Simple Quickstart Guide to Bookbub Ads for Authors

by | May 9, 2018 | Book Marketing Basics, Marketing Your eBook

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Running Bookbub ads for authors is a solid strategy. And as a bonus, it’s surprisingly accessible and easy to get started. Those are two factors I really value in author marketing.

I know a lot of fiction authors that are having challenges with Amazon ads. And whether it’s figuring out the hundreds of keywords, how to read the data, or how to allocate your budget, there are a lot of factors to consider.

Don’t get me wrong, when you can get Amazon ads to work, when your book is a good fit, it can be a really lucrative author marketing strategy. But if you’re running into roadblocks or haven’t even wanted to “go there” yet, don’t give up on ads completely, give Bookbub ads for authors a shot.

So let’s cover the key features and tips that can get you up and running with ads by the weekend.

Getting Started with Bookbub Ads for Authors

First, you’ll want to claim your Bookbub author profile if you haven’t already. It’s free and really straightforward, and it will literally take less than 5 minutes.

Now let’s just run through the steps to create Bookbub ads for authors so you’re 100% covered on execution.

Once you sign in to the partner section of the Bookbub site just start creating a new ad by first finding your book. Bookbub is really on top of retail sites. So as long as your book is for sale, Bookbub can probably find it.

Designing Your Creative

Then you get to design your creative. Bookbub ads for authors is a dream come true if you’re not really comfortable creating your own images. They make creating an ad with their template a breeze.

With a template you’re limited to 60 characters. And while frustrating at first, this is actually very smart for your author marketing overall. Many more characters than that and your ad copy gets too small. And to be candid, the more characters you get, the lazier you can be about creating really impactful, powerful sales language.

But some of the pressure is off. Because as with most online ad strategies, it’s recommended you try out multiple ad variations. And Bookbub ads for authors is no exception.

So come up with a handful of catchy, impactful hooks for your book and plan to use them in a variety of ads to see which ones readers seem to respond to best. And keep these handy, because I’ll bet you can find uses for these hooks in your other author marketing efforts as well.

The last part of the design for Bookbub ads for authors is the button. This usually reads “Buy Now” or “Read Now” or Download Today.” All of these are fine. But if you’re running ads to support a limited time discount offer, which I encourage you to do, you’ll want to say something like “On Sale” or “$1.99 Now.”

As I mentioned previously, Bookbub ads for authors support numerous retail sites. So as long as your book can be found in the Bookbub system, it should auto-populate top retail sites where your book is available. You can add others manually. So if your book is for sale on your website and you want to track whether people are clicking through, add it.

Targeting Your Ads

When it comes to targeting Bookbub ads for authors this is much more simple than Amazon ads, mostly because your options are limited. But sometimes having focused options is a good thing. We’d all be wary of a restaurant menu that offers everything from cheeseburgers to enchiladas to Kung Pao chicken.

Your two targeting options are by author and by category. By author means you’re targeting readers that have shown interest in particular authors on the Bookbub platform. By category simply means you’re targeting readers who are interested in that category on the Bookbub platform. You can also run ads with a combination of these two factors.

Why You Should Create Multiple Ads

I like to create multiple ads that cover all my author marketing bases. So one ad using just a single category my book falls into. Another ad if my book clearly falls into a second category, and so on. Then I do ads by category AND start adding in author factors. Generally I go for bestselling authors in that same category on Amazon. Why? Because these authors are already proving they’re on the radar of readers in your genre. How many authors should you target? That’s anyone’s guess. Just know the more you target, the wider your reach. And this can be good for sheer exposure, but it makes figuring out which authors have readers who really connect with your books.

If you know for a fact that your books are very similar to just a handful of authors in your genre, go with an approach that’s more targeted.

If you’re just starting out or haven’t done enough research on your competition yet, a safe bet is including up to 20 authors on the bestseller list. But by the way, if you haven’t done your competitive research yet, your author marketing is suffering – so make that a priority soon.

