Ad word suggestions please

Tue 24 Jun 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 10 Comments | Posted by: Gavin

Google and Vistaprint (cheap postcards!) sent us $100 credit for Google Adwords so we’re looking for suggesting for which words* we should use. The words should apparently be enticing, or, er, seductive (perhaps filthy-as-all-get-out would be the way to go?), and something which will encourage people not at all like you (ie they have no idea who either you or us are) buy books.**

Suggestions in the comments, please. Best suggestion(s) within the next couple of days will receive an uncorrected proof of Ben Rosenbaum’s The Ant King and Other Stories.

*or: keywords!, so much more important and sexy than regular words.
** The Small Beer HQ was rocked by laughter at this point as thousands of editors, designers, typesetters, etc., chuckled heartily at the thought of people buying books. Who does that anymore? Ha ha ha.


10 Responses to “Ad word suggestions please”

  1. Graeme Williams on June 24th, 2008 1:08 pm

    A few points …

    You can have as many adwords as you like. They cost nothing until someone clicks on them. If I were you, I’d certainly have dozens, partly to see what worked. You care more about what proportion of the clicks translates to sales.

    It’s an auction, and you have to specify a maximum bid. Many of the keywords you might be interested in have no current buyers, so in theory you can bid as low as you like. In practice, 10c seems to be the lowest you can go and still have Google respect you in the morning.

    You can have a lot of fun playing with different bids and keywords using the tool at

    You have to decide on a title for your ad and a tag line, too.

    None of the following words / phrases have any current buyers / bidders, so you’ll be alone on the right hand side of the page in all your seductive glory: alternate history, alternative history, sword and sorcery, anthology, Aegypt, faery and most of your authors, including Elizabeth Hand and Kelly Link.

    You can also combine the author’s name and the title of the book. Any of Elizabeth Hand Generation Loss, Generation Loss or Hand Generation Loss will cost 5c a click with a bid of 10c.

    Other words / phrases where a dime will get you within the top three entries include fantasy, stories, storytelling and “science fiction and fantasy”.

    You can get exact numbers from the tool I referred to above, but most of the suggestions I’ve included will cost 6c, which will generate 1,666 clicks before your money runs out. Again, what you care about isn’t how fast those clicks arrive, but how many turn into sales. From that point of view, authors and titles might be a good place to start.

  2. Charles Tan on June 24th, 2008 6:02 pm

    I’d go with “MP3” (well, you do have the occasional podcast).

  3. lcrw on June 24th, 2008 6:06 pm

    Wow, Graeme, that’s quite the answer: want a job? (Completely unpaid, ooee!) Thanks.

    Charles: nice sideways thinking!

  4. Benjamin Parzybok on June 24th, 2008 7:02 pm

    keyword: Marmalade

    Dear sweet marmalade
    what have you done to my orange?
    Only blisters and peels remain.

    Keyword: thumbtack

    The point of your pin
    is as sharp as tin. Come hither,
    young thing, come within.

    Keyword: Fabulous

    What’s so fabulous? Pff.
    I suppose you’re having a good day.
    I bet you’re even eating ice cream.

  5. Will A. on June 24th, 2008 7:17 pm

    Book lust.
    Titillating narratives.
    Ingenious ink.
    Ben Rosenbaum.

  6. Benjamin Parzybok on June 24th, 2008 7:38 pm

    (sorry, this is addictive)

    Keyword: Garden shovel

    Useful Garden shovel Bury
    the dead, raise the dead, dig your
    own hole for a long summer’s sleep

    Keyword: Iron Bridge

    Iron bridge?
    No thanks, I have plenty already.
    Golden toaster?

    Keyword: Golden Toaster

    I bet you’re trying to
    give me that iron bridge again.
    Well ok. Trade for Wooden Foot

    Keyword: Wooden Foot

    Wooden foot – thinks it
    is a boat. Walks near water
    every chance it gets. Advice?

    (There is *some* small bit of strategy amongst this whimsy – which is that key phrases like ‘Golden Toaster’ have no existing ads, but return not insignificant search results.

    This means you can purchase the ads for very little (limit your cost per click to 10 cents or something) which will stretch the life of the ads for a long time and allow you to get many more clicks per/$1. Though it also looks like there isn’t a lot of ad activity on items like “Hugo Award” or “Tiptree award”.
    You can research some things in google trends:
    to determine how much traffic they might get.)

  7. lcrw on June 24th, 2008 8:50 pm

    Will: showing that Ben Rosenbaum is a lust object, interesting!

    Ben: you’ve cracked (or maybe I mean: you’ve cracked it?)! Either way: eye-catching, which is good.

    Advertising: it’s the new TV.

  8. Benjamin Rosenbaum on June 25th, 2008 4:25 am

    This is a dour, serious, and joyless suggestion entirely lacking the other Ben’s gracious levity, plus I already have an uncorrected ARC of my book. Also, I think all the suggestions above are good. But I’m going to make a suggestion anyway.

    I think a good way to target people likely to buy books, but unlikely to have heard of yours (ours), is to show ads at people who are discussing in their emails, etc., authors, movements, styles, works, etc. which are influences on your authors, or who are similar but better known.

    Looks like you can get “surrealism”, “borges”, “stanislaw lem”, “calvino”, “le guin”, “samuel delany”, “donald barthelme”, “michael chabon”, “gormenghast”, “michael moorcock”, “alfred bester” and “theodore sturgeon” all around the ten-cent mark, and people discussing those things in email — unlike, say, people discussing “benjamin rosenbaum” — are unlikely to already know about “The Ant King and other stories”, but, with the right blurby ad in place, might be likely to pick up a copy.

  9. Graeme Williams on June 25th, 2008 3:18 pm

    Benjamin P’s suggestion to use Google Trends was an excellent one. Google Trends doesn’t show absolute traffic (presumably proprietary), only relative, scaled traffic. One way to get results that are useful for this exercise is to compare two or more terms separated by commas, like this:

    I decided to use John Crowley as the scale base, meaning his traffic is set to 1.0. I ran the suggestions above against John Crowley, and very few make even a blip, except for Benjamin R’s dour and joyless ones. (Isn’t that redundant? Get me rewrite!) Borges, for example is searched for 148 times more frequently than John Crowley, and even Stanislaw Lem scores a respectable 2.0.

    None of the other authors do as well as John Crowley except Sean Stewart, and that’s because there are several different Sean Stewarts.

    Mmmmmmm. Don’t all these numbers give you a warm and fuzzy feeling in your tummy? Me, too!

    Benjamin R should absolutely be awarded an ARC of his own book, just to see the recursion spiral away.

  10. lcrw on June 26th, 2008 12:49 am

    Ben R., nice! We should Totally do that.

    Graeme, you are really out there working this! Email us your address and we’ll send you an ARC.

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