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Perry Constantine said:
Or enough money for ads. These days I keep hearing about people flooding AMS with ads that have a daily limit in the hundreds of dollars. That's something I simply can't afford to compete with and my sales have tanked as a result.
You've prompted a question that's been intriguing me ... how do people spend hundreds and evens thousands of dollars on advertising? Aside from maybe Bookbub, most web-based services are comparatively inexpensive, so are we talking about large AMS or FB ad budgets? Just where can you effectively spend that much money?
 

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The Bass Bagwhan said:
You've prompted a question that's been intriguing me ... how do people spend hundreds and evens thousands of dollars on advertising? Aside from maybe Bookbub, most web-based services are comparatively inexpensive, so are we talking about large AMS or FB ad budgets? Just where can you effectively spend that much money?
I would say many of the big spenders are spending on Facebook ads. When you have a successful ad on FB you can scale up - if you're making a profit, the more money you put in the more profit you make. That's harder to do with AMS, or at least that's what I've found. Some writers also do well from regularly hitting the effective book promo sites and that can cost a few hundred a month.
 

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The Bass Bagwhan said:
You've prompted a question that's been intriguing me ... how do people spend hundreds and evens thousands of dollars on advertising? Aside from maybe Bookbub, most web-based services are comparatively inexpensive, so are we talking about large AMS or FB ad budgets? Just where can you effectively spend that much money?
So far this month I've spent about $900 across about 20 AMS ads. Some of those ads spend barely anything, a few spend a lot.
 

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LukeSchmidt said:
Yeah, I assume it would take years to get a following as a new writer. And that would be after writing twenty or so books.

I listed my novella, which I didn't think would sell, for free for a few days and advertised on Reddit for free. That was the only advertisement, but it brought me to #23 in my category. Not bad, but it was free of course so it didn't mean much. Reddit has a subreddit for advertising free books so that was the only advertisement I did besides Twitter... which I use once every few months (forcing myself to post on it now). I wanted to at least put my name out there.

A lot of people say to pay for advertising. The problem is I don't know where to advertise, and how much, and so on. Then again, I spent all my money on an editor so I can't pay for advertising now.
Contrats on being a published author. You're right that it usually takes a while to become established, but you're on your way. The best thing you can do now is write a follow-up book, and that mainly costs your time. Good editing and covers are important, and they are only one-time expenses. Best of luck to you.
 

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The Bass Bagwhan said:
You've prompted a question that's been intriguing me ... how do people spend hundreds and evens thousands of dollars on advertising? Aside from maybe Bookbub, most web-based services are comparatively inexpensive, so are we talking about large AMS or FB ad budgets? Just where can you effectively spend that much money?
We're talking massive AMS/FB ad budgets.
 

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The Bass Bagwhan said:
You've prompted a question that's been intriguing me ... how do people spend hundreds and evens thousands of dollars on advertising? Aside from maybe Bookbub, most web-based services are comparatively inexpensive, so are we talking about large AMS or FB ad budgets? Just where can you effectively spend that much money?
Yes they are, but let's look at AMS ads for example. I'm running three ads right now, soon to be two, and I only spend about $20 a month. What does that buy me? About 1000 impressions a day and maybe four or five clicks. Now, how are some authors paying hundreds or thousands of dollars? You know that line of books just below your your book's description? The one that says Sponsored. Yeah, that one. Notice how some authors come up in those first four to six slots almost every time without the viewer having to scroll to the right? It's because they're paying a LOT more for their bids than I am. Where I might be paying .25 cents, they might be paying $2-3. They get to be in the first set of slots on the carousel, I'll be down on page 17 or 18. Being in those first slots are going to get them a lot more clicks, thus a higher bill at the end of the month.

They obviously have the budget for it. I panicked the other day when I looked at my BB ads and found I had created one that was using up my $2.00 daily budget every single day, usually by about ten in the morning. Great results, but I don't have the budget to spend $60-120 a month on one ad, so I cut it back to $1.00 a day.

