In a previous post we touched on marketing essentials for self-published authors. Today we’re diving a bit deeper, focusing on how to market on Facebook when you have no budget.

Facebook ads are expensive. Well, they can be quite cost-effective, but only if you really know what you’re doing. So you have two options: Outsource to an expert ($$$) or invest the time and money to learn how to do it properly yourself (also $$$).

So what is the solution for the self-published author on a budget?

Play the long game. Start small, with a savvy, beautiful author page on Facebook. Build up your audience slowly but surely. Pay attention to what posts get the most attention; the most likes and shares. Later, when you start paying for Facebook ads, you will start using this hard-earned knowledge in your ad campaigns.

But first, get the basics right:

  • Don’t use your personal FB profile only. Sure, you can use it to plug your book to your friends and family, but if you want to be taken seriously as a professional author, you have to create a professional author profile as well.
  • Upload a high-quality, functional cover image. Nothing is as off-putting as a grainy, pixelated, poorly designed image on social media. The cover image is the first thing your page’s visitors will see. It’s vital to get the quality right. Use the cover to your full advantage: Upload beautiful images of your book, as well as ad copy, special offers, anything that grabs attention. You have a lot of space to work with here; don’t waste is on a boring image of the ocean.
  • Post as many reviews and testimonials that you can get your hands on. Ask readers to post pictures of them with your book.
  • Provide links to retailers and your website, or anywhere readers can purchase your book. If you don’t ask for the sale, you won’t make the sale.
  • Host giveaways and competitions. Everyone loves to win or at the very least feel like they got a good ‘deal’. Think of frequent opportunities to offer discounts, giveaways, and deals. (E.g. Holiday specials; it’s your birthday special, last of the print-run special).
  • Join groups: There are many, many, many writers’ groups and ‘support’ groups for self-published authors on Facebook. Join these, post regularly – not just to plug your book, don’t do that too often – but just to take part in conversations, get to know your audience, and offer value. This is how you play the long game to build an audience. Also join groups related to your books’ content and do the same. E.g., if your book is about fly-fishing, join all the fly-fishing groups you can and infiltrate them with your engaging contributions.
  • Create a video trailer and post it on your page and in groups. Nothing fancy required; shoot a video with your phone or use stock video with a voiceover.
  • Post interviews with yourself. Share lessons learned. Offer value. Ask questions; engage.

There are many more things you can do. As your audience grows, you will start noticing trends; what works, what doesn’t; who your readers are, and what entices them to click. Eventually, as the sales roll in, you will be either empowered with the knowledge to continue Facebook marketing like a boss, or you’ll have a few bucks to spare every month to start paying for targeted Facebook ads, or pay a minion to do it for you.

Any questions? Reach out for a consultation.

Happy writing!