Do book ads work?

Do book ads work? At least once a week an author will email me to ask if a specific website is a good place to advertise their book. I often tell them that online ads do not sell books. Ads create book awareness, but reader recommendations remain the primary reason a book sells. A Publisher Weekly review may help make a book known, but it’s those Amazon and Goodreads reviews that cause consumers to click and buy. (Note: a PW review is not an ad and thus carries more clout with readers.)

That said, at LPC we have advertised on any number of websites to see if we can find one that provides steady consumers for our books. Here are a few we’ve tried.

The Vessel Project – 4 stars

The good: Price. For around $21, VP will promote your book to their subscriber email list, tweet your ad, mention it on Facebook, and give your ad its own page for the duration of the promotion. (5 days, I think). Each book promotion ad is tweeted at least five times to a following of 30,000 readers for an estimated impression value of 150,000. VP followers may also retweet a particular ad. Add to that the 8,000 VP Facebook followers and you have exposure to close to 200,000 readers. If you’re an author who earns at least $1 per book sold, then you only have to sell twenty-one additional copies to cover the cost of your ad. The owner is responsive – always a plus.

The bad: Your book may not appeal to VP readers. We’ve seen upwards to seventy-five books sold in a day and as few as none. I suggest you subscribe to the VP newsletter, visit a book’s Amazon page the morning the newsletter releases, (8:am), check that book’s sales ranking, and review its ranking later in the day. If you see a noticeable increase in the book’s sales ranking, then take note of the author, genre, number of reviews and stars, and its sale price. That might give you some idea of which books work best for VP subscribers.

In summary: We are pleased with our advertising results on the Vessel Project.

Goodreads Ads – 3 stars

The good: Goodreads ads are great for book branding. I cannot say with certainty that each ad generates new sales for us, but for print copies, we noticed a slight uptick in sales when a book was featured on Goodreads. We normally select a 20-cent per click charge with a $5 daily budget.

The bad: Goodreads ads do not seem to help eBooks. For us, it’s primarily a print book advertising option. As more authors advertise, the less exposure your ad may receive. And if you have multiple books, this can be an expensive way to advertise.

In summary: Goodreads ads seem to create reader awareness. You only pay for clicks, not impressions, so for the money, these ads can be an effective way to get your book in front of readers.

GoodKindle – 2 stars

The good: Price. Each ad is only $19. Each book gets its own page and (so far) that page remains on their website, thus providing an evergreen, SEO affect.

The bad: We tried one book and sold one copy as a result of the ad. Maybe it was the time of year (right before Christmas) but we expected better results.

In summary: The owner of the site responded to our inquiries and that’s always encouraging.

Readers in the Know – 1 star

The Good: You can create an account with up to three books in your account. We took advantage of their 60-day free trail. The latest pricing on their site shows this service is around $30 US dollars. Each additional title (you can list up to three for $30) is around $1.50. The interface was easy to use and the ad ran as scheduled.

The bad: We did not see any increase in sales.

In summary: Maybe we tried this service too soon. I seem to recall the owner was building his business so he may not have had lots of traffic to the site. Still, even $30 for an ad that doesn’t generate any sales is too much to spend.


There are lots of websites that charge to advertise your book. The challenge is finding sites whose ads translate into sales. As a general rule, for ever dollar you spend on advertising you will need to sell one book to cover that expense. My general impression is that the real winners in online advertising are the sites selling the ads.

We’ve tried advertising on Facebook but Facebook has this weird policy that precludes any ad with text that exceeds a certain threshold. (I think it’s around 15% text). Since most book covers have a title, author name, and tagline or quote, our books fall outside of Facebook’s guidelines. (And I’ve yet to see Facebook deliver increase sales for the ads that did meet their guidelines.)

I’ve heard Bookbub is a great place to advertise your book but ad prices range from $55 to $1,700.

If you had success advertising your book online, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Creative Marketing Ideas For Authors – Damian Wolf

Creative Marketing Ideas For Authors

Doing a job of your dreams is a reward in itself. But doing a job of your dreams and getting paid for it – well, that’s what you’d call a win!

Writers who had the luck to have their work noticed and loved by their target readership had to work very hard and very persistently to get where they are now. Nothing just came to them, be sure of that. Especially not in the world of today where celebrity gossip is much more appreciated than wisdom, literacy and true life substance coming out of a writer’s pen. Anyway, in order to stay hip and trending, writers too need some help from marketing experts. With a little help of marketing agents and a good marketing plan, almost any author will remain one of the brightest literary stars. So, the question is – how does a writer do that?

