amazon marketing services

Amazon Marketing Services: 20 Creative & Unique Ways to Use AMS Ads

AMS Ads are dead,” said the not-so-savvy self-published author.

Don’t believe this lie. AMS Ads, or Amazon Marketing Services ads, are stronger than ever, and – whether we like it or not – they are here to stay.

As a matter of fact, Amazon just rolled out a brand-new, improved UI for AMS; they have added new features, and are constantly creating training material to help authors better understand the platform.

Would they do that if AMS were on the way out? Not likely.

Sure, not every book is a good fit for Amazon ads: that’s why many Amazon published authors grow bitter and blame the platform for not being able to sell a book that would not be marketable anyways.

ams ads for authors

Don’t be discouraged. Now is the time to jump onto the AMS wagon if you want to actually get paid to write.

Those who don’t read the Self-Publishing School Blog and believe that Amazon advertising is dying will gradually move away from it, making the space less crowded and much more profitable for all of us.

Here are our tips for using Amazon marketing services effectively:

  1. Target famous authors with Amazon marketing services
  2. Target Amazon published books
  3. Target books featured on BookBub
  4. Target books that are recent movies
  5. Target paperback books
  6. Target audiobooks with Amazon Marketing Services
  7. Think about Amazon ads for your book series
  8. Grow your email list
  9. Advertise your backlist
  10. Use The Greatest Hits method
  11. The Amazon Ad puzzle
  12. The Ad stacker
  13. Pre-populate with pre-orders
  14. Use AMS for reviews
  15. Use Amazon’s Bid+ system
  16. Use negative keywords
  17. Target your own book

Stay put, don’t give up. When others zig, just zag 🙂

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing, marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more by clicking here! <https://self-publishingschool.com/programs>

What is Amazon Marketing Services?

Amazon marketing services (AMS), now called Advertising Console is a collection of effective tools to help vendors drive traffic to their products and sell more.

For authors, this means AMS is a hub for increasing low book sales and maintaining a steady income with their books.

Amazon Marketing Services for Authors Made Easy

I get it, click bids have gotten more expensive, finding profitable keywords is more difficult and winning is harder than ever. But this is only a byproduct of the space getting more crowded.

However, let me assure you: those CPC prices are nowhere near what our friends in the physical product markets are paying.

Strange as it may seem, AMS is still a happy place for authors.

The key is to get more creative, thinking out of the box. Find new ways of using AMS, test and tweak, and you’ll be way ahead of the (still relatively small) competition.

How?

Here are 20 ways in which you can use Amazon Marketing Services Ads for your book marketing ventures. Each tactic is coupled with a brief explanation of how to implement it in a practical way.

Enjoy the list and remember: now is the time for Amazon advertising!

#1 – Target a famous author in your genre

You’ll do this in order to try to get into his or her also-boughts. You know, the little section in this screenshot that shows you what other people who bought an item have also bought 

amazon marketing services

It’s no secret that ‘also-boughts’ are the main source Amazon uses when they recommend new books to readers. And if your book is in one of your competitor’s ‘also-boughts’, then there’s a good chance it will get shown, recommended and ‘pushed’ to the exact audience you’re after.

Happy days.

Try bidding heavily on one of your competitors as a target so that your book shows up everywhere on their book’s page and ‘steals the show’ in your reader’s eyes.

#2 – Target books published by Amazon

Amazon has various imprints through which it publishes books, the most famous being Thomas & Mercer.

Targeting authors and books by these subsidiary companies is a great idea. Amazon (and their algorithm) love when people buy their stuff, which they continuously promote left and right.

Try to get your book next to one of Amazon’s own babies, and you’ll be a happy writer indeed.   

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#3 – Target books that are featured on BookBub

Once a book is featured in BookBub’s daily email (aka their ‘Featured Deals’), it’s likely to get thousands of downloads and a load of traffic on all the retailers.

Which of course means more eyeballs on the said book.

