Author Topic: AMS Ads Learning  (Read 104932 times)  

Offline NicoleSmith

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1600 on: August 12, 2017, 04:51:44 AM »
Are there any tools to make the AMS dashboard less ugly/easier to navigate among older terminated/failed ads?

(And before I put much more brain power into this--are there any authors in this thread with only a few novels who are actually earning more than they are spending via ams?)
« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 04:56:44 AM by NicoleSmith »

Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1601 on: August 12, 2017, 05:59:25 AM »
Are there any tools to make the AMS dashboard less ugly/easier to navigate among older terminated/failed ads?

(And before I put much more brain power into this--are there any authors in this thread with only a few novels who are actually earning more than they are spending via ams?)
If you search by "Running" that will narrow it down to just your active ads.

I have a number of ads I run across multiple pen names. My most successful ad is for a romance pen name with only two books out and I make a profit on that one.


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Offline NicoleSmith

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1602 on: August 12, 2017, 07:13:28 AM »
If you search by "Running" that will narrow it down to just your active ads.

I have a number of ads I run across multiple pen names. My most successful ad is for a romance pen name with only two books out and I make a profit on that one.

Thank you for both answers.

Offline EmparentingMom

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1603 on: August 12, 2017, 07:35:21 AM »
What is the consensus these days on whether kdp paperbacks are counted towards sales on the ams dashboard?

Offline Decon

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1604 on: August 12, 2017, 08:06:04 AM »
This is crazy. I have Lethal Trade on the first page of Gone Girl. I can't see a keyword that I have to get it on there and don't really want it on there as it isn't a good fit. The one book I have that I want on there, In Search of Jessica, has that title as a keyword but it is on page ten, even though I have it as 1 cent more than any keyword that I have on Lethal Trade.

It's exactly the same with Girl on a Train. Lethal Trade is on the first page and In Search of Jessica is on the 16th page.

So much for the bidding process.

Okay, something is going wrong. For the first time ever I've had an email telling me to increase my daily limit, but they don't say for which ad. I think it relates to what I have said above  as Lethal Trade's Acos has just gone through the roof, yet most bids are nowhere near what I have on In Search of jessica, but it is landing on first pages and Jessica more than 10 pages back. The other thing is that between 5 ads, My billing has only increased by around $1 for the day. ( Edited. My daily spend has increased $4 for yesterday 99% on Lethal Trade with has a limit of $5)

I've contacted them, and I'll see what they say.

@ParentinMom  Yes, print book sales count to the ACOS and sales are included with eBooks on your dashboard.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 08:29:28 AM by Decon »


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Offline LilyBLily

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1605 on: August 12, 2017, 08:34:54 AM »
Are there any tools to make the AMS dashboard less ugly/easier to navigate among older terminated/failed ads?

(And before I put much more brain power into this--are there any authors in this thread with only a few novels who are actually earning more than they are spending via ams?)
[/]

Yes, my ads are consistently profitable. I have nine books, but usually only advertise two to four. The Book 1 sells the series, and then sells my other books--although to a far lesser degree.

Offline EmparentingMom

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1606 on: August 12, 2017, 08:36:42 AM »
Strange. My ebook and print sales have increased dramatically with ams ads, but I am getting very few reported sales on the ams dashboard. Not quite sure what to make of it.

Offline Allyson J.

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1607 on: August 12, 2017, 08:51:45 AM »
And before I put much more brain power into this--are there any authors in this thread with only a few novels who are actually earning more than they are spending via ams?)

Sadly, AMS ads on my permafree first in series are never profitable. I have 2 series, one with four novels, another with three. I consistently reach my daily budget max about halfway through the day. But whenever I increase my spend, I just don't see the sales increase to support the cost.

Whenever I run newsletter ads (ENT, RR, BB, and even the smaller ones) I see a decent sell-through. Running AMS ads eats up any profit, but I still do them because visibility. If I don't run AMS ads, I don't sell on amazon. They are a loss for me.

