Posted on 08/24/2020 at 02:46 PM by Guest Author

Want to position your title for success? Then approach ebook advertising the right way. Here’s some guidance for running and assessing your ebook advertising promotion.

Table of Contents 

Why You Should Evaluate Your Ebook Advertising Promotion Results

Many authors understand the value of running an ebook advertising promotion with a credible site, but they don’t fully realize how important it is to evaluate the results.

If you’re like a lot of authors, you may just look at whether you wound up selling any titles from your promo—and that’s it. However, there are several other factors to consider. 

Further, putting the time and effort into reviewing ad performance allows you to glean tons of useful insights that will serve you in the long run. 

Here are some benefits of analyzing your ad results… 

It shows you whether a promotion site is a good fit. 

After running a couple of promo ads and analyzing the results, you can find out whether that promotion site is a good fit for your work.

In some cases, the readers who’ve signed up to get book recommendations aren’t part of your target audience — and that’s okay. It just means you need to do a little more research into where your ideal readers are. 

It helps determine how much you can spend on ads.

Chances are you have an advertising budget in place already. However, by reviewing the results of each promo you run, you can determine how much you can afford to spend on future ads (with that site and other places) as you continue growing your reader base. 

It helps you understand if there are issues with your promo assets. 

Another great benefit of reviewing the results of your ad is that it can show you what’s working and what’s not.

If the results weren’t what you had hoped for, you can try adjusting the book cover or rewriting the description. Then, you can run another promo and test to see if the changes yield better results.

(We do this in our own marketing — we’ve tested dozens and dozens of different ad messages to find which ones are effective.)

When it comes down to it, assessing your ad results (and applying the takeaways accordingly) ensures that you get the most out of your marketing dollars. Moreover, it equips you with the knowledge you need to position every book for success. 

Of course, learning the ins and outs of not only running an ebook advertising promotion but also measuring the results can be tough. After all, there’s a lot involved.

The good news is we’ve broken it down into sections based upon your level of experience in this area.

Ready? Then continue reading or scroll directly to the section that applies to you. 

Beginner Tips and Guidance for Ebook Advertising 

If you’re a first-time author (or even a seasoned author who’s only dabbled in online advertising), all of this may seem a little overwhelming. (Don’t worry — every author once felt that way, too.)

That’s why we wanted to cover the basics and give you a broad view of what to consider when running and assessing an ebook advertising promotion.  

Understanding the Terminology 

First things first, as you partner with book promotion sites (and run paid ads elsewhere), you’ll likely come across some unfamiliar terms. Understanding this terminology is a key piece of the puzzle.

With that in mind, take note of the following phrases and the definitions of each. 

  • KPIs – KPIs (or key performance indicators) are all the metrics that show how well your ebook advertising promotion is performing.

  • Clicks – Clicks, as you may have guessed, refer to the number of times your ebook promo link is clicked on. 

  • CPC – CPC (or cost per click) is the amount you spend on each click your promo link receives. 

  • Read-through – Read-through (specifically series read-through) is the percentage of people who go on to read the next book in your series, or another book in your back catalog.

Looking at the Life Cycle of a Promotion 

Before getting started with ebook advertising, it’s crucial that you understand the actual life cycle of a promotion.

If you’re like a lot of authors, you may assume that a one-time promo is just that—a one-off ad that delivers short-term results. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. 

In fact, featuring one of your ebooks (especially if it’s free or discounted) in a popular newsletter can have an impact on your book’s success long after the promo is finished. It all has to do with how a promotion works. 

Let’s take a look… 

1. Immediate sales

The first part of a promotion’s life cycle is immediate sales. Most sales and/or downloads of your ebook (depending on the offer) typically occur within the first 48 hours.

Given that your title is right in front of readers, they’re more likely to click on the ad once they see it (if it piques their interest, that is). This is especially true if the book is free or on sale — there’s incentive to take action.

