I have read a lot about paying for ads. Most review blogs have this option. You can advertise on Goodreads, Google AdWords, or even Facebook. I know that some writers have been pleased with the results, but I don’t think paid advertising, in case of self-published books, is very helpful.
I don’t click on ads. As in never. Not on Facebook, not on any review site I visit. Not even on Amazon. This is one reason why I think paying for ads isn’t really helpful. Then there’s that ratio between the money you pay and the number of sales you make. And the tricky part is that it’s pretty difficult to trace back sales to a particular promotional effort – in this case, an ad campaign.
Think about it in this way: if you’re paying for clicks, then you’d have to have a pretty high conversion rate to be making any money. Let’s say it costs you 5 cents per click, and you’re making, like I do, 35 cents on each sale, than you’d need to have a conversion rate of 6 to one or better to be making any money. 6 to 1 is impossible. I don’t think even Stephen King sells 1 book to every 6 people who visit his Amazon page.
If you’re making 2 dollars for each sale, then you might actually make some money, given that you can afford to pay for quite a lot of clicks. That’s what you should always consider before paying for an ad.
I’ve tried two Goodreads campaigns, both of which left me with a very bitter taste. The problem is that I don’t really have something to sell. Well, not quite. I have two stories that each sell for $0.99 – the thing is that short stories don’t sell so well; even anthologies by well known authors don’t have a great market.
And then there’s the fact that I get lower royalties: only 35% from Amazon. I make a bit more on Smashwords. So right now I may be rushing to say that advertisements don’t sell, but my idea is that books have a different way in which they sale – I talked about it in yesterday’s post.
Paying for reviews by the likes of Kirkus or Foreword Clarion is just eccentric. I’ve seen books with rave reviews from Kirkus sell close to nothing. The same goes for books featured and reviewed in the Publisher’s Weekly Select Program.
The thing is that as cool as it might be to be able to put a sentence extolling your book with Publisher’s Weekly underneath it on your back cover, you’re still invisible. You have to do something to get people to see your book. To gain exposure.
There are a ton of blogs/review sites that accept self-published titles. It’s free promotion – and a great one. You can e-mail ARCs for your e-book to a thousand reviewers if you want to. Of course, it takes months, maybe more, but there’s this great thing about e-books: they never run out of print. So, like Joe Konrath said, you have forever to find an audience for your book.
And, like I said in yesterday’s post, word of mouth is still the dominant factor when it comes to a book performing well on the market. You can’t force something to go viral on the web, no matter how much money you’re willing to invest. Think about ridiculously photogenic guy – how fast the guy became famous for nothing but a smile.
I say keep your credit card safely tucked inside your wallet. You can direct a lot more traffic by paying nothing, if you’re willing to do a bit more work.