eBook Promoters ~ The Best & The Worst Part 4

Written By: Jackie Weger - Jun• 21•15

Putting the spotlight on Goodreads Ads and Amazon.com Campaigns…


eNovel Round Logo (2)This is the fourth in a series of articles about ebook promoters and indie author services. Have mercy! It may go on forever because every single day we indie authors are approached by new promoters entering our indie universe and asking for our $$$. In an earlier post, I promised I would share our promotion experiences on Goodreads and Amazon.com. Goodreads leaves me confused.  I love Amazon. Amazon pays my bills.

I offer as a caveat: Indie authors who have mastered Goodreads may have wonderful success promoting with Goodreads. Ten of

us in eNovel Authors at Work did not. What we did: We each bought a promotion, coordinated the days of promotion and the cost of click throughs up to 75¢. Some of us popped for $100. Our titles were either FREE or 99¢. We saw lovely numbers on impressions in the 1000s–which is the number of times our ads were shown.

Follow Nicholas Rossis on Amazon

Follow Nicholas Rossis on Amazon

A few of us saw our titles put on TBR lists.  But! Not a single sale at  99¢.  And no downloads–even for a free book. FREE units were tagged on TBR lists, too. Many members on Goodreads block ads, so you may not reach the very audience who might like your book. I still have about $50 hanging fire on Goodreads because I cannot figure out how to get refund.  I did ask, and the reply from GRs was: “I don’t understand what you are asking?  HUH? What part of “I want my  money,” don’t you understand? I am sorry to tell you this, but as soon as  two of our ads started popping, we picked up a troll. Before the ad, we were under the radar.  Nicholas Rossis reports on his blog an author who spent $5000 for a Goodreads ad and reported NO SALES. Read the report here.

Let’s look at Amazon. com. Amazon in 2015 offers authors in KDP Select three campaigns to promote our books on Amazon.

FREE June 25 -27, 2015

The first campaign is shaped exactly as is a Goodreads’ ad with the exception one must commit $100, plus no hassle, automatic refunds if the $ is not used up. Click throughs to sales are charged against that $100 until the campaign ends in the time frame the author designated or the $$$ runs out.  The author ‘bids’ for impression slots. In my first Amazon Campaign from January 30 to March 30, 2015, I committed $200, placed my bids at 67¢. Amazon showed my ad 164,477 awesome times–which does not mean readers actually noticed it.  133 viewers clicked on the ad, 191 went to the book buy page and I sold $11.96 worth of books for a total cost to me of $89.13 of the $200 I committed. Not exactly a lovely return on investment. During two days of the campaign, No Perfect Secret was priced FREE. Because I am just learning ehow to promote wisely, I have booked another Amazon.com Campaign for three days June 25-27 when No Perfect Fate will be in its first major free run. I will report on that once completed.

I engaged two more campaigns on other titles. Impressions 132,158 and 16,511. But only 185 readers actually clicked through to the buy page. Thus cost to me was $110.57 to generate $17.92 in sales.  If you want to engage an Amazon Campaign for exposure. Do. For sales and a return on investment. Don’t. Instead, to actually see downloads on a FREE or discounted book,  hand your promo $$ to OHFB, or buy the $29.99 deal on KND, or check out Bargain Booksy, all of which are on eNovel Authors at Work‘s preferred list.

As we in eNovel engage in Amazon Giveaways, we will share our results. As for other indie author services, if you are looking for an editor and find this in a blog post… us indie authors” .. .run! If I have to tell you why–you do need a qualified editor.

Other sites we in eNovel prefer and use often: eBook Stage. Book Praiser. eBooklister. KindleBoards and in the UK for FREE romance novels, we like: eBook Deal of the Day.  Visit eNovel author Effrosyni Moschoudi for a fabulous list of sites FREE and paid. Without paying so much as a dime, Frossie

Follow Effrosyni on amazon

Follow Effrosyni on amazon

saw 5,000 downloads on one of her titles in a free promotion.

Would love it, if you Follow me on Amazon or subscribe to eNovel's newsletter.

