Amazon ads and bad news probably go together in sentences from a lot of indies. I’m no exception, but not through any fault of my own. Kinda.
When I did my last update, I was breaking even, and pretty happy with that.
After some ads took off and ate up all my money with no return, I had to pause them. I was 70 dollars in the hole, and I had to try to figure out why.
The culprit was easy to spot.
These are my ad results for The Years Between Us from September 20th when I started Bryan’s ad challenge to today October 19th when I’m writing this blogpost. The numbers look impressive. Look at those impressions! Look at all those clicks! I mean, in all the times I’ve tried running ads, I’ve never had results like this. These tell me a couple things:
- Bryan’s advice works. (My keywords were good.)
- My cover is good.
- My ad copy is fabulous.
They fell in love.
The wrong person found out.
Now he’ll do anything to protect her.
Even if it breaks her heart.
- My daily spend was good enough for Amazon to show my ad around.
- My bid for clicks was high enough for Amazon to show my ad around.
My ads, in roughly a month period, generated only $26.57 in sales and KU page reads with an ad spend of $95.52. That’s not good. (The sales column above doesn’t include KU reads so that’s why the numbers are different. The Amazon ad dashboard does not include them and BookReport does.)
You have to be honest ask yourself why that is.
In my case, I’m sure it’s the blurb. I have a good number of clicks. I should have made more than $26.57. They liked the cover and the ad copy enough to click, but they got to the blurb and it turned them off.
That’s the only thing I can think of.
This is the blurb without having to click READ MORE (or above the fold, as they say):
Zia Bishop is in love with an older man.
On the night of her high school graduation, she persuades him to take her virginity, and the wrong person discovers their secret.
Matthew Harcourt knew he should never have made love to Zia, his best friend’s daughter.
And I guess that is enough to make people turn away. Now, this story is not naughty. It’s not dirty. If it was, then I would have used a grittier, sexier cover and marketed it as a “Daddy’s Best Friend Makes Me Wet” novel. This is a pretty romance, with the bulk of the story taking place when she is 25 and he is 50. Still a wide gap, but maybe it doesn’t sound as weird when she’s 18 and he’s 43.
So, I paused all my ads. I’m going to rewrite my blurb, focus on a different aspect of their relationship.
The first page introduces them at her high school graduation party. So I could still lose readers if they borrow it in KU and decide after five pages they don’t want to read more.
If that happens, I may need to change the cover and target readers who will read OM/YW (older man/younger woman) romance and hope they like the softness of it, or pull it from KU and see if I can find a way to get more reviews, though I’m hesitant to try Booksprout again. If nothing works, I may just have to write off The Years Between Us completely and just forget about it.
There are things I can do, and everything needs to be tested to find out what works and what doesn’t. The blurb is the easiest experiment, so I’ll try that first.
Everything in stages, but that’s the plan so far.
The point is, there are steps I can take to try for sales, and if you find yourself in this position, you need to make sure you are constantly checking on your ads so clicks don’t eat through all your cash.
I should have paused my ads earlier, but seeing those results was pretty amazing. I have a little money to experiment, and I wanted to see what would happen. Sometimes page reads can come in later. In the Kindle Unlimited program, readers can borrow up to 10 books at a time. The Years Between Us could be sitting on quite a few Kindles waiting in a reader’s queue. But I’m not going to let clicks eat up my ad dollars if I don’t have proof of that.
All of Nothing is still making me some spare change every day, so I’ll keep my ads paused until I make up that ad spend money.
Then we’ll try again.
How are your ads doing? Let me know!
Want a list of older man/younger woman books? Goodreads has a shelf of recommendations. 🙂
Until next time!
it’s great you’ve made a little headway with the ads. At least you now have an idea of what areas may need adjusting so you can start to see a profit with the ads. Good luck on the new blurb. Those are so difficult to get right.
I’m in the same boat with limited dollars to play with so I’ve put all marketing efforts on hold until next year. Then I’ll attempt the AMS ads again and see how things go. Thanks for the update.
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Thanks, Meka! I hope you were able to get a little out of the mini ad-course, too! There are definitely things to try, but sometimes, too, a book never takes off, or it could after a couple years. It’s a solid story, I guess as far as tropes go, it fell between the cracks. 🙂 Thanks for reading!
Those aren’t good numbers and I’m glad you turned the ads off. What are your keywords? What’s your bid? Looks like Amazon showed your high bid ads first compared to the others. And yes, I’d change your blurb so what people see before the description cuts off hooks them to read more. Older man younger woman romances are huge in the Amazon store but you’re competing with books that are probably half your word count with way more steamy scenes. Straightforward romance with light plotting. Your book probably falls more under literary fiction given the deep POV style you write in.
If you’re spending any ad dollars in the future, spend it on your first in series, not on a standalone. That way there’s read through and sell-through potential versus the one-buy thing for a standalone. I’d just set this one aside as far as ads are concerned and focus the ads on the series. I only advertise my first in series and I have a few dollars budgeted for the others. But the main one is the first in series which happens to be out of KU and I chose not to renew it. For me, it means I’ll have to revisit Bookbub ads to get the wide sales although I’m usually more successful with FB ads for the wide books. My ROI has just been going down the past few months so I’ve turned my FB ads off.
I completely understand series! That’s why I spent the last year writing one. That should help a bit. But I’m also aware that my style of writing is not hot right now (except for maybe in the books published by Montlake). So I do have that in the back of my mind as well. I’ve been toying with a pen name to possibly veer off into other styles, so we’ll see where that goes. 🙂 Good luck with your ads too!
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