Journey to a Bestseller: Amazon Ad Results.1 and Official Book Trailer (Series #33)

Good Sunday everyone! I am so frustrated with the AMS ads. I am a relatively smart person, so I read up on it, took a course–twice–testing at 100% both times. I thought I knew what I was doing. My first ad was accepted, but when I went the next day to look at its performance, there was no data and the ad was suspended. It took me awhile to figure out that I had included a special character in my ad copy. Once you launch an ad campaign, you cannot change the ad copy, so I had to start over again.

Luckily, there is an option to copy the ad and make a new one, and if you used a list of keywords that you imported from, you just need to copy and paste, but it’s never that simple, is it? I made the second ad and it was accepted, and again, was suspended with no data. I called customer service and sat on hold for half an hour when I got a rare phone call from my boss, so I dropped the waiting call. In the meantime, I received an email from Amazon that stated:

  • Your ad has been rejected as it is missing substantiation for an Amazon Customer or Author review. All reviews must be verifiable in the book description, cover or editorial review section on the product detail page. Customer reviews must not mention the customer by name. Reviews should not be modified from its original form (shortening with ellipses is permitted). Please update your ad.
    The portion of your custom text that needs to be corrected is “Warning!I binged this series over the weekend and once I started on the first book, I found myself unable to put them down!I didn’t get much sleep.

In other words, they didn’t like the quote I used, even though I pulled it right out of the page. But finding something that says exactly what you want to say in 150 characters, in someone else’s words, is nearly impossible to begin with. Sheesh. Even Twitter gives more characters than that. {If you’ll notice above in my ad copy, there is a space missing between the exclamation mark and the “I” and Amazon will not let you squish words to get all your punctuation into those 150 characters. No lee-way.}

So I changed my ad copy and launched a third “test” ad. I know I’m launching book three, but I am running this ad for my first book because I’d like to give it some attention before the third launch, so that the customers will be about ready for the third book when it’s released. And, I told you I’d share the results, so time was ticking. I thought, okay I’ve got it now. I have sent in an ad that they accept, but it didn’t get any impressions.

If your ad isn’t getting impressions, you have the wrong targeted keywords, so I went back and made a new one. I thought, I’ve got it now. So I used a clever quote that said my book was so hard to put down, but it didn’t mention the genre, the story, anything specific. At the same time, I thought, well, I’ll make a trial ad for the launch now, as well. So I made it up and I had spoken to someone in customer service who told me that there is no way to know if an ad will work until it’s launched. So test early.

If I had waited until the day before launch to make my ads, I would have wasted my entire launch week. Seriously. So, I made an identical ad to give it a go now, which was stupid, because these ads NEVER disappear from your dashboard. Be sure to name them something that makes sense. Because they aren’t necessarily listed in order of creation, either.

I waited then for my test ad for the first book, and my launch test for the third book. I gave it another day to see what would happen. When I came back, the first book got 1,716 impressions and 1 click. The third book got 521 impressions and 2 clicks. So I paused them last night. If you are getting impressions from your ads and no clicks, you need to check three things:

1| Double check your ad copy. Your cover should tell the readers your genre and age group. If not, your ad copy should. And if one is apparent but the other is vague, make it clear in your ad copy.

2| Take a look at the attractiveness of your book cover. People tend to click on the pretty pictures. Whether they tell a story or not.

3| Make sure that your sales copy, on the description page, fits with the keywords you are using to have it lumped with. If your cover looks romantic and you focus on the romance in your sales copy, but all your search keywords have to do with fantasy romance, or horror romance, the algorithm may be confused. And one thing I have learned is that if you confuse Amazon, it simply ignores you. It doesn’t do what you want, and it moves on. If you want back on board, you’d better run fast to catch that train because it’s always on the move. It updates every hour. That’s crazy.

Which brings me to last night, as I looked at the search term that got me the one click and it wasn’t even a good descriptor of my book, and I thought, “AHA!” I think I get it. So, I stayed up till 3 am compiling new keywords for my ad. Amazon suggests you have at least 200-300 keywords, but they cap it at 1,000. If you are doing a product-targeted ad, that’s where KDP Rocket is fabulous because it spits out tons of books for your keyword category in a list that is easy to export, copy, and paste; doing in seconds what would take you hours and hours of searching.

I chose to do keyword-targeted ads, so I need to guess what keywords a reader might enter to see my book, and others like mine. That’s where I want to show up. I can import a list or I can do that in the ad itself. In the box, when you enter the keywords, it brings up other keyword phrases that people use on Amazon, so you can click to include them. I had spent hours doing just that, also carefully crafting my “negative keyword” list, which are all the searches you absolutely do not want to show up for.