2. Awareness

The second part of a promotion’s life cycle is awareness. Whether you like it or not, you are a brand — and you’re competing against famous authors (think Stephen King or James Patterson or Danielle Steel) who have the built-in advantage of getting free media just on the basis of name recognition.

Although your ebook advertising promotion is meant to drive sales/downloads, it also plants the seed for people who don’t buy right away.

It not only makes readers aware of your book but also increases the likelihood they’ll come back to it when they’re looking for their next read. 

3. Read-throughs

The third part of a promotion’s life cycle (especially for series) is read-throughs.

As mentioned previously, this is about getting readers to pick up the next book in the series. Using your promotion to offer the first book for free is a great way of achieving this.

However, it’s worth noting it may not happen until months after the promo date, as readers may not pick up the next book in a series right away. 

Deciding on Your Goals

Prior to setting up a promo, you need to ask yourself the following: What do I hope to accomplish with this promo? What is my primary goal? 

Here are the most common goals, along with the benefits and drawbacks of each:

Getting immediate sales

As stated above, immediate sales are just the first part of a promotion’s life cycle. Generally, you’ll see the greatest number of sales/downloads within the first 48 hours of your promo.

If you’ve created an eye-catching book cover, written a compelling description, and selected the proper placement for your promo, you can expect an increase in sales/downloads shortly thereafter.  

But the problem with making immediate sales your primary goal is that you’re not taking customer lifetime value into consideration.

You’re so focused on short-term results that you miss out on the big picture — achieving long-term success by turning new readers into raving fans.

It’s important to remember there are read-throughs of your series, along with sell-through of books in your back catalog. 

Building a fan base by giving away the first book in a series

If your primary goal is to build a fan base for your work, giving away the first book in a series is a great tactic. In fact, it’s a route that many authors take when running a promotion.

By offering the first book for free, you eliminate the main objection that readers have — the expense.

All they have to do is invest their time in reading the first book. If they love it, they’ll be willing to continue with the next.

(Rest assured this tactic does work. A survey of 1,200 Fussy Librarian subscribers revealed that 83% have gone on to purchase an ebook from an author after receiving the first one for free.)

However, it’s important to keep in mind that this goal may not be achieved right away. As stated earlier, not everyone immediately picks up the next book in a series.

It may take a while before readers continue with your series and truly become fans of your work.  

Growing your own newsletter

Having an author newsletter is a great way to stay connected with your fans, alert them to new titles/events, and provide them with content they’re excited to read.

Plus, it provides you with a source of data you can use to shape the emails you send. 

In some cases (like with The Fussy Librarian’s free ebook newsletter), a book promotion site will give you the option to collect addresses for your own email list by using links to Book Funnel or your own website.  

The CPC tends to be higher, but it comes with the benefit of getting more people to subscribe to your newsletter. As a result, you have a greater pool of interested readers to communicate with. 

But this is another goal that takes time to achieve. Ultimately, you’re developing relationships with readers so that they become fans.

You have to keep in mind that not everyone will want to subscribe without becoming a little more familiar with your work. Moreover, you need to prove that your newsletter is worth subscribing to. 

Intermediate Tips and Guidance for Ebook Advertising 

As you move forward with ebook advertising, you’ll start to get a better understanding of what you should consider when running a promotion.

In that case, you may want to dig a little deeper into the specifics, particularly when it comes to advertising with a book promotion site like ours.

That’s why we’ve offered some useful information about placement and links below.  

Choosing Promotion Placement

To get the best results from your ebook advertising promotion, you need to choose the right promotion site for your budget and needs. However, you also need to take placement into consideration.

Most sites offer a couple of options depending on ebook pricing and the genre of the book. 

For example, we have two newsletters: 

  • Free ebook newsletter – Approximately 360,000 subscribers

  • Bargain ebook newsletter – Approximately 119,000 subscribers

As the names suggest, these newsletters differ in what type of books they promote (free versus bargain). There are several instances when you should consider giving away your ebook or offering it at a discount.

