Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Why Authors Can’t Rely On Ads To Build A Brand

I exchange emails and have many calls with authors every day.  Some of them are under the mistaken belief that the centerpiece to their marketing campaign is Facebook ads.  I don’t know why this type of thinking persists but allow me to clearly debunk it.

First, when you look at how to market a book, you need to have an expansive strategy.  Look at these key areas:

·         Traditional Media
·         Social Media
·         Book Reviews
·         Speaking Appearances in Bookstores and Libraries
·         Targeted E-mail blasts
·         Exchanging Favors/Resources with other Authors
·         Advertising
·         Affiliate Sales
·         Contacting Relevant Organizations:  Business, Religious, School, Non-profit, Government
·         Influence Campaign

Second, as you can see, advertising is one small part of the bigger equation.  Further, there are all types of advertising campaigns.  Pick a medium, TV, print, radio, online, local or national?  Pay per click or pay for access to subscribers and viewers/listeners? Which online platform – FB? Twitter? You Tube? Pinterest?  Instagram?

Third, what do ads really accomplish at best? Sell books.  It’s an if, not a given, that ads sell a lot of books.  There’s a big cost involved.

But what ads do little of is brand an author.  You need third-party validation from being interviewed by the media, having your book reviewed, and being covered by a media outlet.  When people Google you, look at your website, or discover you online, it’s likely because of the media attention that you garner.

An author brand is impacted by numerous things but it begins with what you say and do and how you are portrayed publicly.  Facebook ads don’t accomplish this. Only the impact of quality, frequent media placements – interviews, reviews, stories, and byline articles -- can do that.

Ads, if targeted and purchased at a good price, serve a purpose to some authors and absolutely can be useful. But they are not branding tools that work effectively.  They are short-term blips and because they are paid for you don’t get lasting mileage out of them.

People are saturated with ads and burdened by them.  Who is really reading or watching these ads?  But if you are heard by hundreds of thousands of people on a radio show, read by tens of thousands of people in a newspaper article, or seen on influential blogs, podcasts and book review sites, isn’t that a far more powerful and lasting means to build a brand, sell books, and share your message?

If you don’t agree with me, knock yourself out. Go buy lots of FB ads and sponsored tweets. Then come back to me for something useful, like a publicity campaign.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America and participated in a PR panel at the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Institute Conference.

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