Publishing · resources

Advertising Books Online: Getting the Best Value for Your Money


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 those 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.

To pique your interest, I’ll give you a sneak peek of some of Rossis’s findings:

1. The Amazon Marketing Service has surprisingly good returns for the money.

2. Facebook Marketing has a surprisingly bad ratio of books sold per dollar spent.

3. Advertising through an author newsletter is 40 times more effective than other types of social media at convincing potential readers to purchase a book. If you haven’t used an author newsletter yet, now is the time to test it out!

All of these are simply highlights from Rossis’s 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.

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This post was also featured on Invest Grow Repeat.

10 thoughts on “Advertising Books Online: Getting the Best Value for Your Money

  1. Thank you for the information. I have read tons of marketing advice for an ebook. I followed as much as I could without spending too much money. For me I have not been able to break the friends and friends of friends barrier. I went with Amazon’s KDP program and let them exclusively market the book for 90 days. Now I have it listed on Nook, Kobo, iBook store, and Lulu. As you have seen I built a website and keep it updated. I have got a good following with WordPress. Subscription followers are the same individuals that have already read my book and are friends. Bottom line, I am not having much success. I know there is a limited market for people who want to read about the Vietnam War. With all the hype about Veterans, I was hoping to attract some attention.

    Now please explain what is an author’s newsletter. If you do not have a large email list and that is your distribution target, how will that help? Perhaps I am being unreasonable with expecting sales to pick up when it has only been four month. I have sold approximately 50 books. It is a tough market out there. Any advise would be appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chuck, I’m not a specialist in your genre, but I am happy to give some general suggestions.

      An author newsletter or an email sent to an author’s online followers typically works best when a writer already has a fairly large group of online followers. Right now it seems like you may want to build your ‘brand’ and awareness of your work.

      There are a couple of ways to do that. I know that many bloggers have guest posts or interviews with authors. You could try to get on their blogging schedules. This typically works best if you already have an idea of something you would like to say (and it helps if the post isn’t just an advertisement for your book).

      I also suggest you promote your book to online reviewers. If an online reviewer blogs about your book, that means that however many followers they have now know about your book. It is best to seek reviewers who already are interested in your genre. In your case, I’d look for people who review books about history, war, biographies, nonfiction, etc.

      I don’t know if you follow Chris The Story Reading Ape’s blog, but he does a great deal of work to help promote authors. I suggest you spend some time exploring his site. You can find it at

      That is just some info off of the top of my head. I hope it helps.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. While I’m hoping to not have self-pub my novel and do all of the work, this is definitely important information and may come in handy some day. After all, it’s becoming a trend for traditionally published writers to have to do quite bit of the heavy lifting in the marketing department nowadays. Thanks for the info! ^.^

    Liked by 2 people

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