My First Goodreads Ad

Book Advertising

Two weeks ago, I decided to dip my toes in the waters of book advertising.  Was it successful?  You be the judge.

The Setup:

I bought a “D.I.Y.” pay-per-click ad on Goodreads for $40 and bid about 50 cents per click which is the lowest you can possibly go.  I set the cap at $20 per day.

Click Through Rates (CTR) 

To make a long story short, I got a .12% click through rate, which is somewhere between the average Goodreads ad of .05%- .50% CTR.  The only problem I had with these stats are, you have no idea what those people who got that .50% rate actually spent?  So how can I make my ad more successful?

All in all, I did get the word out there about my book, but at a $36.00 loss.  I also learned a whole lot about book advertising.


Number #1:  I didn’t do any split testing, meaning, I didn’t use two or more ads and test them side by side to see which one got the best results.

Number #2:  I had no real call to action in my ad.  My ad basically had the title of my book and the copy: “What would you do if your boyfriend had been intimate with another boy?”  It was enough to entice several people but not enough to get conversions/buyers.

Number #3:  Bad pricing, I set my ebook at $4.99 which wasn’t a problem when it came to clicks but when it came to conversion however, there was definitely an issue!  I’m thinking of taking my price down to the “normal” $2.99 for the book tour and then I’ll raise it back to where it belongs.


I put the ad up on Thursday and let it run for two weeks.  The most activity I saw was during Thursday through Sunday.  During the early weekdays however, there was a 60% plus drop in clicks and views.

Book Advertising
The chart that Goodreads provides displaying ad views.

Results in plain English:


70 clicks

one sale

9 people put “Hag” on their to read list.

Things You Need to Know

You must have an authors account or be a representative of an author in order to advertise a book on Goodreads.

GR has rules about the content of  ads, when you put links in your ad, you must tell people where they will be going like; Amazon, B&N’s etc.  This is to protect the customer, so you can’t say, “Click here and get my book on Amazon” and take them to a scam or porn site instead.  Goodreads will check the links you provide!

There is absolutely no pornography, or libelous language allowed.

Before you advertise on their site, Goodreads has to approve your ad, which can take anywhere from 24-72 hrs.  The earliest Goodreads approved my ads was 12 hours, the longest they ever took, 3 days!  Keep this in mind when timing your ad campaign.  If you’re going to post on the weekends, submit your ad by Wednesday.

GR has a cool pause feature, where if your ad is approved too early, you can simply pause it until you’re ready.  It’s also great for split testing!

Well that’s it, there will be a part 2 soon, where I’ll discuss my book launch and all the wonderful, as well as all the nightmarish things that went on.

If you got any advertising stories of your own, please share them in the comments section.


  1. I’ve had several hundred $ sitting in GoodReads for more than a week and have adjusted the click through bid from .70 cents to $5.04 — it didn’t make one bit of difference…after all that time and at what I think are quite high bid prices, I haven’t had a single click and my books haven’t moved in ranking, i.e. stuck somewhere on page 5. My experience thus far is very poor, book is lost in cyberspace and doesn’t seem to matter what one does

    • I also got minimal results from Goodreads on my second ad this past week. A few people put my book on their “to read” list but there was no conversion. Just like with Facebook, it seems readers don’t want to leave the Goodreads website.

      Recently, I got great results with Amazon’s KDP and Kindle Nation Daily. That only cost me about $29.99 much cheaper than the $100 I wasted on GR. I’ll be blogging about that soon.

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