What Authors Should Consider Before Running a Facebook Ad

There’s a great debate in book marketing on something you wouldn’t think would be so controversial: Facebook ads. I’ve come across several articles outlining how to best implement them, but I wanted to take a step back and evaluate the first question an author should be asking: “Does running a Facebook ad to sell my books make sense for me?”. And once they answer that question, how can they approach running their ad campaign in a strategic way while taking on as little financial risk possible?

Facebook Ads: Who are They Good For?

For the purposes of this article, I’m going to be focusing on ads in terms of a personal investment made by an author, not their publisher. Just as a publisher would, an author needs to determine if Facebook ads a good investment for them, and how much of an investment should be made. This question needs to be answered on an individual basis as it depends on several things, a biggie being how they are published.

This affects an author’s interaction with ads in one major way: return on investment (ROI). Who are Facebook ads good for? Simple! It’s the authors that will sell more books, and make more money off these said books than it costs to run the ad.

Authors that have the ability to see how many people buy their books as a result of their ad and how much of a profit they are directly receiving from these books will have the easiest time calculating this ROI. It gets hazier when you don’t know how many people are buying your book, especially if you can’t calculate exactly how much in royalties you’ll be receiving in turn.

Start off Small

So if you were not scared off by the previous section and have decided to give Facebook ads a shot, yay! But please, I am begging you, don’t sink hundreds of dollars into your first ad campaign. The beauty of social media marketing is that you can start off as small as you like. This means that you can test for yourself how effective Facebook ads will be for you and if you’re getting a good ROI. Don’t throw all your eggs, er, money in one basket when it comes to your strategy for your ad campaign.

Another tip for finessing your strategy is to do what we call in the biz A/B testing. This means you can try two identical runs, but change one thing to see which one performs better. Facebook even has an A/B testing capability built in! Neat, huh?

Target your Target Audience

To me, the most important part of running a successful ad campaign is nailing your target audience. If I were to ask you, “what is your target audience?” You probably would not respond to me “everyone” because my 12-year-old cousin and 88-year-old grandpa probably wouldn’t be interested in reading the same book (unless you happen to be J.K. Rowling).

So why are you targeting everyone with your Facebook ad? The key to having the most effective, and therefore least expensive ad, is identifying your target audience correctly. Keep in mind this should be not too broad and not too narrow, and Facebook even has handy guidelines to help you determine this. If you need assistance finding your audience, I would highly suggest employing the help of a social media strategist like *cough* me *cough* to do so.


If you’re an author, what’s your experience been with Facebook ads? Do you have any other tips, tricks, or things authors should consider before taking the plunge? Make sure to leave a comment and let me know.

Published by

Maggie Bean

Founder and Social Media Strategist at Bookish Media Strategy, Maggie spends her days trying to read as many books as she can simultaneously and hanging out with her bunny Skipper.

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