Advertising Books Online:
Getting the Best Value for Your Money

Advertising Books Online: Getting the Best Value for Your Money

Kristen Twardowski

Advertising books online: For independent authors, it is incredibly easy to sink money into online advertising, but how do they know that their potential readers are seeing these advertisements? What types of online books marketing provides the best value for the money?

Author Nicholas Rossis has tried to answer these questions and more. Every year Rossis releases an annual survey on which book advertiser offers the best value for the money, and he just put out the 2016 Book Marketing Results Survey. It contains some wonderful information.

Good Return on Your Money

The Amazon Marketing Service has surprisingly good returns for the money when advertising books online. In Rossis' chart, this ended up as the number one best return on your money. Amazon had the highest number of books sold per dollar spent on advertisements.

Poor Return on Your Money

Facebook Marketing has a surprisingly bad ratio of books sold per dollar spent when advertising books online. In fact, Facebook marketing was almost at the bottom of the list. However, it is important to mention that the audience for Facebook is significantly more varied than Amazon's audience. Part of this discrepancy may be from the fact that Amazon targets your advertisements for you, while with Facebook you are responsible for choosing your target audience.

Failure to choose the appropriate target audience is the number one reason why Facebook advertising fails. Nevertheless, for the independent author without much knowledge of who their target market is, Amazon is going to give the best results.

Best Return on Your Money

Advertising through an author newsletter is 40 times more effective than other types of social media at convincing potential readers to purchase a book. Again, this is likely because an author's newsletter is a very targeted audience. This same audience can be targeted through Facebook when done correctly, but the most important feature of an author's newsletter is that it is extremely inexpensive (sometimes even free).

If you haven’t used an author newsletter yet for advertising books online, now is the time to test it out!

Overall, Rossis covered over 30 avenues of advertising books online. All of these insights are simply highlights from Rossis' research. I encourage you to check out his article for more detailed information about the best places to advertise discounted books and where authors should consider promoting themselves. He lists more than 30 different promotional venues, and for people interested in growing their readership, it is a wonderful resource.

Advertising and book promotion often hangs like a sword over the necks of authors, so if anyone has wisdom to share, I would love to hear it. For example, I didn’t see NetGalley on the list – though I may simply have overlooked it – and I am curious about what kind of influence it has. Regardless, I’m sure that many of us could improve our approach to this corner of the publishing industry of advertising books online.

Kristen Twardowski works in sales and marketing for a small publisher. When not analyzing numbers, she writes her own fiction and is excited to be publishing her first full-length novel, When We Go Missing. She also blogs about the publishing industry, books, and the craft of writing. Original article posted on her blog Kristen Twardowski.

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