Whether you are a wide author or published exclusive to KU, at some point in your career, you will have to advertise.
Now I know some of you are sitting there saying, NO I DON'T. I can get organic sales...Okay.
Let's go with that for a moment...organic sale means you did nothing to induce that sale. You sat on the couch talking to your cat, while some person found your book on your website or a sales platform and bought your book. Now from that organic sale you might even get a subscriber to your newsletter.
However, you are not going to make a living as an author without getting your book out there in front of people so THEY KNOW YOU WROTE A BOOK.
You have to get your book in front of readers...and the best way to do that is to advertise.
It doesn't cost a lot. There are a lot of newsletter type advertisement like The Fussy Librarian that will get your book out there and not cost a fortune.
If you choose to go with Amazon, BookBub, Twitter, or Facebook, you will more than likely use either an impression option - you pay for 1000 impressions. Or you will pay for clicks - CPC. Some will say that impression ads are better. That they force you to create a better ad...I find them to be too expensive. So I stick with clicks. That's just my preference. As I get more money in my bank, I will learn how to do cost per impression...as for now, I stick with clicks.
Most of the CPC (cost per click) ads will require a bid. That bid will determine if and how often your book is shown to perspective buyers.
Advertising isn't really what this post is about, it's about mistakes and not losing your shit. So let's move on.
Now for my costly mistake. I recently made my first in series - Innocence Taken - perma-free. Because of that, I did not want to spend a lot of money advertising it, but I have to keep up my advertising. On Amazon, I reset several of my ad bids to 10 CENTS. (and yes, I received lots of clicks at that low bid.)
I saved all the ads. Went into FB and dilly dallied around. Came back to my ads dashboard to check on things, and my 6.41 cents I had spent on ads for the month of December, was now $64 dollars. In the time it took me to figure out what the hell was going on, it rose to $83. By the time I found the ad, and shut it down, it was at 93 bucks. I had made the bid $10 dollars, not 10 CENTS....WTF?!! So for every click, I spent 10 buckaroos...ouchy!
I crapped my pants...
I shut down the ad and freaked out. Pretty sure my husband would be a little upset with me...and I figured I would need to sell a kidney to pay for the ad cost. See, when you have an ad on Amazon, if you change the bid, in the time it takes for the board to update the change in bid, people can still click on the ad at the really high bid.
It can take up to several minutes to hours for the bids to stop processing. Bids sit in a queue and process to the account, not always in real time...an Amazon rep explained this to me as I begged for them to stop the ad.
At the time this happened, I was waiting for surgery, I couldn't drown myself in whiskey...I had to just sit and watch the train wreck.
It finally stopped. I topped out at 98 and some change...Odd. However, I was relieved.
Then I saw what saved my big ole butt....something you need to do whenever you set up any ad on Amazon.
When you create ads, create a portfolio and put the ad or group of ads into a portfolio.
For all my Innocence ads, I have a portfolio called....can you guess? Innocence Ads. Pretty genius, am I right?
Once you create the portfolio, the best feature is...you can set a monthly budget limit...say what???
I had set a limit of 100 bucks. Can I get a whoop whoop!!! That one move kept me from complete financial ruin.
I have some author friends that have said they have done the same mistake with a higher amount...ouch!
Listen, when you are creating ads or changing bids, mistakes are easy to make.
You can create a portfolio first, then create ads in the portfolio. By doing it that way, you can set up the spend limit before you ever create your first ad. (Spend limit for the portfolio.) This will help keep your retirement in check.
Until my next big mistake, which I'm sure will be very soon, remember, you are going to have blunders. You are not the first, nor will you be the last. Move on and let them go.
If not, you may find yourself on the floor in the fetal position, having a conversation with your cat.
This is Pumpkin. Yes, he is on the side of the tub keeping me company.