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How to Advertise Online as an Author - What I Learned from Launch Day!

So you've written a book. Good for you.

Now you need to find a publisher, or like many people, go down the hybrid or self-publishing route. Anyhow - you need to find someone. Done that? Good.

Now you need a website and some social media accounts. Done that? Good.

A middle aged man dressed in a suit at his desk looking perplexed at the world around him which depicts the title of the blog about the difficulties of advertising on the internet.
The Horrors of Internet Marketing!

That's when the horror starts. Being a writer these days is not actually like being a writer, it's like being a full time sales person / marketer for your 'baby' of a book. That means exposing yourself to the horrors of internet marketing, PPC ads and generally how to advertise online. Here's what I learned;

  1. Twitter is Fast - but wow a campaign can eat money!

It took me 6 attempts to successfully list on Twitter (X) ads. Each time, I'd power through, 'launch' a campaign, and then wait for something to happen, Though it never did. Turns out that twitter just won't launch a campaign if it doesn't like it, but it won't tell you what you've done wrong oh no! My first few were a "carousel" type approach with a few images rotating, I picked out a target market niche, and hit start. Nada. For days.

I eventually got something going by being less ambitious with my advert - only 2 images, both very 'safe', a good target audience, and away I went.

The results - 54,202 impressions, with 2,286 interactions at an engagement rate of 4.22%. For the best part of $100. Wow. I got a few followers, maybe 20 or so, but I figured the exposure of 54,000 eyeballs was perhaps worth it.

VERDICT = hard to use, expensive, questionable ROI - 6/10.

2. Meta is Complicated - Moving To/Fro FB & Insta Hurts the Head!

Well I've used FB for like forever personally, and Intsa on and off. Not a huge fan of either BUT you have to be there right? After SO MANY problems with first creating a profile when it should have been a page, and then a new page had to be connected to my master personal account, and same with Insta - I thought I was going mad. I was like Basil Fawlty when faced with a Mini holding half a tree in his hand.

A picture of BBC character Basil Fawlty preparing to hit a car with a large tree branch in a fit of rage.
"I'm going to give you a damn good thrashing"

Soooooo - I did a ton of content, I joined some groups, I did some cross posting and I'd built up like 20 followers. I've still got <100 on FB and I've been going a month. Insta is a bit easier to gain followers, but learning the difference between what links are allowed on FB posts vs what can happen on Insta vs what you put in comments vs bio - wow my head was spinning. I finally figured it out and did some test ads. You can configure your audience REALLY WELL, but oh my days it is SOOOOO expensive. I've stopped now and am just hoping to pick up followers organically by being active.

VERDICT = 57,000 reach in 1 month, with 3,000 engagements, 3,000 clicks all for the eye watering sum of $400 USD approx. 2/10 you are robbing me blind Zuckerberg!

3. Amazon is also Complicated, and tough to work out what to do.

So now I'm losing the will to live, but I've got a desire to sell books - so I stepped in the world of Mr Bezos. I started simple wih a test campaign in the UK - and I got about 2,000 views quickly but no clicks. I then added Canada, the USA and Australia. Well, using the same tactics in each, I curated my keywords and set to work, only to keep getting high impressions but no clicks. I did a bit of youtubing (as you do) and stumbled across someone telling me to go to "Fixed Bids" - so I did. And you know what - I stated getting traction in the USA. I've sold about $100 worth, but the cost is more than that - so I haven't made a profit yet. I will keep trying - but I've paused all 4 markets now - mainly because the other 3 consistenyl didn't get clicks. I got maybe 50 or so in the UK in the end - but not a single conversion :-(

VERDICT = $100 of sales for over double that is not great - but I'll try again 5/10

4. BookBub I was late to - early days - but I'm going for it.

So - this is one I stumbled upon by accident. Bookbub deal in eBook "deals" and Audio Book deals so I tried my luck. It's a bit fiddly to set up as you have to supply ALL the links and my particualr offer was not price led - just a "New Release" post. It took off quite quickly, and I got over 50,000 eyes on for around $80, with over 110 clicks to a buying site, but no way to work out how many of those converted. I was encouraged enough to keep going though, so I've signed up for a price led approach in the US only for my eBook which has zero cost of distribution. So I'm setting it at $3.99 for 30 days (from tomorrow!) and let's see what that does.

VERDICT = Good impressions and clicks for the price, I'll keep trying 7/10

Overall Conclusion - online and digital marketing is tough! And EXPENSIVE! I got almost as many followers as my twitter campaign from a fellow author who is very influential giving me a shout out and a retweet. So I will continue to keep dabbling and I'd love to know the tactics other people have tried - and if there are any experts out there who'd like to help me for literally zero monetary gain hahahaha then DM me!

What's next?

1 - BookBub Campaign

2 - Set my Social Feeds for 2 weeks while I go on a "real" work trip

3 - Keep small tests going on Amazon

4 - Work out how to balance my follower ratio on twitter (5k following 600 follow me ooooops)

5 - Try not to obesses over sales figures cos I cannot see them and I have to accept.

6 - Incentivise Reviews esp on Amazon (got some GREAT ones so far!)

I will keep everyone posted as to how I get on! Let me know what you think of my efforts so far - maybe give ME a score as a solo marketer - after all I DO do this for my day job hahaha

Speak soon!


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