Amazon Marketing Services Experiment: Part 1

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Recently I decided to experiment with the fairly new Amazon Marketing Services (AMS), which is their pay-per-click advertising program. The first ad I ran for less than a day. I got a little nervous and thought my impressions were low (205 with 0 clicks), so I suspended it—probably way too soon. The second ad I scheduled to run for two days (Monday, December 26th through Tuesday, December 27th).

After listening to an episode of the now defunct Self-Publishing Roundtable where Zoe York recommended that authors go with Amazon’s suggested cost per click (CPC), I scheduled an ad for the first book in the South of Forever series, Diving Into Him ($2.99). At first I chose from Amazon suggested keywords. Eventually I added some additional keywords of my own. I scheduled the ad to run for two days, with a $5 daily budget. Amazon suggested a $0.25 CPC.

According to Kboards, you want one click for every thousand impressions. My two-day campaign resulted in a little over 40,000 impressions and 41 total clicks. My ROI was one sale—about $2.02 in royalties (though AMS doesn’t record KU borrows/reads). I’m not sure if this is good or bad; I spent $5.58—more than double the ROI—in order to get that one sale. I need to run another experiment.

My best-performing keyword was “rockstar romance.” It was the only keyword to result in a sale. The keyword with the most impressions and clicks was “interracial romance.” I’m not sure that Multicultural & Interracial romance is the best category for the series; even though Jett is Portuguese and Koty is white, I feel like readers expect black and white characters in interracial romance.

I also may need to adjust my covers for the series again; I’m wondering if my covers, which currently feature the heroines, should in fact feature the heroes. Most rockstar romances, after all, have either the couple or just the hero on the cover. I went with the heroines since each book is told in a different heroine’s point of view. Like everything else, this is an experiment and I’m still learning.

In the future, I think I will run a longer ad, maybe with a slightly bigger daily budget. Though I think $5 is a good experimental daily budget, I need more impressions so that I can have more data to see exactly what a decent ROI would be.

I don’t really know this was a waste of time or if I just didn’t run the ad long enough (or with the right keywords). Advertising is an experiment in and of itself, so it’ll take some tweaking to get it right. I also think it’ll help me with my cover design, categories, keywords, and blurbs; advertising gets me the eyeballs I need, so if I’m not converting, I know one of those things needs to be tweaked. I think it’s especially beneficial to be doing this while I’m enrolled in KU.

I will report back after I’ve run my next ad!

Have you used AMS? Let me know what your experience was in the comments below!

Throwing Spaghetti at the Wall

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via Unsplash

I’ve been trying all kinds of marketing things to see what works and what doesn’t… but I have so much going on, I’m kind of worried I might forget something. 😂 Below is a list of current giveaways, promotions, and events that I’m running!

And of course the regular #TeaserTuesday and #1linewed every week, featuring What Happens On Tour!

Make sure you like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter.

Two-Week Permafree Ad Campaign Results!

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via Unsplash

Hey everyone! I’ve scheduled about two weeks of ads, and thought I’d share the results with you as they come in. The promo book is a permafree first in series—rockstar romance Diving Into Him (South of Forever, Book 1), if you’re interested. My goal is to create sellthrough for the other two books in the series and build my email list in prep for the fourth and final book.

Thursday, September 1st: My Book Cave

  • Kindle: 158
  • iBooks: 4
  • Nook: 10
  • Kobo: 0
  • Smashwords: 3

I didn’t advertise over Labor Day weekend, because I’ve learned from past attempts that holiday weekends are no bueno.

Tuesday, September 6th: Awesome Gang

I also did an interview with these guys.

  • Kindle: 21
  • iBooks:
  • Nook:
  • Kobo:
  • Smashwords:

Wednesday, September 7: BookRaid

  • Kindle:
  • iBooks:
  • Nook:
  • Kobo:
  • Smashwords:

Thursday, September 8: Bookscream

  • Kindle:
  • iBooks:
  • Nook:
  • Kobo:
  • Smashwords:

Choosy Bookworm*

  • Kindle:
  • iBooks:
  • Nook:
  • Kobo:
  • Smashwords:

Ebooks Habit*

  • Kindle:
  • iBooks:
  • Nook:
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  • Smashwords:

Ebookasaurus*

  • Kindle:
  • iBooks:
  • Nook:
  • Kobo:
  • Smashwords:

Friday, September 9th: Kindle Book Promos

  • Kindle:
  • iBooks:
  • Nook:
  • Kobo:
  • Smashwords:

I chose not to advertise over this weekend, either, since I had a limited budget and wanted to focus on weekdays; the weather is still good and I think a lot of people are still going outdoors on weekends.

