Guest Post: Matt Stone on Book Ads

According to my friends who actually sell books, one of the best ways to market them is with AMS ads. But despite taking Dave Chesson’s excellent course and applying everything I learned for creating AMS campaigns for Book 1 of the Burnout to Bliss series, I was not able to increase the sales. I even have a two-inch-thick folder of typed keywords and notes about their “hits.” But when I got to the end of the course, I read that I could hire someone who actually does this professionally to do mine! Hallelujah!

I filled out the form with “Bookads” and had several interactions with their Customer Service because, in the FAQs which I received after I selected which book I wanted for the ad, I learned that it should be “for the one with the most reviews.” Clearly, in My Weird Indie Publishing Project, that meant Book 1 of the Burnout to Bliss series with its whopping 26 reviews.  It will be interesting to me to see whether or not these super-heroes in the AMS world can sell the book, which, as I have explained throughout this blog series, is “impossible to promote.”

This is not a challenge. It is what it is. Serendipitously, the company got to do the same book I had done because of their suggestion to “Pick the one with the most reviews.” Moreover, I’m a beginner striving to learn the business and my perspective, no matter what’s coming down, has always been, “Life is a learning experience. Savor every moment!”

Here’s the insightful letter I got from Matt Stone when I asked Felice of Customer Service whether or not I would be able to see the work done in creating the AMS for BURNOUT — How a Desert Lizard Restored My Faith. I still don’t know the answer, but there will be a follow-up when the ad ends. (As of this writing, my ad has not yet begun; Amazon states that it can take up to 14 days.)

Heeere’s Matt!

Hi and welcome to BookAds!

This is Matt Stone (aka Buck Flogging), co-founder of BookAds.

I know that paying for someone to advertise something of yours with no idea what the results will be is kind of scary. I have been operating a variety of online businesses, and have published more than 20 books of my own (and over 100 with a publishing company I helped start several years ago) since 2009. I have pursued a lot of paid services that promised the world and let me down. It sucks.

I once paid $1,500 per month for an SEO and backlink service. After a month I saw NO RESULTS, and I expressed my concern to the company. They reassured me that this thing takes time, so I stayed on for another frightening month. After month 2 I still wasn’t seeing any results at all. They showed me how I was ranking better in dozens of search terms compared to the first month and encouraged me to hang on just a little longer. I gave it another month. In the end, I spent $4,500 and made nothing at all.

It still burns.

A couple of years later I still had that “I’m not an experienced marketer and who wants to do that sleazy marketing stuff anyway” mindset. So I hired a group of guys to help me out. I spent thousands more, got no results, and, because of the scammy, against-the-rules tactics they used, my account is STILL banned from running ads on Facebook! Thanks marketer dudes!

In early 2017 I reached out to a marketing firm that promised “we don’t get paid unless you get results.” I set up a call with them, could hardly understand their broken English, and at the end they said they were excited to help me out. To get started, all I needed to do was pay them a $1,000 setup fee.

No thanks.

I’ve heard endless tales of throwing money into advertising black holes for all manner of books, products, and services. Money in… Money GONE! Just a couple of months back I had a colleague of mine write to me and say that he just spent $10,000 on Facebook ads over a couple of months and didn’t see a single sale!

I was once so down on paid advertising that I completely shunned it and even warned everyone in my internet business course not to do it!

But AMS ads were the first breath of fresh air. I tried them and actually made money. A lot. And I made it on a book with fewer than 4.0 average stars on Amazon. The rest, of course, is history.

I just wanted to reassure you that BookAds does NOT operate like a typical string-you-along “just one more month and you’ll be rich” bullshit company. Not at all.

And instead of making you pay $1,000 up front just to try and see if we can make it work, we get in and work really hard setting up ads and tweaking them for a whole month for just $49. We pay $50 in advertising costs to acquire most of our customers, so we’re actually the ones taking on ALL the risk. If we fail at getting a successful ad campaign going for you, we lose just as much, if not more money (8 people on the payroll and counting!), than you do.

Put another way, WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER.

And we really want to help. We really do. I know losing money, getting hate mail, and having people publicly complain that we let them down SOUNDS like fun, but it really isn’t. 🙂

But, to be clear, despite trying our best, and despite my partner Brian’s history working for the Vatican, we STILL haven’t figured out how to perform miracles. Bummer I know.

Just today, for example, we received a complaint from a customer who has only seen $17 in book sales in his first 16 days. We also checked in on one customer’s campaign, and he has sold over $1,000 of extra books, and his ads went live just 5 days ago! What did we do differently for Mr. 1,000 than we did for Mr. 17?


Not all books or genres are created equal.

But you owe it to yourself to see what people who do this all day long and oversee the performance of more than 3 million keywords can do to sell your book, and I’m glad you decided to take a chance. We’re happy to roll the dice with you and see if we can make a little magic happen.

Please understand that not every campaign of ours will work out. You are making a $49 gamble, and, I’m sorry to say, it won’t work out for probably about 1/5 of you.

But it’s not a $1,000 gamble, and we did that by design because, shockingly, we are actually GOOD people. We genuinely want to help out, and every failure hurts us.

And, the good news is, we DO help most of our customers make a positive return on their ad campaign. Yay! I sincerely hope you are one of those people. If you aren’t, it should be pretty obvious by the end of the first month, and you should cancel your service. It’s the right thing to do, and saves everyone a ton of stress.

Best of luck and please let me know if my team ever appears to NOT be giving it their best shot. I’ll crack my virtual whip on ’em!

Buck Flogging. The man. The myth. The LEGEND.

Thanks, Matt!

[You can find their ad service here:]

Coming up next

Donna Brown’s guest post:  In her journey as a self-publisher, she has demonstrated the kind of initiative and spunk required of all indie authors if they want to be successful.

Till next time, “Please be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our hidden sorrows.” ~Tzaddi


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