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Does advertising on Goodreads work? (Part 1)

Does advertising on Goodreads work? (Part 1)

Does advertising on Goodreads work? My first step into their self-serve ad system shows promise. I know there’s interest in the writing community about advertising on Goodreads, so I thought I’d share the results of my first (ten bucks!) campaign.

I advertised two middle grade books in my Shirley Link series. The campaign started 12-6-2012.

While I’m somewhat pleased with the overall views, I can’t measure the actual sales since Amazon and are black boxes. I plan on making my own landing page for sales so I can measure conversion next time! Sigh. I knew that, but I didn’t account for it. No soup for me!

I targeted one ad using genres and authors as filters. I used no targeting for the other ad. The ctr was higher for the targeted ad (.01 vs. .02).

daily cap $2.00
total credit purchased $10.00 transactions
total views 116,129
total clicks 20
ctr for all time 0.02%
cpc for all time $0.50

The ten bucks started to go quickly, but after a couple of days it dropped to a trickle. I probably wouldn’t have spent the whole ten bucks if I hadn’t redone the creative on one book, including copy. I also adjusted the link for the ad and made it point to my Goodreads page, and not to my books’ Amazon pages. That simple move seems to have pushed it over the top and my ten bucks quickly got spent. Another benefit of linking to Goodreads page is that I saw a spike in my books being added to Goodreads shelves. It implies that the Goodreads community likes to stay on the site. It also implies (though I have no proof) that Goodreads gives preferential treatment to ads that link to their book pages, and not someone else’s.

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[blockquote author_name=”” width=”50%” float=”left”]My goals for next campaign:

Get a full half percent ctr (you read that right! .5, not .05!)

Track my custom sales page![/blockquote]

[blockquote author_name=”” width=”50%” float=”left”]Lessons learned:

Make a product/landing page that you can track!

Target the ad, but not too strictly. Limiting it to a few genres and several authors is a good place to start.

Adjust the ad when the views drop. Change the copy and graphic, if possible.

For first-timers/dabblers advertising on Goodreads: If you don’t have a landing page of your own where you can sell the book directly, then point the ad to your Goodreads page, NOT an online retailer. Since it’s probably really attractive to link to the online retailers (just to see what happens) I’d wait to do it on your second campaign. That way you can spot your own ad’s performance and adjust around the most important part…the conversion![/blockquote]

Read Part 2 of this series

A Camelot series for fans of Merlin, King Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere.

A Camelot series for fans of Merlin, King Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere.


Did you know Merlin is 3276 years old? It’s true. In fact, today’s his birthday. He’s celebrating in his cave so he doesn’t have to listen to our nonsense.

Did you know Lancelot lived for hundreds of years and actually became really good friends with Merlin? They even built New Camelot together!

How about Excalibur? Who wields it now? The answer is one of these: A ghost. An elf. A dragon. None of the above. Yes, I cheated there.

All questions will be answered in The Camelot Kids, a four-part ebook series.

And you can get updates on the series through my newsletter (monthly, max). It’s packed with Camelot lore, concept art, sneak previews and contests. You can even win a role in an upcoming Camelot Kids book!

You can read some more about the ebook series below. Enjoy!

The Camelot Kids is a series that tells the story of Simon Sharp, 14. Simon isn’t a normal teenager. He’s a kid on a mission.

Simon is determined to find a family.

His archaeologist parents died two years ago in a plane crash while searching for King Arthur’s grave, leaving a bitter, wandering kid as their legacy. He hops from foster home to foster home, but passes most of his time stealing books for a street vendor and panhandling. One day, Simon sneaks into his old halfway house to visit the kindly Head of School, who’s on her death bed. He’s cornered and caught by the same bullies who’ve made his life hell for years.

To Simon, being back in the halfway house is like being in hell.

But when a letter arrives, informing him that he’s to stay with his estranged uncle in Scotland, Simon finds new hope. That hope is quickly dashed when the uncle turns out to be a creep.

Now Simon is miserable in another country. Not a big improvement.

One evening, while banished to his room for the night, Simon discovers a stairwell under his bed. He hates confined spaces but, out of spite for his controlling uncle, he takes the plunge into darkness. What Simon finds at the bottom is beyond anything he could have imagined. What he finds there is his future, wrapped in a past filled with magic, chivalry, King Arthur and Merlin.

The Camelot Kids is an epic story that allowed me to delve into how families fall apart and why so much of our strength and our goodness comes from our connection with others. By the end of writing the first book I knew I’d have the guts to push it out into the real world. I enjoyed the entire process so my assumption is that some of you may enjoy it too.

I’ll be releasing the first four 100-150 page books as ebooks, available on all platforms, including the old-fashioned dead tree platform in the shape of a softcover. Four ebooks will be released monthly, one after another starting in August, 2014. Then the series will be collected in a softcover in December, 2014!

So sign up for Ben’s Books newsletter. There’ll be excerpts from Books One to Four, book illustrations, concept sketches, contests and chances to be included as a character in a future book (don’t worry, you’ll be awesome, I promise). I’ll also offer up little known facts about King Arthur, Excalibur, Lancelot, Guinevere, Camelot, Mordred, Morgan Le Fay, you name it.

Join me at the start of The Camelot Kids. It’s going to be epic!