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Flight of the Tarantula Hawk
by Michael Allan Scott

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On the IndieReader Best Book list and featured on NBC's Daytime Show, the second book in the Lance Underphal Mystery series is part of a new breed of supernatural thrillers which can be read and enjoyed in any order. Dark, different, featuring a damaged psychic, this is one of those disturbing novels that keeps you guessing.

Download the sample or use the "Look inside" feature for a FREE E-book offer.

Supernatural Murder Mystery - Realtor Carla Simon has her first showing in nearly eighteen months. Recovering from a nervous breakdown, she arrives at the bank-owned foreclosure well ahead of her prospect. When her buyer pins her against the wall, it turns out to be the last house she'll ever show.

Looking for a new breed of supernatural thrillers? Paranormal mysteries of murder and suspense? Perhaps a psychic detective series which can be read and enjoyed in any order? Or maybe one of t...

Author Topic: A New AMS Thread  (Read 17424 times)  

Offline Douglas Milewski

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #275 on: December 05, 2017, 01:16:49 PM »
I'm seeing some definite dashboard wonkiness. My graph and my recent sales disagree. So, it's not just you.

Disclaimer: I sell horribly. Set your filters accordingly.

Offline Laura Rae Amos

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #276 on: December 07, 2017, 07:14:30 AM »
I don't know what to do about my AMS ads. I think I might just kill them completely. They were great at first, very profitable even, for a while (from late 2016 through summer of 2017), but now I haven't had a sale from them in months. Only clicks, no sales. They just suck money. Old ads, new ads, they all stopped selling completely and I have no idea why. Same book covers, same ad copy, same rates (although I have tried both putting rates up and down). The books are selling as expected with other promotions, but not AMS. Plenty of clicks, though, which is costing me.

The last sale attributed to any of my AMS campaigns was back in September. Since then:

Ad A, for F&B, fresh ad, 24 clicks, no sales
Ad B, for EWTF, fresh ad, 43 clicks, no sales
Ad C, for F&B, older ad (sold 3 previously), ~50 new clicks since September, no new sales
Ad D, for EWTF, older ad (sold 17 previously), ~30 new clicks since August, no new sales

Across the board, they're all about 1 click to 1000 impressions, which I hear is average enough.

The novels are regularly $4.99 and used to get a sale per about ~20 clicks. I used to get a sale per ~10 clicks at 99c. But now, even when the books are discounted, still no bites over a combined ~150 clicks.

I don't get it why they just stopped dead like that.

And I'm out about $20 in clicks that haven't gotten me any sales, which is not the most money I've ever wasted on a dud promotion, but still. I don't like to flush money down the toilet.  ???

Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #277 on: December 07, 2017, 08:14:28 AM »
When I pulled my fiction books from KU I found I wasn't getting enough paid sales off of them anymore to pay for the clicks. I tried new ads, I tried high bid, low bid, etc. I'm still able to get the ads to work on fiction that's in KU (I put some new titles in), but they're definitely not as profitable as they were a year ago. Non-fiction still seems to be working okay for me. I do think the ads are more difficult to run on older books that have had ads running for a while than they were at this time last year or even this past spring. (So typical Amazon pattern of favoring newer material...) The other thing is that AMS seem to perform better if you have some sort of momentum on a book already, either organic sales or other promo that get your book moving.


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Offline khotisarque

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #278 on: December 07, 2017, 08:15:10 AM »
We can only guess at what is happening, but take a look at the SP ads on any book page.  Far too many to cycle through, poor or zero relevance; they do not attract me, now that the novelty has worn off.  Huge competition for 'visibility' but no unglazed eyeballs.  AMS is undoubtedly making money, so they won't change the process.

