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Decoding Facebook Ads to Sell Books

With nearly a billion users from around the world, Facebook offers authors a fantastic opportunity to reach out to their potential readers in ways that are not possible through other media outlets. To really get the most out of your social media, you need to use Facebook Ads to promote your work. With targeted advertising, you can reach new readers without spending much.

I’m sure you are already promoting your book to your Facebook friends, and you may use a Facebook page to promote your work, but as recent evidence suggests that over half of all business pages have less than 256 “fans,” you probably feel you’re preaching to the choir.

Have you Considered Using Facebook Ads to Sell Your Book?

Using Facebook ads can also be a great way to either sell your book directly, or to attract new ‘fans’ to your page where you can show them what you can do.

Have you ever noticed that they aim television ads at the most likely audience for their time slot? There’s no point in Mattel advertising Barbie during a commercial break in the middle of Rocky 27 or Rambo 14. Similarly, you won’t find many adverts for Gentlemen’s Magazines during the Tuesday afternoon “chick-flick.”

It’s the same with Facebook ads, which are targeted to a very precise audience. You may have noticed that the adverts you see on your Facebook homepage often relate to your personal interests. That’s not accidental, and you can take advantage of this when promoting your books.

But there are a BILLION people out there! How can I make sure that my advert hits the mark?

For example, if your book is aimed at adult women interested in romance novels, living in English-speaking countries, you can target:

  • Age: 18+
  • Language: English
  • Interested in: Men/Women/Both
  • Likes: Mills and Boon, Jackie Collins, Meg Cabot [continue with associated authors]

Further, if you’re selling an ebook, you can target:

  • Likes:  eBooks, iBooks, Nook, etc.

This ‘spear’ marketing technique can help ensure that your Facebook ads are seen by only those who are most likely to be interested in your book.

So how do I pay for my Facebook Ads?

Facebook has two methods of charging for Facebook Ads.

  • · Pay for each 1,000 impressions (the CPM method)

Each “impression” is a showing of your ad on a page, regardless of whether the person seeing that ad clicks on it or not.

  • Pay per “click”

A “click” is when someone actually “clicks” on your advert to visit your website or your book’s Facebook page.

To sell a physical product, it’s probably better to choose the “Per Click” option, because that way you will only be charged for the number of people who click on your advertisement, as opposed to being charged for all the users who see your ad but don’t click on it.

Facebook is asking me to bid for placement. What’s that all about?

Facebook advertising slots are auctioned off to the highest bidder. The more you are prepared to pay for a click, the more likely your advert is to get a prominent position in the user’s sidebar. The amount you will have to ‘bid’ per click will vary depending upon how many advertisers are after your target audience and how deep their pockets are. Facebook will suggest a bid range when you create your advertisement and select your targeting options. Remember that not all of your ‘clicks’ will result in sales, and if the cost per click is too high, it could end up making a big hole in your margins.

Will it get me sales?

Your conversion rate will depend upon the effectiveness of the webpage you send your visitors to when they click. Having a strong “call to action” will help (for example using a lulu “buy now” button). Make sure that if you’re directing users to a website it’s visually interesting and gives the potential buyer everything they need to decide. Include your cover image, price, blurb and any reviews you’ve received.

Things to remember about facebook ads:

  • Set your daily budget at a realistic level: Your ads will continue to run until they exhaust your budget. If your budget is too low, you won’t get many clicks. If it’s too high, the cost of the advertising will eat up all of your profits
  • Make your advertising copy count: You only have a few words, make sure they are enticing
  • Use an effective picture that will look good in a small format: If your picture is rubbish, nobody will click
  • Test different ads to see which one gets the most clicks: Try using one advertisement for your eBook, and another for your print copies. See which generates the most clicks.
  • Don’t spend more than you can afford: Know when to cut your losses and if it’s not working, don’t throw good money after bad. Try another marketing method.

Good luck with your marketing efforts, but remember: Facebook ads aren’t guaranteed to turn your book into a bestseller. If it’s done properly, it can boost your sales. If not, it can end up being a VERY expensive exercise.

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Charles Conway

Charles Conway is a technology consultant with Clear as Crystal Training, and the editor of scam awareness website Scam Detectives. He's also the author of two books published on, which can be found on his author spotlight.

2 thoughts on “Decoding Facebook Ads to Sell Books”

  1. I’ve made plenty of money using fb. First my wife and I made thousands selling reshaping garments and nutritional products. I’ve already sold a few copies of my new book using fb. And I used the free method of self promotion on there scotty boy! Only a fool wouldn’t use fb to promote his or her independent business!

  2. I would never ever use FaceBook to advertise on. Or through. FB is a social network for friends to friends. Mostly teenagers and their parties. If I used a social media network to advertise, I would target a more professional one. It doesnt matter if FB has larger numbers, if it makes you look bad or your product bad by advertising on it, then it makes no sense.

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