Amazonian Advertising Practices: Part 2

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: There’s a lot going on this week. Hence some daily posts. Today’s topic of choice? More on Amazon’s Advertising System.

So some of you may remember my first post on this topic a few months ago. I’d taken the plunge, using my tax return to pay for Amazon Advertising Services to see exactly how it would shake out. I had to use the tax return for it, because Amazon is paid up front, but any earnings you make are, as expected, royalties. So while you may spend $50 to make $50, you will still have several months to go before that $50 rolls back into your bank account.

Anyway, I’m not going to spend time reiterating exactly how AMS functions, since I gave it a long-form explanation last time. The basic gist of it is that you set up advertising keywords that describe your product (for example, one of Colony‘s keywords is “Expanse” because of its similar genre to The Expanse) and then a bid for that advertising spot. Your bid wins while someone is looking at that product? That individual sees your product, and if they click on it, whether or not they purchase it, you pay the bid.

Anyway, after a month of using it, I’d come to some tentative conclusions, which at the time were that many people who found it balanced out pretty much neutral were right. I was earning back pretty much exactly what I put in, plus or minus a few bucks here and there. Which I found odd, as even if my numbers jumped around quite a bit, they still somehow wound up around 100% in and out.

I’m still not sure why that is. But I can report that with lots of careful fine tuning, several months in, the venture is a little less neutral.

Continue reading

Tighten the Belt

So, continuing the week-long run of “I’ve got news and stuff to say!” here we are at Wednesday. And, to no one’s surprise, there’s still stuff going on.

So, today’s post? A financial update. Effectively, I’m tightening my belt and going into drought mode.

Why? Simple. The part-time job I have has hit some dry spells in these summer months. Said part-time job already cut corners where it could, but now that we’re in the realm of little business for the next month, that means fewer hours for everyone. Fewer hours means less pay and, well … yeah, a tighter belt for the month. And odd gigs around town.

The interesting bit about this is that Shadow of an Empire launched just around the time everything started to slow down. And while Shadow of an Empire‘s launch wasn’t as strong as Colony‘s (the Sci-Fi Epic continues to wear the crown) it was strong, and as of right now has left a longer-lasting tail.

Continue reading

Colony Print Copy Updates and Issues

I said I had a lot of news this week. This is part of it.

So, those of you who have run into me at various places online may know that a few months ago I let drop that after Shadow of an Empire released (Which it did on June 1st of this year!) I would be once again looking into the possibility of print copies of Colony at last.

Well, I have done so. And unfortunately … I’ve got some bad news.

Colony is just too long.

Continue reading

News Blast: Shadow of an Empire, Colony, and Milestones

Welcome to Monday, readers! I know the culture, at least here in the US with it’s workaholic pastimes, is to despise Mondays, but maybe I can make things a little shinier for you at the start of this week. After all, I’ve got a nice news post here for you to read (and then we’re getting Being a Better Writer), with lots of good news about the upcoming weeks that’s sure to excite a good number of you!

The first and most important bit of news? Shadow of an Empire is available for pre-order and releasing June 1st! That’s right, the Fantasy-Western Epic is sweeping onto e-readers and devices everywhere in just under three weeks! Swing by the Amazon page and pre-order your copy now so it arrives ASAP! And share that link; the more people know about Shadow, the better. Redditor? Facebook user? Fanfic socializer? Let people know. Word of mouth is majorly helpful! Also, if you’re an Alpha or Beta Reader, feel free to talk about the book now and tell people all about it! I’d advise not dropping too many spoilers, but I’ve seen your enjoyment for months now, so go share it with others!

Second bit of news? Well, it’s related to that first one. In the coming weeks (date not officially set), I will be doing a Reddit AMA to promote Shadow of an Empire. Yup. For several hours I’ll be answering any and all (within reason) questions there, both to help spread writing knowledge and to talk about—of course—my newest release, as well as what else to expect from me in the coming year and whatever else people bring up. If you have a Reddit account, please come and participate. The more people show, the better off the AMA will be, and the more traction it’ll gather! Check back here for more details as I narrow the date down with Reddit mods!

Third bit of news: Shadow of an Empire‘s preview chapter will be getting updated to the final version tomorrow. There will be a notification of it, the cover art will be included, etc, etc. Following this, chapter two will go up the following Tuesday, and the Tuesday after that, chapter three. The final book, by the way, is thirty-one chapters, so you’re only getting the first little bit as a preview.

