There were approximately 3 thousand books published in the United States in 2018. Of those, fewer than 500 titles made the New York Times bestsellers’ list, and according to Publisher’s Weekly, only 20 of those sold more than 500,000 copies.

Selling books, and large numbers of books, can be a difficult proposition. In our work, we try to help authors find the right audience for their book, not the largest, because a loyal audience can support a series of books. One big hit won’t sustain a career, just ask Tommy Tutone.

One of the tools we’ve been using lately to connect our clients’ books with readers is Amazon ads. While we support an organic approach to book promotion, these ads are a great way to get books in front of interested readers at the point of purchase.

Pros & Cons of Amazon Ads

Book publishers and those who have self-published through Kindle Direct Publishing have access to the Amazon ads platform. The ads available through this dashboard are based on keywords used in search. This allows authors to position their books around bestsellers in their category, around subject matter, and more. You can create a successful ad for as little as a couple of hundred dollars.

When successful, we’ve seen the ads sell thousands of dollars in books and expose the title and author to tens-of-thousands of new readers. There is a caveat, however: the ads don’t always deliver strong results. To paraphrase an Amazon sales representative, “you can’t make people buy a book.”

Shoppers are making snap decisions when they see an Amazon ad, so everything about the book needs to be as strong as possible. That means a powerful title, engaging cover art, strong description, and at least 10 but preferably 50+ Amazon reviews. Without these things, ads won’t move the book, and organic efforts will likely be slow, too.

Amazon ads are a strong component to have in your book launch arsenal, but they are not a silver bullet. Books that connect with readers will find new readers with ads. Struggling books will continue to struggle with ads.

If you are interested in experimenting with Amazon ads, contact Weaving Influence or your publisher to get started!