You have spent a lot of time writing your book, and now, it’s time to think of how to sell your book.
One of the most challenging things for a self-published author is how to sell books after writing, editing, and publishing.
And if you are in that shoe right now, this post will show you a powerful tool and channel you can use to sell your book and get people to know about you and your books.
But really, is marketing and selling of books all that hard?
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The answer to this question might seem dicey and not a straight forward issue, but the reality is that with social media, authors have never had it so easy to sell their books, build their author platform, as well as connect and interact with their target audience.
From the potentials Goodreads has to offers for authors and to the massive platform offered by Twitter, there has never been an easy route for authors to sell more books and get seen like it has been today.
Surely, there are many ways that authors can use to sell more books, and you are only limited by what you think is possible in terms of book marketing strategies, but the truth is that some ways are more difficult and time-consuming for some who might never have the luxury of the time required to make all these work before seeing the necessary results needed, and this takes us to ask the question of what is really the best way to market book today without tying much in terms of time and maybe money if we consider the fact that most indie authors today are operating from a tight budget purse?
In this post, I will be dealing with how authors can take advantage of the power of Facebook marketing to sell more books and been seen in front of readers as well.
Why Facebook Marketing?
Folks at Facebook are rolling out varying useful marketing channels and tools to help anyone leverage on the vast number of user data and information available at the disposal of Facebook in which there has never been a laser targeted advertising and marketing channel in today’s world other than Facebook Ads Marketing.
Today, ask anyone who follow Facebook and Social Media Experts like Amy Porterfield, Mari Smith, Jon Loomer, and Andrea Vahl, you will know how much of success these guys are having in their various business using mostly the power of Facebook Marketing.
But ask me why should I care about looking unto Facebook and all it has to offer as the next book marketing weapon I should use today to take my writing and authorship to the next level, then I will tell you why Facebook makes a lot of sense for authors today:
With the power of Facebook Ads and Facebook Marketing, it has now become possible for authors to get powerful book marketing results from the biggest social media site. Here, I take a look at some of the most exciting facts about Facebook Ads Marketing that highlight the possibilities of Facebook advertising for book marketing.
1. Customized Targeting
Every author writes in a particular niche or book category. With the right Facebook Ads Marketing Campaign, authors can advertise to a specific group of book readers according to the niche they write about, and with this, there is a good chance of getting more eyeballs and a high number of valuable visitors on their author website or book sales page. General social media posts and messages for authors most time do not have much impact because they are not targeted. You can target your Facebook advertisements very precisely.
If you write about vampires, you can target your Facebook Ads campaign at users on the basis of their specific interests like vampires as well as other metrics like relationship status, gender, location, and several other factors! This means that whether you go for cost per click or paid impressions, you are bound to get valuable and interested readers on your author website or book page on a third party book selling platform like Amazon.
Facebook Ads Offer The Advantage Of Precise Targeting
2. Different Types of Advertisements and Pricing Options
With Facebook Ads Marketing, you have the ability to set bids based on either Cost Per Click (CPC) or Cost Per 1,000 Impressions (CPM).
You can also set a daily or lifetime budget according to your book marketing goals and criteria. Also, you are not limited to just one kind of advertisement.
Depending on what suits you and your books the best, you can create Sponsored Book Ads, Page Posts Ads to promote your blog and get traffic to your book page or your blog/website post, and Marketplace Ads at the sidebar of your target audience’s Facebook Page.
The possibilities of how you can reach your target book audience is just too many with Facebook Ads Marketing, and you are only limited to what you can do to sell your books and build your author platform.
3. Conversion Tracking
Facebook allows advertising authors to keep track of important actions people take on their author website/blog after they click or view ads.
4. Low Barrier Entry
Facebook Ads to most people is a no go area with the wrong belief that it requires quite some large budget but this impression is really wrong.
With as low as a $5 a day budget, authors can take advantage of this powerful book marketing channel to sell more books and reach as many book readers as possible which in turn helps in building a viable author’s platform.
Why Should You Spend Money to Advertise Your Book?
In today’s business reality, the competition is really cut-throat and every business owner must find a means to get noticed and be seen by potential customers amidst the pool of noise out there in the market.
Advertising is a major part of any business model, and like it or not, it’s critical to the success of your writing and author journey, unless you are writing as a form of hobby or just for the fun of it.
