Advertising On Amazon—My Journey
How do you get your work “out there”?
So, you’ve written your book, and maybe you’ve progressed as far as self-publishing the book on Amazon or Goodreads or some such platform for indie authors and their books. Then, you sit back and watch the royalties roll in. Except, they don’t.
You check on your stats and there’s nothing. Just one long flat line.
You check your book’s rating. It’s so buried under the weight of millions of competing books on the shelf, it doesn’t even have a rating.
This is not right, you think, my book is brilliant. It should be a best seller. Something’s wrong with the platform. You complain to the relevant platform on the community chat forum. And you discover you’re not the only one.
Advice comes in. Get reviews, they say. Easier said than done, these days. You discover that the heady days of the early internet when reviews were free and easy to come by, now are screened by certain seller platform’s review scrooges. Any hint of association in real life or friendship, and the review is banned. Reviews are also not published on such platforms that are well-known but remain not mentioned, if the reviewer has not bought more than $50 worth of goods from that selling platform.
So, again, the question, “How do we get our work out there? Noticed?”
Having been given this task to share with you my wisdom, I considered doing some research and conveying the wisdom of other, more successful experts in the field of advertising. I decided against that as “reinventing the wheel” so to speak, is not my thing. If you want to get your head around advertising, there’s plenty to offer on the internet.
Instead, I’ll share with you my journey with advertising and getting my books and paintings noticed. Here are a few pointers:
- Word of Mouth—many, many years ago, my brother started up his own business as a mechanic. He never placed an ad in the paper (such were the times before the internet), yet his business grew. Satisfied customers recommended him to friends and family. I leant from this example the basic lesson of marketing, do an excellent job (key word here is excellent) and your business grows by word of mouth. This principle, then, I used when growing my tutoring business.
- Networking—when I’m out and about, and I’m chatting with people, inevitably, they ask, “What do you do?” So, I tell them what I do. When this happens to you, make sure you have a few business cards handy, and some of your work/books handy. I’m not one for pounding the footpath and asking bookshops to consign my books, but I have a friend who has done just that with her book with some success. The thing is, is to be social, meet new people and don’t be afraid to show them your books.
- Online presence—I think Indie Scriptorium has covered this particular aspect in detail. These days with the prevalence of the internet, look at having a blog or website as another avenue of networking. Just remember, building your online presence takes time, effort and some risk. But to get your book out there, if you are prudent and discerning, the risk is worth the reward of getting the fruits of your labour, your book, noticed.
- Advertise—a friend who has their own business once said, “You need to spend money to make money.” Meaning that money spent advertising will be rewarded with sales. I also heard an advertising expert speaking on the radio once say that a person needs to be exposed to a product seven times before they notice its existence. Which means many times more exposure to buy the product.
At this present time, I have a couple of my books being advertised. I have Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981 nominated for Prime Reading with Amazon, and I’m trialling The Hitch-Hiker with Amazon Ads. The Prime Reading has yielded some sales, mainly through the Kindle Lending Library, some nibbles, but no sales yet from the Amazon Ads for The Hitch-Hiker.
What I like about the Prime Reading is that it’s like a cat (generally, not my cat, but most other cats); they take care of themselves. I nominate, and the Prime Reading programme does the rest and I get some sales and royalties.It’s all done for me, and I don’t have any control over when and where the advertising takes place. Much like a cat.
However, the Amazon Ads is different. You could say, keeping with the pet analogy, it’s like a dog. You have to feed it—money and walk it—check on its progress and adjust your settings to how you want to advertise and how much you want it to bid for you to make the advertising happen. You have more control. With Amazon Ads, you limit the cost so that you don’t go over-budget, and you can regulate the pace at which the advertising occurs. You can have a fast-moving campaign, or one that moves at a slower pace. Much like owning a dog, depending on what breed of dog you have, I guess. Never owned a dog, actually.
The main takeaway is to get your work out there. If its hidden in a drawer, or file on your computer, waiting for it to be perfect, no one is going to see it. If its buried under a load of competitors on the internet, it’s up to you to take it to the next level and make it visible. Tell your friends and family, network face to face, and online, and advertise.
Stay tuned for future blogs where we will take a closer look at branding, digital platforms and getting yourself recognised.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2023
Feature Photo: Schrodinger’s Cat © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) circa 1984