Advertising and Marketing

The 5 Rules of Good Advertising

By: Ginger | Posted on March 24, 2023

As an author, it can be difficult to navigate the world of advertising, but there are some tried and true principles that can be applied to book promotion. Ginger, a former New York advertising professional who now uses his knowledge to promote his books and help other Hidden Gems authors promote their own, has distilled his decades of experience into a list of the five most important rules for successful advertising. Despite the constantly evolving industry, these core principles remain relevant and effective, and authors should keep them in mind whenever they are trying to promote their work. Before I threw myself into self-publishing full time, I worked in advertising, and what I learned in that industry gave me an excellent foundation to succeed in this one. This is especially true now that Amazon has filled their homepage with so much advertising space, and that advertising successfully on Facebook and… Read More >

How accurate are Attribution Tags in tracking book income?

By: Ginger | Posted on March 17, 2023

Ever since the introduction of Amazon’s Attribution Tags, authors have been able to track the book income resulting from their advertising and promotional campaigns to a level not seen before. This is incredibly useful for determining the value of these campaigns and planning strategies around then. But how accurate are they? In terms of tracking the sales that come directly as a result of a click from one of your attribution links, they’re very accurate, but that doesn’t actually tell the whole story. Even when the only promotion you’re doing is running a campaign with a tracked URL, you may very likely see more sales than are actually being reported. To demonstrate the issue and explain what’s going on, Ginger takes us through an example using an ad campaign he recently ran on one of his own books, complete with all the sales and page read numbers. I’ve been writing… Read More >

From the Mailbox: Amazon Attribution Tag Questions

By: Ginger | Posted on March 3, 2023

We often get questions from readers of our blog (or listeners of our Podcast) about things that we’ve discussed and we’re happy to send answers along if we have them. Sometimes the same questions come up repeatedly, though, which means that it would benefit the community a lot more if we used this space to open up the old mailbag and share the answers with everyone all at once. Recently, probably since we’ve been covering the topic so much and the feature is so new, we’ve been hearing some common questions regarding Attribution tags. So this week, Ginger is focusing his attention on answering the ones that have been coming up most often. Readers of this blog might have noticed I’ve been on a bit of a tear recently regarding Amazon Attribution Tags. I think these things are amazing – a game-changer for self-published authors and one of the few… Read More >

Maximize Your Book’s ROI with Attribution Tags

By: Ginger | Posted on February 24, 2023

Advertising can be expensive, so it’s important to be careful with your ads and always test the different elements to make sure that you’re maximizing your book’s ROI. Changing up the ad images and copy are the obvious first steps, but you can even experiment with other things, like what potential readers see when they click through the ad to your product page.  And keep in mind that positive changes to your book’s product page won’t just help sell books to customers finding it from your ad, but from anyone that stumbles upon it organically as well. The ability to properly measure the results of your changes has only become realistic recently, though, with the introduction of Attribution Tags. Without them, you’re really just guessing. That’s why today, Ginger is going through how to use these tags to figure out the net result (whether positive or negative) that your changes… Read More >

Should Authors Embrace the AI Revolution?

By: Ginger | Posted on February 17, 2023

ChatGPT exploded onto the scene a few months ago, and I honestly don’t feel like I’m overstating things when I say that it literally changed almost everything overnight. There’s a reason why it set a record for the fastest user growth ever, hitting 100 million active users within 2 months of launch. People are finding new uses for it almost daily, and one of the most interesting (to us) is in how it can help authors.  Sure, there are negative stories about how students are using it to write essays or pass their tests, or the sky is falling type articles warning how everyone is about to lose their jobs to AI, but we can either fear change, or embrace it. The reality is, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The cat is out of the bag on this, and it’s NOT going back in.  AI is here… Read More >

Navigating the Challenges of Publishing Alternative Editions

By: Ginger | Posted on February 3, 2023

One of things that authors love most about self-publishing is the freedom to make your own choices with regards to your work. You can do whatever it is you think is right for your book, without a publisher looking over your shoulder and second guessing your decisions and ideas, if not overruling or blocking them completely. Unfortunately, it’s that same lack of oversight that, over the years, led to many authors finding ways to game the system in their favor, turning Amazon’s early eBook storefront into a big mess and eventually leading them to the creation of broad rules designed to reign people in.  The side effect of all this was that those rules often also block authors from making completely legitimate and creative choices with their own work, such as creating alternative editions of their books, or publishing copies with covers that appeal to a different audience. You can… Read More >

Amazon Attribution Provides Long-term KU Page Read Data

By: Ginger | Posted on January 27, 2023

Tracking individual sales that come from each advertising channel is incredibly useful, but if your book is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, there is more to it than that. You might still be earning money without actual sales, when someone “borrows” your book and starts to read. In a way, KU borrows actually change how we have to look at how much our books earn from ads, because those page reads aren’t tied as closely to our ad run as more traditional sales. As Ginger reminds us, KU page reads mean your ROI doesn’t just stop at the end of your campaign. Using one of his own books as an example, Ginger takes us through the numbers to demonstrate how page reads can continue to pay dividends long after your ad run is over, and how attribution tags finally allow us to specifically track this metric. As you’ve probably noticed from… Read More >

What I’ve learned after spending over $100k with Facebook Ads

By: Matt Holmes | Posted on January 13, 2023

We write a lot of articles about advertising your book on the various platforms, along with what we believe are best practices and the tips we’ve learned along the way. But when it comes right down to it, nothing beats hard data from the field. Matt Holmes has made a career out of helping authors with their advertising, starting with the Fantasy novels written by his wife. His ad spend tops six figures, which has provided him with a lot of data to draw conclusions about what works and what doesn’t.  After so much time and money spent advertising different books of different genres from a variety of authors, Matt has come up with a list of the five biggest lessons he’s learned about advertising self-published books on Facebook, and he’s sharing them with us today. Spending over $100,000 on anything is going to provide you with some HUGE lessons… Read More >

Are Apple and Google Screwing Over Self-Published Authors?

By: Ginger | Posted on January 6, 2023

As the titans of the internet duke it out for as much profit as they can squeeze out from each other, those of us just trying to earn a living selling our books are getting caught in the crossfire. If you’ve seen a drop in your book sales, digging a little deeper may help you figure out if recent changes are affecting you and give you some ideas on how to combat it. Ultimately, though, the only real long-term solution may be for the big companies to finally realize that their current path hurts everyone, and it’s better to have a smaller percentage of something than a larger percentage of nothing. Is Big Tech punishing small-time publishers with their exorbitant transaction percentage fees? This June, Amazon quietly made a decision to remove the “Buy Now” button for books in the Amazon Android app – something they’d done on their Apple… Read More >

Track Your Subscriber Behavior with Attribution Tags

By: Ginger | Posted on December 30, 2022

Generating a list of readers of your books is an invaluable marketing source that can be used in a number of different ways, and it’s one of the first things that authors should set up when they begin their self-publishing journey. Until now, however, many of the benefits you gain from your list were hard to directly quantify, especially for those that have a tendency to run multiple promotions at the same time as sending out newsletters announcing their latest release. In this final (for now) installment of our impromptu series of posts on Amazon’s new attribution tags, Ginger explains how these tags can take the guesswork out of the whole mailing list marketing process, allowing you to track your subscriber behavior down to the individual book purchase or page read.  Not only can this knowledge help you grow your list and earn more money through more targeted advertising, but… Read More >