Video #12: How to Use Amazon Ads to Sell More Books


Hello! I’m young adult adult, Mary Gray of and Monster Ivy Publishing. Today I’d like to talk about using amazon ads to sell more books, something both indie authors and large publishing houses are doing.

So, before I decided to go the indie author route and start my own publishing company, I didn’t know that kindle unlimited was a subscription service, much like Netflix. Every month, subscribers pay 9.99. Since i didn’t have contacts or an automatic audience for my latest release OUR SWEET GUILLOTINE yet, I opted to publish via kindle direct publishing to build my audience for an initial 90 days—not permanently.

Before releasing my novel, I took a webinar from Mark Dawson and Joanna Penn about how to create amazon ads, which was INVALUABLE. They taught me how to build my own list of keywords, pricing, and strategy.

I’ve learned two valuable lessons on my own apart from that webinar and I thought I’d share them today. And I know they’re worth it, because a few days ago, OSG got to #17 in teen Christian historical fiction, and #22 in teen historical Europe.

The first tidbit I’ve learned is the exact keywords customers are using that relate to books like mine. I created an ad revolving around Ruta Sepetys, a bestselling author in one of the shelves I’ve chosen, teen historical Europe. For keywords, I added other authors similar to her. And then in my ad, I could see the actual keywords people searched and whether or not if they clicked on my ad. Some of the successful keywords besides well-known books or authors were dark, Christian, or France. Customers also clicked on books like salt to the sea, the boy in the striped pajamas, an ember in the ashes.

The problem, though, is just clicking an ad doesn’t mean they buy my book. I’d pay anywhere from 8 cents to 50 cents every time they clicked out of curiosity. Few readers of those books are willing to try out an indie author like me. Further, bestsellers of large publishing houses aren’t on kindle unlimited where most of the books are independently published.

I find KU so intriguing, because the subscription model really works. DVDs gave way to Netflix. My family currently streams scripture cartoons from on family night. People are a lot more prone to do a subscription service with unlimited access across a drawn-out amount of time.

Anyway, even though I wasn’t gaining sales from buying ad space on these traditionally published books’ pages, I did see that I was gaining pages read from subscribers to kindle unlimited. (Pages read doesn’t compute as “sales” in the ad report.) I could tell that pages were being read because in “reports,” I suddenly saw spikes. Then, I looked at the section on OUR SWEET GUILLOTINE’s Amazon page and the “customers who viewed my book also viewed these” section proved the types of readers who were finding it–not readers of large publishers but kindle unlimited users of the romance genre.

Which leads me to my other discovery. I needed to create an ad not based on my shelf (most of the books in my teen historical Europe shelf, for instance, are pretty much all from large publishers). I needed to create an ad for THOSE kindle unlimited readers who were somehow finding my book even though I didn’t choose the bodice ripping romance genre in the first place. I’ve typed in some of these bestselling authors as keywords and I did hear a quote of a study from the SELL MORE BOOKS SHOW with Bryan Cohen and Jim Kukral that Kindle Unlimited customers are a lot more likely to leave reviews on amazon than other buyers. Regardless, I plan on monitoring this and my other ad to see even more “pages read” in the upcoming week!

I hope you found this info helpful. I’m really excited for my next several videos starting next week. It’s a topic that’s near and dear to my heart and there will be a series. Also, if you’re interested in being interviewed in one of my videos, please comment or contact me! I’m looking to cross promote other writers and creatives. Pitch me an idea and I’ll see if we can work out something!

I’m Mary Gray of and Monster Ivy Publishing. See you next week!