Would love it, if you Follow me on Amazon or subscribe to eNovel’s newsletter.

I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. If you are wondering why I am prompted to write this series on promoters, I’ll tell you…

As a newbie indie author, I listened to a promoter hype a promotion, paid good money for it and did not sell a single unit.

When I queried the promoter, I was told, “Well, you have to write a good book.” Whoa. So. I pulled the book. Paid for another round of edits. Paid for a new cover, changed the title, wrote another description. Paid to have it formatted again. Six months later, networking with other indies, there was discussion about that particular promo. Not one author saw any sales. Holy Smokes! Next we started getting emails offering the same promo at a 75% discount. Oops. It was not my book. The promo was a new endeavor by the promoter and it did not fly. NO subscribers.  That promoter did not deliver and blamed it on my book.  Well, I was new and Eating Stupid for Breakfast. Ain’t doin’ that again. I’m checking promoters out. I’m asking the tough questions. Promoters can give straight answers or not. Their choice. I got this response from a promoter just yesterday who says he has a vast network and thousands of subscribers. When I asked how many subscribers, he said he can’t reveal the number. Pffft. As for his vast network: Alexa says his site has 3 sites linked in. eNovel Authors at Work has 169 sites linked in; updated daily.


A roller coaster ride straddling the genres of science fiction and crime drama collected more than 350 reviews after it 1st FREE run.

For actual figures and results of recent campaigns, go Here and Here . Pete Barber reported on a free run on NanoStrike Here.   Read the results of one of Weger’s early campaigns Here. Why bother? Because we report actual figures and costs and it gives you a comparative idea if your campaigns are working for your book–or not. At the very least, you won’t take a promoter’s word as Gospel that: “Hey! It’s not us. Write a better book.”


Comments are welcome. If you have run a great campaign, tell us in comments. If not, tell us that, too. We have all been there.  It is fine to leave the link to your book. If you have a question, ask! If we don’t know the answer, we will find a reliable source who does.




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  1. I’ve tried all kinds of different promos, including the Amazon and Goodreads pay-per-click thing and none of them did anything…until I was accepted by Bookbub. That is when my sales took off. I also didn’t find much success at Kindle countdown .99, even in tandem with a BB promo. I know some authors have, but not me.
    Sooo, I have come to the conclusion that freebies on BB rule, and I just need to write more books!

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Jinx: when you say not much success at a KCD .99 in tandem with a BB promo… what were your expectations? The average downloads for a KCD is between 200 and 500 books. However, some KCD see less than 80 downloads, and one I’m aware of saw only 11 downloads. I saw 1073 downloads on a KCD for a nice $750 ROI. And my most recent KCD w/BB at $660 cost, saw 3141 downloads, plus immediate borrows happened the instant the set returned to priced, and are still happening + crossover sales. A rough estimate at the moment is $2800 ROI after expenses. Hey! That is a nice weekly paycheck.
      NO quarrel from me that we get more bang for our BB $ on a FREE.
      Jackie Weger
      Finding Home [ACX edition].

      • I think I didn’t do things like I should on the KCD…had not tried it before. On the advice of another, and very successful writer, I made it .99 for all five days, but since it is a mystery, BB cost me almost 800.00, and I did not know I had to make a special KDP entry to include the UK. I made money, since I have a series, not nearly what I make when I have a freebie. Maybe I’ll give it another try one of the days after the new book comes out.

        • Jackie Weger says:

          OH, Jinx! That is an Oops. It is key that we review everything on our amazon pages. So many indies miss adding the UK. You are not alone. I prefer a KCD sans a Bookbub. Even with only 500 to 700 downloads, it is a nice ROI. I budget income from a KCD toward a FREE run later. I admire successful indie authors…but I cannot match their sales and I don’t expect to because most have established branding and I don’t. When you hear of such wondrous success…Ask: How recent? 2012 was a watershed year. 2013 saw downloads beginning to slide and the bottom fell out in July 2014. I know three indie authors who did NOT have successful BB campaigns in 2014. Two did see a miniscule ROI and one–none. I always suggest an indie author plot the best campaign possible with budget $ available. Baby steps and patience.