1. Secure an audience before publishing

In case you are a newcomer and you haven’t been published before, you need to spread the word about your book release as soon as possible. Most writers start out as bloggers. Once they get noticed, their blogs turn into books. Assuming you had quite a readership on your blog, you’ll need to update your followers on novelties in your professional life – be excited to share the news about your book with everyone who is willing to hear it! If you also have a Twitter and Facebook page, along with a Linked-In profile – wonderful! Make your announcement (on several occasions) and wait for everybody else to follow up!

2. Be your own brand

Every author should be a brand for him/herself. This goes for you as well. You need to be that writer who wrote that book. Nobody is interested in plain people and/or contents anymore. You and your work need to be loud. Tricky part is if you work within several genres. If this be the case, it’s advisable you use a different pen name for each genre. Why? Well, it’s like with food – once people are used to eating that chocolate souffle with vanilla icing and they absolutely love it, they’ll probably be reluctant to try it with any other flavor. Not because they aren’t risk takers. They just don’t want to be disappointed. So, stay focused on who you are and who you want to be for your readers. Proper branding is half the job done.

3. ‘Write hard and clear about what hurts’

Oh, you clever little thing! Yes, I did quote Hemingway there and it serves the purpose. Point is, when marketing yourself and your product (this product being (a) book(s)) be clear on the message you want to send, people you want to attract, the idea you want to come-across. What is it about your book and you, and not some other writer’s, that should catch the readers’ attention? Take some time and figure this out. Know exactly who you are as a person, a writer and a presenter. Yet, don’t be terrified of this mission, people that are going to read you are most probably similar to yourself – assuming you love what you write, of course.

4. Understand the market

Once your book hits the press, you’ll have it sold through variety of channels – online as ebooks, in book shops as print, maybe on news stands, in different stores that may align with the theme of your book, etc. Some channels will without a doubt earn you more money than others. So, what you need to do is calculate which channel is most suitable for your genre and the type of audience you wish to attract. Sometimes, direct sales are a win. Other times, Amazon will deliver a much bigger return for your effort, maybe even bigger than your personal author’s web page. Who knows! Well, you will – once you dedicate some time and attention to tracking figures down. Still, knowing where to put your marketing efforts will surely pay off on the long run.

Apart for having all these things mentioned above covered, you need to keep your human side, too. Yes, you are their favorite writer, but you are also their only real link to their favorite fiction and fictional characters. So, talk to your readers, engage with them and always stay polite and patient. Organizing book events, tours, theme gatherings will only score you points! An important thing is – don’t push yourself onto the reader. Wait for them to ask for you!


Damian Wolf is an entrepreneur and wannabe writer. He loves to write about small business, marketing tips and interesting life topics. Damian is also marketing assistant at Cubic Promote, and proud husband and father.


Thank Your Amazon Reviewers

Would you like to respond to a review on Amazon? Now you can with your Author Central account.

Login to Author Central Page with your regular Amazon login:

Once logged in, you will see a link in the top-nav area called “Customer Reviews.”

Get More Amazon Reviews

Click that link. On the page you will see your reviews.

Thank those reviewers who said nice things about your book, ignore the bad stuff and move on. This is a great way to connect with your readers on Amazon!

Listing Your First Goodreads Giveaway

Create buzz for an upcoming book by listing a 3-day giveaway for free physical books on Goodreads. First fill out and submit a brief form describing your book and the timeframe for the giveaway.


Agree to supply the indicated number of books on the date the giveaway ends. In the Publisher url field, include your book’s Amazon (short) link, like so: Include your book’s search / meta tags: romance, suspense, inspirational, autism, etc.


Explain who you are and who you work for. Please also provide a valid mailing address that confirms who you work for so they can be sure you will ship the books.

This address will not be shown to giveaway contestants.

Goodreads will list (for free) the book on its giveaways page.

Goodreads’ members will then enter to win giveaways. Many will add the book to their “to read” shelf. This is the real gold in Goodreads’ giveaways. Since readers may have lots of books on their virtual shelves, this is one way for yours to be seen by thousands of potential readers.

Goodreads reviews the list of those who requested the free book and selects winners.

Author ships free book to winner.

That’s it!

You only need to offer one copy.  If you have many copies to offer, I suggest running additional giveaways rather than offering all of them at once.

