I’m experimenting with Amazon’s Marketing Services ads. I have one ad for Breadcrumbs and Bombs. That one has been running for a few days now. The first time I tried to place an ad, it got rejected and I had no idea why, but I tried again. I’m pretty sure now that it was rejected because I had the symbol / in the description. They don’t allow any kind of symbols.

So, I rewrote my ad and resubmitted. Writing the ad is more difficult than you might think. I had to somehow condense my book blurb down to 150-characters.


Twenty-eight year old Lucas Landry, a Sacramento, California native, is a counseling psychologist specializing in drug abuse treatment, yet couldn’t save his own opioid-addicted father. His feelings about his father and his death get complicated when he discovers his father hid many secrets about their ancestry from Lucas and his brother. Lucas embarks on a journey to find answers: What secrets had his father hidden, who are the Landrys, and where did they come from? Are Lucas and his estranged brother destined to repeat their ancestors’ mistakes? A hidden attic in Lucas’s father’s old Victorian house is a goldmine of memorabilia and clues from the past, clues which seem to lead to Nazi Germany and the former Sudetenland, breadcrumbs to other lives.

Ten year old Christa Nagel is an ethnic German living in the Sudetenland near the Polish border in 1943 with her parents and five younger siblings. When her father is conscripted into the Wehrmacht, leaving Christa and family alone to fend for themselves, she is horrified and worried for him. After a while, though, she’s not sure which is worse, fighting in the war or trying to keep their family together and safe. When the war ends, she and her family, as well as millions of other ethnic Germans face expulsion from their home, marched away into the unknown.

Fifteen year old Ilse Seidel, a German girl living in a small Bavarian city, knows more about danger than anyone her age should know. She’s survived bombings, lost loved ones, and witnessed Jewish friends being carted away from their homes. She wants nothing to do with the war or with soldiers. Her life takes a dramatic turn when she finds a wounded soldier in need of help.

Lucas is determined to assemble these breadcrumbs, find out how their stories intertwine, and reveal his ancestry. Will what he learns make him feel better about himself and his family, or worse? Breadcrumbs and Bombs is about secrets, lies, prejudice, betrayal, guilt, love, genealogy, and what it means to be a family.


All-American Lucas Landry finds WWII diaries, by two German girls, in his father’s attic and must assemble these breadcrumbs to reveal his ancestry.

Wow! That was tough. And I don’t know if it does the book justice, but that’s the best I could come up with. They count spaces and punctuation marks and every letter. Not much space to work with.

After I got the ad approved and it began running, I learned from some other writers that I didn’t have enough ‘keywords’ in my search parameters. I worried my ad would be wasted, but then I went back to the marketing website and discovered I could ad more keywords at any time. Up to 1,000 keywords. I had less than 100. I got busy and started hunting for keywords I could use. It’s not easy and takes a great deal of research on Amazon to find appropriate keywords (things related to the book, topic, setting, etc., and also titles of similar books, author names, etc.). I now have 218 keywords, which is better than before, but still needs to increase. I work on it little by little.

I also found out that you can have different bid amounts for different keywords, and you can change the bid amounts during the ad campaign. I’m still trying to figure out how all of that works, but as far as I can tell, you have a better chance of your ad appearing on a popular Amazon page if you have a higher bid amount than other authors. Many authors may be clamoring for the same popular page. However, paying the higher amount and getting your ad shown on that page doesn’t necessarily mean someone will buy your book from that ad. It’s kind of a gamble.

This advertising stuff is trial and error to some extent, unless you have someone guiding you through it. But don’t worry, it’s do-able. Since the ad began, I’m seeing a lot more sales and a lot more reading of the book through Amazon’s Kindle Select Program. That’s good. Yeah, the ad costs money, but getting more exposure for the book is a beneficial thing. And, so far, I’m slightly ahead monetarily. Keeping fingers crossed that I get good at this marketing stuff.

Good luck to all you other authors, too!