Advertising on Amazon: How to Succeed with Pay-Per-Click to Promote Your Books

BooksGoSocial is a platform to create profitable ads to ensure all its authors increase their royalties and make a profit.BooksGoSocial founder Laurence O’Bryan moved back to Dublin after years working in IT marketing, sales and customer research in the UK. His agency helps authors to succeed with their book marketing, specifically focusing on paid advertising opportunities. Here he shares his top tips with us for advertising your books on Amazon.

Laurence’s experiences of paid advertising began as an author himself. His first thriller series novel, The Istanbul Puzzle, was published by HarperCollins in January 2012. This novel has also been sold, twice, to become a movie or TV series. He decided in 2012, after being made redundant, that he should start a marketing agency for authors. He had already built up a large Twitter following and a blog and felt that all this contributed to HarperCollins taking him on as an author.

"I’d already been in sales and marketing for twenty years, so as an author, I knew how to use internet marketing and had built up a following. I then started doing paid advertising for the last two of my novels, which I’d self-published with lots of help, and began doing Amazon ads to promote my books. It is almost essential now to do Amazon ads if you want your book to sell well on Amazon.

After that I took on a few clients, to help other authors and also provide lots of free support. I was teaching a diploma in digital marketing as a night course in Dublin and I now offer most of that course free of charge to authors who want to learn about book marketing. Our success encouraged me to further develop the marketing services provided through our BooksGoSocial website. As part of this I always encourage authors to focus first on a quality product. A quality product is paramount before you start advertising."

Talking to Laurence about the challenges for authors with paid advertising, he admits: "The Amazon dashboard can be a bit daunting if you’re an author and you’ve never done paid advertising before. And often, they have some concerns which crop up."

We went on to explore some of the most common questions:

How well will my book sell?

Is it right for advertising?

Naturally, Laurence finds this difficult to answer, because books aren’t like tins of baked beans, they’re all unique. He advises authors to check these three things:

1) How good is the book - the appeal of the cover, quality of editing and the interior? Investing in advertising is second to getting these things right.

2) Have they got Amazon reader reviews to help sell the book? And if not, he’ll encourage those as the next step and BooksGoSocial can help you to get some.

3) How well will the book description work? The information you give has to be compelling to draw in your audience and help readers decide to buy it.

How expensive will Amazon advertising be?

Will I suddenly max out my credit card or be in debt?

When an author first starts advertising, Laurence points out that the overall cost depends on their approach. He suggests testing the adverts and applying a consistent spend and monitoring the results daily. To help overcome the problems associated with this, BooksGoSocial can run the ads for you and cap the spend amount to an agreed budget. Amazon advertising works on a pay-per-click basis - so you’ll be bidding for clicks, and it’s possible to set a maximum per click cost as well as a hard cap on the total spend, but you may also want experts to set up and manage the ads for you. That is the service BooksGoSocial provides.

SilverWood Books author Charles Egan took the approach of setting a high monthly budget and working towards making it profitable with a blend of advertising. BooksGoSocial worked with Charles to assist him doing his own Amazon ads.

How quickly is it going to start working?

Can I book a holiday in the Bahamas soon?

Like most marketing, it’s not realistic to expect profits to come rolling in immediately. Laurence says, "When we consulted with Amazon at the London Book Fair, they confirmed our experience - it typically takes about four weeks to get Amazon adverts set up properly and working. We have to test four or five adverts for any book and see what is working. Sales also depend on the popularity of the genre and how high we bid for clicks - we are cautious at BooksGoSocial - and how often the Amazon algorithm shows our ads.

That’s the reason BooksGoSocial begins with a two-month program of advertising for authors. Some books do well for a period of time, then we have to tweak their adverts or the authors might take it over to do it all themselves."

Self-published author Catherine Kulllman gave this testimonial after signing up for BooksGoSocial’s (BGS) service:

"I was very nervous about starting Amazon ads, but my poor sales and page reads in the US made it imperative for me to try. BGS’s service was just what I needed. I took a two-month package. During an online video conference organised by Laurence, he set up my first campaigns, talking me through the different steps. In the following weeks, we 'met’ again a couple of times to review the results and tweak settings. By the end I was confident I could go it alone. We started in September 2018 and by December my US sales had increased significantly while my page reads had rocketed from under 2K in August to 128K in December."

Laurence sums up, "It’s a real pleasure to give back and help other authors. We have a super-engaged community over on Facebook and a great celebration for authors at our annual Dublin Writers’ Conference in late June each year, with many UK friends joining us. We’re always happy to work with SilverWood Books’ authors, as we know they’re starting with a high-quality product. This is the essential starting point for any advertising program."

For more information about how the ads management service works, do visit BooksGoSocial and let us know if you’d like a direct introduction from your publishing assistant.

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