How can advertising help me sell more books?
We all know what advertising is: paying a fee to have your product placed in front of potential customers. But how can ads help new authors find readers? And once an author is established, how can ads help grow a reading audience over time?
How ads work — and how you can work them — is a complicated business. There are many advertising platforms and few can actually provide good results. It’s too easy to be lured into bad “advertising opportunities” and make the wrong decisions — which is why we recommend hiring a book marketer to help you find your way.
But where can you find a professional book marketer specializing in digital advertising, and with the right experience in your genre?
What are the different types of advertising for books?
The first distinction you should make is between digital ads and print ads. Print ads are served through print media (newspapers, magazines, catalogues, etc.). Digital ads can be served on any digital platform, and present a net advantage in terms of tracking capabilities.
With digital advertising, you can easily track results and determine cost per click, cost per conversion (signup or sale), ROI (return on investment), etc. The advertising experts on Reedsy generally specialize in digital advertising because of the medium’s easy trackability, though some are equally familiar with print adverts.
Different forms of digital advertising have proven to work well for selling books. Here are some of the platforms to consider:
- Facebook advertising: Facebook provides the perfect advertising platform for authors because it allows you to target very specific categories of people: fans of other authors, precise demographics (age, employer, work title, etc.) or even locations. The other advantage is that it is easy to test and scale: you can start with a budget as low as $5, and gradually increase your monetary commitment if your return on investment is positive. More about this here
- Amazon advertising: Amazon allows you to show ads about your book directly on other book pages and search result pages. Since their main US rollout in 2017, they’ve become the most effective advertising venue for authors. More about this here
- Bookbub advertising: Bookbub rolled out a self-serve ad platform in 2016, which they’ve greatly improved since. It’s a less competitive playing field than Facebook or Amazon, but it does have its quirks. More about this here.
- Other social media advertising: Though Facebook is arguably the best social media advertising platform, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are worth checking out as well, depending on your audience. Twitter is great for targeting hashtags, while LinkedIn is excellent for targeting professional networks.
- Discount/promotion advertising: If you’re running a discount or free promotion on one of your books, you can apply to have it advertised in the newsletters of platforms such as Bookbub, Freebooksy/Bargainbooksy, Book Gorilla, The Fussy Librarian, Pixel of Ink, BookSends, etc. Full list of promo sites here.
Of course, there are other types of advertising, like search advertising (Google Adwords), Goodreads advertising, banner ads on websites, display network advertising, etc. These aren’t yet known to produce the same effective results for most authors, however they could be just as effective (or more) if you write in a certain niche.
Why should I hire an advertising expert?
The world of advertising is not an easy one to navigate. As you can see, there are many different advertising platforms, with endless targeting possibilities. You can go through the steep learning curve yourself, but it will cost you time and money — potentially a lot of money.
At Reedsy, we recognize how valuable a solid marketing strategy can be for authors, which is why we’ve added book advertising specialists to the marketplace. They know these platforms and they’ve run successful advertising campaigns before. They can help you figure out what type of advertising is most likely to work for your book (it will heavily depend on your genre and price point), and they can then help you get started with a campaign — or multiple campaigns — of your own.
In general, a Reedsy marketer will work work with you to:
- find new audiences;
- optimize conversion rates (through better targeting, copy and imagery);
- teach you how to progressively manage those campaigns yourself.
If the book is good, advertising can be effective at any stage, whether your book has just been published or has been on the market for some time.