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message 1: by Sally (last edited Oct 13, 2012 11:01AM) (new)

Sally (goodreadscomdinah) | 3 comments I wonder who else has advertised on Goodreads? I bought the company $150 package a month ago and received ten hits in the first day or so of targeted advertising, when the campaign was blasted to many readers. Since then, the ads have run maybe 50 or 60 times a day (although I have played with text changes and returned to the original text) and they have received no hits. This means that I still have an advertising balance of $145, which is not what I had in mind. Is this limited campaign likely to run forever with a similar response? Would be interested in other authors' experiences.

In connection with Goodread's advertising stats, the site credits people putting the book on their "to read" list as potential readers/buyers of the book. I noticed that my book was listed as one of more than 16,000 books on one "to read" list! Six-hundred-plus books seems to be not atypical. Is this really a measure of reading intent, or a useful measure of anything?


Jon Etheredge (JonEtheredge) | 457 comments Ah, Sally... where to begin? I, too, bought $150 worth of ads. That was long ago, long ago. I remember hoping for good sales, world peace, and an end to segregation as I sat in my Daddy's lap out on the porch and asked, "Are we poor?" And then he looked down at me and said, "We are indeed." And I asked, "We as poor as the Cunninghams?"

And here is where the wheat is separated from the chaff. There are three kinds of people in this world:
1. Those who can read.
2. Those who do read.
3. Those who tell people they're gonna read. Someday.

Type 1's read my little joke and don't get it.
Type 2's read it and recognize Harper Lee.
Type 3's think it's a slur against the site and flag this post for disciplinary action.

Type 1's know they're mortal and speed-read-forget as much as they can.
Type 2's know they're mortal and read all the great books they can lay their hands on.
Type 3's are immortal. They have to be. Imagine the disappointment of dying with 15,382 books on your "To-read" list. What would you tell St. Peter?
"Sorry, Pete! I didn't have time to finish my reading list."
(WHOOSH-sizzle... straight to Hell)

OK, I know what you're thinking. Reading lists can be handled through reincarnation. If that's so, then who among you have found a notebook laying about with a really good reading list inside and a picture of someone you almost recognize? Yes, you there in Calloosahatchee... that happened to you?

Then never mind. I lost my train of thought anyway.

Jon
Author Behaving Badly


message 3: by Sally (last edited Oct 13, 2012 11:08AM) (new)

Sally (goodreadscomdinah) | 3 comments Jaq wrote: "Has it translated into sales? That would be the measuring stick."

As there were only ten clicks on the ad more than three weeks ago, and as nothing has been added to the book's Goodreads page in the way of ratings or commentary since the original flurry of "to read" postings was thrown onto it at the time, my guess is that the answer is "no."


Nick (nickanthony51) | 400 comments No matter how much Goodreads wants us to believe paid advertising works to increase sales, and no matter how many self published writers want to believe that paid advertising in select markets can increase sales, the truth is, for the majority of us it does not. Yes, there are exceptions to this fact, but that is all they are, exceptions.

Recently, in another group, a member touted his example of marketing. He was happy with the results until his lost was brought to his attention.

He bought adds on both Goodreads and Amazon. In the time the ads ran, he sold a total of 5 books, (5). His books were priced at $4.99 and even if he got 70% commission off each book, that is only $3.43 a book for a grand total of $17.15. His ads cost him $200 dollars, so he lost $182.15 cents.

Amazon might be able to operate at cost or even a loss, but I sure couldn't.


P.S. Mokha (mokha) | 7 comments Fascinating stuff.

In recent months I've been reading all about setting up an on-line platform (Facebook, Twitter) akin to building the foundations for a springboard to launch into the world of online viral sales.

Facebook is for friends and family. A Facebook author page is something different, but it's still all about an author saying how great I am and how great my book is.

Bloggers are independent and a better source of marketing, but they are deluged by authors wanting them to spend 10 hours reading their books in return for a favorable review.

So how do you make your own book rise above the sea of other self-published books?

1) Write a good book
2) Keep trying to market it in different ways
3) Be flexible
4) Be open minded
5) Never give up
6) Go to point 2


K.A. Krisko (KAKrisko) | 245 comments The two ads I've run on Goodreads in the past year have garnered me 100 "adds", 5 ratings/reviews, and no visible sales increases. The release of my first book to paperback garnered more sales than anything else, oddly enough (it's also in ebook form). My last ad (yes, last) has been "running" for months. I've tweaked it at least 5 times with no visible change in anything.


message 7: by Nick (last edited Oct 14, 2012 06:28PM) (new)

Nick (nickanthony51) | 400 comments K.A. I feel for you...seriously. That is a good chunk of change for little actual sales.

The problem with "adds to bookshelf to be read," is if the member/reader never gets around to purchasing the book. It's generates a false sense of security that readers are going to purchase your book...any day now, at any minute now, tick-tick-tick.

My suggestion to writers who feel the need to purchase ads, is to do so in a market that caters to the genre or subject matter of your book. Ads generally are ignored in large multi product sites while ads in sites catering to specialties tend to get more clicks and more sales...