I look forward to the day I can spend $100 a day on ads and know it will be returned three or four fold. Or more.
 

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dgcasey said:
Yes they are, but let's look at AMS ads for example. I'm running three ads right now, soon to be two, and I only spend about $20 a month. What does that buy me? About 1000 impressions a day and maybe four or five clicks. Now, how are some authors paying hundreds or thousands of dollars? You know that line of books just below your your book's description? The one that says Sponsored. Yeah, that one. Notice how some authors come up in those first four to six slots almost every time without the viewer having to scroll to the right? It's because they're paying a LOT more for their bids than I am. Where I might be paying .25 cents, they might be paying $2-3. They get to be in the first set of slots on the carousel, I'll be down on page 17 or 18. Being in those first slots are going to get them a lot more clicks, thus a higher bill at the end of the month.

They obviously have the budget for it. I panicked the other day when I looked at my BB ads and found I had created one that was using up my $2.00 daily budget every single day, usually by about ten in the morning. Great results, but I don't have the budget to spend $60-120 a month on one ad, so I cut it back to $1.00 a day.

I look forward to the day I can spend $100 a day on ads and know it will be returned three or four fold. Or more.
My data suggest there's more to placement than just bids. I suspect conversion rate is playing a role.
 

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Everything KelliWolfe said.

I don't run advertisements as I hate the stuff when confronted with it. I've never once bought anything because I saw an ad for it. I don't click on ads, and all my web browsers have strict popup and ad shields. I've never bought a book because of an ad somewhere. Absolutely never.

It is possible to just do it by choosing the right blurbs, covers and keywords. I count heavily on word of mouth, because a lot of what I write is nothing which I would push at the public for fear of censoring. Occasionally I put a book up on Smashwords and open half of it as a sample, then funnel people to it from Goodreads groups. That's a nice way to start the word of mouth effect. Costs me nothing, maybe 5 or 10 minutes to set up and announce. Like KelliWolfe I have websites for my pen names, people can subscribe to be notified of new releases and I only do that. I don't do weekly letters or anything.

Or you can do it the way a friend of mine does: he hired a good manager, who does the entire business and marketing side of it.
 

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Abderian said:
I would say many of the big spenders are spending on Facebook ads. When you have a successful ad on FB you can scale up - if you're making a profit, the more money you put in the more profit you make. That's harder to do with AMS, or at least that's what I've found. Some writers also do well from regularly hitting the effective book promo sites and that can cost a few hundred a month.
I was having good success with FB ads, with a rating of 8 on a couple and a per-click spend of 0.08-0.12. I was only spending $5/day, and I tried to push it to $8 just to see what would happen. The cost per bid climbed, the saturation (naturally) increased, and I never got it down to previous levels again.

My problem is that I write in a fairly small niche. Therefore, my FB ads go something like ... target that niche. Start spending. Watch it saturate. Stop the ad.

I'm not sure how to break out of that - if I widen the market I just end up paying more for fewer clicks, becuase the ad is less relevant. And once you've advertised to a particular segment, and 'mined all the ore' so to speak, what's the point of showing them the same ad a week later?
 

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Simon Haynes said:
I was having good success with FB ads, with a rating of 8 on a couple and a per-click spend of 0.08-0.12. I was only spending $5/day, and I tried to push it to $8 just to see what would happen. The cost per bid climbed, the saturation (naturally) increased, and I never got it down to previous levels again.

My problem is that I write in a fairly small niche. Therefore, my FB ads go something like ... target that niche. Start spending. Watch it saturate. Stop the ad.

I'm not sure how to break out of that - if I widen the market I just end up paying more for fewer clicks, becuase the ad is less relevant. And once you've advertised to a particular segment, and 'mined all the ore' so to speak, what's the point of showing them the same ad a week later?
There's definitely an art to it that I've also failed to master. I think it helps to have a wide market for your books. Space comedy is pretty niche, I've found. My space opera sells much better. That's a tried and tested method for a better chance of success - find a hungry subgenre. Chris Fox has been saying it for years and I've seen a three or four pop up in that time. I might try to jump in at the start of the next one.
 

