Join 6,300+ Self-Published Authors Reading My Weekly Meta Ads For Authors Newsletter

Receive the latest, up-to-date strategies, insights and frameworks to help you sell more books with Meta Ads and build a thriving author business.

#055: We're Back In Kindle Unlimited (For Now)

May 11, 2024

Read Time: 5 minutes

This isn't an easy newsletter to write.

But as always, I want to be as open, honest and transparent as possible in the hopes that it can help you in some way.

If you're eagle-eyed and have been watching what we've been doing with Lori's (my wife's) books, you'd have noticed that her eBooks are back in Kindle Unlimited.

For now...

So today, I want to talk through why we've made this (tough) decision and what you can learn from it.

As I mentioned in last week's newsletter, I've run multiple businesses over the years, and one of the biggest lessons has been never to become stagnant; instead be flexible, and malleable.

As Bruce Lee would say... "be like water".

If you're not and you're trying to push a square peg into a round hole for too long, you're going to struggle.

Getting back on track... here's why we've gone back into Kindle Unlimited for the time being:

#1: Direct Sales Earnings Fell By Around 90%

Up until Easter (2024) Lori's direct sales were strong; on a slow day, we were doing $300 per day. On a good day, we were up at $600 per day.

All this on around $100 of Ad Spend.

After Easter though, we saw a noticeable decline, as I covered in this newsletter.

Over the past few weeks, things have gone from bad to worse.

Daily sales have struggled to get past $50, despite maintaining Ad Spend and using winning Ads.

I even stopped testing new Ads for a while and just let things run to see if Meta would figure it out.

Alas, nothing was working.

But this was a widespread issue at Meta that was (and still is) affecting advertisers in every vertical around the world.

This Bloomberg article on the "Meta glitch" is worth a read if you're interested.

#2: We Were Too Reliant on Meta

One of our biggest lessons from this whole experience so far is that we've become too reliant on Meta Ads.

It's worked incredibly well for 4 years now and has enabled us to build an amazing business with Lori's books.

But when Meta performance drops, the entire business performance drops with it.

There have been some short-lived episodes of Meta performance dropping over the past few years, but this current episode is by far the worst and the longest sustained.

Previous issues have been a mere bump in the road.

This current issue is more like a gigantic sinkhole in the road.

#3: We Need Time To Test Different Meta Ads Strategies

We're currently running all sorts of different tests with our Meta Ads to see if we can figure out our next move.

Could this mean my whole Meta Ads strategy changes? Yes, it could.

I hope not, because the simplicity of my strategy is something I really love, but as I alluded to earlier, forcing a square peg into a round hole will do you no favors.

If something isn't working, I'm not going to continue to force it for months or years on end; I'm going to adapt.

This is how the human species has evolved.

It takes a challenge, a problem, a roadblock for us to change course.

Other times, it can just be a new way of thinking, a new perspective when something just doesn't work like it once did.

Coming back on track...

We need some time to test new strategies with our Meta Ads.

The best testing ground I've found is sending traffic from Meta Ads straight to Amazon for a couple of reasons:

For one, the Traffic campaign objective is cheaper than the Sales campaign objective.

Second, Amazon have spent billions of dollars testing the layout and structure of their product pages, and we know the blurb, reviews, cover, etc, work well for us.

By sending traffic to Amazon, we're removing the variable of our direct sales store page layout and other factors associated with readers buying directly from the author.

#4: We're Exploring Other Platforms/Channels To Drive Traffic

As I mentioned above, we've been far too reliant on Meta Ads for generating book sales, so we're exploring other platforms/channels to drive traffic to the books.

In short, we're diversifying our traffic sources.

Meta Ads is by far the most scalable Ads platform, but having other Ad platforms in our stable will help us spread the risk, even if they're not generating as much traffic or sales as Meta Ads.

It's all helping to diversify our traffic and reduce the load and pressure we're putting on Meta Ads.

We're also looking at organic marketing strategies such as influencer marketing, which requires a little more work, yes, but with the right strategy it could help sustain performance.

Influencer marketing will also position Lori's books in front of a whole new audience we're not reaching with Ads.

#5: The Amazon Algorithm Can Do Some of The Heavy-Lifting

One of the toughest mindset shifts needed for direct sales is that you are responsible for every single sale.

Whether those sales are from Ads, influencer marketing, email marketing, etc.

There's no algorithm on your store to help you sell more books.

It's all on you.

With Amazon though, if you can sell enough books off your own back (through Ads and other tactics), your bestseller rank will improve and Amazon will start taking notice of you.

They'll start promoting your books to readers they think will enjoy them based on their previous and current browsing and purchase behavior.

Sales generated as a result of your rank (that haven't come directly from your own marketing/advertising efforts) are known as organic sales (or borrows if your books are in Kindle Unlimited).

This is the biggest differentiator between Amazon, the other retailers, and direct sales.

As long as we keep driving a steady stream of sales and borrows off our own back, the Amazon flywheel will continue to get better and better.

And whilst we figure out our next steps, we can use the Amazon Algorithm to do a lot of the heavy lifting for us.

Yes, the "Metapocalypse" is affecting Traffic Ads as well as Sales Ads.

But we have the benefit of the Amazon Algorithm to help us with whatever sales we manage to generate through the Meta Ads.

Is it an ideal solution? But at the moment, this is what feels right to us.

And I strongly recommend you do what feels right for you.

Wrapping Up...

Ultimately, Lori's books need to earn royalties.

This is a business and businesses need to earn money to sustain themselves and grow.

We've built up a good runway of cash in the business to sustain us through times like this, but it's not an infinite pot of cash.

The books need to pay their way.

Until we can figure out our next move, the quickest solution to the heavy decline in direct sales was to put the books back into Kindle Unlimited for 3 months, test some new strategies and tactics and re-assess.

Whatever you think of Meta, they've built an amazing Ad platform, but just as with any technology, sometimes things go awry, and things break.

Nobody really knows what's going on at Meta; there are countless discussions online about bots, hackers, even deliberate internal sabotage at Meta, and many other conspiracy theories.

But who knows...

The key lesson here is in how you react to these sorts of situations.

We can sit here all day and "blame" Meta, throw a pity party for ourselves, or we can do something about it.

We always have a choice.

As the Buddhist notion of impermanence states... nothing is permanent; nothing will last forever; everything that comes, also goes.

This includes poor Meta Ads performance.

It's happened before. It will happen again.

One thing is for sure; it won't be like this forever.

That's it for this week.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

To Your Success
– Matt



Join 6,300+ Self-Published Authors Reading My Weekly Meta Ads For Authors Newsletter

Receive the latest, up-to-date strategies, insights and frameworks to help you sell more books with Meta Ads and build a thriving author business.