Prospective author- “I’ve written a book, am I going to get rich?”
Us- “Uhhh. Probably!”
Two weeks later.
Prospective author- “Amazon is rigged.”
Us “Amazon is definitely not rigged.”
Seriously though, publishing isn’t a lottery. 99.9 percent of successful books are successful because someone marketed them. If they’re traditionally published, their publisher might have paid Barnes and Noble and airport bookstores a bunch of money to put their book on the front tables for the first few weeks. Then thousands and thousands of buyers casually wander into the 800 odd Barnes and Noble stores and buy their book.
If they’re self-published and successful, they probably used Amazon and Facebook ads, book promotion sites, and used other marketing strategies other than emailing everyone they know. Then they ask us–”How can I get people to actually read my novel?” This article focuses on AMS ads, probably the one way to market books that tends to make, rather than lose money.
AMS ads. If you publish through Amazon KDP and opt into KDP select, there is a tab that says “promote and advertise.” They give you the option to run free promos, kindle countdown deals, and run AMS ads. You get 5 free days with KDP select. Usually, when you run a free promo, you’ll get around 100 people to download your book per day. If you have a new book, you have nothing to lose by doing this. You might get a review or two out of it too. But if you want to make some money, you can run AMS ads.
How it works:
Amazon has two choices, AMS sponsored product ads and product display ads. We have never had success with product display ads. Amazon sponsored product ads, on the other hand, do work.
It’s pretty self-explanatory to run them, Amazon also lets you set a daily budget. In our experience, the daily budgets rarely get hit. We usually run about 20-30 campaigns at any given time and set the daily budget for each at 5-7 dollars. All these campaigns combined cost us like 300 dollars last month in actual spending.
If you’re an author, here’s what you do.
- Get 5-10 reviews for your book. If you skip this step, you won’t get as many clicks, and your ads and your book will never take off. The conversion rate goes up with each additional review. Once you get up over 50, it really takes off.
- Run 10 different AMS sponsored product ads for your book. Test out different ad copy! Amazon will automatically allocate your money to the best performing ads. Play different angles to appeal to different groups of readers. You have two choices, manual and automatic. You should run both. The automatic is self-explanatory. For the manual, try to think of 150 keywords that someone might type in on Amazon. They can be books, other authors, general keywords, long tail keywords, etc. The more, the better!
- Monitor the ads a couple times a week. You can adjust bids, add or delete keywords, and pause or delete ads.
How many books will I sell using AMS?
Using the Amazon marketing services will usually result in a steady trickle of sales. At a minimum, you should be able to sell 1-2 copies a day of your book between paperback and kindle. You won’t make money doing this if you price your book at 99 cents though. Try to price your book for at least 3.99 to have the best chance of making money. Also, about half of the buyers prefer paperbacks, so at the very least, get a KDP print paperback. You can price it higher too. We make double the money on paperbacks per sale than on Kindle!
AMS probably won’t make you rich, but it will ensure that you get at least a steady trickle of sales. Done right, you can double your investment in the ads, and get more organic sales along the way! AMS is a fair and useful program for authors and publishers, use it.