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Facebook Ads for Books (Complete Guide for Authors)

Written by
Gloria Russell

Published on
July 12, 2022

True or false: getting traditionally published means the publishing house will handle your marketing, and they’re going to do their darndest to make sure your book sells as many copies as possible. 

False! 

This is a common misconception amongst writers new to the publishing scene.

Traditional publishing can save writers a ton of money in up-front production costs, but marketing is not one of these perks. Publishing houses tend to save the bulk of their advertising for their biggest authors, and smaller authors tend to rely on their own marketing or word-of-mouth to generate sales. 

So, whether you’re self-publishing and already expected to do it yourself or whether you’re planning to be traditionally published, it’s important to get as many marketing tools under your belt as possible. Today, we’re going to talk about one of these tools: Facebook advertisements. 

In this article, we’ll cover how to promote your book on Facebook, what different kinds of ads are available to you as an author, how to create those Facebook ads for books, and how to optimize them so that you get the most possible outreach with your campaign. If you’re brand new to Facebook advertisements, don’t worry—we’ve made this as beginner-friendly as it gets! 

This guide to Facebook ads for books covers:

  1. Do Facebook ads work for books?
  2. How do I promote my book on Facebook?
    • How to set up a Facebook Ads account
    • What are the 3 levels of a Facebook Ad?
    • How to choose media for a Facebook book Ad?
    • What makes an effective Facebook Ad headline?
    • How to write Facebook Ad copy?
    • How to assess and optimize your Facebook Ads
  3. Examples of Facebook ads for books

Do Facebook ads work for books?

Well, it depends—they’re very effective, but only if your target audience uses Facebook. 

Facebook ads are shown to people who regularly use Facebook. Younger audiences tend not to have Facebook accounts at all, so you’ll have to take that into consideration. Some people associate Facebook with an older target audience, but in fact, most Facebook users are between the ages of twenty-one and forty-four.

So, if you’re writing for teenagers, Facebook ads probably won’t work for you. But if you’re writing for adults, Facebook ads are a fantastic tool for reaching new readers. 

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How do I promote my book on Facebook?

Using Facebook as a promotional tool might feel intimidating at first, but getting started doesn’t have to be difficult! There are two main ways to promote your material on Facebook. 

The first is by creating an author page. You’ll want to grow this like any other social media platform—post engaging, shareable content regularly, keep your followers informed about your projects and upcoming releases, and so on. 

The second is by creating Facebook ads. Learning to create, track, and manage your ads on Facebook will have a huge impact on your page’s visibility, and, in turn, on your sales. 

How to set up a Facebook Ads account

To get started, you’ll need a Facebook Ads account. Here’s how to get one set up: 

  1. Go to business.facebook.com. 
  2. When the screen comes up, put in your business name (make sure you don’t have any typos, since this name will show up on your advertisements). 
  3. Put in your business’s email address. 
  4. Enter your business’s details. 
  5. Confirm your email address. 

What are the 3 levels of a Facebook Ad?

It’s time to get started on an ad. But first, let’s talk about the three levels of a Facebook ad and what each of them means. You’ll go through each of these steps as you create your ad, and knowing how they function will help you get the most out of each step. 

Level One: Campaign 

When you create your campaign, you’ll be deciding what you want people to do when they see your ad. What is it you’re trying to achieve? If you’re an author, you might be trying to bring new followers to your page, inform people about a sale, or advertise an upcoming book launch. Figure out what your goal is first—this will inform your advertisement strategy. 

Level Two: Ad Setup 

Now that you know what you want your ad to do, you’re ready to decide how to run it. For best results, choose your target demographic carefully. You may have heard the writing advice that says to write for an ‘ideal reader,’ someone for whom your story is perfect. When you go to create an advertisement, you’re also advertising to that ideal reader. 

How old are they? What interests do they have? Try to find a variety of interests to cast a wider net. 

Level Three: Ad 

Now it’s time to actually format and create the ad. You’ll want to make multiple ads to test for different factors like target demographic, different images, headlines, and so on. Tracking the success of different ads is vital to success on Facebook. 

How to choose media for a Facebook book ad

You might know what you want to advertise—say it’s your upcoming book launch—and have no idea what image to include in the ad itself. The image you use is hugely important, since it’s what will catch the eye of your potential reader, so let’s go over some quick tips. 