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Offline khotisarque

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1608 on: August 12, 2017, 11:35:36 AM »
A thought or two on the Great God Algo.  Amazon is quite up-front that your bid amount in itself does not guarantee you entry to an auction, nor that your bid will be accepted.  Other Factors are considered by Algo.  These Factors might include your ctr history, your ranking in sales, your competitors' situations, your perceived interests and the potential searcher's perceived tastes, book price, royalty rate, the current weather in Olympia and Algo-knows what else.  Factors are a proprietary mystery; but they do exist.

Algo combines these Factors with your bid to make an estimate of your overall sales and profit potential for Amazon.  And then acts accordingly.

In the absence of Factors, in a straight auction with unlimited ad slots, Algo would do what was needed to take all your money bid your maximum in every auction, make space for you on the last page if you were lowest bidder, ensure your daily maximum was always spent.  The difference between this and real world experience is the net effect of all Algo's Factors.  The Factors always work to reduce your spending.

Why does Algo use these Factors?  Because Algo has an opinion on which books, if pushed to page one every time, will actually sell.  So Algo prefers those books, based on his Factors, and nudges the others below their maximum ad-revenue potential.  Which may actually be beneficial to you and me; Algo limits the amount of our money we can waste on hopeless causes.  Algo knows best ;-)

So if you want to know what Algo in his wisdom thinks of your sales potential, look at the differences between a) your bid and your acpc and b) your max and actual daily spend.  Humbling, is it not?  For most of us, that is; best-selling authors are probably different.

Now, the Hidden Heresy: Algo's Factors are probably quite screwed up.  Coding errors, design errors, inbuilt cognitive biases, time delays, patches and fixes, mis-perceptions, hastiness to meet deadlines, misunderstandings and all the other human imperfections shared by IT-crats conspire to produce flaws.  Which we duly note, and scratch our heads in bafflement.

Our role in the Universe is not to second-guess or strive to understand Algo.  Her ways are mysterious and not for disclosure to the likes of us.  Our role is to live within the messy environment that Algo creates.  So suck it up, guys and gals.  Sometimes, on balance, it helps us.
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Offline NicoleSmith

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1609 on: August 12, 2017, 11:41:50 AM »
I'm sure no one wants to share their specific keyword strategy, but would people be willing to speak in generalities?

Do you use other author's names or book titles? Bestsellers or indies or both?
Do you target other media besides books? (Tv shows movies etc?)
Do you bother with top level genre names like urban fantasy, romance, thriller?
How many keywords per campaign do you have?

I'm currently stuck in the "Amazon won't spend my money" black hole so trying to think creatively.

Offline khotisarque

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1610 on: August 12, 2017, 12:21:41 PM »
Authors' names can be very effective.  They are always in the metadata, and people do tend to search for authors more than specific book titles.  However book titles can also be productive, especially if you can identify titles of books by well-known auhors that carry fewer SP pages.  I tried in-genre movie titles; complete flop in my case.

The conflict often is, that keywords that generate lots of views tend to be highly-popular, so you end up bidding very high or else appearing very far down the pages.  Getting a lot of unseen views hurts your ctr and the ad slowly fades away.  Going for a high ctr ratio, in other words very selective targeting, can be rather expensive but might pay off if you have written a clone of a best-seller.  The other possible approach, kws so selective that they get few views but good clicks, takes a lot of research and patience.  And there may not be many of those in the first place; cherish any that you discover.

The generic kws like "book" get lots of views but few clicks - they are what AMS suggests and most people have tried and rejected.

Most of us co-habit that black hole.  Throwing money into it does not help, as AMS does not accept it! Perseverance and luck both help, trying to second-guess the AMS conundrum is not very productive.  Good ad copy - whatever "good" may mean - is the best bet for climbing out if it raises your click rate.  AMS rewards success but penalizes lack of success.

