Children’s book author Valerie Thompkins shares how you can market your book creatively during peak shopping periods

July 26, 2023 | By Valerie Thompkins

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Valerie Thompkins, author of STEM-themed Girls Like Me, has sold over 10,000 copies of her books to date. She is on a mission to empower kids and families to explore a diverse array of books and develop an enthusiasm for reading. Amazon Ads is key to her goal of reaching new readers, especially during peak shopping season. She shares her top tips for authors on using self-service advertising to help stand out to book shoppers.

As an author, how have you used Amazon Ads products to creatively connect with new readers?

I believe there will never be too many books, and the market will never be oversaturated. It’s definitely possible to make your book stand out. I have shared my self-publishing journey on social media, and it is no secret that I am an advocate for Amazon Ads. I believe in my children’s book, Girls Like Me, and I am confident that it can sell itself, but I still need it to stand out among the many books and items for sale on Amazon’s store. Amazon Ads allows you to modify the product listings as you please, from the photos, to the “Look inside” feature, to the item description and A+ content. A+ content adds additional product photos to enhance your product page.

As authors, we need to help make it easier for shoppers by using relevant keywords, phrases, and seasonality to connect with readers. In my opinion, customers value reviews, photos, and transparency when browsing products on the Amazon store. I like to think of it as doing your audience a favor. For example, if a customer is shopping for a book to teach a little one about careers, or for a young character with natural hair, my Sponsored Products ads may lead the shopper to my title. This can be particularly helpful during holiday seasons because you can position your ads toward your desired audience.

What are some strategies you would recommend for authors looking to make the most of peak holiday shopping periods?

Taking note of the season is key. For example, while some authors may turn their ads off during the end of the school year, I am marketing to the parents planning for summer. In preparation for Fourth of July shopping, my campaign phrases are gifts for kids, books for kids, and summer reading. Adding your book to classroom or summer-camp reading lists is an excellent marketing tool, and it’s important to build the excitement before the busy back-to-school season. I follow plenty of educators on social media and notice them posting their classroom wish lists on Amazon for parents and supporters to donate. I often engage with teachers to let them know I have a book worth adding to their classroom list. That way, everyone who supports their classroom will come across my book listings. Since my book is already on Amazon, it’s easy to send them my product link for them to add to their Amazon wish list.

Additionally, plenty of administrators or members of the Parent Teacher Association are looking to purchase books in bulk, or at least a classroom set for their students. Amazon is often the quickest and most accessible resource. My recommendation would be to plan your campaign in advance. Take note of the time of year. While my current focus is on the summer holidays, it will soon be time to shift to back to school.

I also find it helpful to utilize multiple channels to draw shoppers to your Amazon product listings. People use social media as a search engine: I do my research on TikTok before I buy just about anything.

Once you create a new ad, what are some of the key metrics you look for in tracking your campaign performance?

I first establish a campaign and allow two to three weeks to see them pay off. In my Amazon ad portal, I can view the clicks and engagement I receive on each ad. I can see what keywords are working, and where I can try to improve or adjust. Numbers and data make it so helpful to measure your strategy. I can view the exact number of sales that each ad produces in real time. When they are successful, I leave things as is. Other times, I consider pivoting and making adjustments. The transparency of metrics within the ad console makes it easy for sellers to utilize it to its fullest extent. There is nothing more rewarding than watching your product thrive off an ad that took just a few minutes to make.