As an indie author, I’ve relied mostly on word of mouth and social media to sell my books. Why? Limited $$$. Let’s face it: Advertising can be pricey. And time-consuming, unless you’re hiring someone to help you, and then it’s just pricey. However, I think it’s important to try new things, and I’ve experimented with various kinds of low-budget advertising, such as Facebook ads (with limited success).

This week, I’m coming off my first Amazon ad campaign for Baby Bailino, and I’m actually surprised at how dismally the ad performed. Like most indie authors, I think I went into the advertising campaign with thoughts of super high conversion rates dancing through my head. I set a budget of $100, 25 cents per click, just to dip my foot into the ad waters. I mean, in an ideal world, if every click translated into a sale, that could have meant more than a thousand bucks in sales! However, the realist in me believed I’d probably sell a handful of books. Maybe 10, maybe 20, if I were lucky.

I wasn’t.

The ad ran for 10 days, and…crickets. Not a click. Granted, I didn’t set much of a budget, so I’m not sure how much that hurt me, but by the end of the promotional period, this is what I saw:

amazon_ad_3-17

That’s not to say I didn’t sell any books during that period. I did. I just didn’t sell any through this ad. Of course, sometimes people buy books even though they don’t click on the ads. Sometimes they look at the ad and then search for the book themselves or perhaps jot down the title on a piece of paper and buy it another day. I get that. But zero clicks?

BabyBailino_digital_final_FINALI’m sure what hurt the campaign, too, was that Amazon didn’t approve my ad to run on Kindle E-readers because the “book cover displays a gun or ammo.” Seriously? I advertised specifically to readers of thrillers — psychological thrillers, legal thrillers, organized crime thrillers, ANY thrillers — and I’m pretty sure these readers wouldn’t mind seeing a gun on a book cover.

But anywho!

I guess the good news is I didn’t spend any money for this little experiment, and I may use the 100 bucks to buy myself something nice to make me feel better.

Why didn’t the ad get a click? Who knows? My ad copy? My graphic? A muddled, oversaturated market?

As my nineteen-year-old son, an avid reader, said to me when I told him about the abysmal ad run: “Oh, you ran an ad? I never click on those things.”

And there you have it.