Tips for Self Promotion, Sales, and Advertising discussion

Opinions Wanted > Goodreads click advertising

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message 1: by Tricia (new)

Tricia McDonald (httpwwwgoodreadscomtriciamc) | 19 comments Okay, I have been contemplating using the goodreads per click advertising. Has anyone used this? Did it seem worth the cost?

message 2: by Ross (new)

Ross Cavins (rosscavins) | 19 comments You set your own cost .. I've been paying around $.13 and $.14 a click. Pretty cheap if you ask me.

I've spent about $80 so far and 70 people have added my book to their "to-read" shelves.

So I've paid a little over a dollar for each potential buyer (note that they haven't actually bought it yet).

I'm trying to make personal contact with each of them in hopes of getting them interested in the book enough to push it to the top of their list. I *think* it's working.

And hopefully, if they love the book, they'll recommend it to others or post reviews and that will help drive sales later.

But then again, I'm new at all this ... so take it for what it's worth.


message 3: by K.J. (new)

K.J. | 13 comments Ross: I will be interested to know at what point you will break even on your cost of Goodreads clicks, against net earnings. If your net earnings per book are 2 USD, that will mean you have to sell forty books to Goodreads readers to break even on the Goodreads clicks program.

message 4: by Ross (last edited Sep 02, 2010 05:23AM) (new)

Ross Cavins (rosscavins) | 19 comments Well, I own my own small press publishing company (read: self-published) so when I sell a book, I get all the profits. I don't give 80-90% away to a publishing house to do everything I've already done:

So I can sell 1 book for every 8 they would sell and make the same money.

It's a much harder road to go down, because no one takes you seriously when you self-publish. But I literally could and did do everything myself:

1) I conceptualized and wrote the book.
2) I got intelligent friends to edit it (my wife is an English college professor that teaches English Composition).
3) I designed the cover (I also design websites for a living so Photoshop is my friend).
4) I designed the bookblock per specs (because I'm technically oriented and can read instructions).
5) I've set up distribution and POD through Lightning Source which has channels to EVERYWHERE via their parent company, Ingram.
6) I do my own advertising and ad copy.
7) Obviously, I built my own website.
8) I do my own social networking (no one but you can do that anyway)
9) I formatted and published my book for kindle, epub, etc.

The only thing I can't do is get in physical stores because I don't have the clout of a billion dollar company. But so much book buying is done online that the playing field levels slightly nowadays.

I also have trouble getting reviewed by "established media sources." I can't even get my own local paper to return my #*%# emails.

With the amount of marketing that publishing companies expect you to do, on 10% royalties, you better sell a whole lot of books to make it worth your while.

Back to your question, KJ, my net is much better than $2 per book. If all the people who put me on their to-read list (89 right now) buy the book, then yes, I will have made a nice profit versus my outgo on ad expenses. But more important to me, I will have a fan base that hopefully likes my writing and will be more apt to buy my work in the future.

And hope beyond hope, they'll recommend my book to others.


message 5: by K.J. (new)

K.J. | 13 comments Ross: Thank you for the response, and we are in the same boat in many ways.

I, too, self-published, designed my own cover, had my book proofread several times by persons well-versed in the language and its use, handled my own contracts with a printer, took delivery of my books, handle my own marketing and order fulfillment, designed and built my own website and do my own promotional work. And, I, too, get to keep all of the profits. Photoshop has many friends, fortunately, and my other creative endeavors required that I have broad experience in its use, so doing design work for the book and the site were easily handled. If anyone is going to produce a viable website, they will need to know how to use Photoshop, in my estimation. I cannot imagine promoting myself without the use of this important tool.

I do not offer an e-book, and I have no interest in doing so. Yes, there is money to be made, but that is not a direction I wish to take with my writing.

I have also shied away from POD order fulfillment, since I would have no idea of the quality of the merchandise being sent, and after the fiasco I experienced with Lulu's Spanish printers, I am relieved that I did not do so. It would have strangled my writing career in the crib. This way, I get to inspect every book before it leaves the atelier. I also do not ship in anything but a very sturdy cardboard package designed for the size of the book, and enclose the book in a sealed plastic insert, to protect it from postal folk who leave packages outdoors. This has already paid off for one customer who found his package on his porch, in the rain. The book was in perfect condition, inside the plastic packing. Not one of my customers has ever received a damaged or substandard copy of my writing. POD order fulfillment cannot guarantee this, and my experience has shown that they would not check the books before shipping. No one will be as committed to my customers as will I. I would be curious to know your cost/expense ratio when selling through Ingrams, and I assume it is much different than selling direct.

message 6: by Dr (new)

Dr | 134 comments K.J. wrote: "Ross: Thank you for the response, and we are in the same boat in many ways.

I, too, self-published, designed my own cover, had my book proofread several times by persons well-versed in the languag..."

