Writer Wednesday: Facebook Ads #tips #writerlife #boosting #facebookads #howto #withpictures

First, we need to clarify the difference between boosting a post and creating an ad


Boosting is when you click the little blue button on an already published post on your page. It says, "Boost Post" like the image below.

To boost or not to boost...


* It's easier and quicker to set up.

You make a FB post as you normally would (no fiddling with pixel dimensions and creating visuals with canva, paint, picaso or bannerfans). After the post is published on your page, you can choose to boost it. This requires you to click the boost button and complete a one page clickable form. I consider boosting to be "FB Marketing LITE."

* After you boost your post, it will show up under your page's ads as well as your ad manager

* If you've connected your instagram account to your ads manager, it will share it on your Instagram as well once boosted.


* It has serious limitations when it comes to targeting, placement and scheduling

Although it ~technically~ offers the audiences I've set up for my FB ads, it won't allow me to complete the boost if I select any of those audiences. For a boost, I'm still limited to targeting the people who like my page and the friends of those who like my page. However, it will now share on my Instagram profile, which is a bonus.

* Although your boosted post will show up on your ad manager the stats aren't as comprehensive.

In my opinion, the cons far outweigh the pros.

I recommend...

Creating an Ad

By far, my limited marketing funds are better funneled to a FB ad. For the rest of this post, I'm going to go through the steps I use to create a simple, single photo, FB ad like the one below. There are more bells and whistles you can add, but they're more dependent on your strategy, genre, budget and capabilities. I'm sticking with the basics for this post.

I'm going to go through the steps I used to create the ad above for the holiday season.

Step 1: Use desktop. Do not attempt the crazy that is involved with using the mobile app. Login, go to the far upper right of your FB screen, click the little down arrow and select "create ads"

You will need to set-up your payment information at some point. Because mine's already set-up and has been for over a year now, not only do I not remember when or how I did this, but it's probably changed. Rest assured, it won't let you finalize an ad without setting up the payment information.

Moving on. Once you've selected Create Ads, its going to take you to the ad campaign main screen. To the left is a little menu bar that shows you the steps you will go through to create an ad. It looks like this:
I will be going through each of these steps with you (with pictures!)


In the Ads Manager, the first item you're tasked with selecting is your marketing objective. As you can see, there are lots of options, but generally, my objective is to get people aware of my books and to BUY them! In other words, you want to generate TRAFFIC to a specific site (ie. BOOK RETAILERS).

Step 2: Select "Traffic"

Once you've selected Traffic, it will give you the option to name your CAMPAIGN and to try a split test. I rarely bother with naming, but for January, my Campaign is named NEW YEAR, NEW READERS, and the objective is to push the first book of my series to grab new readers. For this example, I haven't bothered to give it a unique name.

I'm not going to cover split tests right now. You can fiddle and play with that on your own ;-)

Step 3: Name Campaign and click "continue"

PART 2: AD SET (Audience, Placement, Budget & Schedule)

After you select Continue, you're moved to the next phase of creating an ad. This section is focused on Audience, Placement, Budget and Schedule. Basically - it's who is your ad for (Audience), where do you want your ad to show up (Placement), how much do you want to spend (Budget) and when do you want the ad to run (Schedule).

For this example we're going to create a new ad set (not multiple ad sets)

Step 4: Name ad set. Example, I run a specific ad for Facebook, so I could call this ad set FACEBOOK. Or I could call it "Series" because for this specific example, the ad promoted the series as a whole.

Step 5: Select the type of traffic you want to generate. You want to send traffic to a website (BOOK RETAILERS), so ensure "Website" is selected.

I'm going to cover how to set up one ad for one ad set for one campaign, but you can set up multiple ads to run under multiple ad sets under one campaign, and after using FB ads for awhile, I can definitely see the allure and benefit of doing this.

Confused about the difference between campaign, ad set and ad? Remember that menu bar I mentioned and pictured above?

A campaign has a specific goal (ie. marketing objective)
An ad set has a specific audience, placement, budget and schedule to achieve the campaign goal
An ad is a specific media/graphic/text etc, that follows the specifics outlined in the ad set.

(Please note, the pictures above are for FB posts, not actual ads. Your FB ad graphics can't contain this much text).

In the future, I plan to run one campaign for a set period of time for a specific objective (example, driving sales for the first book of my Carus series). Under this campaign, I'll make multiple ad sets and ads - a photo FB ad for US readers, a video FB ad for US readers, a photo FB ad for Canadian readers, a photo FB campaign for UK readers, an Instagram photo ad, and an Instagram video ad. #goals

After you've set up one ad under one adset under one campaign, you can add additional ad sets and ads to any campaign under "manage ads", but I'm not going to cover that here. Just know it's an option and it's less work if you plan to use the same ad set parameters (audience, placement, budget and schedule).

