome will be poor. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.
How Much Should You Bid?
Once again, the cost is entirely up to you, but expect disappointing results if you bid too low. It might not cost you anything, but you will be wasting time, and that is priceless in my opinion. How much should you bid then? As much as you are prepared to pay, but within logical boundaries. It doesn’t make sense to pay $1 for a bid when the book costs $1. Should the click auction be successful, you have (possibly) paid $1 to earn a maximum of 35 cents. That is crazy unless you have money to burn. If your book costs $2.99, than there is still room for profit.
The bid will not always be the maximum you set. In fact, don’t panic! Largely, it will be much lower than your maximum, but it is usually higher than Amazon’s suggested minimum. I cannot give you a bigger hint than this. You will need to experiment with the bid amount as each book is different. Think practically: if most people accept the default price suggested, your bid needs to be marginally higher to succeed. Being cheap will not work with the Amazon Advertising Services bid system.
Why Should You Advertise?
Some people will only invest if they can make a direct profit. In publishing, this is rather short-sighted because the algorithms do not work this way. The more you sell, the better your books sell, and the more they sell, the more you sell overall. Therefore, your goal — should you choose to accept the challenge — is to encourage book sales. These will boost your ranking, and the algorithm will begin showing your books to prospective buyers.
Advertising is not an instantaneous, overnight success. I’m not overly knowledgeable on this topic, but I do know this much: it takes time. I have been pleasantly surprised by my advertising experiment on Amazon Advertising Services. At worst, it has paid for itself, and at best, spurred book sales and profits.
Why am I Telling You all of This?
To be honest, I’m not sure. I should probably keep my mouth shut about this, but I like people to succeed. I am not afraid of competition. There is place for all authors on my bookshelf. I sincerely wish you all a surprising amount of book sales.
If you enjoy island escapism, take a look at my latest novel, Bermuda Phoenix.
It’s about an author who ends up on an island … I only wish it had been me.