Jeanne: So How Are Those Amazon Ads Working Out for You? Part 2

Last week, we talked about how Amazon ads work for authors at a hypothetical level. This week. we’re going to talk about how they worked for me when I ran them.

My ad campaign was put together by a publicity agency with stock set of keywords for my type of novel, plus some that I suggested.

Here are the overall numbers and top performing keywords from Campaign #1:

Ad copy: Sometimes you have to go through Hell to claim your Heaven.

7,477 15 $0.35 $5.22 $2.99 174.58%
Impressions Clicks ACPC Spend Total Sales ACoS
Keywords Match CPC Bid Impressions Clicks ACPC* Spend Sales Acos**
books Broad $0.50 1,120 3 $0.36 $1.07 $2.99 35.79%
win win Broad $0.50 441 1 $0.08 $0.08 $0.00   –
devil Broad $0.50 395 1 $0.27 $0.27 $0.00   –
bible Broad $0.50 292 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
demon Broad $0.50 231 3 $0.29 $0.87 $0.00   –
enemies to lovers Broad $0.50 218 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
shiloh walker Broad $0.50 217 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
widow Broad $0.50 180 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
pc cast Broad $0.50 145 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
christina dodd Broad $0.50 132 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
bitten Broad $0.50 131 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
fate Broad $0.50 124 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
touched Broad $0.50 121 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
dante Broad $0.50 118 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
halfway to the grave Broad $0.50 102 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
always Broad $0.50 99 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
the darkest night Broad $0.50 99 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
jd robb Broad $0.50 91 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
cheyenne mccray Broad $0.50 89 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
rise of the fallen Broad $0.50 88 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
erin mccarthy Broad $0.50 80 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
it lucas Broad $0.50 77 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
scars Broad $0.50 71 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
soulmates Broad $0.50 69 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
shiver Broad $0.50 63 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
*Average Cost Per Click
**Average Cost of Sales

And here are the results from Campaign #2:

Ad copy: Sparks fly upward when fallen angel Belial comes to Earth on a mission to corrupt God’s favorite in this Golden Heart® winner.

20,960 17 $0.37 $6.30 $0.00 $.0.00
Impressions Clicks ACPC Spend Total Sales ACoS
Keywords Match CPC Bid Impressions Clicks ACPC* Spend Sales Acos**
books Broad $0.50 3,510 4 $0.33 $1.30 $0.00   –
win win Broad $0.50 1,212 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
devil Broad $0.50 1,013 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
demon Broad $0.50 769 5 $0.45 $2.27 $0.00   –
shiloh walker Broad $0.50 741 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
touched Broad $0.50 457 1 $0.37 $0.37 $0.00   –
bitten Broad $0.50 424 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
christina dodd Broad $0.50 412 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
always Broad $0.50 398 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
pc cast Broad $0.50 385 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
fate Broad $0.50 366 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
widow Broad $0.50 362 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
soulmates Broad $0.50 353 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
enemies to lovers Broad $0.50 323 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
molly harper Broad $0.50 285 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
halfway to the grave Broad $0.50 266 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
redemption Broad $0.50 239 1 $0.37 $0.37 $0.00   –
shiver Broad $0.50 232 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
marked Broad $0.50 223 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
donya lynne Broad $0.50 223 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
cheyenne mccray Broad $0.50 222 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
erin mccarthy Broad $0.50 217 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
rise of the fallen Broad $0.50 216 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
tina folsom Broad $0.50 207 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –
the darkest night Broad $0.50 202 0   – $0.00 $0.00   –

Before we talk about results, let’s take a moment to review what we learned last week:

  1. Impressions (i.e. position in search results) is determined by:
    1. Keywords and match type (exact, phrase or broad)
    2. Bid per click.

First takeaway–despite getting 27,000 impressions across both campaigns, I only sold one book.  On the plus side, I only spent $11.52, so not a huge investment for an opportunity to start figuring things out.

Second takeaway is that Campaign #2 did much better than #1 in terms of impressions (like, three times better), but they used the same keywords, matching and bid per click. Both ads ran at the same time, so that’s not a factor.

The only difference I can identify between Campaign #1 and Campaign #2 is the ad copy. The copy for campaign #2 contains the word “winner,” which is a broad match for my keyword “win-win.” That accounts for 1212 extra impressions, but it doesn’t explain the full delta.

For example, Campaign #1 got 1120 impressions for the keyword “books,” while Campaign #2 got 3510–three times as many.

Third takeaway is that, while Campaign #2 did better in terms of impressions, Campaign #1 did better in terms of clicks per impression by 40:1.

