Ultimate Guide to Getting Started with Amazon Advertising

Here’s the thing about promoting your book. If you want to sell books, you have to invest in making those sales. That investment can be time: hours you spend on social media, fine-tuning your Amazon book page and author page, attending book fairs, doing readings, and crafting a truly fine piece of literature. It can also be money, in the form of advertising.

The advantage of investing money in your book publicity is that it’s scaleable. If $1 of advertising brings in $1.50 in sales, you can spend $10 to make $15, $100 to make $150, or $1,000 to make $1,500. Yes, we know that’s not exactly how it works but you understand what we’re getting at. As long as advertising earns more than it costs, you can scale it up as far as you want. But there’s an upper limit to the number of hours you can spend on marketing your books.

The trouble with investing money in your marketing is making sure that $1 spent brings in more than $1 in revenue. Of the many options open to indie authors for book advertising, Amazon Advertising (formerly known as Amazon Marketing Services, or AMS) is one of the best. Let’s talk about why, and how you can best use it to your advantage.

What Does Amazon Advertising Do?

Amazon Advertising lets you buy Pay-Per-Click ads for your book, which get displayed on Amazon’s website and app, and on Kindle devices that match the customer profiles you set up. There are three parts of that sentence that explain why we’re such big fans:

  • Pay-Per-Click ads only charge you when somebody sees the ad and clicks through to your book’s product page. They tend to cost pennies per click, and guarantee each of those pennies brings in somebody at least partially curious about your book.
  • Displayed on Amazon, meaning the ad shows up in front of people who are on Amazon and/or own a Kindle. These are people who buy books, a qualified set of leads if ever there was one.
  • Customer Profiles means Amazon won’t show your book about cooking to somebody who only buys cozy mysteries. Both manually and with the help of Amazon’s algorithms, you will arrange for your ads to only go in front of people who are likely to (or have a history of) enjoying books similar to your own.

Your Amazon Advertising account also tells you exactly how many of your sales came via a click-through from an ad, and how much each sale cost you. It helps you identify exactly where your best money is being spent, and can help you to adjust that spending for best results.