Goodreads Ads: Worth the Price?

You probably know by now that my debut novel, The Elect, was recently published through a small press – Clean Reads.


After the initial excitement simmered down, I realized that my biggest challenge was not going to be actually writing the book. It was/is going to be marketing my book.

I have the standard Facebook and Twitter accounts, but on Twitter especially, I feel like my posts get lost in an onslaught of tweets. I try to tailor them using hashtags, but they often get minimal response. Additionally, I don’t want to be one of those authors who just spams Twitter with her book cover and pitches. How many times have I been tempted to buy a book due to an author’s twitter post? Zero. I assume that  most people are like me in this regard.

So how should I market my novel? Having gone through a small press, the vast majority of this responsibility falls back on me. I majored in history, and I teach high school. Marketing is a bit beyond my scope, especially when considering my introverted personality.


Last week, I decided to cough up $25 and create an ad through Goodreads. I figured that this website, which I’ve used as a reader for several years, was as good of a starting place as any. I set my price per click at $.50 with an initial daily cap of $5. Several days passed, and despite being seen by almost 2,000 users, nobody clicked. Zip. Nada.


So a couple of days ago, I decided to up the ante. I changed my price per click to $1 and set a daily cap at $10 (not to exceed my initial $25 purchase). I figured that the more money I was willing to pay Goodreads per click, the more they might show it to a larger audience. Guess what happened.


Nothing. Still no clicks, despite reaching over 3,000 people. So my $25 is still floating around Goodreads purgatory, waiting for the right people to come along and click away. It’s been 8 days already. We’ll see how long it takes to use up that $25.


The takeaway: in the end, Goodreads ads – for me – are a bust (at least for now). Perhaps if I was willing to pay more ($100 or $200 instead of $25), it might work. The good thing is that your money has no expiration date. The bad thing is that it might just float around for an undetermined amount of time before actually getting used. For now, I’ll play around with my click prices and daily caps and hope that it gets seen by the right eyes in time.

So how about you? Are there any marketing methods that have worked for you and that you would recommend to other authors? Let me know in the comments!


  1. Jennifer M Eaton

    So, let me get this right… $3000 people saw you ad, and it didn’t cost you a dime? That’s seriously great! Most people need to see your cover 5-10 times before they will read the blurb. And then 5 more times, and word of mouth/good reviews before buying. Any face-time on your cover is a win-win… and if you are getting face time for nothing? Awesome.

    Curious… can you cancel at any time… So you could walk away now, if you want, and get free views, but no clicks?


    1. laurawcarter

      Sort of, but not quite. You have to pay up front, and as far as I’m aware, it is nonrefundable. This is why I only started with $25. The views are the number of times that someone has just seen my cover somewhere on the Goodreads website. The views themselves don’t count towards my balance. If someone clicks, then they take whatever I set my rate at out of my $25 balance. So yes, there is exposure through someone at least seeing my cover, but it doesn’t seem to produce much of a response beyond that. I’ve since read several other posts by authors who have had similar experiences. I don’t think I’ll get that money back, but at least it doesn’t expire. Hopefully you’re right, and people will come back to the cover and find out more about my novel! This is all a learning curve for me, but what I posted is my experience so far.

      Have you used any type of paid ad promotion? I’m curious what other authors are doing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jennifer M Eaton

        This kinda makes me want to get a Goodreads add. That’s unlimited face time until you get your clicks. Seems like a decent deal. I run Facebook boosts that say they will be seen by 1000-5000 people but only get seen by 400. The good thing is they only cost two dollars for those 400 views.

        Liked by 1 person

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