Just an opinion based on what I have researched and read over the past several years...


Scott (scottypratt21aolcom) | 5 comments Sally wrote: "I wonder who else has advertised on Goodreads? I bought the company $150 package a month ago and received ten hits in the first day or so of targeted advertising, when the campaign was blasted to m..."

I did the same thing and had the same results. I think you have to take a look at your product description and then make sure your tags are right. That's what I'm doing now. We'll see how it goes. Best of luck to you.


K.A. Krisko (KAKrisko) | 245 comments Nick, I've also tried targeted blog ads on other reading sites, with pretty much the same results.

And, of course, in goodreads ads you DO target to specific markets - for example, those who are viewing Fantasy-related forums.


Teena Myers (TeenaMyers) | 3 comments Sounds like these ADs are not worth what you pay for them.


message 11: by Mike (last edited Oct 18, 2012 12:32PM) (new)

Mike Miller (MikeEMiller) | 1 comments To me, book marketing is a long term game - especially on Goodreads. When someone adds your book to their shelf, they are basically saying that they found the premise interesting enough to put it on a list so they don't forget about it.

From what I've seen, it's pretty common for people to have 200, 300, even as many as 7,000 books in their to read list. I think the real question is whether people go to that list first when they are looking for their next book to read. I'm assuming they do.

If that's the case, then I'm somewhere in roughly 1,300 folks' queues. That's better than nothing, I think.

Have you ever tried to find your own book on Amazon without searching for it by name? Unless you are in the top 100 for your category (by either sales or popularity), good luck with that. I can find mine, but that will go away as soon as my book has been out for more than ninety days, if not sooner. Without that, the only way to stumble across my book is on page 5 or 6 of some titles' Also Bought section on their Amazon product pages.

That tells me that the only way people are buying my book is if someone/something sends them there. That means word-of-mouth, advertising, and the Also Bought sections.

Does my Goodreads/Facebook/etc advertising result in immediate sales? Nope. Not even a little. But my trickle of sales each day have to be coming from somewhere.

Just my three cents...

Oh yeah. I have not done the expensive packages. I've just done the basic advertising and giveaways.


Nick (nickanthony51) | 400 comments If you want to learn the truth about advertising for books, read some of Publishers Weekly surveys done on this topic...

Remember, paid advertising and all its glory is pushed by those with an agenda; the sites that want the advertising dollars and the do-it-yourself businessmen who want you to buy their books on how to market...

Save your money folks, use it wisely for professional editing and cover design if you are going to self publish.


message 13: by Patrick, Director, Author Marketing (new)

Patrick Brown | 262 comments Mod
Just to weigh in here as a Goodreads employee, I can say that when we are pitching advertising to publishers or authors, what we're aiming to deliver is usually two things -- awareness of your book and engagement with it. So the goal is to get people to a) know about your book where before they did not, and b) do something with your book -- enter to win it, add it to their shelf, etc. Direct sales is rarely the goal of a Goodreads ad campaign. It's another reason why we recommend you link to your own page on Goodreads rather than linking offsite. If someone lands on your Goodreads page and is interested in your book, they can add it to their shelves, for free. It's a lower barrier to engagement than a sale. And you've put your book in front of them in a way that is somewhat lasting -- it's on their shelves, they'll see it again later, etc. In short, they've engaged with it.

If you send someone to an ecommerce site and they don't buy the book (which is true for 99% of the people who will click on an ad), then you don't know what happened to that person. And they are left with no lasting relationship with your book.

Of course, if your objective with an ad campaign is direct sales, you may be able to make that work. But it's not what we're typically expecting the goal to be.

I completely agree with what Mike said above, "book marketing is a long term game." This is doubly true if your book doesn't have a big launch with a ton of marketing dollars behind it.


Paul (PaulLev) | 8 comments Very savvy analysis, Patrick.


Jason Reeser | 41 comments So far, my ad campaign has produced 37 clicks on over 70,000 views, and 58 people have added me to their list. I believe most if not all of the adds have come from the giveaway program, though. None of this has added any sales to my book.
At the same time, I took copies of my book out to the streets of New Orleans and was able to place it in five stores with very little effort. I will soon have ads running on the interior panels of street cars, and am looking into more ad space. If I spend money on advertising, it is not going to be on Goodreads anymore. I get the feeling it will take old-fashioned hustle and targeted advertising to get this off the ground.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Good for you Jason! The only way is to take copies around the bookstores! I'm English living in France but if I were still in London, I would be trudging around all the independent bookstops, have chat shows on the radio, hand out leaflets and just make everyone aware of you. Bravo for ingenuity!


Vannessagrace Vannessagrace | 37 comments Jason wrote: "So far, my ad campaign has produced 37 clicks on over 70,000 views, and 58 people have added me to their list. I believe most if not all of the adds have come from the giveaway program, though. N..."

Jason, how wise of you.


