Help Wanted: Amazon Ads for My Book

Last updated: March 27, 2024

I tried using Amazon Ads and their targeted advertising to drive sales for my book, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party.

I spent over $10,000 to sell only 1000 books.

That is not good. I need help!

I can’t figure out how to improve my Amazon Ads.

Can I hire you for an hour or two of Amazon Ads advice to boost my book sales? Please email me.

In this article, I will show you various experiments I have tried, what has worked, what didn’t work, and questions I have.

My Amazon Ads Results

I have now spent $10,211 to sell 968 books representing only $15,337 in total sales.

That includes 800 paperbacks and 168 Kindle books.

Unfortunately that works out to me spending $10.54 on Amazon Ads for each book sold.

But I only make $6.50 profit for each sale. So I am losing money on my ads.

My goal is to break even. To spend up to $6 per sale.

The paperback version of my book, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, sells for $17.99 on Amazon. I pay KDP $4.16 to print each copy of my book. The Kindle version sells for $9.99. 

Paperback price is $17.99
Royalty fee is 60%
$17.99 x 60% = $10.79
KDP printing each paperback cost is $4.16
 – $4.16 (printing cost) = $6.63 profit

I can’t figure out how to get more than one or two book sales per day with an ACOS, or Advertising Cost of Sale, under 20%. Even now my recent ACOS is closer to 70% and I am selling zero books per day via Amazon Ads.

What am I doing wrong??

Am I using the correct ACOS math? I estimate that an ACOS under 20% is ideal since I only profit $6.63 per paperback sale.

Here are a few different strategies that I tested using Amazon Advertising for my book.

Direct Product Targeting

This strategy allowed me to target specific products or categories of products that are similar to my book.

By targeting readers of similar books, I was able to increase my visibility and drive sales.

These are a few other books where my ads performed well:

  • Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte
  • The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker
  • Better Small Talk by Patrick King

This has been the most effective campaign that I set up. It drove more sales than other strategies I’ve tried.

But now I cannot get these ads to work profitably anymore.

For some reason, my ACOS is too high on these Direct Product Targeting ads. I am selling zero books per day now using this strategy and I need help to fix it.

Separate Kindle and Paperback Campaigns

I hired a consultant during the launch of my book to set up new ad campaigns for my book.

One of the first strategies that the consultant suggested we do was to separate Kindle and Paperback campaigns to track the performance of each format separately.

Was that the right move? I’m not sure exactly.

But here are the few reasons why she suggested it:

  1. Different audiences: Readers who prefer to read on Kindle may have different preferences and search behaviors than those who prefer paperback books. By separating my ads, I can target each audience more effectively.
  2. Different pricing: Kindle and paperback versions of my book have different prices, which can impact my advertising strategy. For example, I want to allocate more budget to the format with a higher profit margin, which is the paperback.
  3. Tracking performance: Separating my ads by format can help me track the performance of each format more accurately, allowing me to identify which format is driving the most sales and adjust my strategy accordingly.

I still don’t know if separating ads for Kindle and Paperback are necessary.

But by using this strategy, I was able to figure out that my paperback campaigns sell better than the Kindle campaigns, and I attracted more paperback readers than Kindle readers.

Keyword Targeting

Amazon Ads uses a keyword targeting system to match my ads with relevant search terms that customers use when looking for products on Amazon.

However, not many people are searching for a book about how to host a party! Or how to meet new people.

Still, I tried doing these three main keyword targeting strategies:

(1) Broad Match

This is the default option. It allows my ads to show for a wide range of search terms related to my keywords, including synonyms and misspelled words.

This was by far the most effective strategy for me. It helped increase my reach and exposure. But it also led to irrelevant clicks and higher advertising cost after a few months running it.

  • Best keywords: party book, dinner parties, startup
  • Worst keywords: networking connections, happy hours, building relationships

(2) Phrase Match

My ads show up for search terms that contain my keywords in the same order as my input.

For example, if my keyword is “networking books,” my ad might appear for searches like “networking book for introverts” or “networking for beginners.”

While this is a more precise targeting strategy, this has limited my ad’s visibility. Probably because not many people search for those terms?

I wasn’t getting enough impressions and clicks, so I didn’t pursue this much.

Help wanted: Should I change my strategy here? Can I hire you for help? Please send me any recommendations via email to [email protected] or Tweet at me @nickgraynews.

(3) Exact Match

My ads will show only for the exact search term I specify. This targeting option is known to be the most precise and generally has a higher click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate.

But unfortunately, I did not have any luck with this. I got 30,000+ impressions and only 0.11% CTR during the time I let this run. So I have disabled them all for exact match.


Amazon Ads can be a powerful tool for boosting sales on their platforms. They allow you to reach a highly targeted audience and track the performance of your campaigns in real-time.

I had the most success running Direct Product Targeting ads, whereupon my book would be advertised to people looking at other books.

But I must be doing something wrong. Because I’m not selling books anymore, and my ACOS is too high.

Who can I hire as a consultant to review my strategy?

Or do you have any suggestions for what I should do differently?

The biggest questions that I have are:

  1. How can I lower my ACOS?
  2. What other tools can I use to scrape ASINs that my competitors are targeting?
  3. What type of other campaigns and optimizations should I try?

Please send me any recommendations via email to [email protected] or Tweet at me @nickgraynews.

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