How To Use Facebook Advertising To Market Your Book

Generally, I’m a fan of free marketing like blogging, social networking, podcasting and video creation. All these things take time but are free or very cheap. But sometimes, there is a place for paid advertising, especially around the time of a book launch and I’ll be using Facebook for the Pentecost launch.

A few years ago, Google Adwords was all the rage but now the keywords are so expensive as to be crippling especially for authors who don’t have much budget. So, in order to create targeted advertising to the smallest budget, you can now use Facebook advertising for your book so I thought you might like to know more as well.

You may have seen adverts on the sidebar of your account and increasingly, there are books and audio-books advertised. Before Christmas I decided to spend $50 to increase the number of people downloading the free chapters of Pentecost. I had been given some free credit to be used within a short amount of time, so why not try it? The advert is shown left and below are some tips to help you.

Decide on your target market.

The truly amazing thing about Facebook advertising is that you can target your demographic. This will impact the number of people who will see the advert and also how much it will cost you. You need to decide on country, city, gender, age range, likes and dislikes and you can go down into further splits. As you change the demographics, you’ll see how many people the advert could be shown too. The more specific you can be, the better your chances an ad will have an impact.

Demographics for my advert using those who 'like' James Rollins

Create a targeted headline.

You can see on my advert above that I had a headline referencing James Rollins. I think my thriller is similar to some of Rollins’ books and so I targeted his fans in the demographics (i.e. people who ‘like’ James Rollins). The headline meant that their eyes would be drawn to it as they had already expressed a preference for his books.

I could have also used the same advert with the headline “Like Dan Brown?” and changed my demographic accordingly. It’s incredibly important to target the market like this or you’ll be wasting clicks. There’s no point in advertising a romance novel to James Rollins fans! So think about how you can target a market. For example, a travel book about cycling around the world could be marketed to people who like ‘mountain-biking’ or ‘travel’. Which is more specific?

You can also split test ads i.e. create several versions with different headlines or text and then rotate them. Check to see which performs the best and then use that to continue the campaign with. Tim Ferriss (NY Times bestsellers 4 hour work week and 4 hour body) used Facebook advertising split tests to decide on his book titles.

Use a compelling image and text.

There are only a few lines of text available in the body of the advert so make it count. It’s very restrictive around what you can do e.g. you can’t use all capitals or unconventional punctuation. You also want people to click so you need to word it in an enticing manner or make an obvious call to action e.g. click to buy now. Lorna Jane is a fitness-wear company for women and had a great advert that increases the number of fans for their page as well as promoting a competition. The call to action is very clear.

Great idea to increase fans and also promote the brand

You also need an eye-catching image so people even look at the adverts. Make sure your book cover looks great as a thumbnail size image. You’ll also need a specific landing page i.e. where people go when they click. This could be your Amazon buy page or a webpage specifically for buying the book.

Decide on your budget and length of campaign.

The number of Kindle 'likes' there are in the main countries for Kindle book sales

You can control how much you spend and how long you want to run the campaign for. I used $50 maximum over 7 days for the free download. For the Pentecost launch, I will probably invest $200 for 1 week in order to boost the numbers of books sold. I may also primarily target Kindle owners who generally read voraciously and can instantly download a sample. You can see the numbers on the left. Playing around with budget and targeting is a big part of the setup. Otherwise, it is very simple.

Make sure you set an end date on the campaign or the money will just keep going out!

In the week I ran the campaign, I had 60 clicks from the advert and 34 downloads of the first 3 chapters of Pentecost which cost me $40.19 (but it was free as a had a coupon). I will do some more specific measuring when I have the book available for sale but if all 34 had bought the ebook for $2.99, I would have made a small amount of money. Given the very small margin for books, it’s not a surprise that there aren’t more books advertised. But I think for a specific launch period, it’s definitely worth it to raise awareness to try to spike your Amazon ranking which in turn can get you more sales.

It’s worth looking at the demographics even if you aren’t going to sign up for an ad campaign. You’ll get an idea of how big your market is anyway. You can access Facebook Ads here and they have plenty of help.

Have you tried Facebook advertising for your book? Does it sound like something you could use? Please let me know what you think in the comments.

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  1. says

    Hey Guys,

    I was wondering if anyone has had any success with a FB ad? I have a very targeted ad for my book (Immersion: Live the Life God Envisioned for You) and have been receiving clicks, which go directly to my book page (, but I am not converting the clicks into sales.

    I was wondering if anyone has any insight or experience that has reaped success?


    • says

      Hi Mark, I personally found it didn’t work for me either in terms of number of sales to clicks. Have you been very careful with your selection of a target audience?
      If you have a budget for advertising, perhaps try which have a range of options and I found that very effective for my launch, although others have found it variable as well.

  2. Thomas L Goss says

    Thanks for the post, I’ve begun exploring fb ads for my new book, that way I can look for those who might enjoy cosmic love poetry and sci-fi angst! 😉

  3. says

    Hi Joanna;

    Thanks for posting this–I’ve been following your latest release, and I can’t wait to start reading Pentecost! I’m about to launch my first thriller (after the copy editor has his way with it…), and FB ads were one of the things I was/am interested in using to get some targeted clicks through to my newsletter sign-up.

    Also, I was curious about your strategy behind the “blog tour” idea–mind if I send you an email to follow up?

    Thanks in advance!

  4. says

    Just a quick question here – would anyone suggest directing people that click through on Facebook ads to their own site for a free download of chapters (after filling in an email grab form)? Or direct them to somewhere like Amazon for this. Do you anyways email addresses of those that click through even if they go to Amazon buy?

    Also – can anyone give in a “twenty words or less” what I want to set the CPC at and why one would WANT to set it high or low?

    Apologies if this is mentioned above. I read through but did not see it and am otherwise drowning a little in the information available.

  5. says

    Enjoyed the post Joanna. Wondered if you used the Facebook Power Editor and if you sent clicks directly to your Amazon sales page or to your own site?
    I’ve been sending Facebook members to a book Facebook fan page as I understand Facebook charges less that way but have not had good results.

  6. Asim says

    Hi Joanna,
    Wonderful article written. But again the problem is in conversion to sales. Do you have any idea of marketing book. I have produced quite a good book, that must have attracted a lot of customers from US and UK at least but I am not having any success in this regard.

    • says

      This is an old post Asim – from 2011. I don’t use Facebook for book marketing these days, so please search specifically for help with Facebook marketing within the last few months. Facebook changes their setup so often, it’s hard to keep up!

  7. Valerie says

    I was browsing FB and an ad, similar to your concept, appeared. They were able to include some great sales copy because the debut author (who’s book is now #44 in it’s genre) wrote a FB post with the content they wanted. Then instead of clicking boost post, they went to the advertising section and used the post but with clicks to website. That way they could have a long entry and really entice readers. Strong headline and sales copy directly related to another offer (same genre). Huge difference in the amount of copy you can include and it’s placement, the small text block limitations don’t apply.

    I bought, and at that time he had 5 reviews and was nowhere ranking wise… a few days later popped up to #44, then he added a 99¢ special. My guess is that he’ll hit the NYT list in short order. (it was a fabulous novel)


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