Essentially, AMS has allowed the product to become degraded and ineffective.  If their cash flow drops enough, they may reform or they may just drop the concept for authors.  Meanwhile, it sells books for established names and provides limited low-cost exposure for the rest of us if our expectations are low and our spending is cautious.
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Offline Laura Rae Amos

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #279 on: December 07, 2017, 11:03:37 AM »
When I pulled my fiction books from KU I found I wasn't getting enough paid sales off of them anymore to pay for the clicks. I tried new ads, I tried high bid, low bid, etc. I'm still able to get the ads to work on fiction that's in KU (I put some new titles in), but they're definitely not as profitable as they were a year ago. Non-fiction still seems to be working okay for me. I do think the ads are more difficult to run on older books that have had ads running for a while than they were at this time last year or even this past spring. (So typical Amazon pattern of favoring newer material...) The other thing is that AMS seem to perform better if you have some sort of momentum on a book already, either organic sales or other promo that get your book moving.

I'm not in KU at all, and I know that's not helping me make these ads turn a profit. It didn't use to matter, but I guess it does now.

We can only guess at what is happening, but take a look at the SP ads on any book page.  Far too many to cycle through, poor or zero relevance; they do not attract me, now that the novelty has worn off.  Huge competition for 'visibility' but no unglazed eyeballs.

I was just wondering about this, and I bet you're totally right. Readers are probably sick of seeing them.

Offline katie78

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #280 on: December 07, 2017, 03:08:48 PM »
I don't know what to do about my AMS ads. I think I might just kill them completely. They were great at first, very profitable even, for a while (from late 2016 through summer of 2017), but now I haven't had a sale from them in months. Only clicks, no sales. They just suck money. Old ads, new ads, they all stopped selling completely and I have no idea why. Same book covers, same ad copy, same rates (although I have tried both putting rates up and down). The books are selling as expected with other promotions, but not AMS. Plenty of clicks, though, which is costing me.

The last sale attributed to any of my AMS campaigns was back in September. Since then:

Ad A, for F&B, fresh ad, 24 clicks, no sales
Ad B, for EWTF, fresh ad, 43 clicks, no sales
Ad C, for F&B, older ad (sold 3 previously), ~50 new clicks since September, no new sales
Ad D, for EWTF, older ad (sold 17 previously), ~30 new clicks since August, no new sales

Across the board, they're all about 1 click to 1000 impressions, which I hear is average enough.

The novels are regularly $4.99 and used to get a sale per about ~20 clicks. I used to get a sale per ~10 clicks at 99c. But now, even when the books are discounted, still no bites over a combined ~150 clicks.

I don't get it why they just stopped dead like that.

And I'm out about $20 in clicks that haven't gotten me any sales, which is not the most money I've ever wasted on a dud promotion, but still. I don't like to flush money down the toilet.  ???
do you use authors as keywords? best-sellers in your genre changing faster than you update your list?


Offline Laura Rae Amos

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #281 on: December 07, 2017, 04:13:47 PM »
do you use authors as keywords? best-sellers in your genre changing faster than you update your list?

I have lots of authors and book titles on there (or well, ~250 keywords, most of which are author names), both best-sellers and some moderate sellers too. I'm in literary/women's fiction, which I think is pretty steady compared to some genres. The best-sellers are usually pretty constant. At least the ones I'm using are.

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #282 on: December 07, 2017, 04:57:27 PM »
I have lots of authors and book titles on there (or well, ~250 keywords, most of which are author names), both best-sellers and some moderate sellers too. I'm in literary/women's fiction, which I think is pretty steady compared to some genres. The best-sellers are usually pretty constant. At least the ones I'm using are.

I don't write in the same genre, but in my ad, author names are not very effective.  (Even so, I do have some very prominent author names and book titles/series as keywords.  Because you never know.)

Anyway, what I've found works for me is to imagine exactly who I want to read my books and use those words as keywords.  For example, for women's fiction, you might want to use words such as "friendship, womens friendships, womens relationships, morning coffee, mature woman," etc.  You're probably already doing that, but just want to point out that I've had more luck with these more general terms than with author/book names.
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Offline LilyBLily

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #283 on: December 07, 2017, 05:03:04 PM »
I don't write in the same genre, but in my ad, author names are not very effective.  (Even so, I do have some very prominent author names and book titles/series as keywords.  Because you never know.)

