Reddit advertising of “PAM Mastery”

I spent $25 on a Reddit ad that ran for the last week, for PAM Mastery. The ad (Pluggable Authentication Modules: Threat or Menace?) appeared in /r/CentOS, /r/Ubuntu, /r/sysadmin, /r/unix, /r/freebsd, /r/linux, /r/BSD, and /r/debian.

So what did I get for that?

62,521 impressions. 215 clicks through to the ad. 89 click-throughs to the book page.

How many of those translated to purchases? That’s pretty hard to guess, but: the links from my web site are affiliate links. When you buy the book from Amazon through my link, I get a few extra cents for referring you there. So, let’s assume that all of the affiliate purchases of PAM Mastery during that time came as a result of the Reddit ad. That’s going to overestimate the ad’s impact, but it’s the only real promo I did during that time.

So, the total sales I can attribute to the Reddit are:


This isn’t Reddit’s fault. Maybe the ad sucks–I’ve never claimed to be an ad man. Maybe the cover image drew them in, but then they looked at my site or the book description and said “Oh, hell no.”

Or perhaps PAM just repulsed them.

Why advertise?

My book sales have been way down for the last few months–both fiction and nonfiction. PAM Mastery did not sell as well at release as some other books.

Other writers have reported similar slumps. (When pro writers get together, what do we talk about? Money, books written by people not in the room, and business.)

If sales continued that poorly, I would have had to make some changes.

Weirdly, though, my sales picked up… on November 9th. The day after election day. Other writers I know have reported similar surges.

A week does not mean that the writing is better. But the folks saying uncertainty is bad for business have a point.

Or perhaps advertising on Reddit brought people to my site, where they bought books that were not about PAM.

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