A Penny Saved…

Ben Franklin

“A penny saved is a penny earned,” Benjamin Franklin said long ago. The concept must still hold true since my father often quoted old Ben. Dad also said, “A fool and his money soon part.” Thomas Tusser is credited for that wise tidbit in a poem he wrote in 1557. Another old guy.

Obviously, neither Ben nor Tom could foresee the future to realize that 21st century marketing discounts their proverbial wisdom. What’s an independent author to do? Let her books languish on the shelf or buy into the global capitalist venture? Even Ben’s expression in his portrait is one of skepticism.

I resisted at first, then took a few courses to learn some basics in book marketing. Taking a deep breath, I placed several sponsored ads on Amazon. The algorithm looked strange to me. I could identify the max spent per day on my ad, and the amount I would pay when someone clicked on my ad. I picked some keywords and kept my bid low. The results were dismal.

Back to the drawing board, I created new ads with clever ad copy. I searched for more keywords, hundreds of them, I increased my bid. Aha! The results were good. Actually rather remarkable. My book revenue was higher than the cost of the ads. At least a little. Then the well ran dry.

I needed new keywords, I figured. A keyword is something someone might have typed into Amazon’s search bar to find a book. Authors and titles of similar books are good keywords. Of course, that meant I needed to click on other authors’ ads, upping their costs per click. Sorry, folks.

Looking at the metrics, I also saw that I wasn’t bidding high enough to show up in many searches. Was I willing to go to $1.00 per click, knowing other authors seeking keywords might inadvertently be raising my ad cost? Taking a deep breath, I submitted my ads.

I’m a trusting person, despite Ben’s and Tom’s nagging advice reverberating in my brain. Maybe I’ll just stick to Ben’s other advice: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

I’m not a morning person.


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