Advertising on Goodreads

One of my very first blog posts was on paying for advertisement as an indie author.  You can read it here:

I posted the blog on Goodreads and Kindleboards.  Several people made the comment that they had far more success with a Goodreads ad than with places like Facebook or Google Ads.  Success being defined as a noticeable click-to-sale ration.  They said that Goodreads has the advantage of being a reading website so your audience is already there.

Intrigued, I decided to fork over a few bucks and give Goodreads a shot.  To-date I have done two separate campaigns.  One had two stories featured with direct links to Amazon and B&N.  The other campaign just had the Goodreads link.

For both campaigns I saw no noticeable click-to-sale success rate.  Because I targeted my books to specific audiences, the clicks were very few and far between. Although I probably gained some exposure, I still stand by my original opinion: paying for ads is not worth it.  As a mostly unknown indie author, it would take years (literally) to earn back what I would have to spend in a longterm ad campaign.


  1. I'm also not convinced about the rationality of a short story writer paying for advertising.
    Like you, I've tried it twice, both times on Kindle in the Wind.

    For $10 you're book is the featured sponsor for a full day, complete with cover art, blurb, your bio, link to sales sites and whatever reviews you want to include.

    And of course they tweet and announce on Facebook.

    Seemed like a steal, considering they're a ton cheaper than some other sites.

    I tried it first with CHARLIE, shortly after I put out BORDER CROSSING. At that point CHARLIE was my weakest seller. Almost immediately, sales for CHARLIE went up, and it quickly overtook the other two short thrillers I had available.


    Of course that intrigued me.

    So I tried it again, a week later, with my second-weakest seller, NORTH OF FORKS.

    Nothing. At. All.

    So who knows? Not me.
    But who came out on top?
    Kindle in the Wind. They have my $20.

    Shana Hammaker
    METAMORPHOSIS, Twelve Terrifying Tales for 2011

  2. I did some very limited Facebook advertising for my first indie novel, The Summoning Fire, right after I released it. I only tried that because of the similarity to Google Ad Words. I use Ad Words for advertising my software product (The Journal) with a decent return on investment. I also did a bit of FB advertising for the software at the same time. I wasn't especially pleased with either one. I wouldn't say they were a total failure, but the results didn't justify the expense. Part of the problem, I think, is that FB is too indirect. My Ad Words for The Journal go straight to The Journal's Web page, and the software can be purchased directly from there. The Journal's FB page is one step removed from that. I don't plan to pay for any more FB advertising.

    The only other advertising I've done for a book was also for The Summoning Fire. I decided to give Kindle Boards Book of the Day a try. In October. For only $35 it seemed a good deal. Later this month (24 April) the ad will *finally* run. That's just too long a lead time to be useful--unless I had set up the ad 6 months *before* I released the novel. So I doubt I will do that again either.


  3. Yeah, I have a Frugal eReader daily feature coming up at the end of May. I don't know... I'm really torn about this kind of thing. On the one hand, there are many instances where I have felt totally ripped off after paying for the advertisement. At least with Goodreads, my ad ran for a really long time because the clicks were few and far between.

    But on the other hand, I feel it would be foolish not to try "everything" at least once, you know? I kind of rationalize it as: what's $10 if it pays off big in the end?

    Independent authors: intelligent people with gambling addictions. Lol.


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