People have to know about your book before they can buy it, and with who knows how many millions of books available on Amazon.com, Kobo.com, Smashword.com, Lulu.com, and so on, the odds that someone is going to just stumble across your book and buy it are really, really low – that’s the cut-throat competition I talked about earlier.
Of course, advertising requires a budget and that’s something (as well as time) most indie authors don’t have a lot of as I can remember how much of a tight budget I started my journey with. So, it’s important to spend your dollars effectively.
But the truth and the reality is that you need to spend some money to make things happens to some extent as the days of free lunch in marketing are almost gone, but the good news is that Facebook Ads properly done won’t hurt your pocket or wallet.
And now, let’s see stories of authors who have dived into the sometimes confusing water of Facebook Ads for book marketing.
Will Facebook Ads Works For Book Marketing?
John R. Phythyon, Jr once experimented with the idea of using Facebook Ads to sell his short story book – Sleeping Beauty
In his word, below is the summary of his approach and his target and methodology for the Facebook Ads Campaign to sell his short stories book.
In my case, I chose people who are fans of ABC’s Once Upon A Time. The Sunday-night drama supposes that the evil queen from “Snow White” has brought all the famous fairytale characters to our world and wiped them of their memories. Like the show, my version of “Sleeping Beauty” features a familiar tale retold in a modern setting. People who like Once Upon A Time are a natural fit, so I specifically targeted Facebook users who were fans of the show.
Facebook also tells you the size of your potential audience. As soon as I selected fans of Once Upon A Time as my target, Facebook said my ad would reach up to 1.8M users. That’s a lot of people! Had I added other criteria (like for example fans of Amazon’s Kindle) I could have increased that reach, and I also could have narrowed my focus by selecting, for example, only female fans the show.
Finally, Facebook charges on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis. That is, you only get charged for the ad if someone clicks on it to learn more. Facebook offers a bid range, where you set the price you’re willing to pay per click. You also get to set a budget, wherein you establish the maximum amount you’re willing to spend per day or for the lifetime of the ad campaign. I used the minimum bid of 68 cents per click and set a lifetime budget of $100.00.
Facebook also asks you to tell them when the ad campaign will run, and you can set that down to the minute. In my case, I began the campaign at 7:00pm CDT Sunday night — right when Once Upon A Time was coming on the air for East Coast audiences — and set it to end at 11:59pm Monday night. My thought was this would best capitalize on people discussing the show as it aired and for a day or so afterward.
Also, in his words, here is the result of his Facebook Ads experiment.
My total reach was 180,277 unique impressions. That’s only about 10% of what Facebook claimed was the total audience size for my ad, but it’s also a really big number. I don’t know how many people saw my giveaway offer on Amazon or my ads on the other websites I used, but I bet it wasn’t as many as the Facebook ad.
…… I got a total of 284 clicks, which is a click-through rate (CTR) of only .059% — way below the two percent I was hoping for. However, it is more clicks than I was expecting. That’s because the CPC fell steadily over the course of the event. At the end, it was 35 cents. I’m not sure why this was. I did use a $50 ad credit Facebook gave me, so that may have been factored into the CPC given my $100 ad budget, but the CPC number changed several times over the life of the campaign. I don’t know why that was.
So, with 284 click-throughs the big question is how many of those turned into sales. That’s where the campaign was most disappointing. I sold five copies of “Sleeping Beauty.” That’s a 1.7% rate of return — close to the standard two percent for direct mail. It seems the leads that click-through isn’t quite the fish on the line I was hoping for. They were only fish in the pond. (That’s too bad too since 284 clicks for $100 works out to 28.4 cents CPC, which would have made the campaign profitable if they’d all bought.)
There were a few encouraging numbers from Amazon. I hit new highs for “Sleeping Beauty’s” rank in the paid store. It got up to 50,000 at one point, and I peaked as the 1036th bestselling author in the Fantasy category. That surely raised the book’s and my visibility, although not to levels that would have a significant impact on sales.
His Final Conclusion?
I also quote without any distortion his conclusion about his Facebook Ads experiment
There’s no way not to look at this experiment as a failure. My return on investment was minimal. Five sales isn’t very many at all, considering the exposure I got and the amount of money I spent for it. Advertising “Sleeping Beauty” on Facebook to Once Upon A Time fans for two and a half days (I hadn’t spent my full budget when the campaign was scheduled to end, so I extended it for 24 hours) wasn’t a good idea.
