The Benefits of Running a Goodreads Ad

Last week I introduced you to Judy Croome whom I met while working on “The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse.” When “The Fall” was released, Judy rocked a Goodreads giveaway, getting “The Fall” added to many Goodreads reader’s shelves. Curious about the ins and outs of holding Goodreads giveaways as well as the Goodreads ad she ran at the same time, I asked Judy to share her knowledge with the readers of The Helpful Writer.

Last week’s post was about the how, why, and benefits of holding a Goodreads giveaway. This week, Judy Croome is sharing the benefits of running a Goodreads ad at the same time as your giveaway. I wasn’t completely convinced that running an ad alongside a giveaway made sense, but after talking to Judy I am a believer. Here’s what she had to say:

Interview with Judy Croome on Running a Goodreads Ad with Your Goodreads Giveaway: How to Reach the Right Readers

I’ve heard Goodreads ads help create awareness for Goodreads giveaways. Would you run a Goodreads ad again?

Definitely! I did my first Goodreads giveaway without an ad running concurrently and the number of entrants was a significantly reduced, compared to later ads that I ran at the same time as a giveaway.

The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse
You ran an ad on Goodreads at the same time as your giveaway of “The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse.” Can you tell us a bit about why you decided to do that?

An advantage of running an ad at the same time as the giveaway is that you can target specific audiences with Goodreads ad campaigns. If someone enters the giveaway from the ad link, the chances are increased that the free books have a higher chance of going to a reader who is actually interested in the genre, rather than someone who just enters every giveaway irrespective of whether they’re really going to read the book or not.

What else do you feel authors can do to boost their visibility – either on Goodreads, or other places online?

Marketing and promotion is a voracious beast – as much as you do, it’s never enough! There’s always one more trick or one more tip you can follow to boost your visibility. When I first started promoting my books, I was so busy running myself ragged trying to make myself as visible as possible, I lost valuable writing time and exhausted myself for little visible return.

Watching the authors who suddenly have a run of high visibility or an extraordinary jump in sales, I noticed time and again that the only thing they did differently to me was they wrote more and marketed less.

I’ve come to the conclusion that, ultimately, you have to find a healthy balance between doing all the marketing tricks and tips that are available to an author and leaving time for writing the best book that you can. If it’s good enough, it’ll sell.

With that homily in mind, I’ve recently cut back on most of my marketing and promotional efforts, although I’ve kept these strategies in place:

 1.     I use Hootsuite to cross-post news and articles on all my social media platforms.

2.     I’ve reduced my blogging to one quality post a month. The purpose of my blog has changed – I see it now as less of a way to connect than as a way to get information out there into cyberspace. If somebody wants to find me, they will.

3.     I rarely refuse to do a guest post if someone asks me. I may only be able to commit to a future date, but guest posts are a less aggressive way of garnering visibility than, say, tweeting about your book.

4.     Writers must be readers, right? I read and post book reviews (that’s a different bag of tricks, though!) But I’ve recently stopped accepting books for review, because I found myself reading for work rather than reading for pleasure. Now I only read what I want to read, and only in genres that interest me.

5.     I use Goodreads giveways and ad campaigns – but both these cost money!

Any tips on how to make a Goodreads ad successful?

 1.      Add targeting to your ad. The best is to run two ads from the same ad campaign. Target your specific genre and also target popular authors who write similar books to yours. For example, I targeted authors Toni Morrison, Louise Erdrich and Witi Ihimaera, as over time various readers have compared my writing to theirs.  Because my writing is so eclectic and, in particular because my spiritual novel DANCING IN THE SHADOWS OF LOVE (voted as Top 10 Read for 2012 by The Dubious Disciple) is a cross-genre book, deciding which genres to target was difficult. For the first year of my ad campaign for DANCING IN THE SHADOWS OF LOVE I had very few people adding it to their book shelves.  I constantly played around and now I seem to have found the right target as, since December 2012, I’ve had a sudden increase in readers adding all my books to their shelves.

2.     Ask readers to add your book to their shelves. Adding a short line “Plse add to your shelf” to your ad description helps a lot. Remember every time readers add your book to their shelves, it appears in the update feeds of their Goodreads friends and, if they’ve linked their Goodreads page to other social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, your book will automatically appear there as well.

3.      Linking to a Giveaway at the same time as your ad campaign definitely increases the Click Through Rate (the CTR is what shows how many readers who viewed your ad were interested enough in your book to click on the ad to read more about your book)

Keep in mind that Goodreads advertising isn’t perfect – sometimes you have to play around with your targeting and description text.

Overall, the benefits of the Goodreads giveaways and ads are worth the cost and time. If you decide to run your own Goodreads campaign, good luck and may the reviews all be good!

A big thank you to Judy for sharing her knowledge and experience on Goodreads giveaways and ads. Be sure to thank Judy by checking out her awesome, thought-provoking story The Last Sacrifice in “The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse” as well as her award-winning books (see below). And if you’ve ever run an ad on Goodreads or an other online venue and want to share your thoughts and experiences, we’d love to hear from you in the comment section.

Have you ever run an ad on Goodreads or another site to help promote your book? Share your experience and tips in the comment section.


Judy Croome lives and writes in Johannesburg, South Africa. Shortlisted in the African Writing Flash Fiction 2011 competition, Judy’s short stories and poems have appeared in various magazines and anthologies. Her books “a Lamp at Midday” (2012) and “Dancing in the Shadows of Love” (2011) are available. Judy loves cats, exploring the meaning of life, chocolate, cats, rainy days, ancient churches with their ancient graveyards, cats, meditation and solitude. Oh, and cats. Judy loves cats (who already appear to have discovered the meaning of life.)

You can join Judy on Goodreads or on Twitter under @judy_croome

Judy Croome's books

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4 comments on “The Benefits of Running a Goodreads Ad
  1. Jemi Fraser says:

    So much to think about and consider! Thanks so much for the advice, Judy. I hadn’t thought about the mysteries of CTR before! Great advice 🙂

  2. Glad you found the article useful Jemi! 🙂

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