It may help if you can visualize your readership and try to mind-read the language and kws they might use?  Arthurian?  Medieval?  Native as in American, with tribal names?  Gather some friends and brainstorm, then try the kws out at very low bids to see which ones show promise?
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Offline NicoleSmith

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1611 on: August 12, 2017, 01:13:15 PM »
Authors' names can be very effective.  They are always in the metadata, and people do tend to search for authors more than specific book titles.  However book titles can also be productive, especially if you can identify titles of books by well-known auhors that carry fewer SP pages.  I tried in-genre movie titles; complete flop in my case.

The conflict often is, that keywords that generate lots of views tend to be highly-popular, so you end up bidding very high or else appearing very far down the pages.  Getting a lot of unseen views hurts your ctr and the ad slowly fades away.  Going for a high ctr ratio, in other words very selective targeting, can be rather expensive but might pay off if you have written a clone of a best-seller.  The other possible approach, kws so selective that they get few views but good clicks, takes a lot of research and patience.  And there may not be many of those in the first place; cherish any that you discover.

The generic kws like "book" get lots of views but few clicks - they are what AMS suggests and most people have tried and rejected.

Most of us co-habit that black hole.  Throwing money into it does not help, as AMS does not accept it! Perseverance and luck both help, trying to second-guess the AMS conundrum is not very productive.  Good ad copy - whatever "good" may mean - is the best bet for climbing out if it raises your click rate.  AMS rewards success but penalizes lack of success.

It may help if you can visualize your readership and try to mind-read the language and kws they might use?  Arthurian?  Medieval?  Native as in American, with tribal names?  Gather some friends and brainstorm, then try the kws out at very low bids to see which ones show promise?

I really appreciate you taking the time to type this all out, and it was very helpful.

I'm in a weird spot in that I've written two books of a trilogy that was 50% done before I knew anything about indie book marketing. As such, there is basically no "look alike" audience or author and they don't even fit in top-tier genre concepts well. (In other words, mashups. I sort of ended up writing quasi-literary-fiction in the paranormal space.) But they get good reviews, and some of the more heartfelt ones are enough for me to want to complete the series.

... and I have a well-paying day job that enables me to blow money on ads, so I can't resist the puzzle of trying to market them. And AMS has the same lure as a slot machine.

Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1612 on: August 12, 2017, 01:21:45 PM »
I'm in a weird spot in that I've written two books of a trilogy that was 50% done before I knew anything about indie book marketing. As such, there is basically no "look alike" audience or author and they don't even fit in top-tier genre concepts well. (In other words, mashups. I sort of ended up writing quasi-literary-fiction in the paranormal space.)


Look at your also-boughts.  That will give you an idea of what other authors people who buy your books like.  Also, I tried yasiv.com the other day and it gives an interesting map to other books that you could possibly use.  Just be sure if you have a paperback version that it's capturing your ebook.  For a couple of my titles I had to put in the ASIN to get it to map the ebook instead of the paperback.

Different people do well with different approaches, but I've done well mostly with generic genre keywords and author names.


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Offline NicoleSmith

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1613 on: August 12, 2017, 03:12:41 PM »
Look at your also-boughts.  That will give you an idea of what other authors people who buy your books like.  Also, I tried yasiv.com the other day and it gives an interesting map to other books that you could possibly use.  Just be sure if you have a paperback version that it's capturing your ebook.  For a couple of my titles I had to put in the ASIN to get it to map the ebook instead of the paperback.

Different people do well with different approaches, but I've done well mostly with generic genre keywords and author names.

Unfortunately I almost always end up with the "BBW bear shifter" or "sassy female chosen-one demon slayer" (with extremely glowy cover) in my also boughts, which are nowhere close. :/ I assume it's because that's what most people are buying in the paranormal space of the promo sites I use (most recently ENT and Book Barbarian). Needless to say, once I wrap up the trilogy I'll be getting out of that corner of Dodge.

I do appreciate you taking the time to respond, though, and the work you've put into this thread.

Offline khotisarque

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1614 on: August 12, 2017, 04:14:25 PM »
...there is basically no "look alike" audience or author and they don't even fit in top-tier genre concepts well...