(Also Ross)
Looks like we think alike. I have been using my own printer in Tampa FL for over thirty years and I too have in house editors, and do all of the thing you do. Funny thing about you two and myself. Other authors will look up the statistics on some place like Amazon and assume we are not selling books. I just ignore them when I hear that comment, because there is no way anyone but you, me and our printer can possibly know how many books we are selling. Good luck to both of you. This works and you have found the secret. If you look back at my comments here over the years, you might find where I mentioned this already. I don't play the you click mine and I will click you game or any of those supposed honest way of selling a book statistic.

Thanks for joining the "I really do publish my own book club".

By the way, I also list with Amazon and anyone else who wants to sell my books and there are many because their sales cost me very little if anything in the long run and they reach a different customer than I do.

One other thing I was impressed with and that is the fact that K J hit the nail on the head, we write for the sake of writing and adding our love to that age old tradition for a different fulfillment that making money. Don't misunderstand that last part, I enjoy the money too.

Another "by the way" that might help you. I have a list of customers (since I write books in series) that are just waiting for the next book and a sale is guaranteed every time. It is easy to keep up with and add to a list that has grown over forty years of selling books.

Thanks Dr Robert E McGinnis
The best to you both.

message 7: by Lindy (new)

Lindy Dale (lindydale) the next step would be for all of us to get together then and promote our books in a bookstore site that we set up ourselves.

message 8: by Dr (new)

Dr | 134 comments reply to L.A.

That's a great idea, there are many people who do it and I have my books listed on about thirty personal web sites by other authors. We can also form a (for profit) group on Amazon. I just came back from our local Farmer's Market and there were two tables selling Indie books (the author had rented a booth) which didn't look all that bad. The table location costs five dollars for the weekend, but what I noticed more that anything was how much fun people were having. As I was standing talking to one lady author, she old every book on the table but one. Her book was about farming and subsistence living. She also sold knitted articles made from the wool of her own sheep. she asked me to come and stand by her table next weekend and said I was her good luck charm. HMMMM.

I am thinking about testing this market. I also make furniture and even though my furniture is quite expensive, I sell everything I make. I have posted pictures of some of my furniture here before or I would do it again.

Dr M

message 9: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Jarvis (screalwriter) | 54 comments Hi KJ, Ross, and Dr.
I'm a match with all of you except local papers have been kind to me (they are failing, however, and readership is way down) and I use a POD (CreateSpace) to print books. I've been pleased with the way the books look.

If you do put something together, a co-operative of sorts online or in any other way, please give me a heads-up.

This past Sunday I was invited by a local organic farm to sell books at their yearly event. It's a big deal with four hundred attendees, a Taiko drumming concert, and marvelous food. I sold two books. I can best sum up the experience by telling you about the woman who came running up to my booth exclaiming she owns Robert Heinlein's house and asking didn't I think that was exciting. We talked for a while and I made a pitch to her that she should read one of my books. "Oh no, dear, I don't read mystery drivel. I was a professor of literature and I'm certain your book is a mess. It would be too upsetting for me to try to read it."

It would have been nice if she cracked the book and read a page before saying what she did.

The Death Contingency
Backyard Bones
Buying Murder

message 10: by Ross (new)

Ross Cavins (rosscavins) | 19 comments Next time, get the person's name, address, email address, mobile phone number, twitter account, facebook profile, myspace account, shoe size, and hair stylist, and we'll begin a friendly barrage of unreadable Middle English prose.

Just so she can feel superior.

My wife is an English College Professor but she specializes in English Composition. She says the English Lit Professors all have sticks up their asses and think they are the cream of the crop when in actuality, none of them can actually write ... or they'd be teaching composition.

They are mostly an elitist crowd that haven't a clue to what happens in the real world, and their jobs are self-perpetuating because without the job of "teaching English Lit," there'd be no reason for it.

In other words, the only way they'd recognize a dangling participle is if it bit them in their egos.

(stepping down off soap box)


ps. I have trouble with dangling participles, too. :-D

message 11: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Jarvis (screalwriter) | 54 comments It's always fun to start the week with a good laugh. Thank you for your witty response, Ross.


message 12: by Ross (new)

Ross Cavins (rosscavins) | 19 comments Witty? I was being down-right serious. I hadn't had enough coffee when I wrote that to be funny.

Now, I'm prepared to be funny. But strangely, I have no desire to be.


message 13: by J.R. (new)

J.R. | 71 comments Nancy wrote: "Hi KJ, Ross, and Dr.
I'm a match with all of you except local papers have been kind to me (they are failing, however, and readership is way down) and I use a POD (CreateSpace) to print books. I've..."