However, I did glean some useful data from it and a hypothesis about the book. First the data.
– Return on Investment: Advertising a 99-cent eBook probably isn’t a good idea. The potential return (35 cents per copy sold) just doesn’t justify the expense. Even with the CPC at a final rate of 35 cents, I’d have had to sell a copy to every person who responded to break even. That would be fine if the rate of sales to those who clicked was pretty high, but it wasn’t. It was at the standard, two-percent return. So the potential exposure from a sales bump just wasn’t there at an affordable rate.
– Time is a Factor: Also, you have to give Facebook some time to work its magic. I saw my total number of impressions, my average number of views, and my CTR all raise over time, while my CPC went down as the campaign went on. Advertising on Facebook requires a long view. It’s interesting to note that my sales went up over time too. The first night — the night I thought would be best given that the show was fresh in people’s minds — resulted in zero sales. I made two the next day, and three the following. Who knows how long that trend would have continued, but it seems clear you need time to build momentum on Facebook.
My hypothesis on the book is that my blurb may not be good enough. I have five four-star reviews, I gave away over 650 copies of the story, and I’ve pushed it to the moon in various advertising venues. But sales are sluggish. It could be I’m getting people to the book’s page but not convincing them they should buy it. After all, 284 people clicked on the Facebook ad, but only five of them decided it was worth spending a dollar to buy. It may be I need some better copy.
And that leads me to my thoughts on future advertising on Facebook. I think it may be a good move in conjunction with a KDP Select giveaway. If 284 people thought “Sleeping Beauty” was interesting enough to want to learn more, how many of them would have downloaded it if it hadn’t cost them anything? I bet it’s a lot higher than five.
I also think it might be useful for a higher-priced book. If the book was $3.99, that’s a 70% royalty rate, which translates to $2.79 per sale. With the same $100 budget, I’d have to sell 35.8 copies for the investment to pay off. Obviously, I didn’t do that last time, but it’s possible I didn’t run the campaign long enough or that my marketing copy wasn’t good enough. Both of those things are changeable.
At any rate, this particular experiment failed, but it produced some interesting information I can apply to future attempts. If you’re contemplating Facebook advertising for your eBook, remember that the ROI can be tricky.
My Take and Note About His Conclusion?
His concluding sentence that “….remember that the ROI can be tricky” is really the truth and here is why…
For an indie author who has a $0.99 book on Amazon, spending less than $1 or more on Facebook Ads to sell the book would be plain illogical, unless for the mere fact that just as John said, the exposure the Facebook Ads gave his book on Amazon helped push the book to the top bestseller list, and if you are conversant with how Amazon ranks books, you will know that the more downloads any book is getting plus the number of reviews is one big factor that affects where any book lies among the ranks of millions of other books in the same category.
With a higher list rank, books stand the chances for a better placement whenever anyone is searching for books in that category as well as the higher possibility of being shown among the popular and coveted “Books Bought By People Who Buy…” List at the end of the page of similar books in that category.
But what if I’ve my book on the same Amazon been priced at maybe $9.99 – the highest price level that qualifies anyone for the 70% royalty payment or I have my book only as a PDF that sells for $14.99 or more and spending like $4 per each sales conversion, won’t that be a better investment of time and money?
Facebook Ads aren’t a good fit for some books, especially books that are almost free or low priced on Amazon or other online book stores, but even with that, it can still be used in better ways that later will help sell more books in the long run.
Here is what I’m talking about…..
Let’s say I have a $2.99 book on Amazon for sale, but I’ve got poor blog traffic report in my Google Analytics dashboard, and I want to sell more books, whereas I know that using Facebook Ads to sell the book won’t be a wise idea, but I can surely spend a few bucks on the same Facebook Ads with a well-targeted FB ads campaign targeting my exact book audience in precise interest like gender, location, likes and interests, and so on to give away a free chapter of my book in exchange for their name and email in which I can use that to build a relationship with them later in form of notification of my latest blog posts as well as soft sell them into buying my books with book offers, review copies, and many more, which not only build my author platform and audience base but also gets me seen by my preferred audience even more.
Won’t this be a better investment for me?
Case Study: Amazon Best Selling Book in Just a Day – With Facebook Ads
A great way to answer this question is to look at a case study of a past author client that I did for a Targeted Facebook Ads Campaign for her book.
I had many stories to tell about the power of Facebook Ads for book marketing but this case study was one of the case studies I did for an unconventional book.