By keeping an eye on the books that appear daily on BookBub’s email blast and targeting them with your Amazon ads, you’ll be the first to place your book next to the day’s hottest title, thus piggybacking on its visibility and – hopefully – sales.

amazon marketing services ads

#4 – Target books that have recently been turned into movies

A hot new release (just as explained in point 3) is always going to garner bigger attention, at least for a few days.

Keep an eye on new movie releases in your genre, especially big blockbuster films that have been inspired by bestselling books. Again, the trick here is to target those hot new titles so that your book shows next to them, thus collecting some love from all those hungry readers.

#5 – Use Product Display Ads to target paperbacks

Amazon’s Product Display ads give you a unique chance to specifically target paperback versions of your competitor’s titles (unlike Sponsored Product ads). The first benefit of doing this is that you’ll undoubtedly broaden the reach of your ads.

AMS for authors

But most important perk is that you’ll also likely increase the sales of your own paperback copies.

As it were, ‘physical book lovers’ have a preference for physical books, which are more expensive and thus will likely result in higher royalties for you to pocket!

#6 – Use Product Display Amazon Ads to target audiobooks

See point 5 above, but this time use PD ads to target audiobooks!

Don’t have an audiobook version of your title? You’re definitely missing out on one of the hottest and fastest-growing trends in the indie publishing industry.

You can find a step-by-step guide on creating an audiobook right here.

#7 – Lose money on the first book in your series

Your first in series is likely to be free on Amazon (or at least it should be). But don’t fret, pure ROI seekers!

Sure, by going a bit ‘heavier’ on Amazon ads pointing to that book, you’ll likely lose money. But you’ll make it back when readers go on to purchase book 2, 3, 4, etc. in your series. Make sure you have a good idea of how to calculate your audience’s ‘read-through rates’, and adjust your CPC bid and daily budget accordingly.

#8 – Lose money (again) to grow your email list

Be sure to display an opt-in form in the free book you’re running ads on (pro tip: also place it in the first pages of the book, so that readers don’t have to ‘wait’ until they’ve read the whole thing before parting with their email address).

This will inevitably result in more signups to your email list. Again, this isn’t stellar for pure ROI, and you might be losing money now, but in the long term, this will be super-beneficial.

#9 – Advertise Your Backlist

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket (aka, don’t point all your ads and spend all your budget on one book).

Running Amazon ads for other titles in your backlist is always beneficial in keeping the books ‘sticky’ in the rankings, often also providing a load of read-throughs to the other titles in the same series (see point 7).  

#10 – The Greatest Hits method

Start your ads by bidding low-ish on keywords and competing authors/book-titles.

Once you have a good idea of what is actually performing well, take those successful phrases and compile them in a ‘Greatest Hits’ ad, with higher CPC bids and daily budget.

#11 – The Amazon Ad Puzzle

Try using your own book as a target keyword, but this time to advertise your higher-priced titles or box sets.

The ‘Sponsored’ results on the latter’s book page will likely populate with all your other titles, just like the pieces of a puzzle.

If a reader lands on your one book and sees your other stuff in the Amazon ads, they might buy a higher-priced title in your collection (and go on to become an aficionado fan of yours)!

#12 – The Ad Stacker

Don’t limit yourself to Amazon Marketing Services ads. Ad ‘stacking’ is often the best way to get a gazillion eyeballs on a new release (especially if you’re aiming at hitting bestsellers’ lists when running a hard launch).

Try your hands at BookBub ads, Facebook Ads, and others. You don’t need to spend thousands on them: a small budget will be more than enough to Discover where your readers are hanging out, so that you can place your books right under their eyes.

#13 – Pre-populate with pre-orders!

Start running AMS ads well in advance, even when your book is still in the pre-order phase. If you get your targeting right, this will help add your book to the ‘also-boughts’ of other books in your genre, thus igniting the sacred ‘recommendation loop’ from Amazon.

You can do this one week to a few months in advance. The bigger your author platform is, the longer you can get away with putting your book up for pre-order before the actual publication date.

amazon marketing services for authors

Plus, people will be exposed to your book, will pre-order it, and when the book is live, the instant truckload of downloads will shoot it into the stratosphere!  