If I’m constructing an ad campaign aimed at brand awareness, which has value for a total newbie like myself, but no immediate payoff, the second campaign was better.

If, on the other hand, I’m shooting for impressions that drive clicks, the first worked better.

My fourth and final takeaway from this initial foray into Amazon ads is that before I try this again, I need to glean a much better understanding of how Amazon ads work.

Some of the other Eight Ladies have indicated they’d rather stick a fork in their eye than spend hours analyzing data. I, on the other hand, have a data analysis background and I’m totally geeking out over this.

You’ll be hearing more on this topic.

Nancy: The Big Reveal: Harrow’s Finest Five Series

If you’re a long-time follower of the blog, you’ve no doubt seen Harrow’s Finest Five mentioned in many of my blog posts. It seems like I’ve been discussing this series for years because, well, I’ve been discussing it for years! You might have wondered if the stories in this alleged series would ever see the light of day. You wouldn’t be alone – I’ve had the same question myself. But today, I’m happy to announce the first novella, which launches the series, is coming out this November!

Next week, I have so many things to share about that upcoming release: the cover, the back-cover blurb, how to sign up to be an ARC reader, and where to read an excerpt of the first book PLUS a free prequel short story and sample chapters from the next two books! And, if all goes according to plan, I’ll also be able to share the exact release date of the book.

In the meantime, though, it occurs to me that while you’ve heard of the series existence, I haven’t told you much about the whys and wherefores. Today, let’s remedy that, shall we?

What: Harrow’s Finest Five Series, seven (we’ll get to that shortly) mid-Victorian era romances centered around five old school mates from Harrow, one of the handful of boarding schools for boys from all the best British families (read: titled and wealthy). They were given their tongue-in-cheek name by novel 3’s hero, who is also the group trouble-maker and all around fun guy.

But let’s remember these are romance stories! So they’re as much about the fab women these men love as they are about our Harrow mates. Here’s the series tagline: Continue reading

Jilly: Books That Put The World To Rights

When you’re feeling down, do you use fiction to restore your emotional equilibrium? I know I do.

Many of my friends, on both sides of the pond and on differing sides of the political divide, are feeling angry and/or depressed at the state of our world right now. They’re responding in a variety of ways, but the one thing they have in common is that almost all of them are finding their balance by losing themselves for an hour or two in a well-chosen and usually much-loved book.

Some people find catharsis in a story where the good guys smite the baddies and justice prevails. Sometimes I want smiting. Usually I prefer something gentler, upbeat, a fun story in a world where smarts, humor, kindness and generosity triumph.

Austen, Heyer, Pratchett and Crusie are bankers for me, but we’ve talked about them at length here, so chances are you already know whether they do it for you.

With that in mind, I’d like to share three recently-discovered favorites, in the hope that you might find them as restorative as I do.

The Kingpin of Camelot—Cassandra Gannon
A light, twisted and entertaining mash-up of well-known fairytale characters in an alternative Camelot where people are born Good or Bad. Good Folk (who are not all good) are privileged, while Bad Folk (who are not all bad) form the underclass. Following the untimely death of King Arthur, his evil regent The Scarecrow seeks to marry Queen Guinevere and claim the throne for himself. Gwen, who is Good, needs to protect her daughter, which she does by marrying Midas, the biggest, smartest, Baddest gangster in Camelot. This story has contracts, magic, humor, snark, battles, a child who is the antithesis of a plot moppet, a heroine with sweaty stable boy fantasies, a world put to rights and a fabulous Happy Ever After.

Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox—Forthright
Tsumiko, a teacher at St Midori’s School of the Heavenly Lights, unexpectedly inherits a fabulous estate, a huge fortune, and a butler. Argent is a fox in human form, a powerful trickster who is magically bound to obey Tsumiko. Argent needs Tsumiko for his own survival, but he resents and possibly hates her for it (he’s tricky, so you can’t be sure exactly what he hates). Tsumiko is the first of Argent’s owners to reject the idea that one person should be able to own another. With implacable determination she sets out to free him, uses her new-found wealth and power to build a caring and diverse community, finds a purpose in life and earns lasting love. This book is as delicious as a cup of top notch hot chocolate on a cold day. It hits all my pleasure buttons and I’m eagerly anticipating the second book in the Amaranthine Saga, Kimiko and the Accidental Proposal, which goes on sale in a week or so. Continue reading

Michaeline: Dear Freddy

A dandy from 1815 in a smart coat and pair of trousers kneels before a fashionable young lady, kissing her hand. Proposal.