Let readers know you’ll be providing an autographed copy.  Include the words “AUTOGRAPHED COPY” in all caps at the top of the giveaway description box. Similarly, if your giveaway is for an ARC (Advance Readers Copy), say so. Readers love to have the first look at new titles.

Make your giveaway description compelling. It’s tempting to copy and paste your back-cover copy into the giveaway description box. Don’t! If readers want a synopsis, they can easily click over to your book listing on Goodreads  to learn more.

  • Mention that it’s an AUTOGRAPHED COPY (yes, all caps)
  • Add a catchy tagline: #1 Best Seller in Amazon’s Christmas category
  • List awards for your book
  • List any awards you may have won (Christy-winner, for example)
  • List praise from famous authors who endorsed the book
  • List links for more info: Visit to learn more about this book

Reach out to winners. When your giveaway ends, Goodreads  will send you a notification and a link to click to view the winner’s name and address. You can also click on the winner’s name to visit his/her Goodreads  profile. Send a message congratulating the winner and telling him or her when the copy will be mailed out.

Send book(s) promptly.  Deliver on your commitment, and send the book as quickly as you can.

Pulse your giveaway lengths.  Run a giveaway for only 2-3 days. In this way your book will be listed (probably) on both the newly listed and ending soon pages for the duration of your giveaway. Readers can search by genre, but many just browse. By alternating longer and shorter giveaways, you can balance cost with impact. Many short giveaways in a row may lose their potency.

Schedule your giveaways to start in the future. Don’t set up the giveaway and click for it to start immediately. Goodreads  goes through an approval process that can take a couple days. If they approve your giveaway midday, you will be lumped with the authors who scheduled theirs to start at the beginning of the day, and you will spend less time in the recently listed section. I usually schedule mine to start three business days in advance so that I know it will be ready. NOTE: Goodreads runs a thin staff on weekends, so don’t expect to submit on Friday and have them approve by Monday.

Give away as many copies as possible. If your goal is to get reviews, it makes sense to give away a lot of books. Nearly 60 percent of giveaway winners review the books they win, so the more books you offer, the more reviews you are likely to get. Contact those who DID NOT WIN and ask if they would like a complimentary copy. Check their profile first to make sure they fit your target market.

Post your Giveaway Widget on your blog, website, and Facebook page. This might spur interest in your other titles. The Giveaway Widget works by helping you reach the people most likely to enjoy your book − your fans!

The cost of a giveaway is low compared to paid advertising but don’t expect results overnight. Getting attention on Goodreads takes time, but the exposure may lead to “long-tail” sales.

Keep Your Image Current

If you expect others to follow you, your brand, and books, keep your image current. This requires consistent care and attention. After all, your goal is to inspire others and increase the reach of your online identity.

Here are a few ways you can remain active and visible:

MaintainYourImage_blog MaintainYourImage_facebook MaintainYourImage_twitter MaintainYourImage_linkedin
Be Heard. Post something every day. It can be a paragraph, photo, video… anything. Post a status message daily. Make it informative and engaging. Find a few items, quotes, ideas, worth retweeting every day. Go to the Answers section. See if you have something to contribute to the Q&A.
Show You Listen. Check your comments section on a daily basis, and reply. Respond promptly to any comments on your wall. Reply to three or more tweets with substantive responses. Accept any invitations soon after you get them.
Reach Out. Check out the blogs of the people who comment on yours, and if you find something interesting, comment back. Pick three or four people each day and comment on their updates. Find 5–10 new people to follow. Request a recommendation… or offer to write one for someone else.
Engage. Ask another blogger about creating a guest post. If you belong to groups or fan pages, leave a new comment. Identify several people you feel are worth following—it shows where you’re coming from. Join a new group.

Finally, follow the 80/20 rule. Talk about other things 80% of the time, your book 20%. Tweet and comment about other authors, their books. In short, follow the Golden (80/20) Rule and watch your influence spread.

(Tips and ideas provided by ACX, the leader in Audiobook creation.)

Syndicate Your Content – Diving in to social media and social networking takes time… if you let it, it can take up all of your time.

But there’s a way to get much more mileage out of the content you create. Simply stated: Syndicate. This is perhaps the most important tip we can give you when it comes to social media and social networking.

Syndicate Your Content

What is syndicating?

Syndicating is the practice of creating content once, and then distributing it to multiple services and destinations simultaneously. The key is this: You want your status, your tweet, your idea to show up in as many places as possible without having to update each of them manually, one login after another.

So every time you syndicate a message encouraging people to purchase one of your audiobooks you’re sending this message out on all channels.

