Category Archives: book ads

How to Run a Book Ad: A Three-Part Theory

This three-part theory is my response to a GoodReads discussion on whether it is effective to buy and run book ads. You can see the original discussion thread here:

1)Never put out a book ad without embedding your Amazon Affiliate ID in the URL. I’m surprised many authors on this forum do not pay attention to it. Advertised or not, I never give out my books’ URLs without my affiliate ID in them. And the result is satisfactory. I took a screenshot of my account statement from 9/1 to date:….

You can see that I’ve earned a whopping $19. Humble, laughable. But hey, it offsets something if I have to pay for ads. But for this month, I have not paid any ads. The income is just from my spreading my books’ URLs everywhere.

2)I have to disagree with you on where to direct the click-through. I strongly believe it should be your Amazon book page. Nobody does it better than Amazon. The top portion of the book page is designed with a killer instinct. On the left you have the “Look inside,” and on the right you have the Buy button and a Download sample button right there. Anyone who arrives at your book page is instantly fed with those three visual gauntlet.

I would not kid myself that my own blog has that kind of “squeezing” power as Amazon’s tested book page.

3)And this one is a MUST. Learn from the grandmaster — Amazon is the inventor of the “chao algorithm.” That is the equivalent of window shopping of the physical world. If a buyer browsed your book and then moved on to Joyland, there is a chance when someone else is looking at Joyland, he is presented with an icon of your book cover, along with a few others under the “Customers who viewed Joyland also viewed these items.” Same principle with free giveaway; just more potent as free download counts as an “Amazon verified purchase.”

To maximize this effect, you yourself should create random affiliations that favor yourself. My book “Secret” talks about this and gives a specific procedure through which you can drop an Affiliate widget right there in a prominent spot of your book description, to entice the visitor to click on other titles of the book. That way, when you are running a free promo, and you have some caption on the other tiles saying things like “Click to check if it is free,” you are going to get clicks. The rest is up to your books. They have to sell themselves when the prospective buyers are looking at them.

Here’s what Philip Henley did this morning to his book page… — he dropped the Affiliate widget in his book. He also dropped his Tweet box in the description, which in my humble opinion should be below the Affiliate widget. With Twitter you get follows. With the Affiliate widget you get book sales or advertising commission, as I did.

Honestly, a big portion of the Affiliate commissions may be generated from the Amazon widget as I have such widget in every book page of mine. You can see one example here:

The end result is when a stranger comes to one of my books, there is a chance he’s gonna click on that Amazon widget to view another title of mine. Once he does that, he becomes my captive audience. No matter what he buys that session, be it my book or something else, I get paid.