For example: My book is titled The Key of F, but it is a young adult fantasy romance. You know where Amazon puts me? It used to be with the musical keys of F, but now they’ve realized it’s a physical key and I show up with all the key-making, lock and key, and key repair items. It will be that way unless I change my title. But I can’t see doing that, either, and losing all my reviews. So I enter those words, and the phrases they bring up, as negative keywords.

Photo by Tobias Dziuba on

When I left it last night, I clicked the save button, but it was still circling this morning, “saving.” When I refreshed the page, it was all gone. All those hours of clicking the keyword phrases from that box, and not copying the list to my spreadsheet before I hit “save,” instantly gone. *sigh*

Let me give you a BIG TIP here: Click the “save as draft” button after you finish EVERY section of the ad. I have had to start this ad over, three times already. I am in the process of drafting it again, and attempting to save after every section, but it gets stuck on “saving” and I have to start over. Because like I said before, if for any reason, Amazon has trouble saving, they will “save” your ad without all the information.

So this morning I recreated that list and I just uploaded it. Before you upload the keywords, set your custom and default bids. You can also go through the keywords one by one and optimize the bid, but that gets tedious. Unfortunately, I pressed “save” to start this blog and just now discovered I lost the whole thing again. It’s been a week. I’m so glad I tried this now and didn’t wait, in my confidence, to start it right before launch.

I am going to finish my ad and I’ll let you know how it turns out next week. If you are doing this along with me, and you’ve got impressions and clicks, but no sales, which is what I’m afraid of for myself, look at your sales copy and see if it’s dynamic enough to close the deal. Something made them click on your page, why aren’t they buying? Is your price too high?

Give your bio a refresher, add editorial reviews, make sure you’ve aimed to have at least ten reviews. If your book is an attractive package, the customer will buy. The things in this paragraph are NOT technically necessary to make a sale, so if you don’t have time, don’t waste any on these items above, but if you’re doing a page revamp, give all these areas a little TLC.

And now for some great news! ElectraFox has finished the Official Book Trailer for The Final Rescue!! Check it out:

What do you think? Isn’t she amazing? And the book!! It’s totally amazeballs. With a final battle you won’t see coming. Here’s the link to learn more:

Click to see more about The Final Rescue!

Okay gang. I still haven’t received my manuscript for our WIP from my editor yet, so I haven’t begun to query. I have edited the final version of the third book in the trilogy, so it’s ready for launch. I’m still feeling confident, despite the AMS debacle. I’ll figure it out. And I’ll tell you all about it. I ordered ads for launch week from Buckbooks, Bknights, Booksends, Ereader News Today, the Fussy Librarian, Booksweeps, Amazon (Almost) and I still need to learn Bookbub ads. If you know how, chime in. I will include my newsletter, my blog, my social media. A few of these ads have requirements and you must apply, so give yourself a little time before your launch.

Until next week–keep writing!


P.S. I am wondering if there are just bad days/times to make AMS ads. I have restarted my laptop and the site, and I have had Amazon unable to save the last FIVE ads I made. So try one section and save. If it keeps circling, come back another time and start over.

At this time, 7pm, my ad was accepted, but is currently suspended. If I understood how these ads worked, it would be so much easier to give them what they want, but so much of it is a guessing game, it’s not a fair game, no matter what they say.

(Edit 4/19/20: The ads can be a bit picky, but as long as there are no spelling or punctuation mistakes, quotes are taken from your sale page exactly, and there’s no profanity {I couldn’t say she was a bad-ass warrior}, and it’s 150 characters or less, your ad will easily go through. And that’s not 150 words, it’s 150 characters, including spaces. So prepare ahead of time and you won’t have any problems. Good luck!)

[Update 7/27/20: Your best bet, if you haven’t read other posts yet, is to bid low ($0.35 per click) and often. I now have hundreds of ads. For every 1,000 impressions you should be getting about 10 clicks, and for every 10 clicks, you should get 1 sale. If you’re doing better than that, GREAT! If not, you need to tweak your cover, blurb, keywords, or ad copy. Take Bryan Cohen’s Amazon Ads 5 Day Profit Challenge. It’s a free 5-day class with videos to watch and participate with, assignments, a Facebook group for support during the challenge, and more. Google it and sign up. He does the challenge a few times a year. And you need to hear his advice.]

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