The Current State of AMS

First, for anyone enrolled in the AMS class who wondered what happened to that bonus video yesterday, it turns out there’s an extra step to publishing a video to a class once it’s live. I have now taken that step and you should be able to see the video. Sorry ’bout that. Lots of learning in this process, which is what makes it fun and aggravating at the same time.

So there’s been a lot of grumbling about AMS lately. Understandably so. It’s not a static system and it does keep moving and not always improving, especially for those who were in there during the easy times.

And I figured it was maybe time for me to crunch some of my own numbers and see what there was to see. I started tracking actual profit and loss numbers from my AMS ads in September, so all I have is September to March and for March I have about $1000 in ad spend to use as a comparison.

What am I seeing?

Between September 2017 and March 2018, I have run AMS ads on 36 separate titles. That ranges from some short stories to short story collections to novels (both fantasy and romance) to non-fiction.

Of those 36 titles, ads on 17 of them were profitable for the entire time period. The most profitable one netted me $3050, the next most profitable $781, the next one after that $237. Of the titles where ads were not profitable for the period, the biggest loser cost me $180 for the period, next biggest loser cost me $66, and next one after that cost me $43.

If I look at the three months in 2017 and compare those to the three months in 2018, 24 titles made more (or lost less) in 2018 as compared to 2017. Six of those were because I stopped running ads on them. Almost all of the ones that continued to be profitable were either non-fiction titles or titles that are in KU. For the titles in KU that was two short story collections and one novel.

Overall, across all of the ads, I made $4,250 more than I spent on the ads. And my best performers for the period were also all titles released within the last six to nine months. And all of the ads I ran on 99 cent short stories didn’t earn back their ad cost.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t tracking numbers on P/L a year ago. I think that would’ve been a very interesting comparison.

What can I conclude from all of this?

  1. I think AMS are far easier and more profitable to run on KU titles right now.
  2. I still think AMS have the ability to deliver increased profits, but it’s not as easy as it once was.
  3. AMS work better (for me) on non-fiction than fiction, even when that non-fiction is wide.
  4. They also work better on higher-priced titles (for me) since there’s more room to make a profit. And they do work on higher-priced titles since most of my profitable ones were $4.99 titles.
  5. AMS do better with newer titles. (Although this may be a general advertising maxim. You do better with new material no one has seen before, assuming they want it.)

As always, YMMV.