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Progress Report 2022 Week 30

I finished Bryan Cohen’s “The 5-Day Author Ad Profit Challenge” last week. Am I now swimming in dough? Or did I crash and burn so hard that I despaired and wrote nothing last week? Or did something inbetween happen? Put that way, I probably took some of the mystery out of it, didn’t I? Let’s pretend there’s still some suspense and talk about my accomplishments after I present the numbers.

Progress Report 2022 Week 30 By the Numbers

The numbers seem to indicate a lack of collapsing in despair! That seems encouraging!

The numbers weren’t bad. They would have been better except that Sunday’s writing ran into a Real Life Family Event (RLFE). Not a huge one, and it should get sorted out soon. Still, it cut my output. On the other hand, I had a lot of fun with the last couple of chapters. I got to introduce the Gallant-class ship design, which is something I came up with in 2004. Yes, about eighteen years ago. It almost felt like coming home! In fact, I enjoyed the introduction of those ships so much that I hope I didn’t go overboard on the description.

What I’ve Learned about Amazon Ads

The Mechanics are Counter-Intuitive

The main thing I learned is that I suck at writing them. No, I jest. Not about sucking (I do, but I already knew that), but about that being the “main thing.” The main things I learned are that patience is critical and that ad bid pricing has an enormous impact on profitability.

If you are at all serious about publishing, I strongly encourage you to sign up for Bryan Cohen’s free “The 5-Day Author Ad Profit Challenge” course. He and his team run it about once a quarter. When it’s done, you’ll have a chance to buy a more robust class that he offers. I strongly considered it, but I’m not ready yet. I have too many other irons in too many other fires. But the investment in the free course changed how I look at Amazon ads.

Consider this image of my current Amazon campaigns:

It looks so simple! But it’s not.

The first line is the ad I naively created when I first published Evolution’s Hand Book 1: Executive Action. As you can see, it had more than 38,000 impressions and twenty clicks. It generated no sales. Most of my sales came from this site, my e-mail list, and my anime site.

I had no idea why I had so few clicks. My total spend was $28.87, so the financial burden was low. Still, knowing I didn’t understand bids or the inner workings of the system made me turn my attention elsewhere.

See the last five campaigns listed? Those are the ones I created during the class. I’m going to let all of them except “EA Auto Thriller 39 WII” and “EA Manual Dystopian Test 20220719” expire. The reason’s simple: Bryan Cohen walked us through creating different ads, and as he did, he also gave us tools to improve our ad copy. By the time I wrote “EA Manual Dystopian Test 20220719,” I had ad copy that I didn’t thoroughly hate. I also understood better why I hated what I wrote for my previous ads.

The Class Changed my Perspective

The bidding thing? Yeah, that’s something i’m still struggling with. You can’t see it in the graphic, but when you create an Amazon ad, you set the bid price. Basically, you’re bidding against other writers. I think the default bid is around $1.56, and you pay per click.

Bryan Cohen recommended setting the bid to .39 for the first book in a series. That felt low. And it turns out, I’m getting fewer impressions. But the class stressed it’s all about profitability. It’s also about the long game. I’m in this for the rest of my life. A slower but higher profit is more attractive than a faster, lower profit.

But in this business, success breeds success. I had to wonder: should I sacrifice short term profit (i.e., crank up the bids) to get more clicks, and therefore, I hope, more sales, so I could establish a reader base quickly? I’m not sure. One of the things the class did not come out and say but implied is that in the beginning, my ad copy sucks more than it will later. Building more ads, practicing the art and perfecting my style, is probably more important at this point than throwing expensive ads at the world. So I’m going to stay with the slow and steady course.

It’s a lot better than it was. But I’m still not happy with the blurb.

Also, I think I know why I had twenty clicks and no sales. My original blurb in Amazon didn’t do me any favors. I’ve corrected that, but I think it needs more work. So, I’ll focus on learning for now! That, and finishing Evolution’s Hand Book 3: Primary Target and plotting out the next three books.

Progress Last Week

Here’re the goals I set for last week:

  1. Finish Jack Booth’s Pinch 2: Done!
  2. Finish Jack Book’s Plot Turn 2: Deferred
  3. Finish Melchizedek “Dek” Conrad’s pre-Plot Turn 2: Deferred
  4. Stretch objective: Start Matsushita’s Plot Turn 2: Deferred

I had to swap in Ira Malhotra’s Plot Turn 2 instead of the three deferred points, because it flowed better in its new location. Also, I decided to accelerate both Booth’s and Jadwiga Janczak’s Plot Turn 2 ahead of Conrad’s and Matsushita’s — again, for flow reasons.

Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2022 Week 30

This week, I intend to:

  1. Finish Jack Booth’s Plot Turn 2
  2. Finish Jadwiga Janczak’s Plot Turn 2
  3. Start Dek Conrad’s Plot Turn 2

I’m looking forward to all of these chapters. Though I’m struggling with the setting for Conrad’s chapter. It has to be away from most of the team, but in or near the space elevator terminal in Araracuara, Columbia. If they’re outside the terminal, TransStell security would never let them be alone. If they’re inside, then there are too many witnesses. So I’m still thinking how to make that realistic.

What Do You Think?

Have you every worked with Amazon ads? What do you think of them? Are there any words of wisdom you could share? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

3 thoughts on “Progress Report 2022 Week 30

  1. Holy moly! The default bid on Amazon Ads is now $1.56… It was $0.30 when I was running some five years ago. I agree with Bryan. Go low and play the long game. If you can, supplement it with stuff like BookBub to send a boost your way. Also, having more books in the series makes the starting bid on book one more flexible. If you can get people interested in your series, that one advert click can turn into a number of sales.

    1. Thanks for sharing your perspective! Your advice makes sense to me. I’ve been looking at BookBub and maybe even BookFunnel to help with my newsletter/lead magnet. But I think I want to keep my focus on building my understanding of how the various advertising routes work and emphasize writing more books.

      Like you said, a single click can lead to multiple sales — provided I have multiple products!

      1. It’s definitely worth keeping on top of the advertising because they tend to change things so often that I’m sure I’ll have to learn it all over again when the time comes.

        Book funnel is good for building the list. You just need to make sure they want to be there after they’ve got the free book.

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