Bad Amazon Ads

Attention authors, particularly indie authors who are doing their own marketing:

If you are not treating your advertising with at least the same respect as your book, you’re throwing away your money. In fact, you may be damaging your career.

On my Kindle Touch is an advertisement for a book that almost screams “do not buy me!” It’s one of the worst ads I’ve seen on my Kindle screen, and there’s been a few doozys in the last couple of months.

The cover of the book is the first issue. Besides having a generic clouds over what looks like a random city silhouette that tells the potential customer nothing about the genre, this book looks like someone took another author’s book cover (with a different title and name) and then stuck on a different name and title — poorly. The original cover looks like “The Good Lawyer” by (Edit: Retracted), and the overlay says the book is actually “A Destiny to be Fulfilled” by (Edit: Retracted).

Personally, I’d almost forgive this because it may be Amazon screwed the ad up and pushed the wrong image(s). It’s that bad. I’m hoping that the authors can get their ad fixed or pulled for now.

Edit: I did pop over to see the books on Amazon, and it is an issue with the image Amazon pushed. The cover for “Destiny” is just a generic nighttime shot with clouds and “The Good Lawyer” is not a cityscape. It’s the woodwork behind a judge’s bench. Amazon combined two different covers in the ad, but you can rest assured they’re charging both of the authors the full price.

The second issue is the blurb under the book. This is it verbatim:

Will a young lady from a small town with a big dream, reach her goals in the big city?

OK, I should have warned the editors out there reading this. Sorry.

It is apparent that the ad I should be viewing on my Kindle screen is for “Destiny”, not “Lawyer”.

We will gloss over the problem that the blurb says nothing about what the book is about, including what genre.

If the single sentence blurb has grammatical issues, what will a potential reader find between the covers? That comma problem is the first thing that should be addressed. Then we have to figure out who has a big dream — the young lady or the small town? After that, we have to find out what her goals are in the big city. Going shopping for a pineapple? Finding true love? Getting her carburetors adjusted on her 1965 Pontiac G.T.O.? Or perhaps getting a job as a mechanic on a Firefly-class small transport ship.

Here’s the full blurb from Amazon’s website:

Journey of a young lady who aims to make a small-town dream, a reality in the big city. This story is for those from a small town, who ever felt, “…If I can’t be seen here, who will ever care outside of here!” Or those form a big city, who ever felt, “If only I could share my talent with the world outside of here!” Follow a story of the determination, focus, and drive it takes, for ‘a destiny to be fulfilled.’


Stop Wasting Your Money!

Not just the author of this particular book, but all authors who want to advertise without understanding what they’re saying to their readers. The blurbs shown above are filled with grammatical and/or spelling errors. The blurbs should be the most polished and perfected prose of all. They are the leads that entice the reader to pull out a credit card and buy the book.

The person paying for these ads will not see their funds invested in a manner that will generate sales. Their sales rank is slowly sinking since the debut. At best, it may sell one book every few days (if it stays stable at the current rank). While not impossible, I would doubt this ad is bringing in any new readers.

Ignore Unless You’re Rich

If you’re going to invest in advertising, you need to make certain your blurbs are polished to perfection. In fact, you should have someone go over your interior as well. If you can’t afford to have professional editing, consider investing your advertising budget in editing. Otherwise, find the folks you personally know who are knowledgeable when it comes to grammar and spelling and get them to go over your work. Beg them to be as detailed and “mean” as possible. Point out issues. Illuminate plot holes. Ask the questions before the readers have the chance to list them in a bad review.

I did look inside the book that belongs to the blurb. It has multiple grammar and spelling issues on every page I read. Sometimes dialog didn’t have quote marks, which was confusing. There was a plot, and the hook was present but buried. This is more like a first draft, but one that does show some promise.

If someone does click on the Kindle ad to buy the book, they’ll leave bad feedback that will stay with the book even after it’s cleaned up. There is one 5-star review but it reads like the reviewer is a friend.

Now, if someone wants to crank out a book just to say they did it and that they’re on Amazon, they won’t care. If you want to try to make money by playing the Amazon lottery, you have to go all out to create the best book that you can. Finishing a book does not mean you’re ready to upload it. What you have is called a first draft. Now read through it and find the problems. Get your friends, teachers, and even your worst enemy if they want to torture you with red ink on your manuscript to go through page by page, line by line, to proofread and edit. Nobody’s perfect, but multiple issues on every page will keep nudging readers to stop reading. You want them to enjoy the story, not keep a running count of the spelling errors.

If your book isn’t perfected as much as you can get it then it is not ready for you to advertise it. Save your money, or better yet invest it where it is really needed.


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