Make it relevant to your product/headline 

The image you use should be relevant to your brand, product, or headline. If you’re offering a sale on one of your books, a photo of the cover makes sense! If it’s an image meant to draw readers in for a giveaway, a photo of the giveaway prize might be apt. 

Keep image quality top of mind 

Your image should be clear and crisp. A dull or pixelated image will look unpolished, and readers won’t bother checking out the information in your headline and post. Do a quick check for what image dimensions you need before you try to upload the image.

Use engaging posts 

If you’ve got a post that’s performed well on Facebook, use it for an advertisement! Any image affiliated with your brand or product can work, and if it’s already been proven to work with your target audience, why not use that to your advantage? 

What makes an effective Facebook ad headline?

Some people opt out of utilizing headlines, and this is a mistake. Think of each part of the ad as a separate tool—you want to use everything you have to your advantage. Most people who opt out of using the headline do so because they’re not sure how to use it. But making a good headline is easy if you know what to do! 

Some say you should aim to keep your headline around five words. While this might not be possible, you still want to keep it as short as possible. And, again, you want it clear—this is not the place to show off your descriptive prose. The headline should showcase the product advertised to its target audience, and if you have any compelling sales or bargains going on, make sure you advertise those, too. 

How to write Facebook ad copy

Now that you know how to find the perfect photo and write a compelling headline, it’s time to write the perfect ad. Writing advertisements is a skill unto itself, and how to do it effectively varies from platform to platform. Here’s what to keep in mind for Facebook advertisements: 

Have a call to action 

Your advertisement should have a goal. Whether you want them to buy your book, sign up for your newsletter, or follow your page, that call to action should be clearly stated and easy to follow. You should also clearly state why they should perform this call to action. What do they get if they sign up for your newsletter? What are the perks of following your page? Why should they buy your book? 

Write to your target demographic 

As with everything, you’ll want to gear the writing to your target demographic. Use language that appeals to your ideal reader. You’ll also want to run other ads with different versions of the same message geared to a wider audience—remember, it’s about casting a wide net. 

Keep it simple and specific 

Use simple, specific language. The ad itself should be as short as possible and perfectly clear. If you write a paragraph of text, readers will skim over it, and you don’t want that! 

How to create and launch a Facebook ads campaign

Not sure where to get started actually launching your ad campaign? Here’s a quick step by step straight from Facebook’s business page

How to assess and optimize your Facebook ads

You’ve got your first ad running (or ideally, your first few ads). Now what? 

It’s vital to understand how to track ads and adjust them over time to reach as many people as you can. This can be tricky to someone brand new to advertising, but thankfully, there are a few tools to help you out. 

Facebook Pixel 

Facebook describes Facebook Pixel as “a piece of code that you put on your website that allows you to measure the effectiveness of your advertising by understanding the actions people take on your website.” 

Basically, it shows you when someone does something like add an item to their cart or make a purchase. Tracking these actions can help you understand which of your ads is effective, and it can help you reach out to customers who might have left something in their cart without checking out. 

Run multiple ads to test what works 

Above all, you should be running multiple ads. If you want to advertise your book launch, for example, you’ll want to create multiple variations on the same advertisement. Think of each section of your advertisement as a variable—manipulate these variables and track how the advertisements perform. 

You might notice that advertisements with your book’s cover tend to do better, even if the copy stays the same. You might notice that a different wording on the ad’s copy performs better than the original, or that a certain type of ad does better with a certain demographic. The only way to figure these things out is to try multiple ads, track them over time, and fiddle with them to find what works. 

Keep your campaign goals clear 

If you want to optimize your advertising space, having a clear campaign goal should be at the top of your priority list. 

A disorganized advertisement confuses the reader. If they don’t know what to do, they won’t do anything. Facebook ads are intended to reach new readers, which means these people don’t know anything about you or your products. You want to make the call to action clear, and you want to offer a clear incentive that motivates the reader to actually perform that call to action. 

All of this is much easier to pull off if you go into your ad campaign with a solid idea of what it is you’d like to achieve. Like I said earlier: start with your end goal in mind. What do you want to happen because of this advertisement? If you want to drive book sales, then you should be advertising your books, and so on. 

Examples of Facebook ads for books

When all is said and done, your Facebook ad should look something like one of these: 

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Gloria Russell

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