Hello everyone! So happy to be here today. My desk calendar today says, “You don’t have to be perfect to be AMAZING.” So true. Today, my friends, is the launch of my third book, The Final Rescue, the last book in the Freedom Fight Trilogy. It is $0.99 this week. In fact they are all $0.99, so you can get the whole set for under $2.99 for a limited time! If you’ve ever considered these books, now’s the time to snatch them up. The Final Rescue is a #1 New Release!
If it’s not your genre, don’t feel pressured. If it isn’t what you normally read, and you purchase the book for whatever reason, it confuses Amazon’s algorithm and it doesn’t know what categories to feature me in. Feel free to experiment, though. And if YA fantasy romance is your genre, or you know someone else who loves it, CLICK HERE to see what reviewers are saying. They can’t put the book down!
~ You won’t be sorry!~
The AMS ads, I think I’ve managed to figure out. At least partially. It’s not easy to get right. For my current ad I have: 81,136 Impressions, 137 clicks, and 6 sales. Which means (if you aren’t up on all the lingo), that 81,136 people saw the ad–and I’m not sure I want to know how they can be so accurate about that number–of those who saw it, 137 of them clicked on my ad and went to my page. Of those who clicked, 6 of them bought the book. That doesn’t sound very promising, BUT it does fit the formula of 1,000 impressions = 1 click, and 30 clicks = 1 sale. ALSO, my sales reports on KDP show that I sold 30 additional copies that weren’t connected to an ad click. That might not be much for most authors, but to people struggling, that’s a great starting number.
I started the ad on Monday, so it’s run a full seven days now. I had to immediately raise my daily budget to $36 instead of $20 as I was maxing it out early in the day. I have contacted a woman to help me “brand” my covers. Basically make them all look like they’re in the same series. (Edit 4/19/20: I DO NOT recommend that you increase your daily budget. Keep it under $10. Amazon rarely spends your entire budget when you’re bidding low. Keep your bids under $0.50.)
I discovered, thanks to a new friend of mine, C.J. Anaya, a site called yasiv.com. Once you prove you’re a human, you can enter a book title in the box at the upper left corner of the screen–say your own title–and see the other books that were bought by the people who bought that book. If you entered your own book, those are your “comp books.” Now, if you haven’t sold any books, you aren’t going to get results, so don’t be surprised if you get there in the beginning and don’t have any luck. But those who have made some sales, should be able to see the other books linked to theirs.
Now, I did something different, because my list wasn’t very large. My biggest comp book is The Hunger Games. So I entered that title and found all of the Hunger Games’ comp books. Those are now mine. When I added those titles and authors to my AMS ad campaign, I started seeing a lot more action.
Write down a list of these comp books, as well as their authors. More on this later…
I had a lot of impressions but not many clicks, so I raised my bid by $0.20. Whatever it said the suggested price was, I made my price $0.20 higher than that. Now, you will want to go back and check those and change them at least once a week because different books and/or genres gain and lose favor over time. That is called “optimizing” your ad. (Edit 4/19/20: There are lots of ways to optimize your ad, but don’t raise your bid. Oh you WILL get those impressions, but the formula doesn’t change. It still takes about twenty to thirty clicks to get one sale. Think about that. If your book is $0.99 and you are bidding $0.50, you’ll be paying ten to fifteen dollars by the time you make that one $1.00 sale. Then there’s tax, and Amazon’s cut of the profit.)
I can still do better, so I looked around and found a lovely woman who wants to help me with the book covers and another who wants to help me with the sales copy. Once those are finished, I should see an improvement in sales from those clicks. I’ll be sure to show you the new “branded” covers here!
After all this, I was really nervous about Bookbub ads, but I found them easier than Amazon. I am running two tests on Bookbub: one for The Final Rescue itself, and one for the whole trilogy. Let me break down the process of making a Bookbub Ad for you:
First, I went to Canva to create an ad. (In fact all the ads on this page were made for free on Canva.) Bookbub Partners Blog has a few articles on how to make good ads, and what not to do. Canva was free and easy, but remember this, the dimensions you need for a Bookbub ad are 300 x 250 pixels. If you don’t make it right, your design will come out pixelated and you’ll have to start over. But Canva makes it easy, just click Create, and select Custom Measurements, enter 300 x 250 and make your ad. Then download to your computer. Make a file in your Author Marketing Folder that says Bookbub Ads, and save there. Title them specifically.
Now, when you enter Bookbub ads, first choose your book from the drop down menu. Then you can either use Bookbub’s ad making program or you can click Upload Existing Creative. Click there and upload the ad you made in Canva.
Your click through links will most likely appear, but check them over to make sure everything is correct. You get one shot at a click. You don’t want to pay for readers to click on another page, or worse, get an error page. Yikes!
Next is audience targeting. Remember when I told you earlier about yasiv.com? Now, you can take that list of authors from all the comp books you’ve listed. Click Add Authors, add those names, and click Add Authors to Targeting. Watch the line on the graph. You want it to point straight up. You won’t get better results if you go farther toward the red. Make it stay in the middle. You can also add categories. It’s easy, click Add Categories, click the relevant categories, then click Add Categories to Targeting.
