Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Goodreads Ad Campaign

If you're an author on Goodreads, you can set up ad campaigns for your books. I recently completed a campaign for Lyon's Legacy, so I thought it might be useful to share what I learned from it.

1. It's fairly easy to set up a campaign from the author dashboard, but you do need to have an IBSN associated with your book so you can display the cover with your ad.

2. One of the nice things about ads on Goodreads is that you can target not just genre readers, but people who read e-books as well.

3. Figuring out the cost of the campaign is a bit backwards: instead of specifying how much you want to spend, you have to state how much you want to spend per click (the more you spend, the more often your ad is shown), how much you want to spend per day, and how long you want the ad to run. From those numbers, you then get a cost of the campaign. You do have to pay all of the money up front, but then it's credited to your account. Money is taken out of your account only when someone clicks on your ad, so it's possible to have 1,000 views of your ad but no clicks. It's also possible to set a short time for your campaign but then have it run much longer if you don't reach the capped number of clicks every day.

4. You can run multiple ads in the same campaign. I had one ad linked to Amazon and the other linked to Goodreads (so people can add the book to their shelves). Each ad can have different copy.

5. For me, I found the most effective ads (the ones that got clicks) quoted parts of reviews in my ads. I did vary the wording and headline from time to time to keep the ad fresh.

6. It's possible to pause the campaign if you wish. I stopped the ads for the month of December, when I put my book on sale, because it didn't make sense to spend $0.50 per click when I would make less than that per book.

7. Was it worth it? I can't trace any sales back to the ads, but the ads had over half a million views over the course of the campaign, so at least it raised awareness of the book. I think they may have encouraged a few people to add the book to their shelves. I'd like to try a Goodreads giveaway when I have paper books and see if that's more effective.

If you have any questions about ad campaigns on Goodreads, please post them, and I'll do my best to answer.


Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Thanks for the information Sandra. I found this really helpful in looking at other marketing ideas. I'd be interested in taking a look at how your sales were/are affected if you decide to post those.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Michael, so far, pricing seems to be key for my work. My best sales of Lyon's Legacy came in December when I dropped the price to $0.99 (and posted about it on a few big blogs). Last week, I "sold" more copies of a free short story than my novella, even when the novella was 75% off. Since the short story also includes the first chapter of Lyon's Legacy, I hope some of those readers eventually purchase the novella. Free doesn't cover my editing/cover costs! There's still so much I need to do in the way of promotion, but ultimately I have to put more work out there first.

T.W. Fendley said...

Interesting ideas on how to use the Goodreads ad, Sandra. I, too, have one running now and have tried various ads. I hadn't thought of linking to Amazon. I'll go do that now! I'm also running a giveaway and this time posted an "ebook" excerpt. How about you?

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Theresa, I do plan to host a Goodreads giveaway of Lyon's Legacy when I have a paper version available. I have to look into posting an excerpt.

J.L. Campbell said...

Very useful information for me, Sandra, as I'm trying to decide what to do for my upcoming release. Thanks!

Terra Harmony said...

Thank you for sharing! I have been doing Goodreads ad campaigns over the last two months that have led to 300 'adds on TBR lists'. Don't think it is quite giving me the sales I need - though maybe in the future? I have also run Facebooks ads that have led to 300+ likes on my fan page within a month, and I think it drove some sales. Maybe the trick is to keep plugging along? The more people see the book the more motivation to buy?

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