Monday, January 21, 2019

Using FB to Market Books

Facebook, pain in the ass that it can be, is also a place to do some marketing.

I've talked before about FB groups.  I may have talked before about FB ads - I don't remember.  But I don't think, in either case, I've really addressed what works and what doesn't.

First off, FB ads.  Or rather post boosts.  (I'm not sure if I've ever done a real 'FB ad'.)    Anyway, I'm talking about the thing where you pay FB to make your post more visible.  I've done these on numerous occasions.  I don't think I've ever seen a sale I can directly link to an FB boost.  I don't think I've ever even seen any new Page follows from them.  Why do I continue to use them?  One word: Visibility.  Even if I have no proof any of them ever work, they are splashing my name and my books out there to a couple thousand people.  It might, I dunno, stick in their subconscious somewhere, so that when they see my books they might maybe think 'hey, I've heard of B.E. Sanderson' and then go peruse my titles.  :shrug:

My first forays into boosting posts met with opposition.  I was trying to do graphics and junk, and they always said that my graphics didn't meet their requirements.  (Too much text in the image or some such nonsense.)  Then I tried boosting posts that only had Amazon links.  All of those have been approved so far.  And every time I boost, my page views do skyrocket, so that's something.

One thing about FB ads is that you have to narrow the field by being specific about who you want to reach.  I think for my last ad, I went into their thingie-bob and tried to target certain demographics.  People who have said they like to read, for instance.  Yeah, seems like a no-brainer, but you really have to dig deep to find that, and I wasn't finding it at first.  Once I did that, I think the boosts were more effective.  Your mileage may vary.

And I never have paid more than $20.  Not sure if my ads would do better if I paid more, but that's about all I'm willing to pay for getting exposure.

Now, as for FB group posts.  I've talked about this before.  But I'd like to add some additional insights that might help you.  For one thing, ads with photos instead of just links seem to do better.  Not sure why - I mean, the link puts a damn picture in the post anyway - but from my experience, photos do better than just links.  :shrug:  I posted a couple of my latest marketing photos yesterday at The Writing Spectacle.  Here are a couple others from my sale in December:

Nothing major.  I took the photos myself, so it wasn't any additional money.  But they really did seem to work.  :shrug:

Another thing I've noticed is that my posts get more traction if I include hashtags.  (A fact I forgot until yesterday's marketing posts.)  Yeah, it didn't make sense to me either.  Hashtags on FB?  I thought hashtags were only for Twitter, but I guess they're everywhere now.

When you're making an ad for FB, I think there are a few key points you need to have in there.  Chiefly, title, price, and links, but also put something in there that will attract attention - quote a review, drop a short teaser from the book, put a really short blurb.  Make sure that if your books are in the KU program, you say that.  Sure, the reader will find that out if they click the link, but they have to want to click the link to find out.  Why make more work for them? 

Here's the post that went out to the various FB groups yesterday:

"SLEEPING UGLY is on sale now thru Sunday*. 99c/99p. (Always free with Kindle Unlimited.)

"Snarky, funny, scary, enthralling -- this story isn't your childhood fairy tale! " - Amazon Review

Get your copy today. #paranormal #mystery #fun #ebooks #snarky #curses

I try to change them up a little every day so I'm not boring the shit out of people with my daily ads.  And, as I've said before, don't post to any FB group more than once a day.  I print out my list of FB groups for each sale now, and make notes as to date and time of each post, so I don't piss off the group moderators.  So far, so good.  You do not want to get kicked off any of your go-to groups or you'll lose that forever.  
Now, sales from these posts aren't wild.  I see maybe a sale or two a day, when I do it right (photo, grabby stuff, hashtags).  But it's certainly better than a sharp stick in the butt, if you catch my drift. 
As always, your mileage may vary.  And lord knows, I am not the Queen's High Expert on any of this.   Still, I hope this helps.  May your experiences with this stuff exceed mine.  

Any questions?  Any comments?  Anything you're doing that might help someone else with this stuff?

*Another note.  The sale is actually through Tuesday.  But I brainfarted in a major way and all of my posts went live with Sunday in them.  Every single freakin' one.  Which goes to show that no matter how hard you try, there is always a chance you will fuck something up.  No real harm done - except I look like I'm wearing a big, red nose and floppy clown feet to anyone who clicked the link and saw that the Kindle Countdown Deal did not end on Sunday.  Chalk it up to live and learn.  At least I spelled everything right.


  1. Interesting stuff!

    I've actually had issues with FB not lifting preview photos from links recently, so I have been uploading a photo or two. Plus, I'm being prompted by FB to do so (saying that posts with pictures get better engagement). But I haven't boosted any posts or done an ad for a while...just because it was a pain to design and then track. But I have ads on my list of things to try this year, so thanks for your breakdown!

  2. Yes, thank you very much for this series and the breakdown!

    I really need to post to more groups but FB is like my Kryptonite. I've never boosted a post from my author page because I suspect that once I do, FB will further suppress my reach UNLESS I boost. Yeah, I know. I'm paranoid when it comes to FB.

    My Kindle Countdown Deal is pretty much a flop. My freebie and the boost with the BookDoggy ad has really increased my rankings and since Saturday, I've had almost 700 downloads. Today's numbers are almost twice what Saturday and Sunday combined. The ad came out today. If at least half of those people buy the next book, January won't be a total bust.

  3. With all the security issues they have, I wouldn't touch FB with Kevlar gloves.

    If it helped more, I might have to bite my lip and join anyway. Umm, na-na-no way! Paranoid, I know. ;-)