Monday, April 23, 2018

This Is How To Be A Success At #Promo by Margo Hoornstra

Wow! Kazow! I’ve done it! At long last, I’ve FINALLY done it! I’ve really, really done it!

I’ve solved the what works and what doesn’t promotional conundrum that has so many romance authors, even authors in general, stumped.


April Fool!!

I know! I know! It’s three weeks past April First. Sorry. Just couldn’t resist.

Okay, so maybe I haven't completely solved the elusive promo puzzle. No silver bullet information to impart here. What I have done, though, is to obtain some insight into the problem. And, maybe, just maybe, gotten a peek at some kind of solution.

The end of last month and beginning of this, I set up a couple of Sponsored Product ad campaigns on Amazon for the two self-published titles I have out there.


Our own Alison Henderson had used them, I was told, with some success. Another of our own, Jannine Gallant had used them too. Why not me?

First, I needed to understand what, exactly a Sponsored Product ad was. (Bringing traffic to the buy page of MY product as the result of being on the buy page of others.) Not an easy concept for me to grasp, I’m afraid. Once I had that mastered though, I started by listing upwards of 75 keywords, in this case names of other authors with books similar to mine, AND established track records, ie high numbers of good reviews. Next was to set my daily cost limit at a conservative $5.00 and my bid limit (still not exactly sure what that is) at $.25 per and I was off.

Initially, things began to look very, very good. Impressions were coming in at about 4,000 a day for SIS and 2,000 a day for FMOL. Sixteen clicks on each in the first ten days! My exposure on KU (Kindle Unlimited) and KOLL (Kindle Owners Lending Library) was growing. People were actually reading my books! I sold a copy.

My other books, traditionally published through The Wild Rose Press 


were selling. Minimally, but selling.

Then, without warning, the newness of it all began to fade. Impressions dwindled to about half of what they had been after only two weeks. Currently, Saturday In Serendipity averages 400 a day, For Money Or Love a mere 100.

Nonetheless, there is movement. There is visibility. There are sales.

My plan is to hang in there for another month or two and see what happens. Though I don’t have exact royalty figures for any of the titles right now, I do know I have made more than I’ve spent.

And isn’t that what advertising is all about anyway? In that sense, this current campaign of mine is a success.

Go figure.

My days to blog here are the 11th and 23rd. For more about me and the stories I write, please visit my WEBSITE


Leah St. James said...

I think it was Ted Turner who said, "Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise." Still, so much is by trial and error, A/B testing and such. I enrolled in a class about Amazon advertising but of course never had time to attend a single session. I'm just hoping the sessions are archived! Thank you for sharing your insights, Margo.

Brenda Whiteside said...

I'm glad it's working for you. It didn't for me because my books are traditionally published. Amazon hides them deep down and readers tire before they click that far. But you go, Margo!

Jannine Gallant said...

My impressions are still way down. 40 something per day average, so the ads are no longer doing much good. It's disappointing that Amazon stops showing your ad to people. I get an occasional sale but nothing like I was getting in the beginning.

Alison Henderson said...

I've been running Amazon ads for more than a year, so I probably have the most data. It also helps that I read a book on the subject. I run one Sponsored Product ad for each of my two Phoenix, Ltd. books. Based on impressions and sales, Amazon is a little erratic running the ads. They'll be "on" for a month or so, then clearly "off" for 2 weeks to a month, then back "on." My first batch stopped running completely after about 10 months, so I stopped them and started new ones in February. Since 2/10, the ad for Unwritten Rules has had 225K impressions. I think that's pretty good. Boiling Point has always had a fraction of the impressions, but the sales are now about the same. I assume readers are picking up the first book, then reading the second. I get frustrated that Amazon won't run my ads as much as I'd like (and am willing to pay for), but they've taken me from $12 a month in sales to $175. I can't complain.

Diane Burton said...

Thanks, Margo & everyone, for sharing your experiences. I am going to have to check this out. I'm lucky if I sell a few books/month on Amazon. Kobo is a little less and Nook hardly any sales. BTW, the April Fool's joke was not nice. :)

Margo Hoornstra said...

I like that Ted Turner quote, Leah. Not so much risk and error. More like crapshoot. (Sorry ;-) That seminar sounds interesting, let me know if you find it. However my cynical side is thinking it’s another like - i’m from the government and i’m here to help you. One step at a time, huh?

Margo Hoornstra said...

Good point, Brenda. I might not try this with my traditional titles. I’m afraid Amazon scooted my other books a ways down the food chain. We’ll see what tenacity brings.

Margo Hoornstra said...

It is unfortunate, Jannine. You’d think Amazon would share more. Some people are such gluttons.

Margo Hoornstra said...

You were kind of the template for me, Alison, when I’d heard of your success. Thanks for sharing even more information. I’ll keep it in mind going forward.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Keep us posted on your numbers too, Diane. Aw. Sorry about the joke. Couldn’t resist.

Susan Coryell said...

Wishing you success. I find anything requiring technical ability daunting but admire those who can conquer the cyber world.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks for the well wishes. I am as daunted by the cyber world as anyone. Here’s hoping I did something right, Susan. ;-)

Rolynn Anderson said...

Margo, I'm also playing with Amazon Sponsored Ads. Experimented to see if their key word choices were better than mine. A BIG NO! 2K impressions. 2 sales. in about a month. I'll keep using them because the price is right.

Margo Hoornstra said...

So glad to hear that, Rolynn. You go, girl! While my activity waned some, i’m Sticking with it. You’re correct about the price, it certainly is right.

Alicia Dean said...

This is good information. I am another of the Roses who has used Amazon ads and I definitely have found them beneficial. I have a few tips, though. For one, 75 key words is not enough. I would do at least 100 and work toward 200. Also, periodically, like every week or so, go in and add new key words. And, don't only use the author names of similar books, use some of their book title too. Finally, for the really common key words, such as romantic suspense or bargain romantic suspense, up your bid. Amazon shows the ones with the highest bids, and for those key words, you have a lot of competition. Good luck!