Category Archives: GoodReads

How to Run a Book Ad: A Three-Part Theory

This three-part theory is my response to a GoodReads discussion on whether it is effective to buy and run book ads. You can see the original discussion thread here:

1)Never put out a book ad without embedding your Amazon Affiliate ID in the URL. I’m surprised many authors on this forum do not pay attention to it. Advertised or not, I never give out my books’ URLs without my affiliate ID in them. And the result is satisfactory. I took a screenshot of my account statement from 9/1 to date:….

You can see that I’ve earned a whopping $19. Humble, laughable. But hey, it offsets something if I have to pay for ads. But for this month, I have not paid any ads. The income is just from my spreading my books’ URLs everywhere.

2)I have to disagree with you on where to direct the click-through. I strongly believe it should be your Amazon book page. Nobody does it better than Amazon. The top portion of the book page is designed with a killer instinct. On the left you have the “Look inside,” and on the right you have the Buy button and a Download sample button right there. Anyone who arrives at your book page is instantly fed with those three visual gauntlet.

I would not kid myself that my own blog has that kind of “squeezing” power as Amazon’s tested book page.

3)And this one is a MUST. Learn from the grandmaster — Amazon is the inventor of the “chao algorithm.” That is the equivalent of window shopping of the physical world. If a buyer browsed your book and then moved on to Joyland, there is a chance when someone else is looking at Joyland, he is presented with an icon of your book cover, along with a few others under the “Customers who viewed Joyland also viewed these items.” Same principle with free giveaway; just more potent as free download counts as an “Amazon verified purchase.”

To maximize this effect, you yourself should create random affiliations that favor yourself. My book “Secret” talks about this and gives a specific procedure through which you can drop an Affiliate widget right there in a prominent spot of your book description, to entice the visitor to click on other titles of the book. That way, when you are running a free promo, and you have some caption on the other tiles saying things like “Click to check if it is free,” you are going to get clicks. The rest is up to your books. They have to sell themselves when the prospective buyers are looking at them.

Here’s what Philip Henley did this morning to his book page… — he dropped the Affiliate widget in his book. He also dropped his Tweet box in the description, which in my humble opinion should be below the Affiliate widget. With Twitter you get follows. With the Affiliate widget you get book sales or advertising commission, as I did.

Honestly, a big portion of the Affiliate commissions may be generated from the Amazon widget as I have such widget in every book page of mine. You can see one example here:

The end result is when a stranger comes to one of my books, there is a chance he’s gonna click on that Amazon widget to view another title of mine. Once he does that, he becomes my captive audience. No matter what he buys that session, be it my book or something else, I get paid.


I Give Stephen King’s Joyland a 5-Star

JoylandJoyland by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Admittedly, I’m not a die-hard King fan or self-proclaimed King expert like many on this board are; therefore, my 5-star may seem to be overly generous.

But I truly enjoyed this book. King shows some outstanding good writing in this book, following many of his own good advices, such as always resorting to sensory feel, artfully crafted dialog and tightly woven interpersonal logic of emotion.

And King exposes his sensitive side in this tale, starting from the narrative of a young lad heartbroken from his first love, to how a kite flying in the sky brings joy and wonder to the hearts of a young boy living on borrowed time, and his loving mother who’s always had trouble conforming to the social norms, and that of the lad himself who’s fate keeps depositing him into some extraordinary circumstances.

King had me early at “my shadow walked with me on the sand” when the lad walked to work in the morning and “my shadow walked with me on the water” when the lad came back from work at dusk. What a vivid picture. What a brilliant, yet understated observation. An author almost has to have done that commute on foot across that beach, in order to be able to describe it with such ease and grace.

Well done Mr. King.

M. Eigh, author of the now popular KDP’s Best-Kept Secret Revealed: How to Embed Videos and Widgets in Your Book Description.

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Book Brouhaha Gives “My Mother’s Shadow” a 4-Star Rating!

Alain Gomez, at Book Brouhaha, is not known for disbursing charitable book reviews. To her credit, she gives out 4-star ratings grudgingly. To obtain a 5-star rating, the story has to be “absolutely life changing.” In the crass and philistine world we live in where a huge conspiracy “professional book review” industry is thriving on the sweat and blood, measly book royalty indie writers are eking out, or hoping to eke out, Alain does not charge a penny to review a submitted book. But I have to warn you: the waiting list is long and in my particular case, my book sat in her pipeline for about 12 months.

IMHO, Book Brouhaha could charge some fee for an expedited review for authors who’re in a hurry to get a professional review on their books, without compromising its editorial integrity. A paid author can still get a 1-star rating on his/her book, if it really sucks. An unpaid author can still get a 5-star, if his or her book gives the reviewers at Book Brouhaha a “life changing” experience.

Book Brouhaha‘s free book review policies are listed here:

Here’s what Alain said about my short fiction collection “Bitter Tea and Braided Hair:”

(My Mother’s Shadow is) a truly beautiful piece of short fiction. What it lacks in action it makes up for in literary depth. There are a lot of layers to this story, each interesting enough to mull over for some time.

I was impressed with how easily M. Eigh introduces his racist world. In just a few short paragraphs that contain no blatant description you understand the conflict and empathize with the characters. I appreciated the symbolic use of shadows. It was a clever literary reference to other literary references.

I only wish there was a little more emotion attached to the mother. This story is told from the point of view of a young child. But I felt these innocent emotions could have been more balanced. I was sympathetic with the mother’s cause more than the mother herself.

All in all, though, an excellent piece. This collect is well worth picking up if you’re in the mood for a bit of literary fiction to read with a glass of nice wine. — stars-4-0 Alain Gomez, Book Brouhaha

You can find Book Brouhaha’s review on “My Mother’s Shadow” by clicking on Alain’s picture:


On “The Death of Ivan Ilych”: The Master Chef and His Famous Consomme

The Death of Ivan Ilych And Other StoriesThe Death of Ivan Ilych And Other Stories by Leo Tolstoy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say? Tolstoy is the master.

A master Chinese chef once served a consomme at the end of a meal. (This is not a strange thing in China. The Cantonese are the only group of people who eat soups at the start of a meal. People elsewhere in China do the opposite.)

Everyone marveled at how delicious and wonderful the consomme tasted. The inquisitive ones begged the chef for the secret recipe.

“Plain boiled water with some unseasoned leaves of green,” the chef said.

After a full meal of extraordinary flavors, diners palate crave for plain and clean taste.

Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan Ilych” is that master chef’s consomme. It is as basic as water, yet as refreshing and life-sustaining as water.

I did not read “The Death of Ivan Ilych,” I re-read it now and then. In one of my not-so-subtle short fiction, titled “A Eulogy for Edwin Bogardus,” I could not help alluding to this book. “A Eulogy for Edwin Bogardus” is one of the short fiction in my collection “Bitter Tea and Braided Hair.” (

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