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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Mar 29, 2019

In this episode, Mark interviews Brian Meeks, author of Mastering Amazon Ads and Mastering Amazon Descriptions. The interview was recorded during a Facebook Live video on the Stark Publishing Facebook page.

Prior to the interview, Mark shares a word from the episode's sponsor, Findaway Voices . . .You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

In the personal update area, Mark talks about a recent 40% off Box Set promotion that he and author Sean Costello had with Kobo, how they added their own push for the promo, and how it helped them sell more copies not just on Kobo, but also on Kindle, Apple and Nook.

Mark talks about the detailed analysis of the promo which he published for Patreon supporters of the podcast and thanks them for their ongoing support.

In their chat, Mark and Brian talk about:

  • How Brian once put off launching a fiction title for 60 days because he wanted to avoid the task of writing the product description
  • How a description done correctly will convert at about 1 in 10 (1:10) - ie, ten views of an ad will result in a click through to the product by a potential customer
  • The most common problems that authors face when trying to write their book product description
  • The idea of using previous or existing reviews of a book to find hints and clues to what made the book special to readers
  • Ways authors can practice writing or creating compelling product descriptions
  • The ultimate goal of a product description, which is to get a potential reader to READ your book
  • Creating a log line that can be used as an "elevator pitch"
  • How formatting of a description can be as important as the words used in that description
  • How the main goal of the FIRST line (or opening hook) of a product description is to get the reader to read the SECOND line
  • The concept of the call to action to request the reader to "buy" or "get" the book today
  • Brian's story of the "miracle product description"
  • How customers don't care so much the difference between $2.99 or $4.99 and that their TIME in reading the book is something they consider more valuable, more precious
  • The concept of variance, and how it can take 1000 clicks before you have enough data to accurately measure the results of a data set
  • Amazon Ads for authors who are published exclusively to Kindle (KDP Select and part of Kindle Unlimited) VS authors who publish their books "wide" to all retail platforms
  • Why an author shouldn't spend more than 90 seconds writing up their advertising copy
  • What is a good place to start or to learn how Amazon Advertising works for you
  • The critical importance of patience and setting expectations and how much investment of time and energy it takes to perfect the process
  • How "Bid Plus" is a terrible idea for authors to use in Amazon Advertising
  • How Brian gives about 7 to 10 days for an ad to see if they are "getting turned on" and, if it isn't, he kills it
  • The differences of playing within the Amazon Advertising world today compared to how it used to be


In his post-interview reflections, Mark talks about three things from the chat that stuck with him.

  • The idea of NOT using the "Bid Plus" option when creating Amazon Advertising Ads
  • The concept of having a first line / log line of 4 to 6 words to grab the attention of a potential reader in your book description
  • The methodology of incorporating elements from reader reviews of your book when revising your book's blurb


Links of Interest


Brian D. Meeks is an author who writes under his name and the pen name Arthur Byrne.


The music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0