Over the next number of weeks, we are posting a series on Canada Self-Published Books – Marketing.
- Part 1: Book Listings
- Part 2: Author Profile & Inside the Book
- Part 3: Book Ads – read on
Part 3: Book Ads
We are going to use Amazon in this example as this is the platform we are most commonly asked about. We have heard from people that there is information out there saying you must advertise to get anywhere regarding sales on Amazon and information saying just advertise and this is the way to sales. We are not sure either is correct. Book sales, like any other sales, take effort and targeted work.
Where do I start?
Ensure your product/book is in line with the products against which it is competing, e.g., design, price, etc. (See tips for Look Inside in earlier article.)
Make sure your product page has good-looking visuals, information is complete and accurate, and includes quick and easy-to-read, relevant text that talks to your audience and explains why buying your product/book is a really good choice for them.
Design an Ad that attracts attention and makes people want to click on it.
Make sure your Ad relates to your content! Have you ever seen an Ad for something that you click but find that where it takes you is nothing like what you expected to find?
How Amazon Ads work
It’s an auction so it really depends on all the bids if your book Ad gets displayed and where on the page it is displayed. Basically you pick keywords and assign an amount that you would be willing to pay to have your book Ad shown when someone enters that keyword. Depending on how many others are bidding on that keyword and how much they bid, your book might or might not win the Ad spot.
Note: You are charged when people click on your Ad, not just for when they buy your book based on the Ad. You need the clicks but, for Ads to be financially viable, you need people to buy your product, not just click on the Ad.
Make sure to do all you can with your product page (see points above under ‘Where Do I start’), before advertising, so when people click on your Ad, which takes them to your product page, they will want to click “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now”.
Types of Ads:
- Sponsored product – displayed in row of sponsored products
- Keyword targeting – ads appear in searches
- Category targeting – you pick best categories for your book, presumably book appears somewhere in the resulting list
A couple of strategies people have considered:
- Add as many key words as possible and see what gets people clicking.
- Really look at what keywords work for your book/audience and target those.
It’s hard to say what would work best out of these strategies. You could likely learn from number 1 if you follow-up consistently and see which words are generating clicks and which are not, removing those not working and adjusting budget for those that are working. Whereas number 2 might save a little on budget by doing more of the research upfront and targeting fewer words but you might miss out on a few gems if you cut them from your list.
A little of the feedback that we’ve heard: some authors spending very little get little in return; others budget more perhaps having more than one book and say they try to keep it manageable and started slowly; some drop out because they can’t find the time to spend to understand how to optimize Ads; in some situations there were lots of clicks (which you pay for) but not necessarily resulting sales; and some treat it as a job and become proficient in advertising.
If you want to try it out, you could start slow with a limited budget and work your way up to a higher Ad budget once you are seeing more return per click and/or dollars invested. You may also consider purchasing a tool to help with such as defining good key words and/or a designer to prepare your Ad.
Bottomline – It takes time and effort to understand how the Ad system works and what works well within that system. It is an investment and like anything you need to understand the balance for your book and you, based on what you are willing to spend and what you will receive. In any case, it appears that success is based on spending consistent time continually researching, updating, adjusting – really paying attention to your Ads, bids, etc. and keeping up with the ever-changing market.
It seems that it is necessary to have an Amazon KDP account to use the Amazon Ad system. Research has indicated that:
- even if you are already distributing your print book via another facility that posts your book title on Amazon, you may also be able to upload your print book to Amazon via KDP (all details for the book/ISBN listed originally must be the same)
- however, the handling of files does not always seem consistent, i.e., files accepted elsewhere might receive errors when uploaded to the Amazon system (apparently, even when following specification exactly, files that work fine in one instance may not work in another instance)
- one way around this is to instead of uploading your print file (since it is already there via the other supplier’s upload), upload an eBook version of your book (KDP now excepts EPUB, mostly widely used format suitable for text-based books; however, for fixed layout such as picture books KDP requires a specific format geared for their system, so files converted for/by other distributors will need to undergo a specific conversion to suit KDP)
- then make sure your eBook listing (again details must be the same, except the ISBN as a separate ISBN is required for each format) showing on Amazon is connected to your print book listing , i.e., both options show on same product details page (contact KDP for help if needed).
Result: You can use Ads to market your book and potential purchasers will land on the product page showing both your eBook and your print book, thus the Ad system is also marketing your print book even though you didn’t upload the file specifically to Amazon.
Within your Amazon account, search help to find guides and information on how Ads work, and read and research before you start.
The product information and quality of your product detail page can have a direct impact on your advertising performance and sales:
To help in defining keywords and categories (we haven’t tested; however, several trusted authors we follow have supplied comments; please ensure you carefully check out all the details and read the fine print to make sure, if you choose to purchase, this is the right tool for you!):0