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Telling Isn’t Bad

Telling Isn’t Bad

“Show, don’t tell” is probably the most commonly given advice in writing, but there are places where telling is the right choice.

Romancing the Beat-Recommended

Romancing the Beat-Recommended

Romancing the Beat is a road map for aspiring romance writers. This short work by author/editor Gwen Hayes is the romance equivalent to plotting books such as Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat and Larry Brook’s Story Engineering. Here’s the blurb: What makes a romance novel […]

Amazon Ad vs. Facebook Ad: A real life comparison

Amazon Ad vs. Facebook Ad: A real life comparison

Faceoff:Amazon vs. Facebook ads

Last weekend I ran a 99¢ special on my book, Your Novel This Month as part of the Prep_tober kickoff for NaNoWriMo. Since I have no mailing list and a small website following, I knew that I would need to pay to promote the sale.

At this point I already have an Amazon ad that is making a small return on investment and I wanted to reach a bigger audience. Facebook with its thousands of writing pages and groups seemed like a logical choice. I could target my ad to a specific audience: writers, and Facebook would show my ad to those who fit this description.

Setting up the ad was easy and I made a custom graphic that was more interesting than what Amazon auto populated. I set the budget at $10/day and ran it during the three days of the sale.

While the ad generated over 20,000 impressions, it only received 301 clicks. This is a better than average click through rate CTR, which means Facebook did a fair job of placing my ad with the right audience.

The Cost-per-click (CPC) was .09¢ for a total of $28 for the entire campaign.

The results:

The number of sales generated was 9 (That’s it. 9 books.) for a conversion rate of 3%. As a comparison the average conversion rate for a Facebook ad is 9% across all industries. At 99¢ each, I generated $8.91 in sales. This means that for every dollar I made, I spent $3 for an average cost per sale (ACoS) rate of 314%. If the book had been full price and the sales the same, the ACoS would have been 110%

Let’s compare that to the performance of my Amazon ad

(these numbers are for the month because Amazon doesn’t break the numbers down into weeks)

My Amazon ad had 160 clicks at an average CPC of .30¢ each. Yes, this means that per click I paid over 3x the amount. Both ads pointed to the exact same landing page, but the Amazon ad generated 17 sales for a conversion rate of 11%. This conversion rate is far above the average. And this does not include any KU pages read as a result of the ad.
*Since many of these sales were full price, comparing the ACoS wouldn’t be fair.

Since both ads point to the exact same page (my book’s landing page on Amazon) we know that it isn’t the landing page. The only difference is the source of the ad traffic

People who clicked on my ad on Amazon were far more likely to buy my book than people who clicked on my Facebook ad.

So the question is, why is the traffic generated by the Amazon ad so much better at generating sales than traffic generated by Facebook when the target is viewing the exact same book landing page?


My conclusion is that people who are on Amazon are looking to buy books. This is the same reason that specialty candles will sell better in a candle shop than they will in the produce aisle in the grocery story. People in a candle shop are looking to buy candles.

Unfortunately, selling books is more art than science and its more luck than anything. My book is non-fiction. Fiction will likely produce completely different results.

What were your results with paid ads? Amazon, Facebook, or any other paid promotion. Let me know in the comments

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Staying Productive-IWSG

Staying Productive-IWSG

My secret to staying productive

Your Novel This Month on Sale

Your Novel This Month on Sale

If you haven’t picked up yor copy of Your Novel, This Month, this is the time

My Real-life Amazon Ad-authortoolbox

My Real-life Amazon Ad-authortoolbox

Is an Amazon Ad really worth the money?

Since I’ve been a slacker about the website lately, I don’t have a formal article for the blog hop this week. I really didn’t want to miss it, so I thought I would talk about my Amazon ad.

In case you missed it, I released my NaNoWriMo writing guide on August 1. Here it is:

After two weeks of slow, but steady, sales, I decided to see if I could improve things with an Amazon ad.

I read most the articles and followed the advice. Setting up the ad was pretty simple. My first batch of keywords contained 43. These were the most popular books that were direct competitors to mine, and I followed Amazon’s “suggested bids.”

