Using Online Ads to Promote Your Book

Many authors feel overwhelmed by the prospect of promoting their book, not knowing where to put their time, energy, and money so they’ll get the most return on investment. There are many options—and not necessarily a lot of evidence about which ones are the most effective.

One author has written about her use of ads on Goodreads to promote her books. She tracked which ads were clicked on and how the click-through rates changed over time. She then published the data and her conclusions on her blog.

Chrysoula Tzavelas is the author of, among other titles, two YA urban fantasy novels, Matchbox Girls and Infinity Key. (Full disclosure: I was a beta reader for Infinity Key. I had read Matchbox Girls and thoroughly enjoyed it. The sequel did not disappoint.) She decided to try Goodreads ads to see if she could increase reader interest and what she calls “corner-of-the-eye awareness.”

In one blog post she explains her goals and quotes the text of each ad and its click-through rate. In a follow-up blog post she lists the changes in the ads’ click-through rates over time and lists her conclusions, which include some helpful suggestions for authors who want to try this promotion method.

One comment she made about her promotion efforts is particularly noteworthy: “An unexpected side benefit is that I’ve become a lot better at, uh, promoting myself.” Her experience is a good example of what many authors discover once they’ve plunged into the world of marketing and promotion: as hard as it may be to do, it gets easier with practice.

By learning from others’ experience as well as their own, authors can be more confident about promoting their books, knowing what to expect and how to use their chosen promotion tools effectively.

You can read about other promotion ideas, including book trailers, here.

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