And at the end of a cotillion, all of the couples are sorted. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Heroes come in all shapes, sizes and temperaments, and I like mine tall and a little bit goofy. I’m re-reading Georgette Heyer’s Cotillion today, and Freddy Standen checks off both boxes.

Georgette Heyer is a writer’s writer, and one of the very cool meta-things I noticed the read-through is that so many of the characters come in pairs. In the first chapters, Freddy Standen is meant to be an idiot – a well-dressed fop who hasn’t two wits to rub together. In a complicated plot, he’s set up against his four cousins as competitors for our heroine’s hand in marriage. An evil uncle has made it part of his will that his fortune will go to Kitty Charing if, and only if, she marries one of his nephews. Otherwise, she’ll be destitute, and the fortune will go to Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

I have lots of books to be read, stories to be written, and tasks to complete from my ever-expanding ToDo list.  Naturally, I decided to stop by the local craft store the other day, just to look around.  I didn’t need anything, of course, but they had yarn on sale and I found some that was pretty and super-soft (and did I mention on sale!), so naturally I had to get it.

That is why instead of reading or writing or doing, I’ve spent the last few evenings after work turning six skeins of pretty, super-soft yarn into a pretty, super-soft blanket, courtesy of my trusty “J” crochet hook.  Can a person really have too many blankets?  I’m hoping the answer is no, otherwise I might have to go into the blanket-fort-building business, just to justify their existence.

Anyway, the weather has taken a turn toward the chilly in recent days – perfect time to curl up on the couch with a my new fluffy blanket, a pot of tea, and get some words on the page.  I have a number of stories in progress, not to mention several shiny new ideas floating around, but I think I’ll start out giving today’s random words and writing prompt a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Michille: Get Ready to NaNoWriMo


Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

I plan to NaNo this year. I usually plan to every year with varying degrees of success. Part of my prep is to look for organizers, brainstorming sheets, writing ideas, tips, etc., to provide ideas and motivation. Here are some I’ve used in the past and some I just found:

Writers Write (one of my favorite writing blogs) posted an organizer a number of years ago that some might find helpful which lead to a brainstorming worksheet and 30 tips (with lots of links for other helps).

I found some resources on the NaNo website. There is a NaNo Prep page that has useful resources. There is a webcast today that I plan to watch at 1 p.m. There is a young novelist workbook on their site, too. It is targeted to students, but I found some helpful things in the high school version. Writing buddies. I’ve never worked with one although there is one linked to me on my page and Nancy emailed me about it back in 2015. If you want to add me as a writing buddy, my NaNo name is mikeely. Or send me your name and I’ll add you to mine. There used to be a reference desk where you could ask research questions and there were some doozies on there, but I can’t find it this year. In the past, I found inspiration from some of the wacky questions people asked.

There are a lot of community NaNo happenings all over the world – all over Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe and I only scrolled a third of the way down the region page. San Francisco has a Night of Writing Dangerously. There are several write-in opportunities in my area. I’m not sure if I’m going to do one. The only time I went to one in my town, the writers all had weird furry hats on shaped like animals, except the guy with the reptile on his shoulder. Not my cuppa.

Writers Digest got in the tip game, too, with 30 Tips for Writing a Book in 30 Days and plenty of other sites have tip pages, including The Writing Cooperative, Bustle, and Storyist. And Galley Cat has a post with links from two previous NaNos

Did you know Water for Elephants (Sarah Gruen) was a NaNo novel? So was The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern), Fangirl (Rainbow Rowell), THREE Marissa Meyer books, Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress.

What are you doing to prepare?

Elizabeth: Author Squee – Judith Flanders

When my son was little we had a rule when trying new foods:  you can’t say you don’t like it until you’ve tried it three times.  That meant a number of foods that were disliked right off the bat because they were “different”, actually wound up getting a, “hey, not bad, I like it”, by the third try (mushrooms, I’m looking at you!).

While I don’t have a 3-time rule for reading, I have found that sometimes it pays to give a new book or author a second (or third) try before writing them off.

A case in point would be Dogs and Goddesses by Jennifer Crusie Lani Diane Rich, and Anne Stuart.  The first time I read it, I didn’t like it at all and may have envisioned dropping it in the wood-chipper.  In hindsight, it wasn’t that the book was bad rather that it differed from what I had been expecting.  When I read it again (for school) sometime later, I really enjoyed it, because I knew what to expect.  If I hadn’t given the book a second chance, I would have missed a good story (thank goodness it didn’t wind up in the wood-chipper). Continue reading