Writers are not here to conform. We are here to challenge. We’re not here to be comfortable–we’re here, really, to shake things up. That’s our job. – Jeanette Winterson
Writers write while dreamers procrastinate. – Besa Kosova

Lay Groundwork for an Amazon Ad Campaign

Most indie Ipad-2599486_1280authors are nervous about buying Amazon ads for their books, and for good reasons. They wonder if the ads really will work or if it’s just dumping money into a bottomless hole. They probably even have been told not to buy ads and to instead focus on social media.
I used to think that way too. Then I began to hear from a small number of authors that they actually were having good luck with Amazon ads. A lot of tweaking was necessary, but eventually they figured out a formula that worked for them. So I gave it a try. Within weeks, I was earning twice as much as a I spent on ads while my sales tripled.
Amazon ads almost certainly can improve your book sales too. How? Because they:
Get your book noticed – When people want to buy books online, they primarily go to Amazon. If you run an ad for your books on Amazon, people who see them already are in a buying frame of mind. What really makes Amazon ads effective is that Amazon will target customers who are searching for books similar to yours; the trick is you have to figure out who those customers are and what keywords they’re using to find books like yours.
Improve brand awareness – You don’t pay for impressions, which is when your ad appears on web pages people are looking at but they don’t click on the ad itself. Even if they only glance at your ad or see it in passing, with repeated exposure they gradually become aware of your books...and one day they may just look specifically for them. For around $90, I appeared 36,000 different times on web pages readers were viewing. The comes to about 4 cents per viewer.
The best reason to use Amazon ads, though, is that your competition probably is. That gives them a distinct advantage over you and will limit your sales. To increase sales, you’ll have to play their game and beat them at it.
Before we get into the nitty gritty of Amazon ads, you want to ensure you’ve done what is necessary with your book(s) so that your advertising campaign actually will be as successful as it can be.
First, though, understanding the major factors affecting your advertising campaign is important. It’s a simple formula, really:
Revenue = Traffic, Conversion and Virality
Traffic is the number of impressions and clicks your ad receives; clicks occur when that someone actually clicks on the ad and takes a closer look at your books. Conversion occurs when someone buys your book. Virality is when someone talks about your book via word of mouth or social media. In short, the higher your traffic, conversions and virality, the higher your revenues. 
Even before you get to setting up the campaign, though, there is much you can do to up that conversion number. In fact, you ought to make sure you get those elements right before spending any money on Amazon ads.
Conversion is affected by:
Book cover – Your cover should look professional. This includes an intriguing title and illustration/photo. An unprofessional looking cover with a weak title and so-so illustration/photo suggests to the reader that the content of your book will be poorly written. For more about how to design a cover, see my books Design Your Ebook Cover and Design Your Paperback Cover.
Book description – This is the blurb for your book on the Amazon.com page where the reader can buy it. The blurb should be concise. If fiction, it should make the reader want to dive into the story; if nonfiction, it should prove that it will answer questions and solve problems that the reader has.
Formats – Your book should be sold at least as an ebook and paperback; an audio book and a hardcover as well is even better. Some readers prefer ebooks because of their portability, others prefer to hold a book in their hands, a few prefer to listen to it. If you only sell your title as an ebook, you’ve lost a significant portion of potential readers.  
Customer and editorial reviews – Books with a high star rating and a lot of reviews will garner more attention than those with low ratings and a few reviews. There’s comfort in going with proven products. 
Read sample – This used to be Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature. The quality of books must be high and interesting in the sample that a viewer reads.
Amazon A+ content – This is a special feature that allows writers to add additional information about their books. These details often help readers better connect with the writer and lead to sales.
Author bio – The bio should prove that you’re qualified to write the book; it’s typically more important for nonfiction than fiction books. It can be included in the book description or the Amazon A+ content.
Price – Don’t overprice your book. At the same time, don’t underprice it. Both dissuade readers from purchasing your book. Underpriced actually makes the reader wonder if the book isn’t very good hence the cheap price. The best approach is to undercut your competitions’ price by a nickel to a dollar.
Each of these elements that affect conversion obviously have to be taken care when you create your book or upload it to Kindle Direct Publishing for sale. Don’t skimp over any of them.
As to the last factor in the formula – virality – you can do a lot as well to raise that number. Establishing a solid social media platform with many connections as well as a lengthy email list all can be done while writing the book. For help with that, see my book Create Your Author’s Platform.

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an era where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.