Still confused? Don't worry about it. Just run a new campaign, with a new ad set and ad, and don't worry about the definitions. You can keep creating new campaigns each time you want to run a new ad.


Step 6: Create a new audience.

Select what you think your demographics for your book are. For example: women, ages 18-40, in the USA. Then add genre topics like: urban fantasy, paranormal romance, etc. The audience section is easy to use and don't be afraid to click on their suggestions. It's gold. You want your arrow somewhere in the green and I recommend having it in the high green area at first if you're still figuring out your audience.

In the picture above, I've shown my most recently created audience. It's not perfect. I'm actually going to remove the UK and Ireland. Not because I don't love my peeps across the pond (I do!! Hi!!), but because all my buy links for this particular ad are American. I'm even going to cut my fellow Canadians (*gasp*) from this audience. Instead, I'll make similar, smaller ads, with country specific links, for the other countries (remember, as I mentioned above you can run multiple ads under one campaign).

Also, if you're not quite sure what your audience and/or demographics are, that's okay. Like I mentioned before, you can go broad at first. Resign yourself to throwing $20 to the cause, make your audience and schedule super broad, run the ad, and then use the stats/graphs provided at the end that break down your results to fine tune / hone your next ad/campaign.


Step 7: Select placements

For a single picture simple ad, you need to deselect Instagram stories and all the messenger options.

Personally, I've decided to do specific ads for Instagram in the future instead of trying to get a FB ad to fit Instagram (remember, as I mentioned before, you can run multiple ads under one campaign). Not only does Instagram require different photo art dimensions (which the ad set-up does allow for), but Instagram is a world of hashtags and not a world of links, so it requires a slightly different write-up and strategy.


Step 8: Define your budget. Select "Lifetime" and the ammount

I've double circled Lifetime Budget for a reason. Sometimes, after you've entered your dates and schedule, the budget RESETS!!!! to daily or a higher lifetime budget. After you've finished completing this section, make sure you go back and double check that your lifetime budget is still what you set it as.

Personally, I pay $20 to run an ad over three days. This fits well with my budget and tends to get me the results I'm looking for. In the future, I'm going to run multiple ads, for $10 each over the same three days, but I'm not sure what the results will be. It won't let you run an ad over multiple days for less than $10 (last time I checked, at least)

Step 9: Select the calendar dates you want the ad to run. I select the dates that encompass the schedule I'll define below.

Because I'm running the ad on Wed, Jan 10, Thu Jan 11, and Fri Jan 12, I've selected from Jan 10 at 12:00 to Jan 12 23:00. Technically, I could select Jan 8 - Jan 14, and my ad would still only run on the Wed-Fri, BUT the program will think my ad is over a longer period of time and will tell me my budget is too low, so make sure the calendar dates you select are as tight to your schedule as possible.

Step 10: Select "Run ads on a schedule"

Why pay FB to run an ad at 3am EST when FB is essentially a dead-zone at that time?!?


Step 11: Define the Ad Schedule
According to recent articles, that I couldn't re-find again for the purpose of citing them in this post, FB is busiest Wed-Fri and in the afternoons. So that's what I target with my schedule. I'm in the PST time zone, so 12-9pm for me is 3pm-midnight for EST, and captures the afternoon for North America, which is my target audience in this ad.

If I was targeting the UK, I'd have to either change my timezone to be UK's timezone or select the times in PST that equate to the afternoon in the UK.

Step 12: Double check your budget is still correct and click "Continue"


Now you're on the third and last section of creating an ad. You're almost done!

Step 13: Select identity.

I run my ads via my Facebook Page because it will allow me to also grab some page likes in the process. If you run it through your profile, you don't get the little thumbs up follow icon in the upper right of the ad.

Step 14: Select "Single Image."

I'm covering the basics here, and am using single image as the example, but have a look at the other options available while you're here for the future.

Personally, I feel the options that work best for book ads are single image and video. The Carousel option is something you see online retailers, like Wayfair use, where you can scroll through their pictures without even clicking on the link.

Step 15: Upload your ad picture.

It needs to be in a 1.91:1 ratio, or 1200 x 628 pixels (if it's less it looks too pixelated). If you use Canva, you can select the "Facebook App" option and it works nicely. I'm too cheap to use their upgrade option where you can select specific dimensions.

Also, you can't have too much writing in your actual graphic. That's a big no no for Facebook. I also can't use my Beast of All cover on it's own because it's deemed sexually explicit / suggestive and the ad is declined. (I can use it if there's other covers with it and it's smaller...so weird, FB. So weird). If you're using a book cover by itself (an easy option to pick) it may give you a warning about the text, but you can ignore it. If they decline it, you can argue the decision and they'll accept it. Text on Covers gets flagged by their automated system, but is deemed acceptable for ad use.