  2. Dale Furse says:

    Thanks you so much for the info. I don’t think I’ll be using them anytime soon. 🙂

  3. P.C. Zick says:

    Thanks, Jackie. I’ve tried both Goodreads and the Amazon ads to little effect. Still working my way through the others although ENT and Bargain Booksy have all given a good return for the bucks.

  4. I am sure this post will provide wholesome food for thought to new authors. It is easy to be taken for a ride when you’re wet behind the ears. Luckily, I had mentors from my first steps so I avoided wasting money on sites that don’t deliver and once I discovered Alexa, I never gave my money to any site again unless their rank on there was decent. That’s not to say that my promos have a good ROI – most of the time I come out having lost money, but I see it as an investment. I do get my books in front of readers so I don’t beat myself too much when that happens. As to the dreaded ‘soul-searching’ you have to do when promos don’t pay off that well, nothing is really measurable. Every author and every book are unique. Just because another author saw better results by changing their blurb or their cover, doesn’t guarantee that if we do too, we will see the same results. All we can do is the best we can, when it comes to the blurb, the cover, the formatting and editing, then focus on frequent promo, and of course, writing that next book. The best promo is to get another book out there. The more books you have, the more the sales will rise, provided of course that you have created quality content.

  5. Many thanks for the kind mention. It’s wonderful that Indies are starting to lift the cone of silence that has surrounded their ad results for so long. Only in sharing will we be able to separate those promoters who work for us from those who don’t.

  6. Mike Smith says:

    Question:Why would you pay money for a book when thousands are free on the internet?
    Answer: Some say branding is my reason for giving my book away, readers are sure to buy my next one,or Amazon will rank me higher and my books are sure to sell. Hey who’s living the dream?
    I’ve yet to see the logic in giving away books that you have spent hundreds of hours creating and yet I understand promotional sites like Bookbub.com it has thousands of subscribers with a US alexa ranking of 2225 and 823 sites linking in. While 75% of it’s visitors are from the US, India provides an amazing 7% of visitors, higher then the UK and Canada of around 5%. In my opinion Bookbub is one that provides exceptional services, another is the British company Readersintheknow.com
    I’m open to hearing other peoples points of view of the value of FREE books, try to convince me!
    Mike at beezeebooks

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Thank you, Mike Smith of BeeZee Books. On going FREE, the nature of the beast is that indie authors must get our titles visible. Going FREE is the method we have available to us and it works. While visible and higher in rank or in the top 20 of its genre onced returned to priced, readers buy or borrow the title, often in record numbers. Indie authors do not have the structure of traditional publishing houses shouting our books to the reading public. We are on our own. Are you saying India is 7% of Amazon’s customer base? In Books? eNovel authors advertize with the top rated book blogger in India and Eastern Indians are NOT 7% of our sales in English. Readersintheknow.com pumps FREE and Discounted books, too. Here is what I know for a fact: Every indie and trad published author wants to sell books in the USA in the English-speaking books market with the exception of Arabic-speaking nations/authors. Those authors have upwards 200,000 active followers in Arabic on Goodreads and sell their books at full price in the millions. If you know of a way to get our priced books in the hands of readers without first putting a title FREE–Tell us! We are open any marketing program that works.

      No Perfect Fate
      FREE Globally June 25-27, 2015

    • Simon Denman says:

      Thanks Mike,
      I try my best.
      Readers in the Know has only been live since May 31st last year and we only started advertising for readers last July, so we’re obviously a lot smaller than Bookbub at the moment. But we’re also only a tiny fraction of the price, and there’s a full unlimited 60-day free trial with a free Book of the Day ad thrown in 🙂

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Adding a Footnote here about Readersintheknow.com. 1)The site is difficult to navigate. 2)The site won’t allow a cover uploaded until an indie commits to $20 a month. 3)Some eNovel members got a free slot and one month FREE subscription. Actually, that is £20. So about $37.50 a month. It promotes books with 2 stars on 3 reviews as Book of the Day. Misspelled titles, unedited and ill-formatted. Author Choice to promote with the site or not.

