blogging, book promotion, book sales, Google Ads

Jousting Windmills


Do Google Ads Sell Books?

No, not in my experience. My ad appeared 3,898,083 times. It was clicked on 68,481 times. I sold 15 books, most of which were bought by friends and acquaintances.

Just the facts:
10 Jun 15:  Penguin Books’ Book Country e-published my first novel, The Phoenix Diary. The book was offered on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Google Play, Kobo (Japan’s “Amazon”), Flipkart (India’s “Amazon”) and on Book Country’s own sales site.

28 Jul 15:  I received a phone sales call from Google representative, Britanny M., a “Welcome Account Strategist” for the “Google Ad Words Welcome Team.” We set an appointment to talk at length the next day.
29 Jul 15:  Britanny phoned at the appointed time and we set up a Google “Display Network Campaign.” We created an ad that consisted of my book cover and 2 lines of ad copy. I added Google Analytics to the ad’s landing page,

28 Jul 15 – 2 Jan 16:  The Google Ads ran for five full months (Aug-Dec 2015) with the following results.
The Phoenix Diary ad appeared on various websites that Google said related to people who like the book’s genre, science fiction, 3,898,083 times.
People clicked on the ad 68,481 times to go to my landing page where they could read a bit about the book and click on any of the retailers’ icons to purchase it.
15 Books were purchased.
My cost: $1427.93.

OKAY, I tried to sell eBooks the easy way: Put an ad on Google to let the sales roll in. It didn’t work for me. But selling books is not a new challenge for writers. Writing in the December 1980 issue of Future Life (#23), Harlan Ellison pointed out that, “It is a constant anguish with which we suffer.”

We need a new approach. The old ways didn’t always work in the old days, either. For most writers, including many whose names we know, marketing books is jousting windmills. This Writers Co-op is about re-examining old ways that still work and finding new ways to sell our books. I believe we will succeed.