Anyway, what I've found works for me is to imagine exactly who I want to read my books and use those words as keywords.  For example, for women's fiction, you might want to use words such as "friendship, womens friendships, womens relationships, morning coffee, mature woman," etc.  You're probably already doing that, but just want to point out that I've had more luck with these more general terms than with author/book names.

Also try those mysterious subcategories that are listed when you look at someone's book. You can't necessarily place your book in them, but you can use keywords either in KDP or in AMS ads to get a hearing in those subcats.

Offline Accord64

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #284 on: December 08, 2017, 08:24:34 AM »
I recently noticed that the last letter on one of my ads gets cut in half because it's spaced to the far right (runs off the page). I've seen this in other ads as well. It shows up in both Chrome and Firefox browsers, regardless of zoom levels. Some ads have more than one letter cut off. I emailed screenshots to AMS and they are investigating.

An update on this issue (in case anyone was wondering). I received this reply today:

"After further investigation, the marketing team was able to identify what is causing the cut off text and they have reached out to the websites technical team to resolve this issue. It is taking longer than normal for this to be resolved and we appreciate your understanding as the teams work quickly to fix this."

One of my SP ads is in limbo until it's fixed, because it looks like it has a typo the way it's displayed.

You might want to check your active ads to make sure this issue isn't effecting them.
 

Offline katie78

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #285 on: December 08, 2017, 04:24:39 PM »
I have lots of authors and book titles on there (or well, ~250 keywords, most of which are author names), both best-sellers and some moderate sellers too. I'm in literary/women's fiction, which I think is pretty steady compared to some genres. The best-sellers are usually pretty constant. At least the ones I'm using are.
i'm in women's fiction, too. i try to keep my list updated with the top 100 author names as it changes somewhat week to week.

i find promo advice very genre dependent. is women's/contemporary fiction a less typical indie genre?


Offline LilyBLily

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #286 on: December 08, 2017, 06:48:00 PM »
i'm in women's fiction, too. i try to keep my list updated with the top 100 author names as it changes somewhat week to week.

i find promo advice very genre dependent. is women's/contemporary fiction a less typical indie genre?

I'd call women's fiction a less crowded subgenre than contemporary, which is utterly crowded and especially so with scam books, ghostwritten books, inappropriately categorized erotica, etc. For contemporary, it's best to have a secure subgenre (e.g., romantic comedy, western, biker, etc.) and advertising on a regular basis.

My best-producing keyword for sales of one of my women's fiction titles costs $0.34 as an average. On a daily basis it may cost more. My bid is much higher, and I also have that book priced at $5.99, but KU accounts for at least 50% of the action, and my cut of the KU for that title is just over $2.00. That means I lose money on the transaction if it takes more than 6 clicks of that particular keyword to get me a full read. The conundrum is that other keywords may be producing more reads and at a lower cost, but I have no way of knowing because Amazon won't tell. That ad overall is profitable.

     

Offline Laura Rae Amos

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #287 on: December 09, 2017, 09:54:03 PM »
Anyway, what I've found works for me is to imagine exactly who I want to read my books and use those words as keywords.  For example, for women's fiction, you might want to use words such as "friendship, womens friendships, womens relationships, morning coffee, mature woman," etc.

Yes! These do get some hits. It's harder to guess what phrases people might search with, but they do work sometimes. "chick lit" "love" and "marriage" have gotten some clicks for me, and even a couple of sales. It's hard to imagine people search for such vague things, but I guess they do!

Also try those mysterious subcategories that are listed when you look at someone's book. You can't necessarily place your book in them, but you can use keywords either in KDP or in AMS ads to get a hearing in those subcats.