Now, if you add authors AND categories, you may not notice, but it says in tiny letters, “Readers must match at least one author and category to be targeted.” So, even though I am targeting all Suzanne Collins’ readers, I limit myself by adding “Teen and Young Adult” because the reader must enter both “Suzanne Collins” AND “Teen and Young Adult” to be targeted. So I went back and removed all my categories.
Schedule and Budget. Like Amazon, I chose to run my ad continuously, starting now. For your initial campaign budget, I’ve heard to start with $10-$20 per day. I started at $20. Though I’ve had many impressions, I haven’t had any clicks, so I haven’t spent any money. These could be resulting in some of those 30 extra sales, as well. That’s the downfall of running more than one ad at a time, you can’t really tell where the extras come from. Once the daily limit is set, you can go back later and “edit” to raise the amount, but you cannot lower it. So start lower and if you keep maxing it out, and are finding some success, you might raise it.
If you select a start and end date, you can also choose the pacing. There are two options: Fulfill as quickly as possible, or spread across a date range. Obviously, if you click “fulfill as quickly as possible,” Bookbub spams the readers with your ad, attempting to sell your product. It is said that a customer needs to see an ad an average of seven times before they click. So I’m not upset that my ads are being seen and not clicked on yet. I will fix that eventually, but for now, I’m in front of them. and being shown on Bookbub is never a bad thing.
The next is your bid. You can choose to either pay a set amount per one click or 1,000 impressions. If you just want to be seen as much as possible, Bookbub suggests you pay for impressions. But to me, that didn’t make much sense. I want to sell, and you only sell after you get the click, so I chose to pay for clicks. Which is working out well because I would have to pay some cash by now if I were buying impressions, but because I only pay when they click, I still have $20 to spend. Like I said, we’ll figure out how to fix that.
Last step is to title it. I have abbreviations for my titles so for the first one I put TFR.launch.20.1 and then I made another ad with a different look, but same words, and titled it Copy of TFR launch 20.1. The next ad will be 20.2 and so on. I also want to take the best-looking ad and put it with two different ad copies and have them run together to see out of the three which is the better-looking ad and which is the more attractive ad copy.
As a service announcement to you authors, I was upset by Bookbub this week: They sent me an email saying that they would NOT be sending out a New Release Alert to my followers regarding my launch today. I was very upset and was told that because my print book was released in October (in order to get the reviews to buy ads for launch), they did not consider me a new release. The ebook must come out before or within 30 days of releasing the print version for them to consider it a new release. So, I made ads instead. And in the authors section, I added myself, so it would target my own followers, and also so that Bookbub would recognize me as a comp author for the other authors I listed. So do beware.
And finally, what news about our beloved WIP? Well, making The Final Rescue stay around the number one spot or as close to it as I can get has most of my focus, but I did hear back from my editor. She sent me six and half pages of critique on the novel. Even if you think you’ve written your own magnum opus and self edited like a pro, maybe even had a few friends read it and give a thumbs up, you still need an editor to take a peek. You don’t know what the reader “gets” and “doesn’t get” from your writing. You may not agree with everything they say. You don’t have to. The editor should help you make the book complete, expose any plot holes, or confusion, fix any grammar or spelling issues; they should help make your book sellable.
I felt like the book might be ready to go, but she was confused about a few characters’ motivations and didn’t understand why some characters acted the way they did. To be honest, I don’t understand why she was so confused, so I got in touch with my writing partner and I sent the critique to her and said, “I want your advice. What parts of this do you agree with and what parts do you think she’s off?” It was so great to have Alisha confirm the parts I felt needed to be strengthened, and dismissed parts that I felt were superfluous.
I highly suggest over your writing career that you keep your eye out for someone in your genre that wants to be friends and partner through your journey with you. The relationship I have with my writing partner is invaluable. We help each other. I tease her that it’s going to be so much easier for her than it was for me, because I’ve had to learn everything myself–the hard way–and she knows I’ll tell her how to do everything I know to be successful. It’s painful to miss author friends who’ve come and gone. I miss everyone that I’ve separated from. I wish them well, and I wonder how they are doing. It’s hard being away from my weekly writing group during this COVID-19 isolation.
I told you I’d tell you more, so I’ll move ahead and tell you what’s coming up for the WIP. Once I’ve gone through it again and addressed the issues brought up by my editor, I have a query letter ready to go, and a spreadsheet full of highly targeted agents, along with: their agency, their submission guidelines, relevant wishlist items, contact info and/or email.
With this coronavirus thing, I feel like I have even more work time available. It’s nice because I often feel I don’t have enough hours in the day. I can find time now to edit, market, and work on my WIP. If I get the opportunity to finish this week, next weekend I will show you my query letter and spreadsheet. So you can read what I sent in.
So, I’ll let you go until then. And this week especially, Keep Writing.