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Paid advertising

Posted by Andy McDermott - Publicious Book Publishing on 31 August 2023

If you’re like me, you may have in the past tried purchasing an ad in one of the writers’ magazines, online book sites or through social media. If, also like me, you created the ad, paid your money and just submitted it, I’m betting you got very little, if nothing, as a return on your investment. After my first attempt I remember declaring paid advertising to be a total waste of money and vowing never to use it again. Sound familiar?

Then I began to hear how successful Indie/self-published authors were at using paid advertising, firstly to build their brand, and then to achieve their main goal, selling books.

So, let’s look at how paid advertising can work for you, and where to start.

Building your brand

We discussed in an earlier newsletter the importance of building your brand. Well paid advertising can be a great avenue for getting your message out there.

Before we go any further it’s important to point out that paid advertising is exactly what it says it is. You put out an ad and you pay for it, but there is a lot more to it than this little novice entrepreneur realised early in his writing career. Adopting the same strategy as I had literally means your ad will be but a drop in the vast and turbulent ocean of marketing madness.

But there is an answer and it’s as simple as adding a single word at the beginning of the title to this article, Targeted! That’s right, Targeted Paid Advertising. If done properly your ad will fall exactly where it needs to be, visible to your target audience. So how do we do this?

I’m going to use Facebook as an example because it is arguably the most productive and easiest platform to use. Here’s an abridged version of what you’ll need to do.

  • Make sure you have an eye-catching, professionally designed ad. You can do it yourself if you’re that way inclined or use a designer. It must be simple and to the point. Try to use the image as the focal point rather than the text. Make sure it includes relevant links, e.g. to the sign-up page for your newsletter or your website, depending on the nature of the ad.
  • Have your own Facebook Author page. If you already have a personal account, it’s free and easy to set up an author page. Visit Facebook for details and tutorials.
  • Decide on a budget you’d like to stick to for your advertising requirements. It’s important to understand that if you are in the initial stages of building your brand, e.g. using your ad to attract subscribers to your newsletter, then you are likely to be pre-revenue for some time. This is perfectly normal. You won’t start making the big bucks until you’ve built your list and started selling books regularly. However, if you’re at the later stage and already have a following, these steps will also work for you, and hopefully you’ll sell some books.
  • In your Facebook Author page, go to the Add Manager link on the left-hand side of the page (depending on when you’re reading this, the Facebook format may have changed but search for Add Manager and you should find it). Once you’ve found it you can bookmark the page so you can go straight to it later. Create a name for your ad campaign, e.g. newsletter subscription. Then click on the name in the new list to open it up.
  • Once inside you’ll see a list of options, these will include setting your budget, but more importantly here you’ll be able to find your target audience. To do this, you simply choose the categories[L1] where you want your ad included, e.g. if you write crime fiction, you might include the following categories: murder mystery, detective, crime, etc. Continue to search and include as many categories as possible that will cover your genre but be mindful to choose only those with relevance to your book[L2] . Obviously, a reader of non-fiction history will have little interest in your latest blood fest. Marketing to FB users without targeting them first is how most of us lost our money in the early stages. Other categories to include might be age groups. I write murder mystery and I’ve found the majority of my audience to be middle-aged female readers. So, on Facebook I can potentially reach my ideal audience simply buy targeting middle-aged women who read murder mystery. If you write YA, your Young Adult Audience are there waiting for you. Other categories include location, hobbies, likes and dislikes etc. The idea is to filter your preferences down so that the drop that was previously disappearing into the ocean becomes a big ripple in a smaller pond.

This is obviously a topic that is far too vast to cover in its entirety here, but I recommend doing some research and checking it out. You can always practice for free until you get it right before committing to place an ad. Good luck!

Next month we’ll be disguising ‘Reviews’ and how to get them.

Until then, keep an eye out for our next newsletter, and have a great month.

Write on …

 [L1]Italics or bold to make it pop?

 [L2]Is 'not’ a typo? Do you mean “...be mindful to include those that have relevance…”?

Author:Andy McDermott - Publicious Book Publishing
Tags:Andy McDermott / Director

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