So if you’re just joining me for this series, in Part 1 I discuss The Blog Tour, in Part 2 I discuss The Power of the Free. In the latter, I mention Goodreads as an excellent source for doing review copy giveaways and the like, but that’s certainly not where the awesome of Goodreads ends.
Now the stuff I’ve focused on up to now has largely been to do with promoting the book you already have out. What I’d like to talk about next is promoting your upcoming release. Goodreads provides a couple of different ways to do this, both of which largely rely on having your cover art.
Before we move on, I have to make a statement about cover art. Do not, under any circumstances unless you are a professional graphic designer, design your own cover art. And don’t have your BFF or a family member do it either because if you do and it sucks, then nobody will be brave enough to tell you. Cover art is (next to telling a good story and making sure your product is well edited and formatted) THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, so for the love of all that is bookish, hire a professional cover artist. /PSA.
Ok, so when you have your cover art and your nice, handy dandy little blurb describing the book, the next thing you should do is list the book on Goodreads. The easiest way to do this (at least that I can find) is to do a search for your title. It will then bring up whatever the search does, and there will be an option on the right-hand side of the screen that says “Manually add books.” This will take you to the nice little screen where you enter in all your details about the book, including uploading your pretty, professionally-designed cover art. When you’re finished, click “Create Book” at the bottom and, voila, your book now has a Goodreads page. For an example of a book page for a book that’s not yet out, see the one for my upcoming release, Red.
Why is this a good thing? Well apart from the excitement of showing off the new pretty that is your cover art, it allows people to ADD YOUR BOOK to their To Read list (and/or any other list they might like). This means that in the days, weeks, months (depending on how much time you have) before your book releases, there’s time for people to NOTICE your book and think “hey, I wanna read that…CLICK”, then bookmark it in their To Read list for when it actually comes out. You can also put an “Add this on Goodreads” button on your blog, Facebook, wherever to encourage folks to do exactly that. And, you know, it’s a nice thing to then go add those people to your Goodreads friends list, so that when your book really does come out, you can make a book recommendation to them so that they know it’s available. This, of course, is more free advertising (well, other than the cost of your cover art, which you’re going to have to pay for anyway).
You can also do Pay Per Click advertising on Goodreads. On any given page of the Goodreads website, you will see a box (usually on the right side, lower on the page) that says “Sponsored Books”. These books are part of the PPC program, otherwise known as Self Serve Advertising. Here’s how this program works. You will create a campaign, write up ads (these are short…140 characters, so think about advertising your book in a Tweet) and feature any image of some kind–book cover is best. These ads can be linked to any website. The default is the Goodreads page for the book, but you could link it to the Amazon sales page or some other page if you like. Once you create your ads, they will go into the queue to be approved by the nice Goodreads staff. Meanwhile, you will decide how much you want to spend. This is pay per click advertising, meaning that you don’t pay a cent until someone sees your ad and clicks on it. You will set your total amount for the campaign (which can be set to be a recurring payment if you like), and how much you would like to pay per click (anywhere from $0.10 to $50). I have yet to figure out why anybody would want to pay $50. I got the best results by setting it at the lowest click rate amount (a dime). And, what makes this fabulous as opposed to other forms of advertising, is that you can TARGET IT based on reader AGE, GENRE, and other factors. So if you write romance, your ad isn’t being wasted on a bunch of crotchety old men who read nothing but war novels or something.
I had 3 ads rotating for Forsaken By Shadow, and the cool thing about this program is that it will give you stats so you can see which ads are the most effective in getting people to click. What’s the end game of these ads? Well, for me it was getting folks to add my titles to their To Read list. I have no way of directly measuring sales connected to these ads, but again we’re talking about building some buzz and recognition. It will show up on your book page how many shelves your book is sitting on. The higher that number, the more likely people are to add it to their own shelf. Now do all those adds automatically translate in to sales? Maybe not. But it gets your book into their awareness, and when you’re indie or just building your platform and don’t have a big marketing department behind you, you need all the help you can get.
Tune in tomorrow for Part 4 where I talk about the types of promo I don’t think would be the most effective.