A lot of  blogs and book review sites are offering advertising.

My experience in other fields indicates that any advertisements must be very, very focused and tuned to the audience. Even then, if you get a 2% return you're doing great.

The question is: does it work for books?  Are some sites better than others?

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I've heard that Goodreads is a good place to advertise books. I would also look into Writer's Digest. I don't know how much either would charge, because I have not bought ads before.

Christine,

Goodreads might make sense but I haven't checked their rates. I would seem to me that Writer's Digest would be preaching to the proverbial choir; isn't it just visited by other writers?  Of course, writers have been known to buy a book or two.

What I'm considering are some of the review sites that will sell you an ad for $30-40/month.  Is it more effective than a one time review/interview etc?

A major clue might be the lack of ads on many of the sites that offer them.

I'm just curious if anyone has tried?

Writers buy lots of books.

Running an ad for an extended period of time (every day for one week, for example) is more effective and the rates would be better.

Are you coming out with a new book soon? A blog tour can be an effective way to promote a book.

We released volume I of The Saga of the Ellen Jane last July and volume II is supposed to go the the editor in time for a Thanksgiving release.

I'm just trying to quantify the effectiveness of all the different promotion options.

I've tried pretty much everything, and nothing works in the least, at least not when you're a starting writer. Maybe if you already have a name or hundreds of great reviews, then reminding people of your new book is worth the spending, but other than that - zilch.

Here's one advertising angle that should work for book bloggers, since your fellow bloggers probably share much of the same audience.

Everyone on Book Blogs is invited to make use of my FREE Banner Exchange Program, which lets you put up a 125x125 pixel image and link it to anywhere. The image must be placed on your own web server, and you link it by filling in the URL. The program then gives you a snippet of code to insert wherever you'd like.

The way the program works is that you get a credit for every impression, which is every time somebody else's banner gets viewed on your blog.

Each credit gets you one showing of your own banner on another member's blog.

If no member has enough credit to be shown, a link to the signup page is shown instead.

Members can log in and check their stats, which lets you know how many credits you've earned and how many times your banner has shown. Members can also change their banner image and link destination at will. One banner per account.

In other words, it's a simple one-for-one link exchange among bloggers.

Sign up here: Blog Badge/Banner Exchange Program

I'll personally check and approve all signups to ensure the program doesn't get overrun by spammers or irrelevant links.

Sounds great; for people that have a blog. Is there an alternative means to obtain impressions for those of us that don't have a blog?

You can put the code anywhere you like that will accept it.

It will work in HTML or any Content Management System that lets you insert content using iframes.

I'm messing with it to see if I can make it work in other contexts.

Several observations (I hope I'm not too impertinent.):

1. I've gotten several emails offering me the opportunity to put my book in front of thousands upon thousands of reviewers, librarians, and bookstores for a small fee (small compared to a house payment; on a really big house; on the beach in LA).  Apparently, these reviewers and booksellers can't find enough new books and are sitting around bored. If they're having that much trouble finding books, they should pay.

2. On average, you'll get 1 visit to your website for every 250 to 500 impressions.  I don't have much data but that sounds about right. Also, that's one visit; not necessarily a sale. These numbers are based running your ad randomly over a large number of sites. My hunch is that you'll do better if you stick to a few sites for a longer duration but I have no proof.

3. Per my own informal, highly unscientific survey regarding "followers" of major book sites, (that is FB friends, twitter followers etc), in general:

    25% describe themselves as authors

    25% are writers (no, I don't know the difference between an author and a writer. Is an author published?)

    25% are other blogs or spam; including hookers and porn sites.

    25% are readers looking for books.

Those are just rough counts and there is certainly a lot of overlap. And who says that hookers don't buy books? They're probably not very interested in mine but they probably read something. (There's a joke here about Fifty Shades of Grey being considered a light romance but I'm too mature to make it.)

So what do those numbers mean? I'm not sure yet but as soon as I figure it all out, I'll keep it a secret and make a fortune.

I'm not saying we shouldn't cross-link all our blogs etc. We just should have realistic expectations.

Hopefully, someone with more experience can answer some of these questions.

The only thing I've reasonably sure of: promoting anything is tricky.

YES!

I have a blogroll deal on my blog- Basically if you advertise me-I advertise you.

Very simple, and there's no money Involved.

Personally for me,. it works quite well, I would try to target book blogs more than anything else- you usually get more feedback then.

- Eddie from http://editorsarticle.blogspot.ca/

Feel free to follow me!

There is no magic advertising pill.

There is no "one thing" that works. What works is an encompassing advertising campaign (which doesn't have to cost a lot).

For example:
Set up a blog tour of your book for a month (you can do that yourself).

Offer the book as a giveaway on Goodreads for that month (no idea how much it costs).

During that month also buy some of the banner ads you were talking about.

During that month set the price of the book to $0 or $.99 on Amazon and promote the hell out of it.

Engage with your readers on Facebook & Twitter. Put up a lot of good content related to your book during that month.

etc., etc., etc.

I actually had a guest post about this very subject this week: Indie Marketing is a Marathon

ManOfLaBook,

Your guest, David LaRoy, summed it up nicely. We are in a marathon. Fortunately, I can run it without leaving my desk chair.

There was also a great article about this in the WSJ last month. Doesn't matter how big your publisher is; it's up to the author to promote. I've posted the link on my facebook page. Timothy Klein

Regarding Goodreads; we did a book giveaway recently and had 777 people enter it. It was thrilling to see that many people wanting my book (of course, it was free and I was paying postage).  However, several hundred added it to their TBR lists. Don't know if we sold any extra books. Goodreads doesn't charge anything but you need to provided the books and cover shipping.

I've heard that the free or $.99 Amazon ebooks plan used to be a great way to get on the best seller lists. The goal, as I understand it, was to generate enough buzz with the free book (or almost free) that those who missed the sale would buy at full price. I know of one author who moved, if I remember correctly, 4000 copies in a few weeks. Then nothing once the sale was off. I fear that all you'll attract are those who want free/cheap books.

As you said, engage with your readers and give them good content.

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