When I decided to run ads to my BookFunnel page to attract newsletter sign ups, I heard the usual: you’ll attract freebie seekers who will just want your free stuff, or, you don’t want to pay for signups, it sounds sketchy like paying for reviews.
I know, and with anything free you give away, you’ll always find people who just want the free stuff and drop off when the well dries up, and in defense of paying for reviews, if it wasn’t legit sometimes, Kirkus would be out of business. So, I did weigh everyone’s opinions, and it came down to this: this is a pay to play world. I think we lost organic reach for anything at least five years ago, and anyone who tries to market their book without shelling out realizes this. You have to be able to put a little money into your business to get the word out.
I think I might have mentioned on this blog before about the seven touches someone needs before they act, and it really is true. That’s why if you can afford it, you run Facebook ads, Amazon ads, mention your book on social media, ask for newsletter swaps, apply for promos in BookFunnel and StoryOrigin, and pay for promos in newsletters like Freebooksy, Fussy Librarian, and ENT. If you send out enough spiders, eventually they’ll start trapping readers in their webs. My Facebook ads to my BookFunnel link will capture the email address of anyone who wants to sign up for my newsletter. Signing up to download my book isn’t mandatory (I’m trying to portray my author brand as easy-breezy, let’s have fun and read romance), and I was worried about how many would download the book without signing up. Here’s what my book’s form looks like on BookFunnel:
They are 100% free not to check the box when they enter their name and email. The email is for Bookfunnel to email them the link to download my book, and if they do check the box, Bookfunnel will record their email address for me and my autoresponder in Mailerlite sends them a thank-you-for-signing-up email where I introduce myself and what they can expect from me if they don’t unsubscribe.
I was a little worried that the reluctance to do the “hard sell’ would result in a whole bunch of people downloading my book and disappearing (which, really, isn’t a bad thing. If they read my book, maybe they’ll turn into a fan.) but surprisingly, that doesn’t seem to be the case. My ad as only been running for four days (as of Sunday evening when I updated my numbers) and it’s been clicked on 90 times. Of that 151 times, 77 people have claimed my book so far and of those 77 people, 67 people have given me their email address. I’ve spent $13.34 and crunching the numbers, that means I’ve paid .19 cents per email address. The cost per click for the ad is only .08 right now, which is way cheaper than any click I’ve paid for on an Amazon ad, but we’re comparing apples to oranges and that doesn’t mean anything. I’m only telling you because it’s rumored that Facebook is expensive and will spend your money, but depending on how well your ad is put together and if you’re targeting the right audience, that isn’t always true.
The fact is, I’m getting my pen name out there, and that’s the most important part. I don’t know for sure how many of those people who clicked my ad and didn’t claim my book just haven’t done it yet. They could let the offer sit in their inbox for a while before they decide they want to claim it, so all hope isn’t lost. After three days, I feel like this is a good start. My ad and the small excerpt I added is appealing enough for people to click on it, and that’s the true test of any ad. Will Facebook scrollers like it enough to click, and then after that will they like your product enough to take action, ie, buy your book? I’m sorry it’s so tiny, but I had to zoom out to capture the entire ad.
I didn’t start the ad with any real expectations, and just seeing my email list grow with people who wanted to be on it (or they wouldn’t have opted in since I gave them a choice) makes me feel positive, at least. I don’t have a specific goal to aim for. I’m running the ad for two months, hoping to get all I can out of it before I release my first book.
I set my daily cap at 3.00 a day. Some people say five or ten dollars a day, but I don’t have any sales coming in to offshoot the ad spend, so I wanted to take it easy and just experiment.
I didn’t go into the ad creation blind–a while back I took Mal Cooper’s Facebook 101 class, and she walked us through the ad platform and explained what we needed. She has the course available on her website for what I paid, and I wonder if it’s even the same one as she recorded it. You can look at it here and decide if it’s what you want to sign up for: https://www.thewritingwives.com/video-courses
David Gaughran just posted a free video and he does the exact same thing as Mal, talking you through how to set up an ad from top to bottom. He goes about it in a different way, and I guess you would have to decide for yourself which way you want to lean with your own ad creation. I watched David’s video after I created mine. I wanted to see how he did it and if it was worth recommending to you, which it is, and I can appreciate that it’s free.
Before you go with either of these courses, or try to set up your ad on your own, there are a couple of things I recommend you do before you try:
Know what your objective is. I had to set up my Mailerlite account, hook it up to Bookfunnel, and make sure everything was working before I ran ads to my Bookfunnel link to give away my reader magnet. That was a lot of background work before I could even think about setting up an ad. You might just want to run an ad to your book’s product page on Amazon, but if you’re wide, are you going to run an ad to every store, ie, Kobo, Nook, etc. Know what you want out of your ad before you begin because setting it up will be a lot easier.
Know who your comp authors are–the bigger the better. Facebook’s list of authors don’t always include indies, no matter how big they are. Facebook isn’t like Amazon where you can use an author’s name or their book titles as keywords, so knowing who your comp authors are will help you create your audience faster. This is where reading in your genre comes in handy. My two biggest comps are E. L. James and Sylvia Day, then I went onto their author pages on Amazon and looked up authors who customers also bought. Not every author is going to be available, so the bigger the list, the easier time you’ll have. I ended up targeting only 4 authors when I created my ad for my reader magnet. I need to do more reading to make sure that the authors I’m targeting are really writing books like mine.
Look for stock photos for your creative. David Gaughran creates his ads with his book cover using Canva, but Mal suggests just using a stock photo that hints at the vibe of your book. Billionaires will always require a sexy AF handsome man dressed in a crisp suit, and I used the guy on my cover and also chose him in a different pose. I don’t want to get into how to create an FB ad because I’ll only be regurgitating what I’ve learned from others, but if you can choose three our for stock photos with the same vibe as your cover, you can add all of them to your ad and FB will show the stock photo to the people they think will react to it the most favorably. I use DepositPhotos for all my FB ads, and that is where I find my stock photos for all my covers, too. You can watch David’s video on how to make an FB ads graphic using Canva here:
Being I’m a newbie at this, I don’t have any success to share, only my resources I found to help me along the way. If you sign up for Mal’s course (not an affiliate link) and it is the one she recorded during the class I took with her, be prepared for a change in the FB platform. That is why I like David’s up-to-date video, even though his process differs from Mal’s and I prefer the way Mal creates her audience. David’s video will show you how the FB ads dashboard looks now, and it’s a lot easier to follow long.
Starting up a newsletter was one of my main goals of 2022, but even though I’ve started that, I can’t scratch it off my list just yet. I still have to send out my first email to my subscribers, and if you haven’t started a newsletter because you’re afraid you don’t have anything to say, Tammi Labrecque’s Newsletter Ninja gives you a ton of tips on content.
So, I’m satisfied with what I’ve going going on so far, and I’m excited that I ordered the proofs for Captivated by Her and Addicted to Her. They should be here soon, but I always have stuff to tweak before approving the books and publishing them. It will be fun to publish again. It’s been a long time and you know from my blog posts I’ve been feeling down about working so hard without seeing “success.” My success, for now, is all the books I have on my computer waiting to be published, but it’s a different thing entirely to have them out in the world.
Have a lovely week everyone!