The campaign worked and if I do that today despite not being a fiction author, I will surely make some tweaks and have much better results than what I had then.
You can read about the Facebook Ads Book Marketing Case Study.
Four Things You Should Know About Facebook Ads For Book Marketing
First, let’s look into some basic facts about using Facebook Ads for book marketing.
1. Facebook Ads aren’t meant for selling low prized books like the common $0.99 and $2.99 books on Amazon. If you are still thinking about using Facebook ads to help you sell more books, you can do so NOT by directly selling using Facebook Ads, but using it to build your mailing list by offering something in exchange for your target book audience’s email and name and draw them into your sales funnel where you can finally sell them your books through relationship-based email marketing.
2. Dealing with Facebook Ads for beginners who don’t know how Facebook Ads work can be really tricky, and as simple as Facebook Ads seems to be too many, it takes much knowledge of how it works and the many other factors that determine a successful ad campaign.
You need to know what you are doing before diving into sending your advertising budget on Facebook Ads.
If you need help in running your book marketing Facebook Ads Campaign, you can check this guide which gives you a more detailed insight into how you can crush it with Facebook Ads for your book marketing goals.
3. Facebook ads really aren’t meant for direct selling but still, there are smarter ways to still sell using this powerful advertising channel and this also should be figured into your Facebook Marketing Plan.
4. It never costs a fortune to use Facebook Ads to market and promote your books as well as building your author platform.
With these four basic facts about Facebook Ads marketing for authors, we can now look into ways authors can use Facebook Ads.
Facebook Ads, if properly channeled, can be a very good marketing tool in the hand of every author, and this is because it offers lots of interesting options that can help you as an author to not only sell more books but also reach more readers and grow your author platform, which also helps sell more books in the long run.
How You Can Use Facebook As To Achieve Your Book Marketing
1. Selling Your Books
You’ve completed your eBook, and it’s ready to be sold. Now, it’s time for you to focus on promoting your work in order to increase sales. There are many ways that you can market your book, but one way that you may not have thought of is through Facebook, and specifically, Facebook ads.
The first thing you must have is a business page on Facebook dedicated to your eBook. This page should provide pertinent information about your book, including what it’s about, what the reader will learn from it, and why your reader would want to purchase it. Also, be sure to link to your webpage or a website that sells your eBook—the point of this is to drive sales, after all!
After you have your eBook’s Facebook page up and running, your goal is to get as many fans as you possibly can. More fans lead to more sales. One big way you can get more fans is by utilizing Facebook ads.
By investing a couple of hundred dollars in Facebook ads, you are able to appeal to the masses, and specifically, those people that may be interested in your eBook.
I) Send Ad Clickers to a Great Landing Page
Don’t just send people to your Facebook page’s wall! This may be your initial instinct, but it’s a huge mistake. When people click on your Facebook advertisement, send them to a customized webpage that encourages them to click your Facebook page “like” button. One huge way to encourage visitors to become fans is to offer an incentive. Give fans a sneak peek into the first chapter or two of your eBook, or give them access to an older eBook that your company offers. People will be more likely to become a fan of your Facebook page if you give them something in return. It shouldn’t take long for you to develop a customized page, and having this landing page will surely encourage more visitors to become a fan of your eBook’s Facebook page.
ii) Make Your Ads Specific
Something general like ‘Check out My eBook!’ isn’t going to get a good response. It’s generic, and we’ve all seen plenty of ads like this before. When creating the text for your ad, make sure that you keep it as specific as possible and clearly targeted to a particular demographic. Is your eBook about getting out of debt? Something specific such as ‘Our eBook shows you how to tackle your debt and make it manageable’ will speak to the appropriate group of people that you’re targeting—and this specific group of people will be more likely to become fans of your Facebook page, and ultimately, buy your eBook.
iii) Ask a Question
Asking questions in your Facebook ads is one way to get people involved. People are more likely to pay attention if you draw them into your ad with a specific question that they can relate to. For example, if we were trying to sell the same eBook as in the previous example, an ad stating ‘In over Your Head in Credit Card Debt? 25 Ways to Get out of Debt will show you how to take your debt head-on!’ will encourage people to interact and become fans of your eBook Facebook page.
These are just three tips to ensure that your ad gains you as many fans—and sales—as possible. The next time you’re ready to promote your eBook, don’t overlook Facebook ads.
