Free eBooks: What Used to Be and What Works Now

My favorite saying about indie publishing is, “The only constant is change.” There’s no such thing as a long-term, set it and forget it marketing system that will continue to work to sell books year after year. I’ve employed half a dozen different primary strategies (and dozens of minor ones) over the last six years to market my books, and I have no doubt I’ll be adding more this year. We have to be like sharks — never sleeping, but constantly moving forward.

It’s been a while since I wrote something about how to gain more visibility for your books, so let’s dive in to one of my favorite methods — free runs. There is a certain segment of authors who believe that we work too hard on our books, and that we should never give them away. Essentially, they believe we devalue all books by choosing to give our books away. I was once one of them. Then, I too gave it a try. Five years later, I’ve given away almost half a million books, and in the process, I gained a career. Continue reading “Free eBooks: What Used to Be and What Works Now”

On Weasel Words and Other Writing Tips for Authors

weasel words short-tailed-weasel-86619_960_720When I was a brand new writer, a number of well-established authors helped me. They gave me advice about my blurbs, how I structured my stories, my phrasing — essentially everything an early-stage writer needs to get a handle on things. Now, five years later, I won’t claim to be well established myself, but I do have my first million words written, and I do my best to return the favor by helping others who are at the beginning of their writing journey. As I do, I see many of the same mistakes repeated over and over.

The good news is, writing rules can be broken, and effectively so. I am in the camp that says you have to truly understand a rule before you can break it effectively, though. In this post, I’m not talking about rules so much as generally accepted best practices. If you disagree with what I say here, I won’t argue with you. I will only say that these things are what work for me. Continue reading “On Weasel Words and Other Writing Tips for Authors”

Tips for Successful Amazon Marketing Services Ads

Amazon Marketing Services Logo 2017

Yesterday, I shared part one of this post, about how to use AMS ads for fun and profit. Today, let’s start by looking at how I examine some of the numbers I get on my ads. If you click on the ad from your dashboard, you’ll see a number of different columns, including impressions, clicks, cost per click, etc. If you single click any of them, they will show you their performance in that category, from bottom to top. Click it again, and you’ll see the same information from top to bottom.

Overall, there are some numbers I use as benchmarks to decide if an ad is working. I like to see close to one click-through per 1000 impressions. Too much lower than that and Amazon will stop serving your ad, no matter how high you bid, because readers are not responding to it, and relevance is a big part of the algorithm that decides how and where your book appears. Then, I really want to see one sale per every 7-8 clicks. If my average cost per click is $.20, and it takes me 12 clicks to get a sale, then I’m losing money on every $2.99 book I sell. Continue reading “Tips for Successful Amazon Marketing Services Ads”

The Key to Amazon Marketing Services Ads: Keywords

Amazon Marketing Services Logo 2017

How time flies. I wrote a post on Amazon Marketing Services in January, 2015. Like many of us, I made a number of attempts at making AMS ads work for me at that time. None of them did and eventually I relegated them to the back burner, intending to revisit them someday.

That “someday” happened about four months ago, when I started hearing of authors who were using the ads effectively. That encouraged me to jump back in and start experimenting with them again. It took quite a few false starts, but by January, I was running a number of ads that were profitable. Now, I am focusing more and more of my time and ad dollars in this arena.

Let’s start with the basics. Continue reading “The Key to Amazon Marketing Services Ads: Keywords”