#14 – Use AMS for reviews

Spend a bit more on AMS during a free promo you have scheduled.

This might sound counterintuitive when it comes to pure ROI, but you’ll be amazed at the number of downloads you’ll get. Be sure to add a ‘call for reviews’ to the end of your book.

Some readers won’t, but many will actually leave an honest (and verified) review.

#15 – Bid+

With their recent ‘upgrade’ of the Amazon Marketing Services platform, Amazon has given authors the chance to use their ‘Bid+’ system (an old acquaintance of those using Vendor’s Accounts).

This new feature basically lets Amazon know you’re willing to spend up to 50% more on CPC for the terms that are performing well. It’s really simple to use, as you can see in the example below so don’t be afraid to use this!

ams ads

Think about it: if Amazon has given us this new tool, why not take advantage of it?

You definitely won’t go broke (the daily budget still being the highest cap on spend): rather, you’ll likely outbid all of your competitors on your most prized keywords and phrases!  

#16 – Use negative keywords

As you surely know by now, hyper-relevant laser-focused targeting is the name of the game with AMS, but sometimes, this is much easier said than done.

Have an epic fantasy novel that appeals to teens, but that YA readers would absolutely hate? Don’t risk getting one-star reviews by unsatisfied vampire-hungry audiences.

Another new feature that Amazon has just implemented into their new AMS platform is the ‘negative keywords’ field.

Use it wisely to list all of the keywords you absolutely DO NOT want to associate your ads to through Amazon Marketing Services.

The sniper approach has never been easier.

#17 – Target your own book

Why on earth would you want to spend money targeting your own book? After all, it already shows up ‘organically’ in the search results for your key terms, no?

Well, not exactly.

Amazon is putting a lot of emphasis on advertising (another reason why you should use AMS ads), so it sometimes favors paid results over organic – something other platforms (e.g. Facebook) have been doing for a while now.

Crazy, right? Try punching one of your keywords in the search box and see if your book appears. It doesn’t?

Then you might want to give it a nice little push with a couple super-targeted ads.

Bonus: 3 more advanced Amazon Marketing Services tactics

If you’re really ready to make some money, you can try to tackle some of these more advanced Amazon Marketing Services methods to increase your book sales.

These might be tricky for you at first, but with enough practice, they’ll prove to be more than effective.

#18 – Use a Vendor’s Account (part 1)

An Amazon Vendor’s Express account will let you advertise your ebooks, but also audiobooks or paperbacks.

Use this incredibly powerful tool to advertise your physical or audio copies on relevant pages by your target authors.

As seen above (point 5), this will often result in sales of your own audios and paperbacks, yielding a lot more royalties!

#19 – Use a Vendor’s Account (part 2)

A Vendor’s Express account through Amazon Marketing Services will also let you advertise titles that you didn’t publish yourself.

Why would you want to do that, you say? For multi-author box sets you’re a part of, for example! This will bring more eyeballs to your stuff and… don’t forget to include an email-optin in your portion of the text!

#20 – Use a Vendor’s Account (part 3)

As seen above, why not use a Vendor’s Account to also promote a traditionally-published book you wrote before going indie? Your publisher will likely not be using AMS, so show them who the savvy author is and get some sales rolling!

Hope you enjoyed some of these tactics for Amazon Marketing Services ads. As I mentioned in the introduction to this post, don’t listen to those who want to attract you to the ‘next best thing’.

Think out of the box, test, test, and test again. And you will succeed!

This is a guest post by Brian Berni, a Self-Publishing School alumnus, now bestselling author under multiple pen-names. He blogs for writers and self-publishers at AuthorsTech and is the co-founder of BookAds, an agency that helps authors advertise their books through AMS and BookBub Ads.

Follow Him Here:  Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest


How to Make a Book with 7 Solid Steps for Real Success

Making a book isn’t as complex as it seems. While it does take skill, it mostly takes the right method to get it right.

