What do you do when you’re behind on a deadline? Don’t sweat it. You’ve heard that saying, “done is better than perfect”. Well, “done well and missing a deadline is better than rushed and meeting a deadline”. Just say no to mediocre! We’re going to jump into some Amazon Ads for beginners!
But before we do that (and some other stuff), let’s recap what we’ve done so far:
- A deep edit
- Planned a launch
- A ton of meetings
That’s the part where I probably bit off more than I could chew. Between all the work we’ve put in, Sarah’s non-author life, and the busy schedules of our featured guests, it’s taken a lot of coordination and we’re running a bit behind.
So, what do we do? Keep pushing forward, of course!
If you’re new here, you can catch up on Season 2 of Book Rescue with these links:
Sarah Meets with Evan Gow
Evan is the founder of StoryOrigin, a cross-promotional marketing tool for authors. I’ve had Evan on my channel a couple times, and he’s been an integral part of Book Rescue from the start donating his service to the cause. There really are some great people in the self-publishing community, and Evan is one of them!
Evan: You’ve already got a mailing list of 2,000 people, so that’s awesome that you’ve already been building up for a while now. It is so valuable to have built a mailing list and to continue building that mailing list because it gives you that direct connection with your readers where you can actually find your champions.
Those are the people who would be willing to become beta readers for you, become reviewers for you, be willing to share your new releases on social media, etc.
It sounds like from earlier in our conversation you’ve built a mailing list, but you haven’t really done the other side which is taking that mailing list and finding who those champions are going to be. I want to walk you through a few things that I would recommend that will help you find who those champions will be from your mailing list and also ways you can build that team of champions automated.
Go through the list again and put your review copy in your welcome sequence. Join review copy group promos. Request newsletter swaps with other authors where you ask them to promote your review copies. Do all those things.
Get access to this and all the Book Rescue behind-the-scenes content by becoming a channel member here – https://dalelinks.com/membership
Amazon Ads for Beginners
The best way to do Amazon Ads is just to actually jump in and do it. I always tell people, don’t set aside any more money for your advertising budget than you can afford to lose. This isn’t the lottery and using your rent money is a recipe for disaster.
You can publish books successfully without running ads, but Amazon is a pay-to-play platform first, and trying to do everything organically takes a lot more time and work.
Take advantage of all the free content Amazon provides in the Amazon Ads Console to help you understand how things work.
Keep in mind, if an ad is going above your budget, you can kill it with one click. There’s nothing to be paranoid about here.
For Sarah, we need to run at least 1 ad for a week so we can analyze the data that comes in.
When you arrive in the Amazon Ads Console, you’re presented with 3 choices:
We’re going to focus on Sponsored Products Ads.
You don’t want to touch Lockscreen Ads until you’re pulling in a significant amount of revenue and you’re getting some type of name value using it. Otherwise, it’s like a bottomless pit.
Sponsored Ads can sometimes be the same way, but you can promote an entire series with those. Typically, you need to have at least 3 books or more within a series to promote. Be careful with these because they can burn through your budget.
Until you get used to using Amazon Ads, stick to Sponsored Product Ads. It’s so much easier.
We set Sarah up with a couple of Automatic Targeting ad campaigns for the first book in her series. Once that’s been running for a week, we’ll come back and review her results.
Her budget is $10 a day between the two campaigns because that’s what she could afford right now. We kept her cost-per-click (CPC) low so she wouldn’t burn through her daily budget too quickly.
We are mainly looking for the targets that convert the best. What we get that is irrelevant to her book, we toss in the Negative Targeting feature at campaign level and not just at Ad Group level.
We get into her results a little later, so don’t go anywhere!
It’s Time to Surprise Sarah
Sarah has a small, yet growing, YouTube channel devoted to her journey as an author and stay-at-home mom. You’ve heard me shout about YouTube for authors from the rooftops, but it’s true. With YouTube, what you get is a premium marketing tool that taps into the two most popular search engines in the world: YouTube, and indirectly, Google.
If she can attract the right viewers, she can do content marketing. She’s already been livestreaming on her Facebook page to an active viewership. She’s been repurposing those videos on YouTube.
I’m definitely not looking to create extra work, so let’s give her a couple of surprises that will make life easier with content creation.
Creating video content will eat up your time. Trust me, I am acutely aware of this fact. Since Sarah is using both Facebook and YouTube for video, StreamYard is giving her one year of free access to their basic plan, so she can stream in both places at once.
StreamYard lets you stream up to 3 places at once, host up to 9 guests, use logos, overlays, and backgrounds, and you can do it all without having to download anything. It works right from your browser. You don’t need a lot of tech experience. It’s great for newbies and anyone else who wants to make good videos without the hassle.
Sarah Talks YouTube with Dan Currier
Dan: One of the biggest challenges or things that are overlooked with a YouTube channel is kind of really nailing down who it is you’re trying to speak to.
