Use Facebook to Attract More Readers and Drive Book Sales

If you're planning to self-publish a book, SilverWood can offer sensible self-publishing advice, support and professional services. Here, we examine Facebook advertising to promote your self-published book.
Advertising your self-published book on Facebook can be a great way to build your audience, gain trust in your author brand and ultimately, drive book sales.

Over two billion people use Facebook every month. In 2018, over-55s became the second-biggest demographic on Facebook (Guardian).

So it's no surprise that potential readers of your book are more than likely active on Facebook. They are connecting with friends and family, leaving reviews on businesses and discovering the latest news, trends, and products. Even better, Facebook advertising allows you to earn a higher profit from book sales, as you can signpost consumers to your website, where you can sell your book directly.

SilverWood author Charles Egan says, "One great advantage of Facebook ads is that you can start advertising for as little as £1 a day, though we began on about £5...and the net result? Our sales are up 20 times over. Wow!"

Facebook advertising allows authors to communicate with the world's largest community in a relaxed, personable way. What's even more exciting? Facebook can connect authors with their perfect audience. Instead of advertising to 1,000 random people, for example, you can instantly advertise to a group of individuals that have interests directly related to your book. Published a book about scuba diving? No problem. On Facebook, you can promote your book to an audience who has shown an interest in the ocean, exotic fish, water sports, scuba diving or snorkelling, travelling and more.

So how can authors advertise their book on the world's largest social media platform?

We talked to social media advertising specialist, Esther James of Socialable Bristol, to find out more. Below, we’ll fill you in on how you can get started and what you need for a successful Facebook ad campaign.

Getting started:

Firstly, you’ll want to create a Facebook Business Page. You can learn how to do this on Facebook, here. This Facebook business page should be your "Author Page" and we recommend you provide the following:

Your author name and description

Name your Page as your author name or the name that people search for to find your book. Use the About section to tell people about yourself, as an author.

A profile photo and cover photo

Choose photos that represent your book and author brand well. This could be a professional photo of yourself, your book cover design or photos from any book launch or signing events.

The action you want people to take (to buy and read your book!)

At the top of your Page, you can add a call to action that directs your Page visitors to do something, such as visit your website and purchase your book.

Now that you have a page, you can start advertising on Facebook!

To create an advertisement, you will need the following:

An objective: ask yourself, what is the outcome I want from this ad?

Your objective should be to drive sales on your website. So, when choosing a Facebook ad, make sure to select "traffic". Growing traffic on your website increases the chances of visitors taking valuable action when visiting your site.

Top tip: make sure to add Facebook Pixel Code to your website. This piece of code lets you measure, optimise and build audiences for your advertising campaigns.

"When someone visits your website and takes action (for example, buys something), the Facebook pixel is triggered and reports this action. This way, you'll know when a customer took action after seeing your Facebook ad. You'll also be able to reach this customer again by using a Custom Audience. When more and more conversions happen on your website, Facebook gets better at delivering your ads to people who are more likely to take specific actions. This is called conversion optimisation." Facebook Business

To create a Facebook Pixel, click here.

A clear idea of your audience

Paint a picture of the person who would read your book.

How old are they? Where do they live? What do they do for work? What are their interests? Identifying your audience is critical for marketing. Luckily, Facebook makes it easy to identify your audience. Click here to see how you can advertise directly to people who would love to read your book.

A budget

Spend as much as you want, with no need to break the bank.

Facebook allows you to choose how much you want to spend on advertising. You can spend as little as £5 a week or £1500 a month. To learn more about the cost of advertising on Facebook, click here.

As for how much to budget, remember that Facebook Ads shouldn’t be thought of as an expense but rather an investment. SilverWood’s Charles Egan for example, advertised his historical novel trilogy on Facebook and saw a happy return on investment from book sales. Charles has some useful tips:

• Facebook has 4 major advantages. First, it has incredible reach. How else can you sell in Nova Scotia, Tasmania, South Dakota, Manchester, Galway, Madrid and dozens of other territories simultaneously.

• Second, you can segment your target market to hit your top readership. This can be done by Gender, Age, Territory, and then an infinite variety of reader interests, careers and much else.

• Third, you can bring your pre-qualified potential readers to your Buy-Now button, linking them either to your own website (with its own buying options), or directly to Amazon, who control most of the book trade worldwide.

• Fourth, you can request readers to either buy, follow you, or leave an Amazon Review. Good reviews are what sell good books.

So, start small, testing which ads perform better than others. Once you have an ad that performs well, it might be time to increase ad spend.

An advertisement

Ok, so this one might seem obvious. But you should keep the following in mind:

• Make sure your website is functioning and the online check out process for your book is working. Avoid a headache later by double checking now.

• Use an eye-catching video or image. This is a good time to remember who your audience is... What’s going to get their attention? What will make them stop scrolling and read your ad? The image you use could be your book cover or an image or video that relates to your genre.

• Write your advertisement copy. The same applies for ad copy as it does for image and video; think about your audience and grab their attention! Use words that get noticed and stand out. When writing sales/advertising/conversion copy, whatever you want to call it, it’s important to use action words and relatable language. Think, "how does my audience speak and what words will get them to click this link?"

Facebook makes creating an ad very easy, with a step by step process. But, when you have these items already prepared, you set yourself up for success when building and executing an ad on Facebook for your book.

So what’s next after your ad has gone live?

Here’s what you will want to do:

Measure and manage your ad

After your ad is running, you can track and measure performance in Facebook Ads Manager. You’ll want to view if your ad is doing well and if any changes need to be made. Maybe you ran two test ads and one performed better than the other. Now you know which ad to run again, or increase spending on.

Continue with an online presence on your Facebook page

Facebook ads are great for expanding your audience, but it’s important to be present and foster a community online. Avoid looking like a ghost on your Facebook page and show people that there is a real person behind the screen. It’s important to engage with your fans and share regular content on your page. This could be behind the scenes info, personal updates, questions for your audience and more. 

In addition, it's always wise to monitor any changes that Facebook announce to the way their ads operate, as improvements are sometimes announced and implemented quickly. These changes may require some adjustments to your own Facebook ads activities. Bookmark and regularly check their 'See What's New with Facebook Ads' page.

Want to know more?

If you’re considering the use of Facebook ads as part of your marketing plan, please get in touch. We’d be delighted to introduce you to professionals working in the social media field who can offer assistance and services to get you started - or even a complete 'done for you’ service.

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“If you’re thinking of self-publishing, I hope you don't go at it alone. With a team like SilverWood behind you, you have the support you need to publish the best work you believe in.”

J A Higgins