As readers of my blog know by now, I recently took a minority shareholder stake in AMSAdwerks.com, an ad agency that specializes in Amazon advertisements for authors. That’s gone well, and the company is expanding in a sustainable manner, adding clients as it ads staff. The challenges are few, other than that with Amazon’s current scheme not all authors are good candidates, as its algorithms favor those with a deep series to advertise, with good conversion from book 1 through the rest, and with the environment extremely competitive it’s almost impossible for an author whose covers are marginal or whose blurbs are mediocre to convert well enough to justify the effort.
Because the cover is basically the ad, if it isn’t stunning you can get all the impressions you like, but it won’t translate to clicks to go to the product page – and after Amazon has seen that the impressions aren’t translating, it will stop giving impressions, instead favoring those that do convert.
The purpose of an ad is solely to get a prospective reader to the product page. From there, it’s up to the blurb to convince them to buy.
Of course, if a book has a crappy review score the best blurb in the world won’t help, and if the Look Inside is riddled with grammar errors or is poorly written the blurb won’t convince a reader to overlook those red flags and buy the book anyway. But the blurb is largely the selling copy that urges the reader to give the book a whirl.
Given the importance of the blurb, I convinced my friend Dave Falk to allow me to invest in his company, Bestsellerblurb.com – they’ve written a number of my bestselling novel blurbs, and I’ve A/B tested them and seen a significant increase in sales with their verbiage, so I’m sold.
It becomes pretty obvious when a blurb is evaluated in light of conversions from clicks, to sales. A mediocre blurb will deliver mediocre results (assuming the book’s competently written and doesn’t have scores of lousy reviews), whereas a really compelling, well written one will see an increase in conversions, which can totally change the profitability of an ad campaign – the more sales per 100 clicks, the more profitable the campaign.
After immersing myself in the ad business and learning enough to be dangerous, it became clear that taking a stake in a blurb writing business would be a naturally synergistic step – between the ad agency and the blurb writing biz, two of the most important aspects of book marketing are covered, the third being cover generation, but there are many competent cover designers, so I see no point in getting involved in that side of the business.
I’m excited, because BestsellerBlurb.com does a great job at a reasonable price, and delivers results. Their approach is to treat the product description as ad copy whose sole purpose is to get the sale, rather than to describe the story, characters, plot, etc. It’s an approach that resonates with me and I’ve seen the difference in my own sales, so I can endorse it without hesitation, which made it a natural for me to invest in.
Since many authors are like me, and either hate writing blurbs, or worse, have no idea how to generate a great one versus something middling, I view it as a business with a bright future. If your blurb isn’t firing on all cylinders, might want to give them a whirl. I know they’ve written blurbs for a host of bestselling authors besides me, so they must be doing something right, and they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so there’s no real risk.
Anyhow, that’s one of the things I’ve been busy with, for those interested in how I’ve been taking positions in indie author infrastructure businesses. It’s been eye opening, and has certainly made me more aware of the challenges facing authors moving forward.