Last week I told you all that I would be trying out some advertising for the release of my newest book, the first in a series. I really wanted to make as big a splash with this book as I could since it’s a new beginning for me – this is the first completely new series I’ve released in a number of years. Naturally, I wanted it to do really well. So, here are the lessons I learned.

First, I ran an ad with Bookbub – not a featured deal, but an ad. There’s a big difference (of about $350! Lol! A featured deal will cost anywhere from $300-$600, depending on your genre. An ad can cost as little as $10. I set my budget at $25.

Here’s the ad that I ran:

An eye-catching, genre appropriate image is essential. And what I realized after I started my ad was that everyone looking at the Bookbub newsletter is expecting all the books there to be 99 cents or free. My book was $2.99 to begin with. As soon as I realized my mistake, I dropped the price to 99 cents. When I did that, I went from having 12 pre-orders to 80! In one day!!

Now, I do not, for one moment believe it was the Bookbub ad which spurred all those pre-orders. According to the stats they gave me, not that many people clicked on my ad. In fact, only 20 people of the 2400 people who saw it, clicked. Not great! I do believe, however, that if I had said on my image that the book was 99 cents I would have gotten more clicks.

So would I do that again? Absolutely! But next time, I’ll remember to lower the price and mention that in the ad.

The other ads I ran were Amazon ads. I ran three of those to test it out.

With Amazon ads, you can’t choose your image, it’s just your book cover, but you do have to write clever copy to go with your ad. Two ads had this copy:


It will take the combined efforts of the Ladies’ Wagering Whist Society to help an impoverished modiste win the hand of a sought-after Duke.

The other one, which looked identical, said the same thing but added “in this Regency romance” at the end. (I was testing to see if adding in the genre made a difference.)

The reason two of them were the same is because I wanted to test out their “automatic targeting”–that’s where you let the Amazon computer choose the keywords and audience for your ad. That was a complete and utter failure! The showed it to a total of 76 people over four days and no one clicked on it. I stopped the ad at that point.

I have 100 keywords and phrases and a list of 130 authors who write in my genre who I have chosen to target. For the first ad above, I had an ACOS (the total spent divided by sales) of 156%. The second ad did a little bit better, it’s at 135%. So I had 9 sales for $26.50 spent for the first ad and 12 sales for the same amount of money. Naturally, you want those percentage numbers to be as far below 100% as possible – at 100% you are spending as much as you’re earning.

Do I consider these ads to be a total failure?

Actually, no, I don’t.

The reason for that is because the more often someone sees your book cover, the more likely they are to buy it the next time they see it. They say it takes seven impressions for someone to act. That means that even if someone didn’t click on my ad when they saw it on Bookbub, if they then went to Amazon and saw again there, and perhaps popped over to Facebook where one of my friends shared my post about the book coming out, they’ve only seen the book cover three times. If they don’t know my writing, they’re probably going to need to see it a few more times before they’ll actually click on it and then, hopefully, purchase it.

Each impression is important. Having that impression spark a touch of interest, even more so. Once they see it enough, I’m sure they’ll buy it, read it and love it. At least I hope so!

So, the outcome of this journey is that I’m going to keep plugging away at these ads. I’ve got two more books coming out in the next few months (Book 2 in May and Book 3 in June). For each release, I’ll promote Book 1, dropping the price down to 99 cents and eventually leaving it there once all three books are published to act as my loss leader and encourage people to read the series. Hopefully, with each book my ads will get better and do better.