Advertising Your Novel on Amazon

Place your book in front of shoppers as they’re looking for their next favorite read.

Book sales lagging? Use the same tactic as publishers: advertise.

It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Amazon advertising gives you control of your advertising spend, who will see your ad, and how it will look.

With holiday buying and new Kindles and Nooks to fill, now’s the time to launch an ad campaign, making your novels visible beyond your social media feeds or website. 

Your guide to creating an ad on Amazon.

Let’s break it down step by step. All you need to get started is a book and access to your Amazon KDP dashboard.

Step 1 – Login into your Kindle Direct Publishing Bookshelf.

Step 2 –  Select “Promote and Advertise”

You’ll find this in the ” … ” menu next to the Kindle eBook Actions.

Step 3 – “Run an Ad Campaign”

Note: Enrollment in KDP Select is not required to run ads.

Step 4 – Select Campaign Type

Select Sponsored Products to add your novel into search results and suggested titles. Product Display Ads create banner ads that appear in the sidebar section of the webpage. You can click each to see how they appear to shoppers.

Step 5 – Create Your Campaign

Give your campaign a relevant name. It’s helpful to use the same naming format for each campaign so you can easily distinguish them later.

Set your start and end dates, enter your daily budget (how much you’ll pay per day of advertising), then select “Automatic targeting.” Amazon’s goal is to sell products. By allowing the platform to adjust targeting based on user searches and similar content, you have a better chance of driving traffic to your titles.

Step 6 – Choose Your Ad Format

Standard Ad formmating shows only your book cover, title, and price in the ad display. 

Create a more compelling by choosing “Custom text ad” and include a hook sentence to entice action.

Step 6 – Bidding

Think of each click as an auction. Advertisers bid for the opportunity to display their ad to users and only pay when the ad is clicked. This is referred to as CPC (cost per click). If your ad and another are vying for the same impression, whichever bid is higher wins and is displayed.

Your daily budget limits how much you’ll spend each day when users click your ad. To know how many potential clicks you’ll get each day, divide your daily budget by your bid times the number of days your ad will run.

daily budget bid ✖️ days = potential total campaign clicks

We’ll talk about budget and bidding strategy in a minute.

Step 7 – Proofread Your Ad

Preview how your ad will appear before you launch the campaign. The more it resembles a natural search result the better chance you have of getting users to click through to your product page.


Strategy: Advertising, Budgeting, and Bidding

Advertising can drive traffic to your product page, but it cannot convert a click into a book sale. Make sure your product presentation is polished. From cover design to novel summary, the quality you present is competing with mainstream publishers. Self-published authors have more to prove to convince readers to take a chance. Don’t make the mistake of letting your book match the cliches that follow some indie authors.

(Need help? Check out Four Book Publishing Tasks To Consider Outsourcing)

Budgeting is consideration. How much is enough? How long should an ad campaign run? What is the right bid amount?

If you have ample funds, then it’s easy – spend as much as you can for longer periods. But that’s not the case for most authors publishing on a budget.

Smaller budgets require experimentation and strategy. Books are sold every day, but long holiday weekends and snow days are logical times when avid readers look for a quick fix.

Decide how much you can afford to spend. This will help you set your daily budget and calculate how many days your ad will run.

Here are a couple of examples you can use for your Amazon advertising strategy.

Winter Holiday Campaign

  • Total Budget $50
  • $5/day for 10 days
  • Bid – Amazon will give you a suggested bid, as well as the competitive range. If you want more clicks and are willing to have fewer impressions, bid low. If you want to guarantee your ad is displayed more and generates clicks, then bid at least the suggested amount.
  • Check your campaign at least every 24-hours and adjust the bid if needed to meet your daily budget.

Evergreen Ad Campaign (Can run anytime)

  • Total Budget $50 – $60
  • $2/day for 30 days
  • Bid the suggested amount or slightly lower to maximize your potential clicks. You won’t get a ton of traffic to your product page, but the traffic over time will help raise the visibility while still getting book buyers to your novel.

Designing the Experience

From the time a user sees your ad until they click Buy – there are many points which will either draw them in or make them click away.

Make your summary intriguing, error-free, and as expertly edited and polished as your novel. Opt for a professionally designed book cover. This is the first impression readers have of you and your work. 

Do you have awards or professional experience that qualifies you as an author? Add that to your summary to build credibility. Complete your Author Page, adding links to your website and social media. 

Every access point a reader has with your work has the potential to convince them to buy your book. Treat each one with careful thought and keep notching up the excitement as they get closer to your point of purchase.

Related: Crowd Sourcing Resources for Authors and 31 Ways to Promote Your Self Published Book