Thursday, January 18, 2018

Why I Will Never Again Promote My Book with a Facebook Boost or Ad

If I was to say to you, in the very first sentence of this article, that I just published a new novel and you can click here to buy it, your response would probably be one word: “Congratulations!” And that’s the only result I would get from my marketing pitch.

It’s quite an accomplishment to write, edit, format, and self-publish a book. It’s an even more daunting task to market a book.

If you’re expecting me to tell you the secret to marketing a book, you’re in for a disappointment. I have not yet been successful in my marketing endeavors, unfortunately, but I’m still working on it!

What I can tell you is that when I tried to promote my novel on Facebook, it was not successful. That was an experiment which I will not repeat and here’s why.

Author page doesn’t bring engagement

I had been reluctant to set up an author page on Facebook. I already had many “friends”, including people from all over the world who I didn’t even know. These virtual friends included like-minded writers who were occasionally clicking through to read my blog articles. Why did I need to do double work and post on a page as well?

With minimal effort, I set up my author page in July 2015. I included an online store with links to my books. I began posting articles while the number of people who liked the page increased at a steady pace.

With over 1,800 people now liking my page, I figured that I already had an audience to see, and read my posts. But this is not how Facebook works. No matter how many fans you have, hardly any of them will see your posts. My regular posts are seen on an average by 60-70 people. And just because they “see” the posts, that doesn’t mean that they actually read or engage with them.

The situation is actually getting worse! Facebook has made a change in the algorithm determining what people see in their News Feed. Facebook will give higher priority to "posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation” and as a result, “pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease."

Boosting with no results

When I published my new novel, The Burgas Affair, in October 2017, I decided to try advertising on Facebook for the first time. I didn’t want to create an “ad” but rather test the waters by boosting my posts and the book’s Amazon description itself.

Boosting a post, I believed, would increase its reach substantially. Facebook informed me in the notifications I received on my page that for a small investment I could get my posts seen by thousands of users.

When I boosted my posts, I targeted an audience in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. I boosted my posts on a weekend when more people reportedly interact on Facebook. I narrowed down the audience to people who like reading detective novels, crime fiction, and thrillers. I chose both men and women, ages 30 to 60. This, I believed, is the audience most likely to read my novel.

In total, my boosted posts generated 2,873 impressions and brought 87 clicks to the book’s page on Amazon. There were no sales recorded on the days of the boosts, but that could be explained by a number of other factors totally unconnected to Facebook.

Maybe you’ve had better results

If you’ve had better success marketing on Facebook, congratulations! Perhaps you’ll tell me that I should have checked my page’s insights; that I should have timed my boosts to when my audience was online. That I could have improved the image, and the text, of my posts. In short, I should have spent more time mastering Facebook advertising. I don’t have the time for that.

I am not a social media expert, nor do I desire to be one. I am a writer, an author, someone who is devoting a small amount of time each day to marketing my books. I don’t think Facebook users visit Facebook in order to buy books. At least, not my books.

Luckily, my advertising ventures on Facebook were not expensive. I see this as a lesson learned, another step taken on my journey to market my book. I came, I tried, I did not succeed. On to something else, something hopefully more successful. Maybe I should stick to writing!


  1. Thanks for this blog post! I had the same experience. Advertising through Facebook yielded no increase in sales. When I post a link to a book on Facebook (my regular account, not the author's account), I sometimes get a short sales blip. Obviously, it's mostly friends who buy my books. BTW, I did buy "The Valley of the Thracians," which was an enjoyable and engaging (sometimes gripping) read! Haven't gotten to "The Burgas Affair yet, because it was published originally in Bulgarian!

    1. At least your friends are buying! Some of us have way too many artificial friends on Facebook and they may 'like' and 'share' but they won't necessarily 'buy'. That is why I am looking for alternatives! I hope you enjoy my new book as well - thanks!

  2. I had much the same results. No sales, no interest, no response to show me my efforts were worth while. Since our writing is therapy for my husband, we just stick to that. I basically maintain the website, . If anyone wants to read about us and our books,they can order from there if they wish.