This New Realm is Wonderful

If you've noticed the Project Wonderful ads on my site (mostly on the left side, although there's also a banner on the ROT13 / ROT47 encoder/decoder), you'll have a pretty good idea what "Wonderful" in the title of this blog post refers to. It's not just about putting some ad boxes on my site, though. The more important thing is that I've found that I can use Project Wonderful to get more exposure for my books at very little cost, or no cost at all. Writers who don't need to worry about reaching more readers are almost certainly not reading my blog, so if you're a writer reading this blog, you should take a look at Project Wonderful also.


Photo credit: dhester from morguefile.com

Two critical things to understand about Project Wonderful are:

  1. Advertising is done by bidding, and bids are updated very frequently, so whether you've won the bid for a particular ad slot can change multiple times in a short span of time.
  2. Bids are based on how much you want to spend for a whole day of your ad appearing — and you can bid $0 (and still win).

There are various of strategies for placing your ads, and you'll probably want to experiment a bit to find the approach that works best for you. Overall you can manually enter bids on specific ad boxes on specific sites, or you can create a campaign that will automatically bid for you on a wide range of sites that meet the criteria you specify. I don't think campaigns can be run for free, but manual bids can be entered at $0, and you'll win the bid when there are not enough paid advertisers to push the free advertisers out. However, there is a bit more work if you want to use free ads only, because a $0 bid can only last for two days. If you put some money behind your bid, it can last much longer. You can limit your costs by either providing an expiration date or by putting a cap (of $1 or more) on how much you want to spend.

One nice thing about the free option is that you can do a lot of testing without financial risk. One obvious way to do this is to see which sites seem to give you the most clicks. Do this by manually placing $0 bids on many sites, and after a few days of this go to your "expired" bids and sort by clicks. (Be sure to pay attention to unique clicks, since you don't want to favor a site where the site owner is repeatedly clicking his or her own ad boxes.) You can also test your own ad graphics to see which seem to catch the eye and attract clicks the best. Once you know which graphics and sites perform best, you can focus your efforts there, perhaps with some paid bids to keep your best-performing ads visible longer.

Naturally, if you have your own site you can also do what I've done and set up some Project Wonderful ad boxes. Revenue that you earn from other people advertising on your site can be turned around and spent on advertising for your site and/or books. Project Wonderful offers a fair amount of control over what ads can appear on your site, including offering the ability to manually approve each new ad, so you don't have to worry about inappropriate ads appearing on your site. You can even block ads that have animation, in case you feel animation is "inappropriate."

A natural question would be whether I've seen an increase in book sales by advertising through Project Wonderful, and the answer to that is no, not yet. I'm still testing different sites, ad graphics, and ad sizes to see what performs the best. I've experimented with paid ads as well as free ads, with the latter being the bulk of what I've used. As of this writing I've spend a mere $1.73 on over 75,900 impressions and 86 clicks in about three weeks of time. My plan is start doing more careful testing rather than the ad-hoc "try and see" testing that I've been doing. Anyway, I think Project Wonderful is worth a look for advertising at low-cost or no-cost (other than time). Sign up if you want to take it for a spin!


About the Author
Stuart J. Whitmore is an author of fiction and nonfiction, as well as a photographer, technology developer, and more. If you enjoy reading his blog posts, you might also enjoy reading his books. Take a look at the books by Stuart J. Whitmore today, and download your copy of one that looks interesting to you!