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It’s a question worth posing: is there some kind of advertising hysteria among #indieauthors?

Hysteria: behavior exhibiting overwhelming or unmanageable fear or emotional excess.

There are Facebook groups, how-to books, and ‘gurus’ scrambling to grab your money to ‘tell’ you the secrets to advertising your books on Amazon, Facebook, BookBub, and to a lesser extent, Goodreads.

Amazon-owned Goodreads comes last in the list because the general consensus is their ‘self-serve’ ads are a waste of time.

Here’s my take on advertising. It can work but, but, but, and a 1000 more buts.

I have had some success with both AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) and Facebook ads. But (another one), there is no magic formula. An ad per se will not sell many books if the product itself is not up to scratch.

It’s got to a stage for me that it feels like I’m at the roulette wheel in a casino every time I log in to AMS. Shall I gamble or not? The trouble is, and the gurus don’t speak of this, I seriously believe there is a real chance of addiction to advertising one’s books. It’s a thrill when a campaign produces sales and at a profit too.

Sound familiar? It would to members of Gamblers Anonymous. It takes real discipline and an iron will to analyse, step back, and make decisions based on data not emotions.

I think one of the other problems with advertising is size of budget. I’m convinced if you don’t have to worry about an ad spend of $200 – $300 per month then fine, I think an author with that kind of budget will succeed at advertising as long as they are fastidious about record-keeping, have great ad copy, a great blurb with a strong call to action (buy it). And, a good product demonstrated by social proof in the form of good, genuine reviews.

The hysteria, and I think it is for many authors, kicks in when they join certain Facebook groups and it all seems easy. Just follow the guidelines and watch the royalties roll in. It does not work like that.

Here’s another problem: it’s the lack of transparency from Amazon when it comes to information about CPC (cost per click). AMS users are working in the dark. Even the best gurus admit this and advocate a course of ‘suck it and see.’ Again, that’s fine for some. but believe me the one thing AMS is very good at is sucking money out of you.

Amazon must be sat back laughing at us indie authors. Many of us are hysterically pumping money into Bezos’ pockets trying to outbid each other in a frenzied attempt to bolster sales.

For what? The overwhelming majority of us will never be in that top echelon of indies who are in the $100k plus bracket.

It doesn’t bother me at all. Tread carefully my friends, and watch your budgets.

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