I’ve been running Facebook ads professionally since pretty much the day Facebook added them to their site. In fact, in one of my previous “real job” roles, I used to manage monthly spends upward of a million dollars a month on Facebook alone. I met regularly with Facebook and their ads management team. To put it simply, I know Facebook ads.
But try as I might, I couldn’t figure out how to make them work as an author. Since most of my previous marketing experience has been in marketing and promotion of products people already want, I was running into issues trying to promote something they hadn’t heard of (namely, my books) and getting them interested.
So I stopped running Facebook ads for my books and focused elsewhere. Still, I continued to see reports of other authors who claimed success through Facebook. I had to find out how.
Every person I asked recommended I start with reading Michael Cooper’s book, Help! My Facebook Ads Suck. I ordered a copy (actually two, due to a shipping address snafu) and dove in. It’s a short book and I read it in less than a day, but have been learning from it ever since.
Having run Facebook ads before, I admit quite a bit of this was basic stuff anyone else who’s run Facebook ads also knows. Like what an ad unit is, what a custom audience is, etc. But for those who don’t, those sections are quite useful on their own as Cooper explains them in simple, easy-to-understand terms.
What I found most useful was Cooper’s approach to taking what I already knew about Facebook but applying it to promotion of a book: ways to narrow down your custom audiences better, to not use my cover art at all in my ads, what kind of copy works, etc.
He does include quite a bit of information on how to calculate your return on investment (ROI) as well, which can be quite useful for those who haven’t dug into the business side of publishing much. In particular, he focuses on those who write series in calculating their long-term ROI by using readthrough rates and extrapolation. As I have yet to write any series of my own, this information did not apply to me. But going through the math myself, it’s all solid and definitely seems to me like it would work.
If you’re looking at all to get into Facebook ads for your books, I strongly recommend you take the advice everyone gave me, and pick up a copy of this book. As I said, it’s a short read, but it contains a lot of information – particularly actionable information you can start applying immediately.
As for me, I’m now spending about $20 a day on Facebook ads for one of my books, and I’m just at about break even – which is considerably better than any results I’ve seen in my book ads on Facebook before. It took quite a bit of testing and optimization to get here, but following the advice in Help! My Facebook Ads Suck definitely helped move things in the right direction.