Making the Most of Your Advertising Dollars

Marketing a book can be overwhelming for first-time authors, mainly because there are so many ways to do it. It can easily be a waste of money, so you have to make sure you’re investing in the right places and making the most of it. Your book, audience, and budget should all play a role in determining your choice of advertising. Taking a close and careful look at all of these components will ensure your campaign is the best it can be. It's easy to overspend on ineffective advertising, but when you do your research and carefully plan its design and placement, advertising can be very cost-effective.

It's important to know which types of advertising media are available to you and the strengths of each one. Consider how well each medium could highlight your book so you get the most out of your "face time" with potential consumers.


There are many things you can do on online through websites and social media that costs you nothing but time and energy. However, if you’re looking to broaden your reach a little more quickly, you can put in a little bit of money to reach a wider audience and hopefully entice them to buy your book.

Online advertising can include ads on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook or Google ads, which allow your advertisement to appear on various websites across the internet or the Google search page itself.

A big advantage to advertising online is your ability to reach anyone across the world, target specific audiences, and get in front of the most eyes. As long as you do it correctly, it’s the best way to get the most bang for your buck. However, it can get very overwhelming. If you don’t fully understand it or dive in without the necessary knowledge, you can easily spend a lot of money and get very little in return. It’s important with this type of advertising to let an expert help you or do as much research as you can before sticking your money here.


Newspaper advertising provides an opportunity to segment by location. Local newspapers are a great way to get the word out about your book to a small, targeted audience. They're an excellent place to launch your advertising campaign in your hometown or even a location mentioned in your book.

Placement in a specific newspaper is another thing to consider. Most newspapers have arts sections where your advertisement could reach the right audience. Another option is featuring a book launch or upcoming book signing in the paper's events section. If your budget is small, consider taking out a classified advertisement. This is a great way to reach niche markets, such as car enthusiasts, dog lovers, and so on.

Keep in mind that artwork possibilities will be limited in the newspaper. If you'd love to show off your book's illustrations in an advertisement, this medium may not be the best place to do it.

Magazines and Trade Journals

Magazines and journals are an excellent way to target niche audiences. These publications are designed to appeal to readers with specific interests. If you'd like to start with just a regional campaign, many magazines and journals have regional editions which will allow you to segment your audience and target the right individuals.

One advantage to magazine advertisements is they allow for many more design options than newspapers, so this may be the medium for you if you wish to showcase artwork in your ad or if you want your advertisement to have lots of visual interest.

In print media, you should consider co-op advertising (sharing an ad with other advertisers) to save money and be able to purchase more space.

Radio & Television

Radio and TV are less suited for book advertising than print media. It may be best to use radio or television advertising to highlight your appearance at events or to advertise a book signing.

Local and public access stations are the most cost-effective option, but take care to weigh the cost and benefits of advertising on TV and radio before spending too much. Public access broadcasts often run simple advertisements surrounding announcements about events. These advertisements can be inexpensive and make your book stand out to local readers who may be at an event.

Testing and Watching Your Budget

Remember, if your goals are to bring your advertising campaign to a national level, be sure to test your ad's design and the response rate in smaller markets. That way, if the ad isn't successful, your budget and goals won't take too much of a hit. Be sure to track response rates for your advertising and plan your campaign based around these results.

And don't forget, your advertising campaign is a work in progress and can be amended for better results at any time.

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