2. Building Your Author Platform
With Facebook Ads, there has never been a more wonderful, faster, and cheaper way to grow a viable author platform.
Think in terms of growing your email list, getting traffic to your author blog and being seen by your target book readers, then you’ve got a friend in Facebook Ads.
3. Growing Your Email List
Growing your email list is one of the smartest things you can do for your writing career as an author and writer: Email is the most direct and effective way to communicate with your fans. And because YOU own your list, you don’t depend on the quirks, updates, and changes in popularity of any one particular social network.
Experts agree that Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. are great SOURCES of traffic to your website and email list.
With Facebook Ads, in particular, you can easily target and reach a large number of potential book loving fans. And you don’t need to spend a ton of money: You can set a daily budget as low as $5 (and run your ads for a limited time) for this to work.
All you just need to do is to decide on who your target audience was, grab their attention with an irresistible offer – a free chapter of your book, a free copy of one your books, a collection of your past writings, or any freebie that will attract loads of eyeballs to your mailing list.
Then, you need a great but simple landing page to collect your target book fans email and name so you could send them your free offer and run a well-targeted Facebook Ads Campaign to get eyeballs and your book reading audience into your email list and watch your email list grow in numbers.
Also, this won’t stop here; you need to take advantage of Facebook’s free organic reach with a well-designed and optimized Author Facebook Page, you will also need to post regular information about your books, your thoughts, and any other useful content that your audience will find helpful and interesting without being too promotional to curb being seen by them as a promotional junkie, which might lead to people un-liking your page.
This type of useful and interactive engagement with your Facebook fans will also help a lot in conjunction with your email list to get your words out to your target audience as well as been seen and noticed by them.
And if you don’t already have a large following on your Facebook Page, you can also use Facebook Ads to get more followers and likes for your Facebook Page. The opportunity with Facebook Ads for authors is just limiting to only what an author’s imagination and creativity can come up with.
4. Getting Traffic to Your Author Blog
Most authors crave for free traffic methods to drive traffic to their author blog.
And with this, I mean the usual social media marketing, article writing, guest posting, free press publicity, and so on.
The problem with these free traffic methods is that they take a great heck of a time to get any significant results, but with Facebook Ads, today, authors can drive a load of targeted traffic to their author blogs/websites.
This is just a matter of running the right Facebook Ads Campaign to help drive traffic to your author blog, website, or your individual blog/website posts. Also, the smartest thing to do here is to have a Call to Action that will help convert those traffic into your mailing list. A simple Call to Action sentence or opt-in at the end of your post and at strategic places on your blog/website will do the trick.
The possibilities are just endless in regards to how authors can harness the power of Facebook Ads to help fast track their writing success.
These three posts have dealt with the ins and outs of Facebook Ads Marketing for Authors, and these can also pass as a resource guide on ways authors can use Facebook Marketing to market and promote books as well as grow a viable author platform.
To end this series of posts, I need to say clearly that as simple as Facebook Ads for Book marketing for authors might look like, authors should be familiar and knowledgeable in using this simple looking but somehow tricky book marketing tool.
The truth is that Facebook Marketing, especially Facebook Ads, isn’t for everyone and all authors because it takes a great deal of knowledge of who your audience is, what your book marketing goals are, your budget (the more your budget, the better and faster the results will be), the ins and outs of Facebook Ads and many other external factors to make all these work as it should.
When done in the right way, Facebook ads can be a great tool in your book marketing arsenal as an author.
But you need to get the right information and understand what to do and what to avoid when using this tool to avoid burning your ad budget without getting the result you want.
If you love to explore this great tool for your book marketing purpose, download a FREE Facebook Ads Book Marketing Cheat Sheet that shows you FOUR Cool Hacks you can use to get a positive return from your Facebook ads to spend.
And if you prefer a more detailed guide that shows you:
- Best ways to use Facebook Ads as an author to get results.
- Basic facts you need to know about Facebook Ads for selling books before you start running ads to sell your book.
- What you need before you create a Facebook Ads.
- Step by Step Guide To Show You How to create a Facebook Ads Campaign.
- A Little Trick You Can Use To Get Ideas For You Facebook Ads Campaign From A Competing Author.
- Anatomy of a Great Facebook Ad.
- Recommended Resources to help you learn more about Facebook Ads for Book Marketing
Then get a copy of How To Sell Books Online: The Facebook Ads Marketing Plan That Sells Books