Monday, September 12th: Read Free.ly

  • Kindle:
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  • Nook:
  • Kobo:
  • Smashwords:

Tuesday, September 13th: Booktastik

  • Kindle:
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  • Nook:
  • Kobo:
  • Smashwords:

Thursday, September 15th: Sweet Free Books

  • Kindle:
  • iBooks:
  • Nook:
  • Kobo:
  • Smashwords:

Friday, September 16th: Book Basset

  • Kindle:
  • iBooks:
  • Nook:
  • Kobo:
  • Smashwords:

September 26th-October 2nd: Kobo Free Spotlight (Romance)

  • Kindle:
  • iBooks:
  • Nook:
  • Kobo:
  • Smashwords:

I’ll be updating this tally as the month continues, so check back!

I’ll also be adding sellthrough totals for the other books in the series.

Thanks for reading!


*These sites were free but didn’t have dates to choose from; they’re on a first come, first served basis. Fingers crossed!

Marketing Plan for South of Forever, Book 3!

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via Unsplash

For better or worse, this is my battle plan.

Now that I’m settled post-publisher—all of my books with the small press are back on the digital market, with paperbacks coming soon*—I’ve turned my focus to preparing for my next release.

Onward, right?

Since two of the books that were reverted to me were published right before the close, they got zero marketing attention. My book manager and I had a pretty solid plan, but the publisher announced they wouldn’t be offering any of their usual support in their last month of business. Book 1 was a re-release and Book 2 was a brand new release. Book 1 was originally published last summer, with a pared down version of the marketing plan below. Book 2 kind of just slid into the world with no fanfare (except for a release party I went through with on Facebook, in spite of the bad news).

I decided to focus my time and budget on re-releasing all four books, which is why Book 2 of my series got pretty much no marketing attention. I’ve been doing my usual weekly teasers, and have samples available on Wattpad (with samples trickling to my author blog starting next week). I also did a promo where, through June 1st, if anyone purchased Book 1 or 2 and sent me their receipt, I sent them the standalone that spun off the series.

My dashboard with the publisher’s sales reports was down all May, so aside from the three emailed receipts I received, I have no idea how well the book did. It’s back on the market now, but I’ve got crickets as far as sales go.

Which is totally okay, because I’m pulling out all the stops for Book 3. Continue reading “Marketing Plan for South of Forever, Book 3!”

How to Write a Business and Marketing Plan

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via Unsplash

This is for everyone at The Book Lounge. I’m super strapped for time, trying to get my books formatted and ready to go come June 1st, but I also really wanted to get something up to help my fellow authors get going. I recorded this as a podcast thingy just to get it done (and save my poor wrists, yay arthritis), but will come back and actually write out a step by step guide when I have the chance.

Around the 38 minute mark, there’s a sort of long pause; my husband came home from work and I paused to make him something to eat. (Poor guy has a nasty migraine. We’re just one big medical experiment in this house.) I apologize for the background noise and my rambling and occasional backtracking, etc. It’s late and I’m tired.

Business Plan Table of Contents

  • Career Goals
  • Annual Budget
  • Catalog
  • Production Schedule
  • Monthly Sales Goals
  • Marketing Tools
  • Marketing Plan, by Book

Please note that the numbers shown in these screenshots are for demonstration purposes only and do not necessarily reflect my personal finances. I started to reset everything back to zero or plug in example numbers, then just got tired and screenshot as it was. I’m doing this on a very thin shoestring of a budget, and do plan on sharing numbers eventually, but not tonight! 😉

Things I mentioned:

  • NetGalley co-ops—There are several out there but I think I’m going with Patchwork Press’s co-op. They’re a bit more expensive but it seems like they check out readers before they approve, and they handle everything. There’s also Pikko’s co-op, which is cheaper but it seems like they’re not quite as selective. Do your research and talk to others who have used any co-op before you commit. Big thanks to Chelsea for teaching me about NetGalley!
  • Promo sites to advertise your books—There are many, many of these. Someone on Kboards was kind enough to put together a list. I’m not sure how up-to-date it is, so make sure you check things out before you buy any ads. Bookbub is the holy grail, but it’s also not your only option. I’ve had great results from some of the cheaper, smaller ones. Always plan your promos in advance and over several days. And for the love of books, don’t sale price at $1.99. That is a dead zone. Discount to $0.99 or free.
  • Some ideas for a book launch—The Writers’ Cafe on Kboards in general is awesome for advice, how tos, etc, but I’ve read that one, this one, this one, this one, and several others, and implemented elements into my own plan. I highly recommend you sign up for Kboards and lurk the Writers’ Cafe regularly.
  • How to get started with self-publishing—I wrote a monster post on my author blog when the big news first dropped, and a lot of people said it was helpful.
  • Reader incentives for reviews—This the rewards system I was talking about.

Finally, there are a lot of “how to” guides for business plans out there. I like to keep things simple and organized without too much fuss. I spend about an hour writing my plan for the year up and then readjust as necessary, usually every quarter. This should at least get you started. Feel free to tweak as needed!

I think that’s everything I wanted to mention. Leave a comment or email me if you have any questions!

If you’d like to tip me for this information, you can pick up some of my books or buy me a coffee via PayPal. Thank you!