I'd suggest you make her the victim in your next book.

message 14: by Ross (new)

Ross Cavins (rosscavins) | 19 comments And actually, if I was wanting to be funny (enough coffee in me and a few days to ruminate) .. I would have said:

You should have told her, "That's okay. I'm sure you weren't that good of a teacher, and I wouldn't want my book wasted on someone who doesn't know a semi-colon from a comma under a dot. I'm certain your brain is a mess of jumbled metaphors and misplaced modifiers. It would be too upsetting to me for you to read it and know you don't understand."

There, that feels better.

message 15: by Maria (new)

Maria (meromana) | 3 comments Oh, I love that response! I was infuriated when I read that woman's rude remarks, and this is exactly what she needed to be told. Of course, none of us would want to lower ourself to her level to deliver it.


message 16: by Darcia (new)

Darcia Helle (darciahelle) I tried the Goodreads pay-per-click ad for one of my books. As far as sales, I didn't notice a jump at all. Lots of people added that title to their to-read list. However, I get that same response when I list a Goodreads giveaway and all that costs me is the price of one or two books plus shipping.

message 17: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Bourdon (daniellebourdon) | 8 comments I've looked into this as well. The one thing I can't figure out is if you're able to set a limit on clicks and days the ads run. I wouldn't want to have an open ended click-fest for a week or anything.

What appeals to me about the ads thing is how many potential eyeballs might see the book. Even if people don't add it to their lists or buy it right away, they might remember the title (or author) for later.

I'm also waiting approval for a book giveaway. There were almost 700 people who signed up for the last, so it's great exposure.


message 18: by Darcia (new)

Darcia Helle (darciahelle) Danielle, you can set a limit on how much you want to spend. If I remember correctly, you set how much you're willing to pay per click, how many clicks you want to pay for per day and how long you want the ad to run.

message 19: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Bourdon (daniellebourdon) | 8 comments Great, thanks Darcia!

message 20: by John (new)

John Karr (karr) | 6 comments I've done it / am doing it now. It helps raise awareness, but I'm not sure how many actual sales result from it so I keep the total spent on it fairly modest.

message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

Nancy wrote: "Hi KJ, Ross, and Dr.
I'm a match with all of you except local papers have been kind to me (they are failing, however, and readership is way down) and I use a POD (CreateSpace) to print books. I've..."

Nancy, I have had similar experience with people. They tell me they don't like Star Trek or Harry Potter so they won't like my book. No one ever said THE SECRETS OF THE UNWRITTEN BOOK had anything in common with those. They just made assumptions. I am sorry that lady was so rude to you.

message 22: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Grossman (laurenbgrossman) | 40 comments I had an idea and wondered if my friends at Goodreads would be willing to help me out. Four months ago I paid to have a book trailer made. It turned out great. In the 4 months I have had 840 visits and 24 comments. I may have made some book sales through it – that’s hard to tell.

I asking if all of you would please click onto this site: , and, if possible, leave a comment. That would help me rise up the Youtube ladder. Additionally, I’m requesting that you share the website address onto your Facebook page, Twitter, blogs, etc.

I don’t believe that a book trailer could possibly go “viral” – that only happens to people who burp the Star-Spangled Banner. But it would be a great experiment. Obviously, this request is not completely altruistic – it’s possible I may get some sales out of it. But, we could then all help each other in the same way, since we are all in the same boat.

My thanks to those of you who do this and please let me know your book’s name (website, Amazon link- if you’re an Amazon Associate, etc).

message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Thomas wrote: "Interesting discussion. I've been using goodreads ads for a few weeks now. 100,000 views/33 clicks for $5, which has gotten me 7 people adding my poetry book to their list. That is fun, at least..."

Wowser! That's great.

message 24: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 08, 2012 07:58AM) (new)

Thomas wrote: "Interesting discussion. I've been using goodreads ads for a few weeks now. 100,000 views/33 clicks for $5, which has gotten me 7 people adding my poetry book to their list. That is fun, at least..."

At .50 a click, wouldn't 33 clicks amount to $16.50? I think I'm missing something, here.

message 25: by Reena (new)

Reena Jacobs (reenajacobs) | 66 comments You can lower the pay per click amount as low as $0.10/click. 33 clicks for $5 comes to be about $0.15/click.

message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Ah! Thanks.

message 27: by Reena (new)

Reena Jacobs (reenajacobs) | 66 comments I think the bid amount determines how many times Goodreads will display your ad without anyone clicking on it and/or initial placement. I'm going to use an example with fake numbers.

Say you have it set at $0.10/click. Goodreads might display that ad 1k times if no one clicks on the ad. If it's set at $0.20, Goodreads might display it 2k times. Ads with a higher per click may also get better placement initially. I'm just guessing with the info in this paragraph.

This information is true though and mentioned somewhere when you sign up for self-serve advertising. ---->The rules change if you receive clicks. If your ad is selling, they may display it 10, 20, 50K times a day even if it's only $0.10/click. It really comes down to the bottom line. Whichever ads sell the most are the ads Goodreads is going to display.

message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Gotcha. That makes perfect sense.

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