That sounds like original creative writing..what a quaintly old-fashioned concept  :o  Keep up the good work!
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Offline NicoleSmith

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1615 on: August 12, 2017, 04:30:14 PM »
That sounds like original creative writing..what a quaintly old-fashioned concept  :o  Keep up the good work!

Yes, I had no idea that "trope" was the target to aim for. Oops. :/

Offline Phronk

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1616 on: August 13, 2017, 07:40:27 AM »
As such, there is basically no "look alike" audience or author and they don't even fit in top-tier genre concepts well. (In other words, mashups. I sort of ended up writing quasi-literary-fiction in the paranormal space.) But they get good reviews, and some of the more heartfelt ones are enough for me to want to complete the series.

... and I have a well-paying day job that enables me to blow money on ads, so I can't resist the puzzle of trying to market them. And AMS has the same lure as a slot machine.

I'm right there with you! I have 2 books in a series that is some weird mashup of urban fantasy, horror, and satire. People like it when they read it, but finding its audience is tough, especially when it comes to writing a description and ad copy to grab their attention in a few seconds.

I haven't found anything that works yet, so this post is pretty useless other than saying I feel your pain.

The next thing I may try is using the specific tropes of ONE genre in the mashup, even if they make me cringe, so that at least readers of that genre can get an idea of some of what's in there, and click to learn more. Fingers crossed.

Offline weigle1234

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1617 on: August 14, 2017, 10:18:07 PM »
What is the consensus these days on whether kdp paperbacks are counted towards sales on the ams dashboard?

If we are to believe the AMS folks (as directly stated by them in response to my recent inquiry) paperbacks ARE NOT included on the KDP Dashboard.  Some authors believe otherwise.  I have never seen any evidence of any of my paperback sales being included there for any of my 12 books (3 of which are eBooks only).

Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but there seems to be general confusion between the KDP Dashboard and the AMS Advertising Campaign chart - there is no such thing as an AMS Dashboard.

A good example of the difference with stats between the two.  For all my VapoKarb (99-Cent eBook only) test ads (4 Total), the KDP Dashboard shows 14 sales and 190 pages read.

The AMS Advertising Campaign chart shows, for the 4 ads:

Total Clicks - 624
Total Impressions - 1,470,171
CTR - 624 / 1,470,171 = .04%

That CTR has held steady for at least 8 weeks even though the Average Daily Impressions have varied from a low of ~7,00 to a high of ~22,000 - which leads me to conclude that the AMS chart stats are reliable.

However, the most puzzling stat is the fact that the AMS chart shows no Est. Total Sales (as in $0.00) whatsoever for any of the 4 ads.  Assuming that stat is correct, I have to conclude that the puny sales total of 14 eBooks (from the KDP Dashboard) had to have all been organic sales.  Sure makes me question the effectiveness of my VapoKarb test ads.

For the other 2 eBooks only ads, I am showing the same odd ad stats - i.e., the AMS chart shows Est. Total Sales of $0.00 for each of the 2 ads - even though the KDP Dashboard shows 11 sales of one eBook, and 39 sales for the other eBook.

For the remaining 9 books (offered as both eBooks and paperbacks) accurate stats are reflected - i.e., eBook sales on the KDP Dashboard reflect the same Est. Total Sales as those given in the AMS Advertising Campaign charts. 

Anybody else show the same strange results for eBook offers only stats vs. combined eBook, paperback offer stats?

Offline Accord64

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1618 on: August 15, 2017, 03:56:43 AM »
If we are to believe the AMS folks (as directly stated by them in response to my recent inquiry) paperbacks ARE NOT included on the KDP Dashboard.  Some authors believe otherwise.  I have never seen any evidence of any of my paperback sales being included there for any of my 12 books (3 of which are eBooks only).

I don't think the question was asking if paperback sales (in general) are counted, but specifically if KDP Paperbacks are counted.