Jason Reeser | 41 comments As an update, I exhibited my book at our State Capital today (The Louisiana Book Festival) and sold far more books than I have sold online all year. Now, this took some investment as far as the exhibitor's stall I had to pay for, bookmarks to hand out, and other odds and ends, but I feel it has been worth it. It also helped to talk with people, see what interested them, what turned them off, and what the factors were that led them to purchase the book. (It was also a balm to the ego to actually see people get excited about the book!) And to date, the Goodreads advertising has yielded no sales whatsoever.


Scott (scottypratt21aolcom) | 5 comments I ran an ad campaign for my fourth novel, a mystery/thriller. Put in a hundred and fifty bucks five months ago. Had only spent five dollars so I switched the campaign to my first novel, also a mystery/thriller. I re-wrote the copy and put a new cover. Same thing. Can't spend the money. Will they give it back to me?


K.A. Krisko (KAKrisko) | 245 comments Scott, try taking out all targeting you've got on there for a while and see if you get more hits. Although Goodreads suggests that you target narrowly to put your ad in front of people who are more likely to be interested in it, I found I got more hits with less targeting.


message 21: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 31, 2012 02:41AM) (new)

The overall problem at the moment is that Amazon is inundated with authors who genuinely believe that they have a good product. There are some wonderful books around by Indie authors, I can quote three that I have rated five stars on Goodreads but there are also some dreadful books. Even some of the traditionally published books are dreadful. So I wonder what is the solution? I think that really the only solution is to follow the advice that Jason and Patrick have given and to plug, plug, plug if you feel that you have an excellent book...


K.A. Krisko (KAKrisko) | 245 comments Read the reviews and patronize those books with consistently good ones? I agree that there's currently a wide range of book qualities out there, but everyone "feels" that they have an excellent book...


message 23: by Mary (last edited Oct 31, 2012 04:11PM) (new)

Mary Forbes | 10 comments Jon wrote: "Ah, Sally... where to begin? I, too, bought $150 worth of ads. That was long ago, long ago. I remember hoping for good sales, world peace, and an end to segregation as I sat in my Daddy's lap ou..."

I think you meant to finish - always, always cultivate Type #2 people's interest?? Don't know that for sure.One Dance with a Stranger


Ardin Lalui (ardinlalui) | 62 comments Great thread. And great advice. Thanks to people who have posted their experiences. So does goodreads only allow you to purchase advertising in blocks of $150? And is it pay per click or pay per view?

This book marketing gig is no walk in the park!


message 25: by Patrick, Director, Author Marketing (new)

Patrick Brown | 262 comments Mod
Ardin wrote: "Great thread. And great advice. Thanks to people who have posted their experiences. So does goodreads only allow you to purchase advertising in blocks of $150? And is it pay per click or pay per vi..."

No, you can buy ads for as little as $10 and see how they work. You cannot, however, buy them on a CPM basis (that's pay per view).


Ardin Lalui (ardinlalui) | 62 comments Thanks again Patrick.


Sally (goodreadscomdinah) | 3 comments I just read through the advertising section of the authors' tutorial again and the only solid number that popped up in reference to the cost of mounting an advertising campaign was $150.00. Other people seem to have understood this to be the base figure as well. Did I miss something?


message 28: by Patrick, Director, Author Marketing (new)

Patrick Brown | 262 comments Mod
Sally wrote: "I just read through the advertising section of the authors' tutorial again and the only solid number that popped up in reference to the cost of mounting an advertising campaign was $150.00. Other p..."

That's the recommended amount, but you can start a campaign for less.


Ardin Lalui (ardinlalui) | 62 comments Looks like someone's trying to sell us a vacuum cleaner.


Monica Davis The issue I see with the paid ads is their placement on the page. Usually I have to scroll down on a page before they show up. If the ads were placed further at the top of the page then: A) They might be considered annoying to users/member, but B) More people would see them and possibly click through. I don't always take time to scroll down on pages to read everything, but when I do, I've found some interesting books listed in the ad campaigns...even clicked on a few.


Bryn Hammond (BrynHammond) | 41 comments Like Scott, I injected more funds than I need. I can either think of that as a year's spend, or...

This is a strange question. Can I advertise a book not my own? I'm an indie, right. There's a fellow indie book that I think fantastic, that's ignored, and I'd happily use my funds on that one, too. I can't ask the author, he hasn't been on Goodreads for months. It's a stray thought I had. Is it wrong to do? I'd have to put in the advertisement that I'm a reader. 'Reader's ad'??


M.A. Demers | 123 comments I read this thread with interest as I was contemplating advertising on GR. But what I see as the biggest impediment to success is that these "sponsored book" ads are just really badly designed: the size of the book cover is way too small (totally illegible) and disproportionate in size to the ad copy, and there's too much wasted space around the image and text. And you are competing with the higher-priced Ad Choices ad placed above it that is better designed and larger.

It's the image people respond to first, not the text. In the same space GR could quadruple the size of the book cover and make the text a point smaller, and use up all that wasted space.

No wonder no one is clicking through.


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