Good idea! There's a couple more keywords I could add.

i'm in women's fiction, too. i try to keep my list updated with the top 100 author names as it changes somewhat week to week.

That's interesting. Do you leave them on the list after they're not bestsellers anymore?

My best-producing keyword for sales of one of my women's fiction titles costs $0.34 as an average. On a daily basis it may cost more. My bid is much higher, and I also have that book priced at $5.99, but KU accounts for at least 50% of the action, and my cut of the KU for that title is just over $2.00. That means I lose money on the transaction if it takes more than 6 clicks of that particular keyword to get me a full read. The conundrum is that other keywords may be producing more reads and at a lower cost, but I have no way of knowing because Amazon won't tell. That ad overall is profitable.

Wow, costs $0.34? I bet that adds up fast! I have to say, I'm probably bidding way too low to show up for many of the better selling women's fic authors, and nobody's going to click through 40-something pages to get to my book. And without being in KU, I'm always going to make half of what everybody else is making on these things. 

Ah well, I know I need to get my head down and finish more books anyway.

Offline Harald

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #288 on: December 10, 2017, 09:08:19 AM »
Hey Cassie... I guess you're referring my old "AMS Ads Learning" thread, and you're right: at 74 pages, it's a bit unwieldy! ;-). Glad you started up this one. Real quick, here's an update from me on my Drip-Drip Strategy for a single running campaign for a $0.99 series opener (historical fiction novella):
* 253 consecutive running days
* 413 keywords, 33 of which are selling
* still keeping my bids low: aCPC is $0.02; range of selling keywords: 0.02-0.05
* all selling keywords are under 35% ACoS
* overall campaign ACoS is 23% so paying for itself in "raw" terms (+ bonus of KU reads, follow-on sales, etc.). Trickle Effect continues to work.
* 500 Impressions per Click; 11.7 Clicks per Sale
* am busy working on my Omnibus edition so only checking in on this campaign x1/week and recording major stats and adjusting keywords as needed. Once 500-page omnibus is out will probably pause this and shift attention to the larger book.

Will now go back and read/skim over your 12 pages. Pray that you don't get to 74! :)
   
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Offline weigle1234

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #289 on: December 14, 2017, 06:04:47 PM »

Anyway, what I've found works for me is to imagine exactly who I want to read my books and use those words as keywords.


If an ad showing no sales on the Advertising Campaign chart is Paused, will sales that possibly occurred just before Pausing eventually be shown?

On December 8 I got the bright idea to combine productive keywords from several ads for the same book into a single test ad.  I decided to choose only keywords that had garnered at least 2 Clicks, each with a CTR of at least .10% (1 Click/1,000 Impressions).  I was able to collect a total of 426 unique Keywords matching those requirements.  I theorized that such a test ad might produce an overall CTR of close to .10%.

Long story short, the ad did even better than expected - in fact it went nuts.  As of today (December 14) it has garnered 151,728 Impressions and 153 Clicks.  That is average Daily Impressions of 25,288 (151,728 / 6 - with a CTR of .1008%) - the best results, by a huge margin, that I have experienced with any ad.

The BIG problem is - so far the ad is showing NO sales!  For that reason, I just Paused the ad.  If I continue Running the ad and no sales occur, I will obviously lose a bundle. 

We all know that AMS sales data usually lags by at least a few days.  And, even worse, they often never provide that data for any specific ad.  A very poor way to conduct business IMHO - makes me question their motivation behind such tactics.

Offline KelliWolfe

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #290 on: December 14, 2017, 06:34:50 PM »
My ad effectiveness has dropped off sharply since this summer for both my Olivia Blake books and for a YA romance series I write under a different pen name. Both catalogs are all in KU.

Given the number of titles completely unrelated by genre or subject that come up in the immediately visible ads every time I browse through books I'm wondering if readers are starting to tune the list out as largely irrelevant. There are also two different sponsored products lists on each book page - one directly under the also bought list and then another way down under the about the author section. I seriously doubt that 99% of people ever scroll down far enough to even see that second list, although I'd bet money that Amazon considers their appearance on the page an impression for their algorithms' sake. If your books show up in that second list they might as well not be displayed at all.

