I had never heard of Buyads up until a month ago when a fellow author named Mike Kraus e-mailed me. Now I’m selling more eBooks than I ever have before (don’t get too happy for me–the numbers are relative). Mind you, I’ve tried some other ways to advertise, and you can check my past blog entries to see my past results. No service has shown me immediate results like Buyads has. Here’s the story explaining how I came across them, what my stats are using them, and how I think I can make my advertising even better when creating future ads.
As I was waiting for Kindle Serials to respond to my query about using Black Hull as one of their serial titles, I decided to look up successful serial authors on Amazon and e-mail them about how long I should wait for a response before just publishing the book myself. (If you don’t know what serials are, read Eat Your Serial). After a week had gone by, I became anxious, knowing that queries can take up to 6 months to receive a reply. Having already gone indie with my other work so far, I was hesitant to keep Black Hull on the shelf. The e-mail replies I received from the successful serial authors confirmed my fears. Here are some of the replies to my “how long should I wait” question:
I really don’t have any idea, since I had a relationship with Amazon/47North before Disenchanted was published. I happened to finish Disenchanted around the time they were launching the serials program, so the timing worked out for me. I’m guessing they’re pretty backed up on submissions by now. Good luck!
I would probably wait a month, maybe two. If you haven’t heard by then, I would go ahead and self-publish.
I honestly don’t know. My agent submitted my novel to them, and I believe response times vary between agented and unagented submissions (especially since they had previously seen my other works).
I’d give them at least another week. I don’t know what their submission policy is so I don’t know if you’ll hear back on a pass.
Sorry I can’t help more. Best of luck.
Amazon actually came to me in Sept. when they were beginning these serials and asked me to write for them because they needed some established authors. That being said, I have an multi-published author friend who submitted a serial via her agent in late Oct., and she still hasn’t heard. I don’t know it they might be in communication with her agent.
Sorry I’m not more helpful. Good luck with your serial.
Soon after reading these replies, I decided to independently publish Black Hull in serial format. The next thing I did was find a serial novel that seemed to be really taking off. I came across the Final Dawn post-apocalytpic serial novel. My idea was to e-mail the author and ask what, where, and how to advertise my serial novel to also make sure it was a success. He kindly got back to me, and here’s our ensuing exchange of e-mails:
I read your first blog post about putting together some money for ad runs and such. I am an Amazon author myself, and was curious if you’d inform me some, as I plan to publish a sci-fi episodic novel. Could you tell me roughly how much money you used for marketing? Also, which places did you use? Thanks so much, your success inspires me, and I hope to hear from you soon,
In total I’ve spent well over several hundred dollars (don’t have an exact amount at hand at the moment, sorry), and still spend a bit on advertising on some of the larger book websites. I primarily used BuyAds.com for my big ad purchases, and tried to post on various forums and such, too. I think the biggest factor, though, was having a catchy cover and a book that people liked, as advertising for a book that isn’t well written and doesn’t have a good cover will just go to waste. Definitely spend as much time as you can on the book and cover (I spent months writing Episode 1, and it was very short) to make it as good as possible, because it’s hard to get a second chance when it comes to starting a new series. Good luck with your series!
This information turned out to be tremendously useful for me. If you’re like me, you hate Google Adwords. The interface is chunky and clunky in all the wrong ways. I think I will inevitably have to come face to face with Adwords and use it to maximize the reach of my book ads, but for now, I am more than happy with the results I am having in my first month using Buyads.com. I decided to buy two ads for books of mine, but ironically, the ad that really took off wasn’t even for Black Hull. I’ll show you both my ads, and some screen shots of how the ads have been doing for me, and then explain why I think one did better than the other.
This is my ad for Black Hull, with its stats below it.
This is my ad for House for Sale, with its stats below it.
As you can see, the House For Sale ad received four times as many hits, and it hasn’t even been running as much. As a result, I have had my best month with it, selling 100 copies of it so far this February, which is as much as all my books together last month. Black Hull, the novel that led to Buyads in the first place, didn’t do so hot as far as clicks go. So why did one do really well, and other, well, just meh? Here are my guesses:
1. The Black Hull ad doesn’t have any text on it. I went with the idea of putting a snippet of one of my House For Sale reviews on its ad, and I think that really enticed people to take further notice and click. The Black Hull ad doesn’t really provide a sense of what it is or what it’s about. After all, as clever as I think my “Lost in Spacetime” motto is, it is pretty vague.
2. It could be that the genre isn’t what people are reading, at least on the site I chose to advertise on. Perhaps people would much rather be scared than go on a suspenseful ride through space.
3. I don’t think this was an issue per se, but visually, the colors of the House For Sale ad might simply be more “eye-catching.”
4. Maybe the EPISODE 1 subtitle turns people off. They don’t click on the ad because they don’t want to get into a serial experience, or maybe they don’t know what episodes are, and would rather not take the risk to check it out.
Either way, I wouldn’t call either ad a loss. The total expenditure for each ad was $50.00 for the month, as you can see by enlarging the stat images above. While I didn’t quite break even, I still managed to crack some cool barriers on the Kindle store, such as getting House For Sale into the teens, which was a first for me with any title. I’ve been in the top 800 for free books, but never under 20,000 for paid books. While I have since floated back above 20,000, I saw House For Sale as low as 18,000 for a time. Very awesome.
In the future I will definitely use Buyads again. I plan on trying different websites, aside from only Enewsreadertoday. I actually wrote back to Mike Kraus to try to get more specific information about which sites he used through Buyads, and what lengths of time he picked for ad runs, but he hasn’t responded yet. If he does, I’ll post here and let you know. What I love most about Buyads, however, is its search function: just search for whatever you’re selling, and it will bring you the websites and their monthly hits. I think the site I ran my ad on receives some 1.5 million hits a month. I would be interested to hear from you and any of your own advertising experiences. Let me know what’s been working for you lately.