Creating BookBub Ads and Why They Sell More Books

by | Aug 14, 2019 | Bestseller Essentials, Book Marketing Basics, Marketing Your eBook

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Creating BookBub ads is a solid strategy because they’re surprisingly accessible, it’s easy to get started, and you can make a big impact with a relatively low budget. Those are three factors I really value in determining which book marketing strategies are going to help me sell more books.

I also 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 features 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 one of your most lucrative book marketing strategies, 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 a shot.

So, let’s cover the key features and tips that can get you up and running with ads by the weekend, and then all the great ways you can use BookBub ads to sell more books.

Creating Bookbub Ads

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 for creating BookBub ads 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 creating BookBub ads 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.” 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 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 creating BookBub ads and targeting them, it’s much simpler 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 as a way to test which helps you gain more exposure and sell more books.

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 of 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.

First, let me remind you that anyone can use BookBub ads as part of their overall book promotion efforts — it’s not like their feature promotion option that you need to first qualify for, then apply for.

BookBub ads are a great strategy to keep in your rotation because they’re a really adaptable way to support your other efforts.

When to use BookBub ads as part of your book promotion

I hear from a lot of authors that have a hard time finding success with limited time discount promotions on their eBooks. They just can’t generate the high download numbers some authors swear by. And my first question is, “What else are you doing aside from dropping your price?” Sadly, the response is usually “nothing” or something nearly as underwhelming. This is perfect example of when to use BookBub ads to support your other work.

So the next time you do a limited time discount promotion on your book, put a new title up for pre-order, release one, or just want to revive some interest in the first books in your series – head over to the BookBub Partner site and create some ads.

Why BookBub ads are a critical book promotion component

They are relatively inexpensive. This is key, because it allows you to test out different ads for different stages of your book promotion efforts. (And you can keep track of your plans for these different stages in my free monthly planner that you can download in the Resources section below.)

They have a flexible timeline. You can jump onto your account and get ads set up in less than 10 minutes and they can even start running that day. When most book promotion efforts take careful advance planning, this is a breath of fresh air.

Anyone can do it. I have to reiterate that anyone can use BookBub ads as part of their book promotion, so this isn’t about traditionally published versus self-published, new versus old, it’s all-inclusive.

The targeting is straightforward. You can target readers by associating your book with one of BookBub’s pre-set genre categories, and or you can target readers who follow popular authors in your genre. And a new feature they’ve added is letting you know how many readers follow these other authors you might want to target, so you have an instant idea of how many potential people you’re getting in front of.

The design is straightforward. Book promotion requires creativity, and I often recommend image applications like Canva to assist with these efforts. But in this case, all you really need is your book cover, and BookBub will auto-generate a background that compliments your color scheme.

Tips for making attention-grabbing BookBub ads

Always use your book cover. Covers sell books. So if you’re not sure your book cover will make the best first impression, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. And if you want to get creative, try BookBrush’s options for adding your cover to a tablet screen to really make it seem reader ready.

Get creative with background options. If you have other imagery from your book, or a scene that really speaks to your story, use that as your background instead of the auto-generated version BookBub offers you. For example, if your story is set in the Pacific Northwest use an image of the wooded landscape.

Use a call to action that works. If you have something special to say, don’t miss this chance. Yes, “Read Now” is straightforward, but if your book happens to be discounted, saying “$.99 Now” is much more appealing.

Use legible fonts on custom images. If you’re using BookBub’s options to create your ad they make this decision for you, but if you decide to use a super user-friendly site like Canva to create custom images that stand out from the crowd, be sure you’re using fonts that compliment your book cover and are easy to read. Sounds like a no-brainer but it’s easy to get caught up in design and forget to think critically. Stand back a few feet from your computer, is the ad still clear? You’ve got a winner.

Get started on your next level of book promotion

Remember, doing one thing in a vacuum isn’t a great use of your time, and it isn’t a great way to test what works for your brand or your buyer market – everything needs to be supported by multiple channels.

I know it sounds complex, but it’s really not, just focus on supporting each thing you do with at least two other book promotion strategies, in tandem, and I’m willing to bet you start getting a better return on your efforts.

Resources and Free Downloads

Quick and Free Author Marketing Strategies for the Weekend

A Beginner’s Guide to Rocking Amazon Ads using Amazon Marketing Services

Why eBook Promotions are Indie Author Gold

Free Monthly Book Marketing Planner

Please use the social share buttons below if you learned something from this post – your shares really help educate other authors, which raises the bar for publishing and gets more books in readers hands!



    My Facebook ad account shows a CTR of 9.98%. I haven’t found the “click through links” metric yet. Is there anything else I should focus on to determine how well my ad is working? I am not seeing any conversion to actual sales. I will definitely look into the BookBub ads, but I only have one published book so far. Should I save my money on Facebook ads and devote those resources to BookBub instead?

    • Penny Sansevieri

      Ken, Facebook ads can be very tricky, specifically because Facebook us used for so many different reasons – few are there JUST for book recommendations, which makes targeting more complex and competitive. Sure, someone on Facebook may like reading books in your genre, but if they mostly get on Facebook to engage with news and political content, they’re not likely going to see your ad because Facebook doesn’t see that their activity warrants it. BookBub on the other hand, is for people who are looking for book recommendations, so at least you’re working with a more focused pool of potential targets.


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