Tips for Running Successful AMS Ad Campaigns, For Beginners

When you can’t figure out why one campaign works and another is roadkill

Fast Company—the world’s leading progressive media brand—offered some useful blogging tips that I wish to implement for you, my readers.

Fast Company suggests getting ideas from your audience. After all, a blog must deliver what its readers are looking for, or they won’t subscribe and return. So, after I quickly share with you what I recently learned about Amazon Marketing Service ads during the launch of my recent nonfiction parody of the self-help industry, I will open a discussion, asking for suggestions on exactly what you are looking for when you come here.

On the 21st of November, I launched The (Psycho) Path to Success, a parody of self-improvement books. This was my first book launch with the aid of an AMS ad campaign, and so far I am pleased with the results. Because I played things fast and loose with this one, employing numerous techniques for the first time (in my career), I can only assume which—or all—are contributing to a decent click-rate and sales:

  • I’m running two simultaneous ads, 1 using manual keywords, the other ‘suggested’ keywords
  • Using 2 different ad copies
  • Started the campaigns when I launched—a first for me
  • Nonfiction, in contrast to my numerous novels
  • A blog and other media to spread the word about my book
  • It is a book on a subject about which many people are passionate
  • Used fewer keywords, focusing on quality rather than quantity
  • Included an editorial (using a liberal definition of Amazon’s ‘legitimate source’ guideline, as I acquire quotes from the likes of Mark Twain and a Spiritual Scholar, or the Universe. This a tactic J.P. Sears used for his hilarious ‘How to be Ultra Spiritual’

In the ‘suggested’ keyword campaign, the ad was viewed 5,000 times in less than three days (views are ‘impressions’, and they don’t cost you anything). It earned 20 clicks. That’s nearly the same number of clicks for a quarter of the impressions of the campaign for my YA fantasy W.A.N.D., or a 75% superior click-rate.

The advantage of automated targeting keyword campaigns is that they are quick and easy and they will appear on a broader number of searches, but be slightly less targeted. Manual keyword campaigns, on the other hand, have the advantage of targeting precisely the sort of readers you are looking for you—your targeted audience. The Cost-Per-Click may be higher (the difference so far has been negligible for me) but you should earn more sales.

I don’t know yet. It’s only been a few days.

But so far I’ve managed to sell double-digit downloads for each of the first three days. I set the book for free for its first five days, after which Amazon will force me to charge for it. Here’s hoping the momentum will continue, and I’ll keep getting downloads—the kind that provide me with an income.

The point is that there are plenty of options you can employ that cost you little or nothing—other than your time, which is of course, your most valuable asset. But anything of value takes time, and if it’s worth doing then it’s worth donating some of your time for.

One other factor you might consider when running your campaigns:

  • I set both campaigns for the minimum daily budget of $1. Each day Amazon sent me an email stating that my campaigns ‘have reached or will soon reach their maximum daily budget’ and then went on to suggest I raise my daily budget to $3. Probably good advice, and I might follow it. But I see no reason to spend more when the book is set for free. Perhaps it would give me stronger momentum, but for now, in the early stages, the buck stops here, at a buck a day.

My numbers are preliminary, small but honest representatives of a working writer in the early stages of his career.

I truly hope you have found this illuminating and educational. If you leave this site having learned only 1 thing, I will consider this a successful post, and bid you good day.

But if you want to help a fellow writer, and build a thriving community of like-minded readers and writers, then why not subscribe? Just quickly fill out one line above the Subscribe button to the right, and hit that bugger.

In the meantime, maybe you would be good enough to share your thoughts. What are looking for? What do you want to learn, discover, read? Are you looking for fun, entertaining book reviews or explorations of certain aspects of popular books? Let us know. I love writing, and I want to provide readers with what they are looking for. Also, if you just need some good tips on keywords for your AMS campaign, you might check out my simply post on this subject here, or read what The Passive Voice has to share about it.

Either way, God bless!

Create Beautiful Custom Descriptions for Your Kindle E-Books

While the ultimate value of any business lies in the quality of its final product, the product’s value does not come into play unless its presentation is of equal quality.

This is true of eBooks.

If you want your book to get noticed in a good way, your books description is one of two key elements to accomplishing this feat. While publishing it, Amazon doesn’t allow you to customize your description. It’s all plain text with no flourish, and no vitality, really. Even if you write your description in Word, customize the bejeebers out of it, and then paste it into the description in the Book Contents section of your KDP publishing page, Amazon will dull it down to all basic text.

Many top Amazon publishers overcome this weakness by using HTML, making their book descriptions look positively cherry.

But, unless you are a master chef with HTML, you’re stuck with flat-looking descriptions.

That’s where Kindlepreneur’s FREE software comes in. Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur sent me an e-mail with a number of excellent free downloads, including his Amazon Book Description Generator. This thing is dynamite. I want to thank Dave for offering this excellent tool. It has helped me climb yet another step in my stairway to eBook success.

Book Description Techniques

With this great tool you can apply Bold highlighting to certain words. Most publishers do this with their catch phrase, the first line in their description. You can choose from—I believe—7 different font sizes, which is awesome. There are options for italics and underline, which add subtle distinctiveness to your description. Strikethrough and subscript are there also, along with a horizontal line and ordered lists.

(I’ve used the generator for my book description to W.A.N.D. and I am very pleased with it. I have not yet applied it to my other books. One small step at a time. They all need some description-tweaking anyway.)

The first time I used it, I expected it to ping me back with an ERROR or SOMETHING WENT WRONG page. I’ve received those bugging annoying signs every step of the way. But, instead, the screw-up was on my end this time. I mistakenly used the generators largest available font size for my first sentences. DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE. It makes your description look cartoonish. A slightly larger font for the first sentence will do fine.

If you want to use this delightful tool, here is a link to it. Kindlepreneur is kind enough to offer this for free, while other businesses will charge upwards of $97. So unless you know HTML, and even if you do, make your life simpler and your book descriptions better, and start using this generator.

Maybe you’d like to share your example book description after using this tool? Go ahead and show us it in the comments section below. We’d love to see it!

How to Optimize Your Ebook in 3 Steps

So, your epic masterpiece is finished, is it? Not so fast, speedy McGee. There are a few vital elements you need to add to that beast to give it that crucial edge over the thousands of other manuscripts currently logging space in the self-publishing world.

The Golden Keys to Success

I discovered these keys (through advice columns of older, wiser, and successful self-published writers) only after publishing 10 or so books and short stories. Now I am busy inserting them into my manuscripts to revivify those buggers. Here, in no particular order, are the tips to include in your MS:

  • Links (this a ‘duh’ one that I should’ve figured out on my own.
  • Gentle request for a review (an honest and good review, right?)
  • Lead-in to extra, FREE, content

Now let’s explore each one of these with a smidgen more detail so that we can intelligently apply them. Continue reading “How to Optimize Your Ebook in 3 Steps”