Paid ads to promote a novel?

Wolf’s Head has been selling incredibly well for the few months it’s been out, topping the UK Kindle “War” chart, the overall “War” chart, and even breaking into the “Historical Fiction” top 20 which is…beyond words really for a debut self-published author. But I noticed the chart placings were starting to dip a little after three months so I thought I’d try some paid ads to keep the interest going.

I’m not talking about paying ten grand for an ad during the Super Bowl or in the middle of “Coronation Street”, I’m meaning a few quid here and there just to see if it actually makes any difference to sales.

Here are my initial thoughts – I’ll post more as time goes on and I try new avenues.

First, and most expensively, I tried The Kindle Book Review. I spent £30 on a one day ad with them where they did something or other (my wife was giving birth to my new son around this time so I’m not exactly sure what or where they posted). I noticed no increase in sales, or hits on my Facebook page or anything else.

Next I tried some Goodreads ads with a total spending limit of about £20. These are quite good value – you only pay when someone actually CLICKS on the ad. I’ve been running three or four of these, aimed at different markets, for a week or so and…I haven’t paid a penny yet because I’ve had not one single click. The ads have been viewed, but not clicked on so it seems like I’m getting free advertising which is fine by me but in terms of them actually doing anything tangible? Nothing.

Finally, I tried Facebook. I expected this to eat money while returning little, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. For a couple of pounds I managed to get about 50+ new likes on my Wolf’s Head Facebook page in just a few hours, and the vast majority of them are from India which is a market I was really hoping to target. I haven’t sold any extra books in India today though, so in terms of sales maybe it’s not that impressive after all, but to add so many new “likes” to a page at least proves the money was spent on SOMETHING tangible.

Overall then, do paid ads work? From what I can see, if you only want to spend a modest amount, it’s probably not worth it – good reviews and word of mouth are much more important. 

I will post more at a later date as I try different sites and, if the book keeps selling well, I might even try spending a little more on some ads. If anyone can recommend a worthwhile place to spend my money, please do so!

7 thoughts on “Paid ads to promote a novel?

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    1. Well, I understand that the promotion Amazon allowed me to be part of (100 books under £2.99) is only open to books in the KDP Select programme, so I’d say it’s been quite brilliant for me, Gordon.
      Also, they’ve implemented a new promo tool, which lets you sell the book for, say, 99p, for a couple of days, then it rises up to maybe £1.49 for a couple of days, then back to full price. It worked really well for me, helped me get the book into the top 200 in the US (I’ll post more about it later, when I get time!).


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