3 Ways To Use Amazon Advertising To Sell Your Books

If you aren’t familiar with Amazon Advertising, and you are an author, it’s about time you did.

I remember over ten years ago now when I first started working with clients.

I was a marketing guy with a savvy approach on internet marketing.

I knew how I could help local companies in my hometown, St. John’s, NL, Canada with my technical know-how on Search Engine Marketing.

It wasn’t before long that I realized that I had technical know-how but businesses didn’t know who I was.

I was a bit of a shut-end and spent most of my time mastering online advertising tools, or the art of copywriting.

Back then it seemed like the less money I made the more I spent on mastering the craft of marketing.

Increasing My Brand’s Visibility

I really didn’t know how to make myself visible.

Are you an author who’s focused on mastering the craft of writing, like I was, but you really haven’t considered how to make you and your book visible in your genre and categories?

Or you haven’t focused barely anytime on promoting?

Maybe you keep writing novel after novel, yet you aren’t really selling any.

You’re overworked, underpaid, and tired!

Fast forward to today, I spend 40% of my activities on making myself visible to potential customers.

For authors, you need to consider selling your book like a commodity.

It holds value for your readers, and it’s a product.

It’s a business.

Develop A Business Mindset

If you aren’t thinking about your book like a viable business it’s time to start doing so.

Investing time and money into your book over the long term is the key to success, just like any business.”

One such way to invest in your book i.e; your business is through advertising, specifically on Amazon.

I’m going to show you how you can utilize what I call Amazon’s unfair “AD” vantage so you can increase visibility and sales for your books on Amazon.

So, you can start treating it like a business, and get paid what your worth!

Utilize Amazon Advertising To Increase Visibility Of Your Book

I’m going to show you how to do this by showing you 3 ways you can utilize Amazon advertising for your books:

  • 1. Use Amazon’s Unfair “AD”vantage For Your Book
  • 2. Learning How Amazon Ads Work
  • 3. Setting Up Amazon Ads To Sell Books

1. Use Amazon’s Unfair “AD”vantage To Sell Your Book

What is Amazon’s unfair “AD”vantage?

First off Amazon is the biggest online retailer of books.

If you are working with publishers that are telling you that getting distribution to the top 20 online book retailers is more important then marketing on Amazon, they are wrong.”

Focus On Amazon

Or if they haven’t considered a focused effort on Amazon, they’ve duped you.

According to BookStat which delivers stats on all global retail book sales says…

“Amazon continues to grow its share of print and digital sales. It appear to be approaching half of all print sales and more than 90% of ebook sales.”

With Barnes and Noble following behind with a couple of percent of online ebook sales in the US and 23% of overall book sales.

Even some of the Antitrust folks in the US, in Washington, according to the Article in The Verge “THE MONOPOLY-BUSTING CASE AGAINST GOOGLE, AMAZON, UBER, AND FACEBOOK” say that…

Amazon needs to be broken up so that the platform is separated from its retail and manufacturing operations”

This is because of it’s monopolizing stake in online retail, including books.

All these reasons define Amazon’s unfair “AD”vantage.

Regardless of your thoughts on Amazon, you need to stake your claim in Amazon so you can use their unfair “AD”vantage to make your book visible.

It’s a no-brainer.

You might be thinking now…

“Shaun, my book is already on Amazon and it really isn’t doing that well for me…”


“My book has done well in the past but I’m not getting consistent sales now..”

A Little Secret About Amazon

Well…I’m going to tell you the secret to selling your book on Amazon that you may not have considered, or you might have but weren’t pleased with the results…

Of course, I’m talking about Amazon Advertising, or formerly known as Amazon Marketing Services, as of September 5th, 2018.

You can read Amazon’s article on the change from AMS to Amazon Ads. here.

2. Learning How Amazon Ads Work

When looking at advertising platforms for your book, according to a recent article on Reedsy.com, “Amazon Ads for Authors: Two Case Studies Showing They Do Work” you need to consider the following:

  • Placement: where do the ads show up?
  • Targeting: how can I decide whom the ads get shown to?
  • Cost: when am I being charged? What is the minimum I need to invest?
  • Analytics: how do I know if my ads are working or not?

Where Do Amazon Ads Show Up?

Great Shaun, Amazon ads are great!

However, how do I use ads to get my book to more potential buyers.

How, where, and who sees my ads?

An Example Of An Amazon Ad

Let’s start with what an Amazon ad looks like.