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Abderian said:
There's definitely an art to it that I've also failed to master. I think it helps to have a wide market for your books. Space comedy is pretty niche, I've found. My space opera sells much better. That's a tried and tested method for a better chance of success - find a hungry subgenre. Chris Fox has been saying it for years and I've seen a three or four pop up in that time. I might try to jump in at the start of the next one.
It helps to have a wide market, sure, but once you factor in the increased competition, the actual number of potential sales/readers per title probably ends up being the same.

After I've written my current fantasy/comedy series I might look at writing a one-off in a promising subgenre, just to see what happens. I do have a mil-sf novel on the back-burner which I started years ago, and that's one of the titles I planned to finish this year.

(My goal was ten novels for 2018. I've done 4 novels plus the non-fic so far, and am halfway through number 5. I have 8 more novels on the drawing board, some already in progress. If I spend a month on an experiment in writing to market, it's hardly going to make a dent in my overall progress. In fact, I'll probably welcome the change of scenery.)
 

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Thanks for info, everyone. Dang, it takes me forever to compose and manage a single FB ad. I can't imagine managing and keeping track of dozens, let alone hundreds of the things. I guess it's all about assessing risk and potential ROI. I mean, spending large amounts of money on marketing doesn't guarantee the book will sell. You must have some reasonable belief that it will sell, if you reach the right market.

Interesting to contemplate.
 

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Lots of good info here. Cover, blurb and keywords are my current mantra but promotion is something I need to consider properly. Looking at this as a business, promotion, in some way, is a definite requirement and reading everyone’s approaches to it is very helpful.
 

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I use marketing to give my books a tiny bit of visibility. I'm not interesting in spending big to push them up the bestseller lists or make a splash.

If the books are any good, that visibility will lead to reviews, word of mouth and sales, however modest. If they're not, I'm not about to throw good money at them.

I will continue to write novels, no matter what.

By the way, the second novel I ever wrote, first published in 2002, was my third-best seller this past seven days ... just behind my two new releases which came out this week. (My first novel is a perma-free so that doesn't get a spot.)

Writing and publishing is a LONG game, not a get-rich-quick scheme.

 

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Anarchist said:
My data suggest there's more to placement than just bids. I suspect conversion rate is playing a role.
Agreed. I bid nowhere near $2-$3 and most of the ads I've kept running fall in the first three slots on their respective carousels.

The Bass Bagwhan said:
I mean, spending large amounts of money on marketing doesn't guarantee the book will sell. You must have some reasonable belief that it will sell, if you reach the right market.
What I do is throw some advertising at the books I think have potential (mostly using AMS ads). Those that do have that potential sell more than they cost to advertise and I keep them going and try to up my ad spend on them. Those that didn't have potential after all and so cost me more than I earn from sales I either scale back the ads or shut them down. In this current climate unless you are hitting a hungry market or have an established audience that gives your new books visibility I think you have to advertise to get sales, even if it's just a couple dollars a day.
 

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Cassie Leigh said:
So far this month I've spent about $900 across about 20 AMS ads. Some of those ads spend barely anything, a few spend a lot.
I can see how people spend a fortune on AMS ads just by looking at the sponsored ads under all of my 50 books. Many are totally unrelated to my genres, so I know they have to be using every word possible in their keywords.

I'm starting to think that when I put an author's name in my keywords, their books also show up in the sponsored ads on my pages. I'm still researching that theory. If I'm right, then it is better to eliminate authors and just go for book titles so that my ads are more relevant. I mean, I don't think there is much chance of selling a historical romance under Science Fiction books, and a lot of authors publish in multiple genre. Ah, to have the time to really do the research. (sigh)
 
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