We all know the old adage: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It’s what comes to mind when I think about advertising for my books.
Advertising is expensive, especially for independent authors with lean budgets. Is it worth the money? I believe it is.
Last month, I conducted an experiment using Amazon ads with my latest novel, Murder in Aspen Notch. I found 300 keywords that seemed to best fit my book and genre, then set the cost per click higher than I ever had before.
Experienced ad users may laugh at my parsimonious 51 cents per click. My $10 a day, didn’t cover the number of clicks I was receiving so, with a throw of caution to the wind, I upped it to $26 a day. Clicks increased astronomically; sales rose nicely though not to the extent of my ad cost. My Kindle Unlimited reads were thousands of pages per day, more than I’d ever had. Those, however, are not included in the income-generated report.
When my ad cost reached $300 and my sales $200, I shut it down. My ad costs were too great, and I was operating at a loss. Immediately, sales dropped to $0; KU reads hovered around 200 pages. Obviously, my ad had worked.
After a week of no sales, I decided to try again. I stayed with the 51 cents per click, but set my daily budget to $15. I used some keywords that were successful previously, but found another 200. I culled those that showed I had no chance of competing with the more costly sponsored ads. I didn’t have the resources to extend to $1.50 or more per click. As soon as my campaign went live, book sales and KU reads increased. Amazon ads work.
Experts advise that something’s wrong if people click, but don’t buy. The cover may be enticing, but the blurb isn’t. A keyword may be generating an ad in the wrong genre or I haven’t attracted the right reader. There may also be other authors searching for keywords, clicking on my ad to see if the book fits as a keyword to use in their ads. It’s complicated, for sure.
One of these days, I’ll get it right. If anything, I’m persistent. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
2 thoughts on “Try, Try Again”
Kathleen, I’m wondering how sales for ‘Pete and Me’ compare to the rest. It’s so unique in subject and tone from the others as to be an entirely different genre for you. As you know, it’s my personal favorite, and that’s probably because I’m not part of your presumed target female reader universe for the others. Have you tallied its advertising costs vs sales to arrive at a net income number? As importantly, if not more than profits, is sales volume comparison. Of course the longer any book has been in print will skew the numbers in its favor, all other things being equal, but there would be solid clues in the curve over time. Like the graphic you used above, here in this blog.
Thanks for your question, Sam. “Pete and Me” continues to be a best seller, at least by my standards. I’ve been running an Amazon ad on that book for almost 2 years. It’s probably time to update the ad, but it still brings in sales. Of course, it’s my lowest priced book and my revenue is only about $1 per sale, but my cost per click is only 13 cents. Net income generated from the ad alone is $200, but I have global sales that may be coming from word of mouth. They’re not included in the ad metrics.