1. Jump over to Amazon.com. Type in “Historical Fiction” in the top search bar.

2. If you see the results that I got, look at the second book from the top “Mounrning Dove”:

3. This is an example of an Amazon book ad, do you see how it says “Sponsored.”

You can see how powerful it is to have your book show up based on what consumers are searching on Amazon, just like the above example of search results based on Historical Fiction.

Think about the search terms and keywords that you might think would be associated with your book that people might be searching.

Here are some other possible ways that you can target your ads based on what consumers are searching on Amazon relevant to your book:

  • Competitor books – you can target competitor books that are similar or relevant to your book.
  • Popular keywords – keywords that readers are searching on Amazon i.e; for fiction that might be “historical fiction” or “female heroine” for non-fiction that might be “investing” or “motivation” or “business advice.”
  • Competitor authors – what if I told you that every time someone searched a competitor author of yours in your genre that I could show them an ad for your book. What would you say? Heck yah! Right? This is possible with Amazon ads.

The Power Of Visibility

From my experiences working with authors over the last ten years…

You Aren’t Visible On Amazon

There are some damn good authors out there who’ve mastered the craft of writing a compelling story, or who have huge brands online, outside of Amazon, however, they aren’t doing well on Amazon.

That’s because they simply aren’t visible on Amazon.

Mastering Advertising On Amazon

Mastering Amazon ads to increase an author’s visibility is a no-brainer for authors who already have strong brands outside of Amazon.

This may include non-fiction authors who have brand names in certain business markets, or fiction authors who may have award winning novels that have sold outside of Amazon.

Authors Waiting To Catch Fire

I say that authors like this are just waiting to catch fire, and when they do, it’s possible to think that they can go all the way to bestseller status and stay there on Amazon.

However, don’t get me wrong Amazon ads can work almost as well for unknown authors who are publishing their first books, as well.

Non-Fiction Authors With Brands

Or a non-fiction author who may be a business person who may not have visibility in a particular market, he can use Amazon ads as a way to become an expert and authority in a different market.

To show you the kind of visibility that Amazon Ads can bring to your book, consider this screenshot of a client ad account that I’m currently managing.

A Million Ways To Increase Your Visibility

For $711 USD he was able to get over a million impressions on his book ads from people searching for the keywords he’s targeting relevant to his book.

Running your ads for months or even years will get you 10’s of millions of potential consumers seeing your ads.

This will inevitably increase sales, as you gain more visibility.

Amazon Versus Other Ad Platforms For Your Book

Not too long ago, according to Visiture’s Article “Google Shopping Ads Versus Amazon Ads: Which Is Better”

“to be found online” represented mostly Google and optimizing for it.”

Don’t get me wrong Google is still the biggest overall player in digital advertising according to Investopedia’s article “Facebook, Google Digital Ad Market Share Drops as Amazon Climbs.”

They said that Google controls 37.2% of the digital advertising market while Facebook has 19.6%.”

However, Amazon controls only 2.7% of the total market in the U.S for digital advertising.

You might be thinking now…”Why the heck do I want to be advertising my book on Amazon then, Shaun?”

Just think about it for a moment…

Google Ads Aren’t As Relevant

Searchers on Google are being shown paid search ads as suggestions of products that are relevant to their searches on Google.”

While on Amazon, people are searching for products to buy.

If they are already on Amazon looking for books to buy, with credit card in hand, they are more likely to click on an ad to buy your book.

Here’s a stat to back up what I just said…

Even though Amazon only has 2.7% market share in the digital advertising market, according to Recode’s article title “55 percent of online shoppers start their product searches on Amazon.”

Setting Up Amazon Ads To Sell Your Books

So, let’s get started with setting up your Amazon advertising campaign for your book.

1. If your ebook is currently on Kindle Direct Publishinig all you need to do is head over and sign into your KDP account kdp.amazon.com

If your ebook is not setup on KDP, then you have to do that before you can run Amazon ads. Learn how here.

2. Once you are signed in click “bookshelf” and head over to your KDP books.

3. Find the book you want to promote. If your book is currently published under “KINDLE EBOOK ACTIONS” or “PAPERBACK” actions if it’s a paperback you should see “Promote and Advertise”, please click this:

4. Then Click “Accept and create an ad campaign” on the next screen.

5. Click “Sponsored Ads” to create an ad similar to the one I demonstrated earlier in the article:

6. You will now be at the “Create Campaign” screen:

Target Your Campaign To Your Audience

Let’s use one of the keyword targeting strategies I mentioned above – showing your ads to consumers who are searching for competitor books.

So lets setup a competitor book keyword strategy.

