Advertising on Amazon

Katie and the DeelansHave you advertised your book on Amazon? Last night, I listened to an Amazon ads for authors webinar and decided to put the advice into practice for my book, Katie and the Deelans.

The webinar was run by Mark Dawson and Joanna Penn, both self-published success stories and users of Amazon’s Marketing Services.

Amazon Marketing Services are relatively cheap. It uses a cost-per-click, auction-based pricing model. You set the maximum cost per click. I chose the sponsored keywords option, and I chose 13 keywords:

  • Adventure fiction
  • Divergent
  • Harry Potter
  • JK Rowling
  • Juvenile fiction
  • Rick Riordan
  • Stephanie Meyer
  • Suzanne Collins
  • The Hobbit
  • The Lightning Thief
  • Twilight
  • Veronica Roth
  • Young adult

What then happens is your book appears on the related options when Amazon customers search for a particular product – in this case, JK Rowling, Twilight et al.

One of my more ‘out there’ keyword choices was cat food. As my book features people who can change into cats, I thought those searching for cat food are cat lovers. Maybe they want to read cat-related tales too?!

The maximum I’m willing to spend per day is $10, but you can go lower than that. And you only spend money if people click on your ad and never more than your budget.

The custom text for an ad should not be the same as your blurb. It can’t be anyway, as the custom text is a Twitter-like 150 characters. I went for – We all want magic powers, right? What would you do with yours? Teenager Katie Harper is about to find out in this fun-filled action adventure.

Amazon advertising is all about experimentation. My campaign will run for the next week or so. If it works and I make enough money to recoup the cost of my investment, great. If I don’t sell books, the lessons could be that I need to look at a better cover for my book. The keywords could be too competitive or perhaps the custom text needs re-doing.

I’ll report back…

 

E-Book Promotion – Starts Today

Katie and the DeelansSmashwords Read an Ebook Week promotion starts on Sunday 5 March and ends on 11 March.

For one week, tens of thousands of ebooks are available for free or heavily discounted – and this year, those e-books include one Katie and the Deelans by Emma Baird. Me, if that’s not clear.

Katie And The Deelans is the story of Katie Harper and her friends, ordinary teenagers who go to the worst school in the country. Life, however, takes a turn for the extraordinary when Katie and her friends take up magic lessons.

Taught by the fabulous Miss D’Azzler and the enigmatic Jazz, Katie and her friends find out that they are deelans – humans who can change into cats and who have magical powers. Katie and her friends enjoy the first few months of being deelans by practising their magical skills and trying to improve the school and life for those living in the sink housing estates nearby.

Katie, who has struggled with parental alcoholism, neglect and abandonment by her mum and dad, wants to use her magical abilities mainly to improve her life AND start a relationship with the school’s best-looking boy, Danny Finch.

But just who is Danny Finch? And what about the super-powerful deelans determined to do harm? Katie has a lot to learn, and her adventures take her from experiments with apples that turn into chocolate to mind-reading (it’s not all it’s cracked up to be), battles with wicked women and unexpected family revelations.

You can get the book from Smashwords here – and if you enjoy it, please leave me a review. For access to other discounted or free books, visit the Smashwords promotional pages

 

If You Love It, Review It

No doubt about it, we live in a review-driven world nowadays. Any small business owner will tell you how crucial reviews are. Once upon a time, they used to be about the testimonials you got customers to write for you. These were then displayed on your walls (pre-internet, kids!) or in your annual report.

Now? Who buys anything before reading the reviews first? From TripAdvisor to Yelp, Amazon to eBay, reviews help customers decide what they will spend their precious pennies on.

Recently, I wrote a piece we hope to include in a new Comely Bank Publishing (CBP) book. As there might be a spare page or two, CBP’s founder Gordon Lawrie and I thought, “waste not, want not. Let’s use the space to beg for reviews”. Here’s the piece…

Did you like this book? Why not review it?

Reviews are important for books, especially books published by small, independent publishers such as Comely Bank Publishing. Why? They help our books get found.

How do you choose a book to read? You might choose it because it’s prominently displayed, you’ve seen an advertisement for it, you know the author’s work or you’ve read a good review.

Small, independent publishers do not have the same market for budgeting as traditional publishing houses do. We can’t afford posters in railway stations or pages in magazines and we don’t get access to the same number of book stores.

However, sites such as Amazon, Kobo and GoodReads can level the playing field for independently-published novels. Book reviews act as “word of mouth” for shoppers online. They provide social proof that something is good – well, at least if your reviews are positive!

The more reviews a book has, the further up the rankings it moves. A book with a lot of reviews will come up quickly if a reader types in ‘Scottish novels’ or whatever genre to the search engine.

You don’t need to write a long or detailed review – just a couple of sentences will do.

Thank you!

 

National Chocolate Week – and Out-of-Control Chocolate Binges

sweet wrappersThis week’s it’s National Chocolate Week – no doubt the web will be awash with chocolate facts and famous name brands pushing their products on us…

I thought I’d mark the occasion by publishing an excerpt from book number two, Two Slices of Carrot Cake. My 16-year-old heroine Savvy struggles with an eating disorder. In this excerpt, she talks about walking into an office to find an open box of chocolates in front of her…

EXCERPT FROM TWO SLICES OF CARROT CAKE

And now there is a huge box of chocolates twinkling evilly at me.

According to the gospel of Moll, opened boxes of chocolates are fair game for cleaners. I worked with her once and she helped herself to two or three handfuls of them. (Thornton’s, if you are interested.)

“I’ve seen the skinny bitches who work in here,” she said to me at the time, “So I’m doing them a favour eating their choccies so they don’t get fat.”

Moll’s at least a size 24, I reckon. And she doesn’t seem to give a shit.

I glare at the box – it’s one of those ginormous ones of Miniature Heroes – my favourite chocolates in the whole, wide world. Hard to know which ones I would eat first. I put down my spray cleaner and duster, and take a handful out of the box as an experiment. I line them up before me on the desk in order of preference, from the ones I’d eat first to the ones I’d eat last (I always eat my favourite thing last):

  1. Crème Eggs
  2. Cadbury Caramels
  3. Dairy Milk
  4. Chocolate éclairs
  5. Twirls
  6. Fudge

A voice starts up in my head, “Go on, just one just one won’t hurt, lovely, sweet, vanilla chocolate, smooth caramel, chewy toffee yum yum yum,” and then I look them up quickly on myfitnesspal.

Miniature Heroes (each):

  • Calories – 53
  • Fat content – 3g
  • Sugar content – 6g

Which really isn’t all that bad after all. Less calories than a lousy apple, I think to myself and my hand hovers over those beautiful wrappers, the purples, the yellows and purple, the shiny foils of the crème eggs and the orange glint of the fudge…

I hit the side of my head with the flat of my hand, hard. It won’t be one, I’ll keep going back to the box again and again until the whole lot are finished and then I’ll have to go out to the bloody supermarket to buy another box to replace it, remembering to take out just enough chocolates so it doesn’t look brand new.

Again.

I’m just putting the chocolates back in the box when I hear a sound – the sound of footsteps and a door opening. I put the lid back on the box of chocolates and start furiously polishing a table.

“Savvy – is that you?”

I spin round. It’s Sandy – Jan’s nephew.

“What are you doing here?” I snap at him. I’m kind of embarrassed he’s caught me cleaning, but he could have caught me stuffing my face with Miniature Heroes.

And that would have been much worse.