So, it’s worth looking at the size of the list (specifically the number of readers who’ve demonstrated interest in your genre), the data collected, and the price reduction you’re willing to make.  

Understanding the Role of Links

Typically, you’re able to include links of your choosing when running an ebook advertising promotion.

On our results page, you can see some recent free ebook promotion results. The links included in each are outlined as follows:

  • A – Amazon only

  • W – Wide (Amazon + Nook, Apple, Kobo, Google)

  • O – Book Funnel, Story Origin, your own website.

When choosing links to include in your promo, you need to think about your primary goal.

Although adding a link to your website, Book Funnel, or Story Origin can help you build your email list, the CPC is often higher.

On the flip side, adding an Amazon link can increase the likelihood of your ebook being purchased/downloaded, as people are more familiar and comfortable with Amazon. 

Advanced Tips and Guidance for Ebook Advertising

If you’ve done ebook advertising before, you’re probably familiar with the terminology and confident in your ability to set up a promo properly.

However, you may be wondering how to calculate certain KPIs and apply the results accordingly. In that case, you’ll find the information below especially helpful. 

Running Equations

Although we make it easy to get the results from a recent promotion, we know that you may be curious about how the data is gathered. Further, there may be some metrics you want to find on your own.

That’s why it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the following formulas/methods.   

How to Calculate CPC

Cost of promotion / # of clicks

By calculating the CPC for your promotion, you learn how much you’ve spent to acquire each click on your promo link.

As mentioned earlier, this is usually lowest for books that are Amazon exclusive or wide, which means Amazon plus other retailers.  

(Note: At The Fussy Librarian, we’re averaging 1-3 cents per click for authors, which is a number you’re unlikely to achieve running your own Facebook ads. That’s because we’ve built an audience of hundreds of thousands of people who like to read ebooks.)

How to Calculate Series Read-Through

Calculating series read-through can be a challenge, but it’s a challenge worth taking. In doing so, you can get a better sense of how many readers have continued with your series.  

Step 1: Get the KENPC (Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count) for each book.

Step 2: Divide your KU pages read by the KENPC to get the total reads for each book. 

Step 3: Take the total reads for book 1 and divide by the total reads for book 2. This provides you with the read-through percentage from book 1 to book 2. 

(Note: You can expect some drop-off from one book to the next; however, if there’s a significant decrease, you should take another look at your target audience or even whether there might be flaws in Book #2 or #3 that are causing people to stop. Your Amazon reviews can offer clues.)

How to Factor in Ad Frequency

Impressions (# of times ad was displayed) / reach (# of unique people who saw the ad)

Achieving the right advertising frequency is important, as it helps improve ad performance and return on ad spend.

In the digital space, it may take a few times before someone who’s on the fence about buying/downloading your ebook will move forward.   

That’s why it’s worth running a promotion regularly. By spacing it apart, you can keep your title top of mind without introducing ad fatigue. 

Taking a Long-Term View

When it comes to applying the results you get from an ebook advertising promotion, there’s something you need to keep in mind…

Although it’s tempting to focus on immediate sales and downloads, it’s in your best interest to take a long-term view. 


Because ebook advertising is about growing an audience and building a fan base, which takes time. After all, publishing is not a get-rich-quick scheme (everyone in the book industry can attest to that).

So, as you analyze the results of an ad to determine performance, don’t underestimate things like clicks and new subscribers. They have a role to play, too. 

You may not become an overnight success, but if you combine your talent and passion for writing with marketing savvy, you can look forward to a rewarding career as an author. 


You probably didn’t anticipate having to put so much effort into getting eyes on your work.

However, learning how to run and assess an ebook advertising promotion is a must. Otherwise, you run the risk of wasting your marketing dollars and failing to position your books for success. 

So, use the information provided as a guide—one that will help you achieve the goal you set for your next promo.

(Ready to run your next promotion? Click HERE to learn about featuring your ebook in our newsletter.)

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