As most marketing-savvy authors are aware, Goodreads provides two different levels of advertising. The first one is the Goodreads self-serve pay per click option, which lets you run a short text ad with the image of your book cover for about 50 cents per click. The problem with these ads is that they’re in the sidebar very low on the page, and the book cover image is almost microscopic. They’re just not visible. Even for a pay per click veteran like myself, it’s hard to create an ad that people will actually see and click on.
The other option is the premium book launch package, which includes the pay per click option, a book giveaway, a premium author page, and one of those flashy, image-rich display ads that are hard to miss. You get all of this for $2500. Goodreads won’t really negotiate that price.
Well, I don’t have $2500 bucks to throw at a campaign like this, but I DO have a credit card with some open space on it. If I can prove to myself that the ad would pay for itself, then I would be stupid not to buy it, right?
I started scouring the web to see if there are any authors or publishing houses out there talking about the ROI on this package, and of course, there aren’t. So I sent an email to the Goodreads Ad rep, asked for a proposal, and started grilling him on various statistics.
Here’s what I learned:
Goodreads does not provide the creative for these ads, so you better find a darn good designer.
Click Through Ratios
Here are the average clickthrough ratios (CTR) for the two types of ads:
Text Ad CTR: .05% (my actual campaign is running .06%)
Display Ad CTR: .16%
According to Goodreads, the average conversion rate once someone clicks on the ad is about 50%. This means, in Goodreads terms, that 50% of people who click on the ad will add your book to their “to-read” list.
The average length of a typical Goodreads “to-read” list, according to the ad rep, is 9 books.
Okay, so my book is a legal thriller called Black Oil, Red Blood. (You know I had to get some self-promotion in here somewhere, right? ) Accordingly, the ad rep put together a proposal for me that includes 456,790 impressions on pages of users who have indicated they like thrillers.
With a CTR of .16%, that means I would get roughly 7300 clicks.
If half of those people added my book to their to-read list, that would be 3,654 potential new readers.
Okay, so let’s say only half of the the people who add the book to their list get around to buying the book, for whatever reason. That would be about 1830 sales.
Right now, the e-book version and the print version of my book earn about a $2.00 royalty.
So that’s a potential gross profit of $3,660. Subtract my advertising costs from that, and I get a net profit of $1,160.
Would you buy the advertising package if you were me?
Okay, here’s the deal. If I don’t hit those numbers, I’m out a lotta money. But if I do, AWESOME, right? The key, I think, is making sure you have a really strong opening that draws readers in. The problem is, as of right now, I really have no way to know how many people have downloaded sample chapters but chose not to buy the book–so I don’t know how well my opening converts. Frustrating!
And this is where I ask for your help.
I’m going to share the first 300 words of the opening of my book. Please comment and let me know whether you would or would not want to buy it (say, for $2.99 on Kindle) if you were a thriller fan. And then let me know if you think this advertising package would be worth it! Thanks in advance:
I didn’t even know how to use a gun before yesterday, and I certainly hadn’t become a crack shot overnight. That didn’t bode well for my chances of survival at the moment —especially since I was currently staring down the wrong end of somebody else’s barrel. What was I supposed to do? Duck? Shoot first? Run?
Maybe the decision would have been easier if I hadn’t loved the guy pointing the gun at me. I watched his trigger finger tense as the smoky, toxic air around us seemed to grow even thicker. Walls shook and the floor rolled beneath me as an explosion thundered through the building. The PetroPlex flagship oil refinery was fast on its way to becoming nothing but a memory.
The doorframe buckled before my eyes—my only means of escape. Sharp orange tongues of flame lapped at me from above, sending down a rain of fiery particles as acoustic ceiling tiles disintegrated overhead.
That’s when I knew that gun or no gun, I was going to die.