There is something more difficult than creating that first draft of a work of fiction, at least for me. It’s called writing an ad. Yet I am as determined to market my new novels as I was to create them. I just have no feel for it.
So, I did what any of you would advise. I talked to experts. (Or at least to people who were successful at marketing their own books and willing to talk to me.) They had a lot of great advice, particularly about what to bother with and what to ignore. I consolidated their opinions into this:
Go with Kindle Select no matter how much you don’t want to, and put your time and money into advertising on Amazon and Facebook.
This was simple enough. I could do it.
They advised I buy and read the books they’d turned to. I bought them all. Two were on writing advertising copy, one was on how to use Facebook to sell books, and the other on using Amazon. I’ve read them, pretty much cover to cover now. With notes. And highlighters. I’m very thorough.
I started with Amazon Lock Screen Ads. My first ad is at the top of this post. It got 5,418 impressions which seemed like a lot to me but my books tell me it is woefully inadequate. 16 wonderful people clicked on it, none of them bought it, and I spent $2.26. I was fine with this as learning exercise.
I tried again. This time I tried to be more witty. Maybe I was. I only got 5026 impressions, but 63 people clicked on this one. Four times as many clicks cost me $11.47 and no one bought it. This was a slightly more expensive lesson on the learning curve.
My third attempt was wildly successful. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t target every genre and category I could possibly fit into. I only targeted women’s fiction and I wrote the ad for the audience. I got 98,215 impressions, and 439 clicks. Cool, huh?
Unfortunately, I want sales, not attention. All those clicks cost me $63.30 and as far as Amazon can tell, I made one sale from this. Yup, I spent sixty some dollars to make two. Not good.
I did get a bunch of page reads through Kindle Select all of the sudden, so maybe I picked up an extra ten or twenty dollars there. I’m not going to last long spending sixty to make twenty, though.
I decided the careful targeting of one group at a time could be the secret sauce I was seeking, so I created a bunch of ads designed to appeal to every subgroup I could think of. None did very well, but my absolute worst was this ad designed to appeal to readers of Literature & Fiction: Action & Adventure and Mystery, and to Thriller & Suspense: Kidnapping and Paranormal. (It’s not so far fetched. The book is about two telepaths rescuing a kidnapped sister.)
It got five impressions. Period. No clicks at all. The good news is it didn’t cost me anything.
My creative campaign didn’t even show a version for Kindle Fire. I can’t tell if it is because it did so poorly, or it did so poorly because it was never shown on Kindle Fire. (If anyone knows how this works, please tell me!)
Back I went to more generic ads. My next most successful one was an exact repeat of an earlier ad, targeting pretty much the same groups. But it managed 16,829 impressions and 43 clicks. Why?
It also never showed an ad version for Kindle Fire. Why not?
The most exciting part was that I managed to sell another whole book and this time I only spent $19.08 to do it. Wahoo. With the Kindle page reads, I could be approaching breaking even.
Of course, breaking even is not the point. I am determined to keep at this, figure out what works and why and find a way to actually make money.
For more about my Amazon advertising adventures see “How about this ad?“