Step 16: enter the CLEAN web address you want to send your traffic to.

This doesn't need to be a shortened link, but it needs to be clean.

Make sure this is correct and CLEAN! Do not use all the mumbo jumbo you copy and paste from the address bar from Amazon, for example, because it contains tracking information. If people go to buy your book with the tracking information, and then leave a review, Amazon will think you're buddies and might flag or remove the remove.

For example:

The URL for one of my books when I search for it and am logged into Amazon is:


That's a MESSY link with all sorts of tracking information.

You can cut all the tag ins highlighted in red below:


That leaves you with:

But that's still a LONG link. So you can cut the title info highlighted in blue below out as well.


Which leaves you with:


(you can remove the "s" after "http" and it will still work)

The above is a perfectly acceptable CLEAN AND SHORT link to use, but if you're also including the link in the description, you can shorten it even more.

Drop the "s" after "http", drop the second "a" and "o" from Amazon, and remove the "dp/" as highlighted below in orange:


Which leaves you with:


This is a CLEAN AND SHORTENED link and perfect to use.

For those of you grumbling about the long process, you can just use this formula:


where you replace "ASIN" with your book's Amazon ASIN

Step 17: Add your catch phrase and details

Generally, I have a lead in phrase that hopefully is better and more appealing than "buy my books". Over the week after Christmas, I had "Did you get a gift card for Christmas / Check out the Carus Series!" 

Then for the details, I had a list of retailers and links.

These links need to be shortened. Use the Amazon clean and shortened link I explained in the last step, and use a link shortening site like tinyURL.com to shorten the links for B&N, Chapters, Nook, etc. Yes, TinyURL and other URL shortening websites will enter their own tracking information, but the majority of your readers are going to click the Amazon link anyway. It's just courtesy to list the other retailers. List the Amazon link first. If you use TinyURL or a similar site, make sure you enter CLEANED links for them to shorten, otherwise the tracking information from the other retailer will be included as well.

Here's an example of the links I list for Beast of All:

Step 18: Change the "call to action" button from "Learn more" to "Shop Now"

Step 19: Double check you're happy with how your ads appear on each of the placements.

Step 20: Once you're happy with everything and you've addressed any warnings the Ads Manager may have flagged, click "Confirm"

Your ad will take 1-5 hours to get approved, so make sure you set the ad up at least a day in advance, especially if it's your first time. You might have to go back and fiddle with the ad graphic(s).

You're DONE!!


Last points:

Remember when I said you could make your first ad audience really broad and use the results to fine-tune your next ad? Well, here's the charts/graphs you get after the ads have run. This is my overall results for all my ads, so they're skewed because I've been specifically targeting audiences for a while now. Men responded very poorly to my initial ads, so I eventually cut them from my targeting altogether (sorry boys). So now, it appears men hardly look at my ads at all...well, that's true, because I'm not sending the ads to them. You can't look at something that's not in front of you.

Also, once you've created a campaign and ad set, you can go back into the Ads Manager and create a new ad or ad set under an already existing campaign :-)

Want the steps without having to read through all the explanations? Here you go:


Or you can view the document below:

How'd I do? 

Was this helpful? Please share. 
Did I miss something? Please let me know. 
Is there something you need more help on or need clarified? Comment below. 
Is there another topic you'd like me to cover? Contact me!


  1. I love FB ads, and this post is super helpful. Thanks!

  2. This is fantastic!! I've never run a FB ad, but now I will. Thank you!!!!

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you! Can you tell I'm having fun with screenshots? Of course, FB will change everything next week and make this post obsolete (lol)

  4. Thank you for the directions! I've never created a FB ad. Do you find it translates well into sales? I've heard some people say wonderful and others say not so much, so I'm conflicted. :) I'm definitely going to save this page in case I create one! Thank you!!

    1. Yes, I do. Right now, I'm averaging ~$0.21 per click for my ads (which is better than 80% of similar ads, according to FB), and each time I run them, I see a direct boost in my sales.

      The last campaign I ran, I had 1 ad every week, and every Wednesday, when the new ad started, I'd see a spike in sales. So sales would go up Wed-Sat (I ran my ads wed-Fri) and then they'd dip down. And then my next ad would run and they'd spike back up again. Not huge sales, but I'm also coming off from a year off and I don't have anything new out.

    2. Thank you for the clarification! Do you create your own graphics? B/c yours is so much better than anything I've created in Canva! :)

  5. Replies
    1. You're welcome! I'm glad you found it helpful :-)

  6. I've avoided doing these ads because I thought they were so hard to do, but you've taken the mystery out of them! Thanks for this J.C.

    1. You’re welcome! I’m glad you found this helpful


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