Planning Your Budget

Figuring out the budget you should use on Bookbub ads for authors is very relative, so I won’t go into that too much. The budget is PER AD, so if you’re creating multiple ads to play around with the creative and target, which we recommend, just keep that in mind.

A good rule is to just keep the math simple. So $10 per ad, up to 10 ads, and you’re spending $100. Remember, you’ll likely not keep all these going, some may flop, and that’s normal, but once you pause (stop) an ad that budget is reserved. Just figure out your per ad spend based on the max amount of money you want to budget and you’ll be fine.

The bidding options on Bookbub ads for authors is also somewhat limited, which again, works to your benefit if you’re new at this author marketing strategy. Or even if you’re not, again, rules can be a welcome change.

I suggest doing cost per click, because at least you’re only paying each time someone clicks on your ad to find out more about your book. Personally, I like this logic. And from what I gather most authors who do this a lot feel the same way.

Bookbub will give you a range to choose from in regards to how much the bid should be. I suggest starting on the lower end, and then playing with increasing it on ads that seem to be performing well. Why? Because in very basic terms, that means you’re investing a bit more to get that ad more exposure, which is great, once you know the ad is already working.

Naming Your Ad

Last but not least, name your ad. This is actually more important than it sounds. If you’re going to be creating multiple ads, be sure to name each one in a way that quickly tells you which ad it is when you’re scanning your stats. For example, name it based on the Bookbub category it’s associated with, and the bestseller list the authors you chose are listed under, and even the type of ad copy it contains.

A couple examples I used on an author marketing campaign recently were:

Erotic romance + Military romance + psychological suspense copy

Erotic romance + Military romance + sex charged copy

The above were nearly similar ads in regards to targeting, but I used different versions of the ad copy. It was easy for me to glance at the stats and see which ones were appealing more to readers.

That really covers the creation of Bookbub ads for authors!

Analyzing the Data

Now analyzing the data is a different topic altogether. And I’ll be candid, you could read 10 articles on this and get 10 slightly different recommendations and approaches.

That being said, if you’re just getting started, I simply suggest you keep an eye out for these major factors:

  • Impressions served
  • Total clicks
  • CTR (click through rate)
  • Click through links

Impressions served shows you how many people saw your ads. Total clicks are how many of those people clicked through. The CTR is just the percentage of these two. And then your click through links show where your ad is sending people.

Sometimes clients are surprised that a certain ad combination is actually sending more users to the Amazon UK site. And for many, this wasn’t even a buyer market they were catering to. In that situation perhaps some UK blogger pitching or UK-based eBook promotion sites are something worth checking out!

When you’re ready to tack your analysis of your ads up a level, Bookbub has some great recommendations that will make a lot more sense once you’ve played with the platform a bit.

The Takeaway

By now I hope you’ll agree that Bookbub ads for authors really don’t seem all that scary. And I really hope you’ll give them a shot as a way to expand your target market reach in new ways.

And if you’re ready to really kick things up a notch and are ready to hire a book marketing company, check out our brand new kickstart package here!

What have your experiences been with Bookbub ads for authors? Please share them in the comments!


  1. Debbie Anderson

    OMG this information is incredible. I just spent many hours looking at a site with old information. Your article has articles inside articles inside articles and I’m so confused. Is there a list of all your articles so I can be sure I read them all? I am new to all this and have been trying to educate myself. I like your teaching style and want to learn all I can from you. Sincerely Debbie Anderson

    • Penny Sansevieri

      Hi Debbie,
      Thank you for letting me know that you enjoy my teaching style! Don’t be intimidated by how much there is to learn, you’ll get there. You’ll see that my blog posts are organized into categories. I suggest you start with the most recent post under “Book Marketing Basics”, for instance. Read that and all the related articles listed in the Resources section at the end. That will give you a thorough understanding of that topic. Then move onto the next one…rinse and repeat. Another good category to explore might be “Social Media for Authors”. Or just poke around and read up on the subjects you most want to learn. I don’t know where you are on publishing journey, but when you’re ready to share your book with the world, reach out to find out how we can help launch it.



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