Let’s say that you wrote a book that fits in the mystery, thrillers, and horror genre.

Who are your competitors?

Targeting users searching for Stephen King’s books might be a good start, as I know personally that Stephen King sells a lot of books as he’s one of the top authors in the mystery, thrillers, and horror genre.

7. Go to Amazon.com and search “Stephen King” in the search bar:

8. Now head back to the Create campaign page and name the campaign “competitor books”

9. Set “no end date” and then select $5 for the daily budget and scroll down:

10. Then select the product that you would like to promote. I like to just enter in the ISBN or ASIN of the book I’m promoting in the field, which you can find in the “Product Description” section of the book listing you want to promote:

11. Scroll down in the Keywords and bids section I would start with $0.50 as the “Default keyword bid”

12. Then I would scroll down and there should be a table where you can select “Enter keywords”

13. Head back to Amazon.com and the search you did for Stephen King. Start selecting titles and pasting them into the table:

*You’ll also notice that other keyword suggestions start popping up, please select those keywords that relate to the titles that you are entering in to the field.

Make sure that you paste one keyword per line.

If you are looking for other keywords of authors in the mystery and horror genre, head over to Amazon and enter in “mystery and horror bestsellers” in the search bar.

This should work for any genre.

*Make sure you are logged out of Amazon when you search so that the results aren’t dictated by your previous searches on your Amazon profile.

14. Click “Launch Campaign”

15. Now to check the results of the campaign just click “Campaign Manager”

How To Optimize Your Campaign

Keyword Optimization

1. Scroll down the campaign manager and you will have a table. Find the campaign that we just created and click it:

2. Then click “keywords” on the next screen:

2. As an example, I have two keywords here, as you can see…

3. The main thing that you won’t to adjust is your “Keyword bid” my suggestion is to run your keyword bids at $0.50, or $0.75 for the first week and see if you get any clicks for your keywords.

If you find that you aren’t getting any clicks on your keywords then adjust it in $0.50 increments and test a week at a time.

Filter Keywords

My recommendation is to keep filtering out poor performing keywords as you are running your campaigns. Look at the keywords that are getting clicks and sales.

Then remove keywords that aren’t performing well.

The main metric you need to look at for filtering keywords is ACoS, or your Advertising Cost Of Sales i.e: how much money you are spending on ads to get a sale.

*Keep in mind that you want to run your ads for at least 3 months.

Over time your ACoS will improve, however, it’s a consistent long-term strategy that wins here.

You will lose money, especially non-fiction authors over the first month or so.


“How much I gotta spend, Shaun?” you are probably thinking now.

First off, there are really two cases in this scenario.

Fiction and non-fiction authors.

Non-fiction Authors

I won’t get into a full out strategy in this article, however, with non-fiction authors it’s incredibly powerful to use your book as a spearhead strategy for your business.

Meaning that you pull possible customers into your business by using Amazon ads to bring visibility and sales to your book.

I won’t get into this exact strategy, right now…

However, what this means is a considerable bigger allot-able budget for Amazon ads on a monthly basis.


As an example if it costs you $20,000 to sell a 1000 books with a royalty of $3 a book, you are at a loss of $17,000.

However, if 2% of all people who buy your book purchase a $1,797 course from you after reading the book:

$1,797 x 20 = $35,940.

Potentially you could make $18,940 from the sell of a book which isn’t making money on Amazon.

*note: these are larger numbers, you can simply start your campaign spending a $100 a week to start and then move up from there as your ads start performing better.

You can also add more keywords and test them over time.

Based on these numbers, the potential to spend 10’s of thousands of dollars a month and see a positive return is possible.

Fiction Authors

I would still recommend a budget of $100 a week to start, and then filtering out low performing keywords, as you go.

The key here is that fiction authors will have to operate on a loss for a lot longer then non-fiction authors who are using their book as a spearhead to generate business.

Be Patient

However, fiction authors are still the highest grossing authors on Amazon”

I would recommend looking at your results over a longer period of time to gauge success such as 3 – 6 months.

Over a 6 month period it’s reasonable to budget to spend $3,000 – $6,000 USD to yield results.


If you are creating your own advertising campaigns for your book on Amazon, use this article as a guide to setup your campaigns.

Make sure that you consider these 3 ways to utilize Amazon’s unfair “AD”vantage to promote your book.

  • 1. Use Amazon’s Unfair “AD”vantage For Your Book
  • 2. Learning How Amazon Ads Work
  • 3. Setting Up Amazon Ads To Sell Books

Now you go get em! Happy advertising. 🙂