The results were…expensive

Since these books were popular, they were the most expensive to bid on. As a result, I had to bid high for my ad to even show up. This did help with exposure as my book was now appearing next to best sellers in my category. However, the click through rate (percentage of people who saw the ad that actually clicked on it) wasn’t that great and the actual sales were even worse.

There are a few reasons why this could be the problem

  • Ad copy isn’t effective (will research more)
  • Landing page isn’t closing the deal (Really need some editor reviews and a best seller sticker.)
  • Keywords are incorrect

First revision

Since I had a few keywords that were more effective, I decided to focus on figuring out why. The issue seemed to be that most of the ineffective books were competitors in the same broad category, but weren’t exactly the same product. Sort of like the difference between eyeshadow and mascara. Broad categories like “novel writing” had strong competition and weren’t making the cut, but “NaNoWriMo” was.

I left the ad to run untouched for a week before I started fiddling with it, just to make sure I have a reasonable set of data to work with. After my first two weeks, I paused the most expensive keywords (that had not returned a sale).

Moving Forward

As of today, I have still spent more than I have made, but the gap is only 20%. If I include KU pages read, it would be closer to even.

While I can trace the majority of my sales to my website/Pinterest following, I plan to continue using the ad to grow my brand.

My next step is to add more keywords for middle and lower position books that are my direct competitors. These should be less expensive and hopefully, I can better compete against other books who also don’t have the “best seller” sticker.

If you have any tips or tricks to help improve the ROI on an Amazon ad, I’d love to hear about them in the comments

Update:I have continued to tweak the ad by turning off the more expensive keywords that aren’t returning a sale and adding some new ones. Now, it’s a month later and the ad is in the black! The margin isn’t large. In fact, I’m spending almost 80% of the sales generated back into the ad. Hopefully, I can continue to improve this. Turning the ad off isn’t an option because it’s responsible for 70% of my sales last month.

This article is part of the monthly Author Toolbox Blog hop

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here.

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real-life Amazon
Photo by pixel2013 Source pixabay


NaNoWriMo Plot Point Scrivener Template

NaNoWriMo Plot Point Scrivener Template

The Manuscript Shredder’s NaNoWriMo Plot Point Calendar is now a Scrivener Template

Monday Writing Roundup-August 20

Monday Writing Roundup-August 20

Monday writing roundup: writing exercises, book piracy, and more.

Citing Photos in WordPress from Adobe Spark

Citing Photos in WordPress from Adobe Spark

Why cite Stock Photos?

As writers we want and should get paid for our work. Photographers feel the same. So if this is true why do so many of them “give” their work away on sites like Unsplash and Pexels?

They do it for exposure.

We writers are also familiar with this scam. Giving away a free book in hopes of a review or to sell the sequel is one of the most common pieces of marketing advice for writers. How disappointed were you when 100 free downloads resulted in zero new reviews? Especially since posting a review would costs nothing?

Citing stock photos also costs you nothing.

How to Cite your photos

Citing Photos in WordPress is easy if you get your photos from Unsplash

When you download a photo, a popup appears with the citation information.

Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 1.37.37 PM.png

There are two options, but the easiest and cleanest in WordPress is to click the “copy”

Now, upload your photo

Using the “Visual” editor, click on the photo to add a caption:

Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 1.47.43 PM

Click on the speech bubble and paste the text into the box.

What if I am using Adobe Spark?

One of the best features of Adobe spark is the easy access to searchable stock photos right in the program, but the source information for these photos is a little hidden.

First step is to identify the photo that you are using for your graphic

At the top of each photo is a small oval with three icons

Click on the “i.”  This stands for info. An information box will popup:

Click “view original source.” This will take you to the photo’s page on Unsplash where you will be able to follow the steps above. If the photo comes from another source, there will likely still be citation information available with the photo. Unfortunately, many of these sites do not embed the links meaning you will have to add them manually if you want to include them.

Citing stock photos is a free way to support photographers, and it only takes a few seconds. Give credit where credit is due. Cite your stock photos

citing adobe spark stock photos in By Devanath Source pixabay

Let The Manuscript Shredder help with your next book. Order your copy of Your Novel, This Month today

Monday Writing Roundup-August 13

Monday Writing Roundup-August 13

Monday Writing Roundup. Links to five writing/publishing articles from the previous week that I have found helpful.