  7. I ran two ads for $100 each on Goodreads and got lots of impressions but no clicks. I requested a refund by emailing support@goodreads.com with “request for refund” in the subject line. They refunded my money both times within a couple of days. I’ve never done a campaign on Amazon. I did a campaign with BookGorilla for $150 when my book was priced at 99 cents, and made back approximately $17 in sales. I also hired a PR company at one point, and they *did* get it in the hands of a few bloggers who eventually left reviews, but the rest of their services were just random (pointless) Tweets with the name of the book and to contact them for ARCs — nothing about what the book was about or even the genre to pique the reader’s interest. I’ve wasted a ton of time on trying different methods to get my book in front of readers.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Elle J. Lawson: Thank you for sharing your experiences. I, too campaigned on BookGorilla with the $150 slot on a 99¢ title and had the same miserable results. I have yet to learn of a PR site that actually creates excitement for an ebook. IMO it is a waste of money. Blogging/book tours are for exposure only. Few sell books. Tweets are for exposure, too. The only way to sell books it to get them in front of readers via promoters with active reader subscribers. We name the best promoters with active subscribers on eNovel. We know every author will not have the same experience. Timing is everything. Even the weather plays a significant part in our promotions. When the Northeast was blanketed with blizzards and ice storms and 1000s were without electricity or the Internet…we did not see our usually volume of downloads. July and August are traditionally slow months in sales. We still promote, but it is a slog.
      So happy to meet you. Don’t be a stranger.

      No Perfect Fate
      FREE Globally June 25-27, 2015

      • Rosie Dean says:

        Jackie – I wonder if that drop in sales for July and August only happens in the States? In the UK my sales rocket July-Sept, then reduce. Or maybe it’s because my books are good beach reads?

        • Jackie Weger says:

          Hi, Rosie Dean: I don’t know the answer to rocketing sales, anywhere, unless a title is promoted. You may have far more branding in the UK than many US indie authors. You also have more reviews on your titles in the UK than in the US, which means you are reaching a lovely active reader base in your home country. That is a wonderful advantage. thank you for the heads up. US indies might consider heavier promo in the UK during July-September. Your sales stats are fabulous.

  8. Very useful information, Jackie. Thank you for keeping us updated on the good, the bad, and the ugly!

  9. Mike Markel says:

    Thank you very much, Jackie, for the useful advice. I will echo what others have said: free works better than 99c, and BookBub rules for free giveaways. I haven’t tired paid ads on Goodreads or Amazon–and don’t think I will. Your advice to ask questions and check the Alexa rankings is invaluable. I learn something every time I read one of your posts.

  10. […] eBook Promoters – The Best & The Worst – Part 4 […]

  11. Hi Jackie,
    And all,
    Some great advice here. Will look at ReadersintheKnow. Re Goodreads, we too have $50 sitting there. I tried every which way to spend it, but something wasn’t working. It’s a shame because it would be a huge platform if it worked!
    Good luck to all. Sharing info like this is the name of the game!

  12. […] is a heads up. When I write these articles, I name the good guys. I name the promotion sites eNovel Authors At Work has vetted, curated, like and use in our promotions, large and small. I figure you can read between […]

  13. RP Dahlke says:

    Late to this party! I’ve done Goodread ads, and yes, they take your money and no refunds! What you have to do, is change the ad to another book in order to get full “value” for the campaign. What? You don’t have another book? Don’t pay for GoodReads Ads! Your best bet with Goodreads is to use their Events from your author page. Set it up to show when you have FREE or discounted books, and send it out to all your friends in GR–which could be mostly authors anyway.

  14. I love your phrase, ‘Eat Stupid for Breakfast.’

    So perfectly descriptive.

    Before I published, I read the self-publishing blogs for four years as I finished polishing (I’m slow), and have had my own blog for three.

    Educating yourself is key – the information is out there and many people who will answer questions.

    Not doing your due diligence can be expensive. I don’t understand why people who would study everything before opening a doughnut shop don’t educate themselves before they open a publishing business.

    You get savvy very quickly.

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