Book Review: Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula: Learn Amazon Ads


Ok. So I mainly run Facebook Ads for Letters Never Meant to be Read. The results of those among other marketing efforts will come out soon. But I wanted to get a handle on Amazon Ads, or Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) because I have spent $100 dollars and only sold one book with them (what???).

I know, right? Sad. Not entirely true because it seems that Kindle Unlimited Lending Library stats are not reported on AMS.

But still.

I scooped up this book free on Amazon thinking I would get a better understanding of how Amazon Ads work. The book opened with the logic that direct sales on Amazon itself would be more productive than any other platform. The customers are already there and are mostly ready to spend money. I knew this already.

What I liked about this book: 

One aspect of Amazon Ads that I did not understand for fiction writers is Targeting. AMS has an option for Automatic and Manual Targeting.

This is the part I was missing out on for the Letters Book. Although it is technically non-fiction, it is very important to do your own Manual Targeting and test those key words. You can use your own key words with a Cost Per Click adjustment as well as the suggested key words that Amazon lists for your book.

This suggests using authors and Google Adwords for Keyword planning.

Unfortunately, this is a two part deal. Not only do your keywords matter, but your ad copy matters too.

Test, Test, and more test. You must test the combination of keywords and ad copy to get the best conversion to sales. Expensive right?

Not really, the authors suggest a dollar a day on several campaigns. Once you find the right combination, pour money into that fire. The authors state that it is also difficult to get Amazon to spend your budget.

Also, the authors suggest “Most authors find that Product Display Adverts are not as effective for gaining sales…you will find that Sponsored Products are the simplest and most direct way…”

Choose Sponsored Products. I ran Product Display Ads one time, I don’t know what I was thinking.


What I didn’t like about this book:

Short much? Click bait in book form? Did this really take two authors to write?

Obviously, this is a link generating book with some insight and references to more knowledge but…necessary? No.

I didn’t even realize that I could have gotten this book, or some version, simply by giving one of my emails that I never check.

Luckily, it was free, but there is no way I would be happy if I spent a full 2.99 on this little gem.

Also, one of the authors references his guitar books and used those as examples of how to work the advertisements. I could have really used a little more help with using AMS to market fiction.


How this Changes My Marketing

Well, I did what the book said and I am now running 6 Amazon Ads. 3 for Letters Never Meant to be Read, 2 for Worked Stiff: Short Stories to Tell Your Boss, and one for Andrew Brechko’s Where Did You Go?: A 21st Century Guide to Finding Yourself Again.

I used 30 different keywords on each. Is that enough? No, probably not. When I ran a taxi company before, I had 750 keywords that I used in Google Adwords.

I’m sure there is more and better information out there. I will go on the hunt tomorrow for free info on the web, maybe even run across your blog, who knows?


Scoop it up while it is free, read it in 30 minutes and adjust your ads accordingly.

Anybody run ads?

Anybody know of a better reference to Amazon or Facebook Ads out there? 

I could use the help, Please Comment below.


3 thoughts on “Book Review: Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula: Learn Amazon Ads

  1. Holy cow! $100 and 1 sale? So sorry to hear that. I missed a decimal point once and didn’t check my ad for a week and so I ended up with a $90 bill on one ad and learned my lesson after that.

    Right now, in addition to FB ads which are more successful for me, I use Amazon ads for some books and I *think* they’re working. My ACOS is usually under 100% and I will pause the ad if it goes over. I also always check which keywords work best and I think Mark did a really good podcast with Nick Stephenson AND another one with Joanna Penn which you can find on her blog (I think) a month ago which probably goes over what he writes in the book. But I’m a visual learner so the videos helped me a lot. I was already doing them last year and did okay although they need constant tweaking unlike FB ads which don’t, at least, for me. As for keywords, try to use more than 35 unless it’s a separate campaign using just the keywords that are generating clicks for you from the other campaigns.

    If you’re an Excel person, there’s a really awesome Amazon ads beta group on FB that I’m a part of and it’s so detailed it makes my head spin. Just message me on FB if you’d like to know which one it is @lizdurano

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the tip on the 35 + key words and the other resources! FB ads seems to keep the book floating for now but I know I can get a better ROI. Also, FB has an intrinsic value in that this is a project that takes submissions for the next volume. I am going to at least give Amazon ads a go for testing a long term account.


  3. Pingback: Results of Amazon KDP Free Promo Days- A Case Study for Letters Never Meant to be Read – Marc D. Crepeaux

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