This blog was featured on 12/04/2018
Facebook Ad Targeting for Authors
Written by
She Writes
December 2018
Written by
She Writes
December 2018

The story of Facebook ads is a familiar one. Social media site gets popular. Social media site makes it harder and harder for businesses to reach fans. Social media site offers solution in the form of paid advertisements.

And whether you’ve tried them before or are still on the fence, it has become clear that the only way to be visible on Facebook is by purchasing ads.

And while this may leave a sour taste in your mouth given the social media giant’s once free access to thousands of fans, it is the reality.

There’s a Bright Side

The good news is that ads targeting has become MUCH better than it was just a few short years ago. So while you will have to pay to play, the game has gotten easier.

In our Social Media Bootcamp we broke down some of the big author questions and guided you step by step through the basics of the system.

If you’re just looking for a quick rundown of how authors can use targeting to reach their audience, let’s dive in! Keep in mind that in order to run Facebook ads you need a Facebook author page.

Target Like Authors

One of the best ways to get ads off the ground is by targeting the audience of an author similar to you. They should be in the same genre, have similar covers as yours and you DEFINITELY need to be familiar with their work.

A few things to consider:

  • Not every author will be an available targeting option
  • When you’re targeting an author you’re not just marketing directly to the people who have Liked their page
  • The bigger the author, the less targeted your ads will be
  • The smaller the author, the less likely they are to be an available target

You’re looking for an author who is a healthy medium.

If you try to target fans of J.K. Rowling your target is going to be WAY too big. If you’re hoping to target a fellow debut indie author’s 3000 fans, that’s likely not enough to get your ads off the ground. (Note: Sometimes Facebook will tell you you’re doing well even when the reach is too large.)

Do some research and play with the meter Facebook provides to estimate the reach of a particular audience.

Other Targeting Areas to Explore

Though an author similar to you is the most likely way to find readers who will also be interested in your book, it is far from the only way to target people on Facebook.

At times it’s scary just how much info Facebook has on us all, but from a marketing standpoint this is a good thing.

Here are some areas authors may consider focusing on:



If you are writing ChickLit, odds are you can limit your ads to targeting women only.


If you’ve written a memoir on improving relationships with your adult children, odds are your audience is at least over 40.


If you have written a travel guide about Arizona’s hiking trails, not only can you target people who live in Arizona, you can also target people planning on traveling to Arizona. (Using interests, you can also target people who enjoy hiking specifically.)


Have you written a self-help book for divorcees? Yep, you can target people based on their relationship status too.


Did you write the definitive guide on how to find a job with a bachelor’s degree in English? You can target both a person’s level of education and their area of study.


Perhaps you have written a book crucial to the success of working in a top tech company. You can actually use “Google” as a target to help you reach their employees.


Is your book titled How Millenials Can Thrive in a Post-Housing Crash Economy? You can get your ads in front of specific generations of people.

Ethnic Affinity

Perhaps your fiction focuses particularly on Latinas. Though anyone can enjoy your book, you may want to do a targeted ad that speaks specifically Hispanics.


If you have written a book about raising children, you can target parents who have children in a specific age rage from newborns all the way up to teenagers.

When it comes to demographics you can also target based on Income, Home (both type and ownership), Life Events (like Marriage or a New Job), and Politics.

Interests and Behaviors

Virtually any hobby, vocation, creative endeavor and media can be found under interests, but you’ll want to make sure you are being specific enough so that Facebook selects the right audience.

For example, even though you’re trying to sell books, selecting “reading” as an interest is going to be too broad. Someone who reads James Patterson is very different from someone who reads Emily Giffin and you don’t want to lump them all into one pile. Otherwise, you’ll overspend delivering ads to people who just aren’t interested.

Perhaps you have written a romantic holiday novella. It’s available on ebook and you feel confident people who adore Love, Actually will also enjoy your story.

You can create a targeted campaign that goes to people who have shown interest in the movie and own a Kindle (< that way odds are they are readers who read consume ebooks).

The audience size isn’t outrageously large or small and with the right holiday-themed image and some strong copy, you could have a really great campaign on your hands!

The trick with interests is just to make sure that your interests make sense. Just because your character likes ice skating, knitting and lives in California doesn’t necessarily mean those are good targets for an ad. You want to really try to get inside the mind of your reader and make connections.

For a complete breakdown of all the possible ways in which you can target an audience on Facebook, check out this guide that breaks down all the categories.

Let's be friends

The Women Behind She Writes

519 articles
12 articles

Featured Members (7)

123 articles
392 articles
54 articles
60 articles

Featured Groups (7)

Trending Articles

No comments yet