What if you could have that method at your disposal right now?

That’s exactly what have for you. Our steps for how to make a book are easy to follow, straight to the point, and effective at producing a bestselling book.

So let’s make a book!

If you’ve authored an eBook, you may be interested in printing paperback books—either to keep for yourself or to sell.

how to make a book

How to Make a Book

Luckily, we’ve got great news: the process of how to make a book isn’t as challenging as you might think. And, we’re here to walk you through the process.

Here are our steps for how to make a book:

  1. Define the reason for making a book
  2. Write an amazing book
  3. Decide your book’s distribution channel
  4. Determine the cost of making a book
  5. Decide your book’s contents
  6. Design a book cover
  7. Format your book properly
  8. Upload your book to a distribution channel
  9. Self-publish after making a book

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing, marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more by clicking here! <https://self-publishingschool.com/programs data-lazy-src=

#1 – Define Your Why

The first step to making a book is to ask yourself why? There are several valid reasons for writing a book.

First and foremost, because you want to! You put the blood, sweat, and tears into authoring a book. Now you want tangible proof that you can see, carry around, and display on your bookshelf.

That’s a good enough reason!

Some authors, especially those who identify as non-fiction experts, find that paperbacks serve as glorified business cards.

These copies are especially useful for speaking engagements or professional development events, such as conferences or continuing education courses.

Passing out free books to interested readers is a terrific way to build a solid fan base as well as spread the word that you’re an author.

If you elect to sell your books at events, you can recoup some of your costs and potentially even turn a profit.

Using your printed book to generate leads and make network connections is never a bad idea. If your book genre lends itself to this type of network development, then definitely go for it.

#2 – Write an amazing book

Writing a book is about a lot more than just throwing your ideas on paper and hoping they stick.

It takes skill, knowledge, and a strategy to make sure it’s done and done well.

Here are some steps to writing a great book the first time:

Writing a novel is no easy feat! Make sure to take your time but commit to a deadline that will keep you moving toward progress every day.

This writing schedule should be realistic but difficult enough to require regular progress to achieve.

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#3 – Decide your book’s distribution channel

Not every distribution channel is the same. When you’re making a book, you have to think about who is going to print this book.

Who to choose for book prints?

You may have heard that Createspace was bought out by Amazon, meaning KDP now prints your books.

Since there is really only one other major book printer for self-published authors, the big question everyone has on their mind is:

Amazon or Ingramspark?

Since you’ll already be familiar with Amazon from uploading the Kindle version of your book, it may seem like KDP paperback publishing is the easy choice.

But that’s not necessarily true, at least not yet.

At Self-Publishing School, we recommend you choose a means of making your book that best fits what you want.

There are pros and cons to using Ingramspark versus Amazon that you have to consider.

Here’s a list of what Ingramspark has to offer with their different packages for making a book:

Both Amazon and Ingramspark print your books and distribute them on Amazon. Meaning, they sell those books on Amazon without you as the middleman. They’re direct sale-to-print and they ship out from their warehouses.

That being said, they don’t offer the same perks.

For example, Ingramspark actually prints hardback copies of your book, where Amazon only prints paperback copies.

#4 – Factor in the cost of making a book

When you decide to learn how to make a book, you’re also diving into the world of business.

That’s right, making a book has a lot to do with business and we all know businesses have certain factors that can be a little confusing, including the cost of publishing a book.

So how much does it cost to publish a book?

The truth is that there are several factors that add to the cost of making a book.

Here are some expenses for making a book:

If you’re basing your decision strictly on revenue, then you’ll want to think about it before heading down the printing path.

Paperback can be costly to produce if you’re not sure what you’re doing, which is why we created a program to help you avoid those expensive mistakes.

Luckily with Amazon and Ingramspark, they take care of the cost upfront, but they will take a higher percentage of your revenue to make up for the printing cost.

This means you won’t make as much money off the sales of a paperback as you would with an e-book.

We’ve often seen that the most lucrative path for e-authors is the combination of a Kindle eBook and an audiobook.  