Okay, last bit of news (I promise!): Colony is getting its first price-drop. As well as a text update. Okay, don’t go wild, it’s the standard “This book is now X months old” drop I’ve done for my other works. Colony will soon be $5.99 instead of $7.99. In addition, the text will be updated with a number of small corrections and error fixes to promote a smoother reading experience. Those of you who already own Colony should see the update the next time you connect to the web, and those already connected will just, well, have it!

And, last but not least … I didn’t even realize it, but I’ve passed a review milestone! Specifically, an Amazon review milestone: 50 Five-Star reviews! To be more specific, 52 of them! Out of—get this—82 reviews total. That’s right, well over half of the reviews I’ve ever gathered are Five-Star reviews! Huzzah! Now just to keep getting those reviews out in front of readers! Oh, and to keep collecting them. The more reviews a product has, the more people trust what they say.

In any case, that’s the news update! Lots coming in the next few weeks as we move closer to the release of Shadow of an Empire. Don’t forget to pre-order your copy!

Psst! Over Here!

Pssst! You! Hey, you! That’s right, over here! Looking for some good book deals? Sure you are! Well, don’t look around or make it super obvious—I said don’t look around!—but there’s like, a secret sale or something going right now. Limited time only.

Yeah, I don’t know why either. Something about the date. And it probably won’t last because, well, that clock keeps ticking. Time’s moving forward.

Anyway, now you know. The secret sale is live! Pass it along and move along, quick, before someone spots us. Go see what you can find!

Amazonian Advertising Practices

So, for the last month, I’ve been experimenting with Amazons Marketing Services. Or, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, what amounts to paying Amazon in exchange for Amazon running ads for your product based on keywords and the like. So if someone searches for, say, The Expanse on Amazon right now in the books section, Colony comes up, because the two are similar Science-Fiction.

After a month, I’m starting to see a few of the things I’ve been told about AMS confirmed. One of the reasons I’d avoided it until now was because my research into other authors trying it out came to the conclusion that it was basically a way to get advertising for your books … but to in turn make almost no money off of them, if not none. This because of the strange way Amazon runs its ads, and the system by which they do it.

See, how it works is you set a book to be advertised, followed by a per-keyword ad cost and a daily limit to how much you want to spend. So the keyword may be “action adventure.” You set a cost of 25 cents, and then a daily limit (say, a dollar).

Now what happens is that whenever someone searches for books with the keyword “action adventure” Amazon performs a “bid” for the highest paying ads for that keyword. The ones paying the most go up, and then if the viewer clicks them, it pays one cent more than what that bid beat—so, for instance if the 25 cent bid beat out a 22 cent bid, then it would pay Amazon 23 cents—and the viewer looks at the book, and that 23 cents is counted towards the daily limit.

A little convoluted, but not bad, right? Well … there’s a catch. There’s obviously a catch. See, as was pointed out to me long before I ever tried Amazon Ads, and one of the big criticisms leveled against them is that Amazon has more data on who buys what than the Ad service uses. It simply acts off of keywords, rather than Amazon’s own “We know you’ll like this” system. And so you may end up with clicks that lead to nothing at all quite frequently, because the person who search “Science Fiction” reads Foundation and Hyperion, not Colony. Amazon knows this, but they let the clicks go through anyway.

Continue reading

Medical Delays!

Sorry guys, but Being a Better Writer is going to be a little late this week. Wednesday, to be precise. Unless I get a score of luck later, but …

Normally, even if I had a work shift on Monday and Tuesday (which I do) I’d still have Monday night to get the next BaBW post done … or at least Saturday. But this last weekend I was really crunched for time (and will be this weekend as well), and tonight? Well, tonight … I’m getting an MRI.

Yeah, remember that knee injury? Yup, it’s still being an issue. So I’m going in for an MRI tonight prior to getting a knee surgery that should put things back on the right track at last.

So yes … slightly delays. Sorry about that. But with luck it will be worth it!

In the meantime, I do have some good news and a link to a classic post. First bit of good news? Colony is being advertised now! That’s right, if you’re kicking around anywhere with an Amazon ad (I believe) or on Amazon itself, you can see a nice, shiny ad for Colony! And there will be more news coming on Colony soon (yet another project while getting Shadow of an Empire edited).

And that classic post? Here you go—

Being a Better Writer: I, Villain.

See you in a few days!