Your description is like many descriptions out there: I’m going to tell everyone what I’m about versus writing what’s in it for them. Most people that come by your YouTube channel don’t care about you, yet. You basically want to present why they should care. So, what is the information you’re going to present to them so they pay attention?
A lot of people are like, “Well, I’m going to do videos on several things and see what sticks.”
I noticed in some of your videos and even in your description on YouTube, it says “Catch me on Facebook lives. I’ll throw the replay here.”
It’s kind of the old school notion of YouTube being a repository or a place to dump videos that you’ve already made versus being intentional about the YouTube audience and deciding who it is you want to reach.
One of the good ways to do that is to think about why you’re doing this and then try to boil that down into a single sentence that identifies exactly who it is you’re trying to target and what value you’re providing them. Whether that’s moms or readers, or if you can find some type of balance in the middle.
Generally speaking, the more focused you can be on your channel can be really powerful from a search perspective because there are other people who are trying to figure out the same thing. Because you’re doing it now, you have that value to pass. It’s up to you to decide which is the potentially bigger audience to help: those who are reading your material and looking for follow-up or all the aspiring writers out there who are stay-at-hom moms. There’s probably a lot of people at home who are looking to build something while they’re at home.
Once you decide on that in the short term, because it’s much easier to grow a channel by being as laser-focused as you can and then establish a following. You can test the boundaries and expand. By then, people know you, they care about you, and they’re going to give you a little more leeway to stretch out the type of content you make. That’s going to allow you to grow faster on the platform.
Time to Check Sarah’s Amazon Ads
At this point, it’s been about a week, so we need to check Sarah’s ads and start making plans for her book launch party that will be live on YouTube and Facebook.
Here’s what I advised Sarah about her launch party:
- Think of it more like a party than a launch
- Don’t get too stressed about it
- Think of it like just another live video
- Do a little homework and come up with a fun concept
- Make it a fun time first. Book sales are secondary
We’re not going for BookBub level here. Sarah’s personal record at launch is 16 sales, so we set a goal to double that at 32.
Now, about those Amazon Ads!
We have enough data from Sarah’s ads that we can now go in and clean out the things that aren’t relevant to her book. For example, she had a French book in her results, so we just took the ASIN and dropped it in her Negative Targeting to remove that irrelevant result.
It’s going to happen. This is one of my biggest gripes with Amazon is that their categories aren’t perfect. To make matters worse, they also throw in no content/low content books into regular fiction and non-fiction categories, which makes zero sense.
That’s a whole other conversation altogether. The bottom line is you’re going to find with Automatic Targeting that sometimes you get a crab or two while you’re fishing for tuna. Toss anything irrelevant in your Negative Targeting.
For future Automatic campaigns you may run for this same book, I recommend keeping those negative terms in a spreadsheet so you can start off new ads without having to spend money again to find the irrelevant targets.
Also, if you decide to significantly drop your budget, go in and suppress everything in the Negative Targeting, so you don’t burn through your budget on some French book or whatever.
Sarah Becomes an Award-Winning Author
I barely got disconnected with Sarah when I received huge news that couldn’t wait, so I got her right back to tell her what I found out.
Hannah Jacobson from Book Award Pro texted me to announce that Sarah won the First Place Outstanding Creator Award for Paranormal Mystery and Thriller.
Hannah said in an email that some awards have special bonus categories. Sometimes a book will win in those special categories beyond the original category that Book Award Pro made the submission for.
In total, Sarah won EIGHT awards:
- First place in Paranormal Mystery Thriller
- First place in Cozy Mystery
- First place in Mysteries
- Second place in Young Adult/Teen Fiction
- Third Place in Chick-Lit
- Honorable mention in Best Book Cover
- Honorable mention in Best Character
- Honorable mention in Funny & Bizarre Moment(s)
I’m sure a lot of you can relate to Sarah’s reaction: “I’m actually an author. It wasn’t just me trying something. I actually did something.”
Now that Sarah is an award-winning author, she can share it with the world.
She now has the option of updating her book covers with the new award seal or hiring a marketing expert to share her award-winning success across social media or book blogging websites or a press release for her big news. All things she could find an affordable gig for over on Fiverr.
Overwhelmed by the sheer number of providers on Fiverr? No problem. Check out our list of personally vetted Fiverr professionals.
Will We Smash the 90-Day Challenge?
Let’s the address the elephant in the room. Where are we on the 90-day challenge?
Technically, we could have launched Sarah’s book as early as May 17, 2022, and that would put us at exactly 90 days, but we can’t rush this.
Mid-June is going to be more realistic to give Sarah the time she needs. That will put us at about 118 days, meaning we didn’t meet the challenge.
We have two options:
- Publish in May and pray for the best.
- Delay the publication a month.
As much as I’d love to annihilate that 90-day challenge, this is about Sarah, not me. She needs this launch to do better than any of her previous launches. If we do anything less than double her previous record, all of this will have been a waste.
I’ve got some thinking to do.
1 Episode to Go
Things are about to get crazy. If you’ve never experienced a Book Rescue finale, then you’re in for a treat!
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