Paid Ads: Book Booster or Budget Buster? RESOURCES
The book that isn’t marketed doesn’t sell.
There are two kinds of marketing: one is simply spreading the word about your books organically. But that can only take you so far. Almost no author knows enough people to sell enough books to make a living unless they have help: someone needs to help them spread the word.
Your readers, fans, and friends can certainly help, and once you have enough fans, things get a little easier. However, to build that fan base and continue to find new readers, just as any business must, you need to engage in paid advertising.
But it can be a budget buster and simply an “I don’t like to do this” for many authors. However, if you work hard at it, you can become a good marketer and not waste a lot of time.
Here are some resources for you. Remember, you can be as artsy as you want to be when you are writing your book, but when it is finished, it is a product you have to sell.
How to Sell Books
Look, this may seem a little back to basics, but writers often struggle with how to sell books at all, let alone enough of them to make a living as an author. This video is a good start, but I recommend the entire series. There are also podcasts like “The Six Figure Author” and groups on Facebook that will help you figure this process out better.
This video is a good one by David Gaughran, and I recommend a couple of his books below. He’s just one of many great marketers who share their advice for free.
If you were in one of my talks or read one of my books (probably why you are here) you know one of the things we talk about is understanding Amazon and their algorithm. First, they are the big boys on the block, so that is why it’s critical that we understand how books work there.
The biggest key, perhaps, is visibility, but not just being visible. Being visible in the right places, using marketing and ads to “teach” the algorithm about your book, and more can all lead to more robust sales and a better author career.
And to do those things, you don’t have to advertise on Amazon. Amazon ads have their purpose and place, but there are a lot of ads you can point to your Amazon page to boost sales, solidify categories, and more. Amazon Decoded is well worth your time, so check it out today.
Getting to Know Amazon Ads
If you are going to run Amazon ads, you need to know what you are doing. There are several books that can help. One of them (on your left) is Mastering Amazon Ads by Brian Meeks. It’s a great resource for understanding the basics of Amazon and how to get started.
The second is a newer book, but a very useful one, is Amazon ads for authors, by Deb Potter. Either one, or ideally both, will help you better understand how Amazon ads work, and how not to bust your budget with them. Check them both out today.
Understanding Book Bub
Of course, Amazon ads are not the only way authors can advertise. You’ve probably heard about BookBub, and specifically, the very expensive but extremely lucrative BookBub Featured Deal (BFD). But BookBub also has its own ads platform, and authors can use it to effectively sell books.
But it does take some understanding of the way BookBub works, the bidding process, the testing process, and how targeting works.
Want to be a BookBub ads expert, from targeting to graphics, from bidding to running each campaign?
If so, this book is for you. It’s a part of David Gaughran’s publishing series, and I can’t say enough about the resources he gives away on his site, and the value his books add to any author career.
Facebook Ads Pros and Cons
Perhaps the most controversial (at the moment) ad platform, but also the most effective, is Facebook. However, there are problems, and Facebook can definitely be a budget buster if you don’t do things right. You’ll need some money and patience to start, but there are profits to be had.
Rather than wax poetic and wordy about this topic though, I leave these two videos her, and I’ll let the creators and experts duke it out. There are some good books out there as well, and you should go read them if you are going down the Facebook ads route. There are also Facebook groups for Facebook authors who are marketing there, and everyone shares tips, tricks, and frustration. So join in the fun!
First, check out the two videos below though.
Figuring Out ROI and Profit
Okay, if we are going to talk about marketing, you have to determine if you are getting your money’s worth, and your books and your ads are profitable. In this case, usually I keep marketing separate from other “costs.” At this point, I have already paid for editing, book covers, and more. Now I am focused on if my ads are paying off.
It’s a simple formula, really. Amount your book is selling for (on sale or regular price) times the number of sales equals your gross earnings.
From there, subtract the amount of money your ads are costing you. You can track this using a spreadsheet, small business apps like Quickbooks, and even a cashflow workseet. Check out this short article for more details.
Your Email List and Its Value
Arguably, your email list is your best marketing tool. It is how you can speak to your readers directly in a more personal way than an ad, a blog post, or even a YouTube video. But you can quickly lose readers if you abuse your list, and you can also get a bunch of freebie seekers who never buy your books, but only gather freebies as quickly as possible.
A great resource is Newsletter Ninja by Tammi L. Labreque. You’re sure to be an expert by the time you finish this book. There are tools you can use to manage your newsletter, from MailerLIte to MailChimp to SendFox and other more robust platforms.
First, check out Tammi’s book and look at how you should handle your subscribers and how you shouldn’t. Then check out the resources below to compare email management systems. (Just hover over the logo and click away). Look for a new video coming soon where I’ll breakdown some comparisons for you.
None of the links to the left are affiliate links. They are just simple links to the provider websites so you can make your own informed decision about what works best for you.
The truth is, there is not one answer for everyone. MailChimp is robust and expensive. Mailerlite kinda hits that middle ground: good features, cheaper than MailChimp, and they have been around for a while.
SendFox is the new kid on the block. I use this one, and it is simple, but not as robust as MailChimp. However, it has the features most authors need, and it is by far the cheapest of the options. Check them (and the video above out) and make your own call.
Email Marketing Platforms:
Writing as a Business
This book was a labor of love, one that took me a few years to write, primarily because the marketing section keeps changing. Don’t get me wrong: the principles in this book are still relevant for treating your writing as a business.
But a few things changed in 2020 that mean I need to make some changes. Go figure, right?
So for now, this book is on sale everywhere, and it still has useful tips and tricks. If you purchase it, let me know, and when the second edition comes out, you’ll be first in line and get a discount on the second edition, somewhere near the end of 2021.
Stay tuned! In the meantime, find this book on Amazon using the button below.
FREE Plotting Resource
Last but not least: if you want to learn to Plot Your Novel Quickly, this is the handy little guide for you. It’s free if you join my mailing list. I send out writer tips every couple of weeks, and special offers for writers when they come my way.
Interested? Jump into the mailing list today. More freebies are on the way this year, so stay tuned!
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