Should You Bid For Ad Space on Amazon? by Richard Hoy

Should You Bid For Ad Space on Amazon? by Richard Hoy

Amazon allows the “publisher of record” to bid on advertising space on At, we tested their program on a few titles early on at our own expense. Unfortunately, the ads resulted in ZERO book sales. One mistake Amazon is making, in our opinion, is that they only allow the publisher of record to buy an ad for a book. Authors who want to buy an Amazon ad for their book must give their money to their publisher, who must then send it to Amazon. Some publishers won’t allow authors to do this while others may charge exorbitant handling fees for doing so. Of course, it’s only a matter of time before some greedy publishers jump on the bandwagon and start upselling their authors on these ads at ridiculously inflated rates. Read about other ludicrous book marketing products and services HERE.

To be frank, there are tons of options for advertising outside of Amazon that I’ve found are far more effective. And, you can pay for those ads directly, and not have your publisher involved with buying ads for you.

The trick with online advertising is to watch your costs closely. There is no point in spending $20 on advertising to make $10 in sales. It is VERY easy to do that with a lot of online advertising.

Before I get into all the non-Amazon advertising, let me explain how the Amazon ads work.

You set a budget, and then set a price you are willing to pay Amazon IF someone clicks on your ad (it is called Cost-Per-Click, or CPC). For example, let’s say there is an advertising spot on James Patterson’s Amazon book page. Author A is willing to pay $1.00 per click on that page, but author B is willing to pay $1.50 per click. Author B gets the Patterson spot. A click on that ad will take viewers to a separate book page – the one the ad is for.

The assumption is that you are only paying for quality leads because the ad ran on Patterson’s book page, and targeted your book’s intended audience. Some of them then clicked through to your book. But, in practice, that doesn’t often equate to book buyers.

I prefer more direct advertising opportunities. These are mailings to people who signed up to receive emails on information and offers about specific genres of ebooks. And, all of these ad opportunities are reasonably priced:

These sites offer various low-cost ad opportunities and mailings:

At the site below, the ad we ran turned a very nice profit in book sales. In fact, we doubled our investment. But, they’ve since become extremely expensive, especially for specific genres:

In most of the above cases, you will be required to lower the ebook price by 50% for the duration of the ad.

I’ll also throw these in some low-risk opportunities below because they are so cheap and even just a few book buyers will earn you back your investment:

Kindle Book Club Blog

Twitter Book Club

Tweet Your Book

As with any type of advertising, you get what you pay for…sometimes. There are gems for advertising in smaller online communities that may cost a fraction of what you’d spend on Amazon…and that may very well result in more book sales. Never hesitate to ask the site (including Amazon) how many copies of similar books have sold with identical ad placement.

If you have book marketing questions, feel free to contact Angela,  RIGHT HERE.


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Involved in Internet marketing since 1995 (when it officially became a profession), Richard Hoy advises on, and helps execute, Internet marketing efforts for solopreneurs and clients of digital marketing agencies. His current focus is search engine optimization for books on Amazon and for local businesses on Google.


2 Responses to "Should You Bid For Ad Space on Amazon? by Richard Hoy"

  1. Wendy L Jones  May 11, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    My response to that rhetorical question is ‘H*** no!’

  2. pamelaallegretto  May 6, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Thank you for the information!