Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Nitty-Gritty of Using Ads

Okay, I said something about posting about the nitty-gritty of using these ads I've been using.  I know it can be scary.  Especially if you've faced the whole bid-ad thing (which frankly, gives me the willies).

What I'm talking about is a straight forward ad.  You pay them a set price, give them all the particulars of your book, pick a day, put your book on sale for that day and the surrounding days, and they put the ad in their newsletter (and sometimes in social media, too).

What you need?  All the particulars about your book - URL or ASIN or ISBN, title, author name, etc.  Usually a cover that's been sized to meet their requirements (say something like 1000 pixels by 1500 pixels).  And a shortened book description or blurb.

The first part is easy.  You should already have all that stuff available to you.  If not, it's on your Amazon product detail page.

Next, the cover.  You could pay your cover artist to give you an image that meets the requirements of each venue.  Or you could do what I do and use the Picture Manager program that came with my MS Office.  (Or something comparable.)  With Picture Manager, there's a Resize function that allows you to type in the size you want.  Voila! 

The hardest part is shortening your blurb to the length they want.  The smallest I've seen is 300 characters with spaces.  What I do is cobble the blurb I already have down until it meets the requirement and then I save it as FILENAME-300words, so I don't have to try cobbling it down again.  Make sure after you cobble that it's still error-free and makes sense.  Make it zippy.  Yeah, easier said than done, but it's gotta be done if you want to advertise with those venues.

Fill in all the boxes on their submission page and wait to see if your ad gets accepted.  And the best thing is that most of the time THEY make the ad using the info you provided.  (I advertised once with someone who would make me an ad if I paid extra.  I declined and made my own.  Never again.)

Sometimes they'll bill you once you're accepted.  Which is certainly preferable.  But sometimes you have to pay upfront.  The pre-pay ones I've worked with have always returned my money in a timely fashion if they decline my ads.  But yeah, you have to be watchful there.  Only use venues you've heard of - ones you probably already subscribe to.

Speaking of which, always subscribe to the venues you are thinking of putting ads in.  It'll tell you want kinds of books they go for, if they're putting out a quality newsletter on a regular schedule, and whether they're professional.  And once you are accepted for an ad, you'll get to see the ad when it goes live.  Always a plus.  Additionally, you might find some good books to read.  ;o)

Oh, and for pity's sake, make sure your book is on sale by midnight the night before your ad goes live.  They really hate it when you screw that up.  Been there done that.  Newbie mistake that cost me advertising with a particular venue for over a year. I usually start my countdown deal at midnight a couple days before the ad goes live to avoid any mishaps.

Additionally, lowering your book's price a day or two before the ad might get you some sales ahead of the paid advertisement, which will make your rankings look better when the ad goes live.  Better rankings help sell books.

One more thing.  The ads I usually pay for require your book to be set at 99c or Free.  (Sometimes as high as like $2.99, but you'll see more sales if you do a Kindle Countdown Deal for 99c.)

And finally, if you really want your sale to succeed, you have to help the ad out.  Talk about the sale in whatever social media things you use - including forums, blogs, etc.  Splash it everywhere you can splash it.  I mean, don't be annoying about it, but definitely chat it up when and where you can.

Good luck!

If you have any questions, let me know.

Oh, I almost forgot.  Sleeping Ugly is on sale, starting today.  If you haven't already snagged a copy, it's only 99c now thru Tuesday night.  (99c in the US and 99p in the UK.  Sorry if you're in a different country.  Amazon won't let me do Kindle Countdown Deals elsewhere.)


  1. Interesting information. We'll see how my advertising works out. BLOOD MOON will be free from Saturday through Tuesday. WOLF MOON is on a Kindle Countdown starting Saturday. There's a FB group that does snippiets and links on Saturdays. I'll put both books there and wanted the price down. The ad on BookDoggy hits Monday. I'm keeping the sale price for one day after the add to compare the number of downloads before, during, and after.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Fingers crossed for your ad!

      It wasn't much, but I hope it helps.

  2. Thanks! This takes some of the mystery out of the ad business. :-)

    1. You're welcome! That's what I was trying to do. I hope it helps. =o)