And of course these lists bump the also viewed list and the featured recommendation lists which are actually useful to readers way down the page...

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Offline Laura Rae Amos

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #291 on: December 14, 2017, 07:20:18 PM »
If an ad showing no sales on the Advertising Campaign chart is Paused, will sales that possibly occurred just before Pausing eventually be shown?

Yes, if the clicks led to sales, they will show up when paused after a couple/few days.

The BIG problem is - so far the ad is showing NO sales!  For that reason, I just Paused the ad.  If I continue Running the ad and no sales occur, I will obviously lose a bundle. 

This sounds just like my problem at the moment. 107 clicks have posted between two ads since I last had a claimed sale in September. I've paused them on and off to see if the sales would catch up, but none ever showed up. There was even a period when both books were discounted for 99c, selling fine through external ads, but not a single AMS claimed sale. So I'm supposed to believe that none of those 107 people who clicked snapped up a copy, not even for 99c? What gives?

My hubby said they're probably bot clicks, lol! (but not lol!)  :-\

Offline weigle1234

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #292 on: December 14, 2017, 09:20:31 PM »

Yes, if the clicks led to sales, they will show up when paused after a couple/few days.


Thanks for the reply - looks like I play the old Waiting Game - with hope that something good eventually springs from that Paused ad.

A couple days ago (Dec 12) I placed a similar ad; with the exception of choosing Keywords that garnered but 1 Click, CTR of at least .10%, and 825 unique Keywords.  Likely I will also end up Pausing that ad since it already shows signs of being a Runaway (or Bot Infected, as your husband suspects)!

I hesitate testing anything that relies on responding to Keywords yielding but a single Click.  I long ago discovered that some orders often are the result of mere curiosity.  A single Click sometimes yields a solitary order very early on, with no additional follow ups; which I perceive as a curiosity order (perhaps even an order placed by mistake).

But, I have become very adept at cranking out ads by the dozen, with generally good results.  I have had a fair degree of success with Keyword-Stuffed ads.  I maintain dozens of such files, totaling several thousand Keywords appropriate to a genre for each book (and sub-genres).

I go along with the thinking of Jena H - "Anyway, what I've found is to imagine who I want to read my books and use those words as keywords."

I also submit test ads based upon combining several  separate such files - using Nth Name Select to keep Keyword totals below the limit of 1,000.  For example, combined files totaling 5,000 Keywords may yield 4,000 unique Keywords after dupes have been deleted.  By using an Nth name factor of 4, I end up with 4 separate files of 1,000 unique Keywords.  I have found that such ads, if not run concurrently, will yield entirely different results.  It then becomes a matter of retaining the more productive ads - along with follow-up testing in hope of refining their results even further.

Nobody but AMS really understands how their Algo works.  IMHO, it is easy to Over-think the Keyword process.  The time-tested, and often proven, method of Trial and Error often yields the best results.  I had good luck doing that during my many years in the mail order business.  IMHO, testing, testing, and more testing is the name of the game.

Along the same line of thinking, nobody really understands how the human mind works (not even AMS).  You never know what will, or will not, trigger folks to place orders.  Sometimes the craziest concepts end up being the biggest money-makers.

Offline IntoTheAbyss

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #293 on: December 14, 2017, 10:00:48 PM »
Does Amazon put certain bestsellers in the top spots of the sponsored ads sections or are those authors spending that much that they always have those spots and with multiple books of theirs? Inglath Cooper tends to have at least, sometimes even 3 books, on almost every major women's fiction book page I go to on the first sponsored carousel. She even has her own books in the top spot in her own sponsored section. It will have her also boughts and then she'll have a book in her own book's sponsored section.

Some deep pockets if she is spending that herself.