I've seen my Createspace paperback sales reported on AMS campaigns. Many others have reported that they've seen their CS sales on AMS as well. However, since KDP paperbacks are a relatively new production avenue being pushed by Amazon, I don't think it's been confirmed that they've been linked to AMS reporting.
 
 

Offline Decon

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1619 on: August 15, 2017, 05:26:45 AM »
Am I missing something in the bidding process for placement?

I've just sent this off to Amazon Sponsored ads


I received an email to say that Lethal Trade was close to my daily limit which I don't wish to alter. This prompted me to go and look at my dashboard. What I found was that if I went to the sales page of Gone Girl, I found Lethal Trade was on the first page of the sponsored ads carousel. I checked other books and found this was also the case and that it explained the sudden increase in clicks.

At the same time, I knew that I had the same book title as a keyword title of Gone Girl.(Assin 4267311691) for my book, In Search of Jessica at a higher bid. but was not on the first page of Gone Girl, and when I scrolled through the sponsored ads, it was on page 12.

This is still the case, only today, Lethal trade is on the 2nd page with a bid of 51c and In Search of Jessica at a higher bid of 53 cents is still on page 12. There are other instances where this is the case, but I am quoting this example to keep it simple for you to look at.

Though both books are a match for the genre, In Search of Jessica, is nearer in tone, and that is why I bid higher.

Don't get me wrong, I am pleased that Lethal Trade is in a good position for visibility, but what I want to know is why In Search of Jessica is lower down the pecking order with a higher bid. It sort of defeats what is said about the bidding process if other books with more visibility are bidding less.

I would appreciate an explanation.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 05:29:13 AM by Decon »


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Offline khotisarque

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1620 on: August 15, 2017, 07:25:40 AM »
Decon, there are at least two partial explanations for your experience.  First is the 'garbage' theory - the famed Algos are defective and producing erratic results.  The second is the 'Other Factors' which contaminate, perhaps dominate, the bidding process.  Amazon does not run a straightforward auction based solely on bids.  It is up-front about this.  It does run a process in which bidders are allowed to underwrite Amazon's opinion on which books merit exposure and publicity.

This process is vastly different both from established media advertizing norms and from established auction procedures.  Whether or not it is to the ultimate benefit of the advertizer, the buyer, or even Amazon is unclear; it might be.  Someone will write a PhD thesis on the experiment one day. 

My opinion FWIW is that it somewhat benefits me as an author.  I consider AMS as a fellow-traveler who is friendly enough, but not to be trusted too much.
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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1621 on: August 15, 2017, 07:29:01 AM »
I've seen my Createspace paperback sales reported on AMS campaigns.

So have I.


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Online Eugene Kirk

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1622 on: August 15, 2017, 08:47:11 AM »
Ok AMS Gurus, I have a question.

I have an ad running right now which has 200 keywords, mostly targeting Sci-fi authors. I think my ad copy is not bad. I tend to be getting a click every 200 impressions for the very targeted keywords.

I've only had 1 sale. This was on a very first click of a keyword. Since then I haven't gotten more then 3 clicks per keyword. Impressions still coming however, as I have my bid rates set at somewhat low rates as to not go broke.

I'm still getting sales however. But they dont 'appear' to be from the AMS ads. (note I'm not in KU so i'm not including borrows)

I have two possibilities for this.

1) The sales are coming from an instafreebie sample i have and people are reading the sample and then buying the book.

2) People are viewing the Ad, buying it, but the purchase is not showing up. (or perhaps they view but don't buy right away)

3) People are just finding it organically.


No 1 is probable, No. 3 less so, but my question is, is #2 even possible?

I'm not spending a whole lot of money on the add as the impressions are slow going, but it'd be nice to know if it's actually doing anything or not.

Thanks!

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Offline weigle1234

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1623 on: August 15, 2017, 09:15:31 AM »
I don't think the question was asking if paperback sales (in general) are counted, but specifically if KDP Paperbacks are counted.

