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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Coraggio amico mio (Courage, my friend)

Took a break from it all and went to Hever Castle last Wednesday. It was the home of the unfortunate Ann Boleyn, second wife of Henry V111. It was a lovely day; the house (castle) was amazing, and the gardens exceptional. It was well worth the visit and made me feel like writing historical novels rather than the stuff I write now. I slept like a log that night — must be my age. Pat said she slept well too. (Must be her age as well).

Decision time. How often do we have one of those? Mine crept up on me when I realised I needed professional help in tackling my abysmal marketing efforts. I know I’m not alone in that; I see several posts on my FB author forums by authors wondering why they can’t sell books despite spending a lot of money on advertising, and I’m no exception. I thought I had improved my efforts with BookBub ads, but after changing the ad at the beginning of the month, my sales on Amazon came to a halt and those on D2D nosedived. I began tweaking the ad, but without any change in results. I rewrote the short, sixteen word blurb and dropped the price twice. Still nothing. So I figured I needed help. It all began with Dave Chesson and his KDP Rocket course.

The Rocket course is about finding the keywords for the Amazon ads. I mentioned it in last week’s blog. But at the end of the course were several links to other places, no doubt Dave Chesson has affiliate links to these. This one — the one that intrigued me — was by a group called Book ads. They take on your promotion for a fee (naturally), and the AMS campaigns are run by a guy called Brian Berni. There are others involved in the group too, but Brian becomes an editor added to your AMS dashboard. He then runs the ads. Brian lives in Italy and worked in the Vatican archives for seven years (I wonder if he ever saw the light of day?). He’s American (I think). Well, he sounds American. But the rub, and this was the point at which I hesitated for a long while, was that I was required to agree to run ten ads consecutively. I pay a monthly fee, which I can cancel at any time, and must be prepared to spend $10 a day. It doesn’t take much maths to see that it could result in a spend of $300 or more a month if there are no book sales. Hence the hesitation. I counted it all on my fingers and toes, figured out how I could keep it secret from Pat (I told her in the end anyway), bit the bullet and signed up. I’ll let you know next week how the ads are progressing, if at all. The most I could expect to spend on AMS by the way is about $6 or $7 a day.

I was back in the book design business too. I received a proof copy of my re-edited book, The Devil’s Trinity, and could see I needed to do a minor tweak to the jacket. The book came yesterday and still needed attention, so I uploaded another, revised jacket (I’m talking about very minor changes here) and hope to see it in a couple of days.

July is almost upon us and I have the Littlehampton Festival Book talk and the Chichester Festival Book talk to look forward to. There’s also a small festival here on our estate where I’ll be manning a table hoping to sell my books for a charitable cause. Mind you, if I don’t have any success with Book Ads and AMS advertising, I think the charity I’ll be thinking of will be closer to home. Wish me luck!

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