And yes, there is technology expressly designed to make that happen.

Syndication services

When you use a syndicating tool, like or FriendFeed, you get much more bang for your buck. They let you post once to Twitter and have your update sent to as many other services as the tool supports. You can do the same with photos and video, depending on what the service you choose supports.

HootSuite and other social media dashboards let you manage and post to multiple accounts—to your LinkedIn status, Twitter, Facebook Fan Pages, and more.

Using one of these tools lets you selectively post to only the services you select. For example, you may want to post your status to Twitter and to your personal Facebook account, but not to LinkedIn or your Facebook Fan Page. With a couple of clicks, your message goes out to all of the places you’ve selected—and only to those places you’ve selected.

Syndication tools and social media dashboards:

  • FriendFeed
  • HootSuite
  • TweetDeck (Mac, Windows, Linux)
  • Twitteriffic (Mac, Windows)
  • Seesmic (Mac, Windows, Linux)
  • Cotweet (Browser client)

There’s more! These types of tools can be for more than just posting. You can use them to monitor the activity and messages of your friends, followers, and fans on the same services.

(Reprinted with permission from ACX:

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas uses ACX for our audio books. Check out these audio books on

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas uses ACX for our audio books. Check out these audio books on

Redeeming Grace: Thriller & Suspense, Political Mystery (Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Political Espionage) Deception: Fear The Heart of Darkness Masquerading as Light The Maze - The Lost Labyrinth Becalmed

Start a Blog – A key part of your online presence is having a blog. A blog goes beyond Facebook and Twitter, and acts as your home base for engaging fans and colleagues. It’s not much more work than Facebook or Twitter.

In fact, creating a blog has become extremely easy thanks to a variety of services that will host it and help you set it up. You don’t need to be a coder to create a fine blog.

Trust us, If you can send email, you can blog. And it’s a fantastic way to connect to people who likely have a built-in interest in your audiobook.

Start a Blog

Get Started. Start with one of the many available services that make building your blog kind of like a paint-by-numbers exercise. Most are even free. Check out:

So what do these services do? They give you a template; you simply make some choices and fill it in. Many allow you to post to your blog using nothing but email. You can even use them to syndicate your photos and videos to other locations online.

What blog services can do for you:

  • Share what you’re working on and invite comments. This makes readers feel attached to you and your work.
  • Update your blog frequently. Once a day is ideal, three times a week is a minimum. Frequent maintenance is important—it gets people to return regularly.
  • Test your idea for a book or performance. People love getting a peek inside the creative process!
  • If you’re a narrator, post your audio work to showcase your talent.
  • Create and post a short video. This could be another great place for an audiobook trailer. After uploading it to YouTube, embed the video player on your blog. (YouTube makes it simple. Just look for the “Embed” button.)
  • Link to your audiobook on, or iTunes. Encourage people to become AudibleListener® members on Audible. Remember, if they buy your audiobook as one of their first three downloads, you get that Twenty-five Dollar Bounty Payment! (With the Royalty Share deals, the Rights Holder and Producer split that twenty-five dollars, so both have an incentive to promote!)

Top Tips For Blogging

Here are our top tips for blogging.

  1. Give your blog a name that’s short, easy to spell, and memorable.
  2. Link to your books on Audible.comAmazon.comiTunes, and wherever else they can be found. Don’t post ads for your audiobook. Instead mention it (with links) in the context of the posting.
  3. Post regularly. Every day if you can, three times a week at minimum.
  4. Respond directly to as many posted comments as possible, either with your own comment or in a new post. Of course always be polite.
  5. Use Twitter and Facebook to drive people to your blog. Let the world know what you’re talking about, and provide a link back to your blog.
  6. Create effective tags.
  7. Use images (that you have rights to use) as much as possible.
  8. Include links to other blogs and websites.
  9. Join blog networks. Look up blog directories and list yours with them.
  10. Make it easy for people to contact you from your blog, whether by email, phone, a contact form, or comments.Tip: Don’t want to give out your actual phone number? Get a free phone number from Google Voice and post that to your blog—it will forward the calls to your regular number.
  11. Allow and encourage fans to give you their email address or sign up for an RSS feed of your blog.

Top Tips For Blogging

(Reprinted with permission from ACX:

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas uses ACX for our audio books. Check out these audio books on

Redeeming Grace: Thriller & Suspense, Political Mystery (Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Political Espionage) Deception: Fear The Heart of Darkness Masquerading as Light The Maze - The Lost Labyrinth Becalmed