I've seen my Createspace paperback sales reported on AMS campaigns. Many others have reported that they've seen their CS sales on AMS as well. However, since KDP paperbacks are a relatively new production avenue being pushed by Amazon, I don't think it's been confirmed that they've been linked to AMS reporting.
 

All my paperbacks are KDP sales.  Thanks for your reply - that explains why I have never seen any evidence of paperback sales appearing on my AMS Advertising Campaigns chart.

My very first paperback sale was on April 28, 2016.  Obviously I am relatively new to Amazon, and have no idea when they started KDP paperback sales.

 I also have no idea how the pricing structure works for CS paperbacks, but here is what I am looking at with my KDP sales:

All my paperbacks are priced the same, $9.49.  Amazon also charges my buyers $3.99 shipping - so, they pay Amazon $13.48.

Amazon pays me $9.72 - so they gross $3.76.

For my $9.72 gross sale, I net $5.97.

Here is the breakdown of my direct costs:

Shipping - $2.63 (Media Mail)
Shipping Envelope - $0.12
Paperback - ~$1.00

Total - $3.75

Thus, for a typical order, my Net (Profit) is $5.97.  Which translate into 63% of sale price - not the 70% we usually consider as Breakeven.

Actually, my profit is slightly less than $5.97 (closer to $5.87) since I always include at least two Freebies with each order; a Special Report and copy of a DIY booklet that I sell for 99-Cents (something I always do in mail order - keeps buyers happy, and reduces refunds to practically zero).

Also, my paperbacks were all printed at least 3 years ago, when I was paying 99-Cents per copy.  I always had them printed, bound, and trimmed in lots of 5,000 to 6,000.  I shudder to think what I will be paying now, when my inventory is deleted (if ever, considering my puny sales volume).

I love multiple orders.  I can ship 3 paperbacks via Media Mail for the same price ($2.63) as a single paperback.  That is an extra $5.26 to take to the bank compared to single orders.  I have even had a few orders for 6  paperbacks.  I believe Media Mail cost for those is $3.12  - which pays an extra $12.66 compared to single orders ($2.63 x 6 - $3.12).

I sold these same paperbacks via mail order for $39.98.  Breakeven was a response rate of 1.3% (13 orders per 1,000 envelopes mailed).  Above 1.3%, my profit was slightly over $36 per sale, compared to ~$6 via Amazon.  My best selling book in mail order (also via Amazon) has sold well over 30,000 copies - not exactly a fortune, but a good start for just one book.  But, that is all history - mail order started a steady decline about 10 years ago.  Today, even the best mailing lists are basically garbage - not even worth the high risk of testing for a small operator such as myself.

As with any business, high volume sales is where the real (and most efficient) profits are made.  Obviously, some Amazon folks are making the BIG bucks - it sure is not me!

Offline Accord64

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1624 on: August 15, 2017, 11:53:23 AM »
Also, my paperbacks were all printed at least 3 years ago, when I was paying 99-Cents per copy.  I always had them printed, bound, and trimmed in lots of 5,000 to 6,000.  I shudder to think what I will be paying now, when my inventory is deleted (if ever, considering my puny sales volume).

I think you're in a whole different category. KDP and CS paperbacks are a POD (Print On Demand) service. Once someone purchases a paperback, let's say one of mine, Amazon will notify CS. CS will then print the book and send it to the customer, using whatever shipping method Amazon requests. I then get a royalty from CS based on a preset rate through the Amazon retail channel (CS has several retail channels, and royalties vary depending on which channel).

CS is owned by Amazon. KDP paperbacks is also owned Amazon, but it's a much newer offering. Many think it's going to eventually replace CS as Amazon consolidates their POD business.

Because you've already had your paperbacks printed, you're essentially the publisher and thus under a whole different type of agreement. I have no idea if AMS would pick up this type of sales activity, and I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't.

AMS picks up CS orders because it's all Amazon. The unanswered question is if the KDP printed product sales are hooked into the AMS reporting system. 

 
 

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