If your goal is to make as much money as you can, and you have to choose between the two, then consider pursuing an audiobook over a paperback. (Although funding an audiobook can be pricey, and you are responsible for that upfront cost, so do the math!)

#5 – Determine your book’s contents

You’ve given it some thought and considered the factors above, and you’ve decided that you do want to print paperback copies of your book. Before you take the next step, it’s important to dot your “i’s” and cross your “t’s” by figuring out your book’s contents.

Run through our pro-developed, pre-printing checklist to make sure you’ve checked all the appropriate boxes of making a book.

  • Choose the size of your book
  • Decide on black & white or color (Note: The prices may vary)
  • Price your book properly (which we cover in our book launch post)
  • Create a rough concept for your covers
  • Decide whether to outsource your cover graphics and design
  • Write your author bio for the back or inside cover
  • Pick your author headshot for the back or inside cover
  • Pick the reviews you want to include
  • Pick your spine design and layout
  • Decide whether to outsource the interior formatting
  • Work out an interior layout—from fonts to chapters to margins

Once you have the above checklist of making a book complete, you can move on to the next and one of the most exciting parts…

#5 – Your Cover Design

The next step on the road to printing your masterpiece is to design a good book cover.

Ok, that’s a lot of pressure, but you should aim for at least a Barnes & Noble-worthy design.

Meeting with a designer can help you verbalize and align on your creative aesthetic and vision, resulting in actionable suggestions.

Here at Self-Publishing School, we provide our students with a Rolodex of SPS-Approved cover designers we know and trust to produce a star-worthy cover.

how to make a book

If you decide that you’d rather design your book’s exterior on your own, there are online programs that can help, although again, we highly recommend you not design your own book cover.

Here are some cheap resources you can get a book cover design:

Once you know who you want to design your book cover, you also have to think about other small details for the actual printing of your book.

Some design elements you’ll need to consider are:

  • whether or not you’ll want a matte or glossy cover
  • which fonts you’d like for the title of your book, subtitles, and body
  • the design of your book’s spine

Typically, books with less than 101 pages should have a completely blank spine, due to space restrictions. Books with more than 101 pages have room for a title on the spine.

You know that, of course, your book will need a front cover, but you shouldn’t neglect your book’s rear. In addition to the cover art and fonts, you’ll need to create a back cover design.

Most back covers provide a brief description of the book, an author headshot alongside a quick bio, and an optional barcode and ISBN placement.

#6 – Format your book

Formatting your book pages is a finicky, technical process.

For this reason, many authors say that outsourcing this chore to a professional book formatter is well worth the cost. Page margins, titles and subheading, and fonts are all tough to layout properly.

Handing this over to a pro can save you a big headache.

Moreover, at the end of the book making process, a good formatter will give you an archival quality product.

There are major differences in book formatting between fiction and nonfiction you have to take into account as well (though if you hire someone, they will know this).

Here’s an example of a fiction book formatting from Jenna Moreci’s The Savior’s Champion:

how to make a book

This is the difference with many (not all) nonfiction book formats from Chandler’s Bolt’s Published.:

making a book format

If you do decide to tackle the interior formatting yourself, then there are programs that can make the process simpler. Word has downloadable templates to make the work easier.

These formats vary, depending on how many pages your book has. Make sure to experiment with multiple formats to help you decide which works best for your specific layout needs.

#7 – Upload to Amazon

Once you’ve created your printed book, the next step is to find your fulfillment house.

There are many options available. Fulfillment houses pack and ship, and provide customer service for your books. We tend to overwhelmingly recommend publishing on Amazon.

Their services are user-friendly and simple to follow.

This works the best, as you can curb the costs of printing more than the number of copies you need because of Amazon’s print-on-demand.


There are multitudes of resources out there for learning how to. make a book. Whether you want to sell your printed books, use them as pro book marketing tools, or simply admire how lovely they look gracing your bookcase, realize that with a few easy steps, you can create your own beautiful paperback version of your eBook.