Advertising On Facebook: Is The Promotion Worth The Price For Writers?

As you already know, having a Facebook Author Page is essential for promoting your author brand online. But did you know that weekly or even daily posts may not be enough to build your fan base? Facebook has changed the way it serves posts to users, making it more “pay-to-play” than ever before. Organic reach may no longer be enough to ensure that people will interact with your Facebook posts.

Facebook now offers two ways you can pay to increase the reach of your posts: Boosted Posts and Promoted Posts. Both will help you achieve the same results: more engagement and traffic.

How will these promoted posts affect your overall marketing strategy—and how much money can you expect to spend? Let’s take a look at the benefits of each to determine which is right for you.

What’s The Difference Between Boosted Posts And Promoted Posts?

Boosted Post: A boosted post is any post from your Author Page’s timeline that you pay Facebook to promote on other people’s News Feeds. Essentially, you select one of your best posts and pay Facebook to share it with a much wider audience. Boosting a post is a great way to increase the engagement on individual posts, especially those that link to your author website, blog, or book sales page.

Promoted Post: A promoted post offers you more options. You can promote posts to achieve specific goals: getting page Likes; driving traffic to your author website; tracking page views or mailing list sign ups; and more. And the targeting tools available for promoted posts let you custom-create the best possible audience.

Both Boosted and Promoted Posts allow you to decide who will see your posts. You can target both fans and non-fans of your Page. You can also determine the demographics—such as age, interests, and gender—that will ensure your paid-for posts aren’t shown to random users unlikely to become fans.

Social Media Examiner has a wonderful article that provides an in-depth look at how to both boost and promote your Facebook posts.

Why Pay To Promote?

While organic reach is best in terms of SEO, advertising on Facebook to promote your author brand and drive traffic to your author website has definite advantages.

Extra Reach: The first perk of paying to advertise on Facebook is also the most obvious: You’ll be able to reach a larger audience and increase your opportunities to build your fan base.

Targeted Demographic: By boosting or promoting posts, you’ll be able to select the demographics of Facebook users who will see your content. For example, if you know readers of John Green may also like your writing, you can target Facebook users who have already Liked John Green on Facebook. This pinpoint targeting will increase your chances of gaining new fans.

Facebook Will Reward You: Facebook has recently changed the way it serves content to its users. You may have noticed a slight decline in Fan Page content on your News Feed. This is because Facebook is awarding more and more of that precious News Feed space to Pages that pay to promote themselves and posts that meet certain criteria as defined by Facebook’s newest algorithm.

What does this mean? Facebook looks at a user’s (let’s call him “Joe”) past engagement with a Page (for example, your Author Page), the Page’s overall popularity, the time the post was published, and the existing engagement on the post—before deciding whether or not to serve the post organically to that user/Joe. If your Page doesn’t have much engagement from visitors or many Likes yet, paying to promote your posts may help kick-start your overall engagement so that your posts get served organically to users like Joe more often.

You Choose Your Budget: One of the best features of advertising on Facebook is that you can set your own budget for each post you promote or boost. So if you’re just starting out, a small budget of only five to twenty dollars a day can be very effective with the right demographic targeting.

How Do I Know If Paying For Promotion Is Right For Me?

Are you satisfied with the current reach of your Facebook posts, or would you like to see an increase? If your book sales have plateaued, or if you don’t seem to be gaining new mailing list subscribers, paying to boost or promote a post may be a good idea. Posting updated, fresh content that visitors want to see is always a smart strategy, but paying to target your post to new markets can supplement your own organic reach.

While boosted and promoted posts do come at a price, you don’t need to spend a fortune to see an increase in engagement and traffic. We recommend starting small with one of your most highly engaged posts. Boost the post for ten dollars a day to an audience you select based on what you know about your existing fans, and keep the post boosted for a week. See what effect the boosted post has on your engagement, book sales, etc. Then you’ll be able to determine if it’s worthwhile to continue to advertise on Facebook.

Photo by Master OSM 2011

QUESTION: Have you paid to boost or promote a post on Facebook? How did it work for you? Share your experience with other writers reading this article.


  1. Barbara

    Wow! Didn’t know this resource existed! Thank you for sharing this! I’m still formulating! Do I write the book about my Dad for the family first? Or do I write the book I’ve been working on for years, the one I think will transform parenting? Any thoughts on how to know which one to focus on totally and GET IT DONE???

    • Web Design Relief Staff

      Hi Barbara!

      If you have the time, why not write both? You can get lots of tip about the planning and writing process over at our parent company’s blog:

  2. AK Abeille

    As I understand it, it is never going to do anything but make it LESS likely for you to contact your actual fans, if you pay to “reach more fans” on facebook. This guy explains it:

  3. Janet K Brown (@janetkbrowntx)

    I did & liked the results, but I’m not real tech savvy. I understood it would only be $5 a day for 7 days. To me, that meant a threshold of $35. I tried several times as the charges kept building to het the threshold changed. They automatically up it once you pay for ads. When it reached $85, I finally had to call pay pal & ask them not to accept anymore charges that come from FB. It’s probably me, but it wasn’t worth that much to me.

    • AK Abeille

      As I understand it, it is worth even less than you think, because every time you pay to promote a post, most of the new “likes” you get are from clickfarms, so they are not authentic new “fans.” Worse, since now a larger proportion of your “likers” are actually not real people who are actually interested in you, now every time you post, your post will go to an EVEN SMALLER proportion of people who are actually real “likers.” So, the more you pay to promote, the FEWER of your REAL fans you will actually reach on facebook (because facebook does not send your new post to everyone who likes your page, only to a small proportion; which becomes smaller and smaller the more artifical “likes” you get from clickfarms by paying to promote posts). It therefore becomes an ever-diminishing return on “investment.” Just not a good model. Facebook is really good for families and real friends to keep in touch with, but not good for writers to try to promote themselves (other than as an adjunct; allowing actual organic person-to-person contact through real contacts; real family and friends, in other words).

      • Web Design Relief Staff

        Thanks for your comment, AK. There is definitely some truth to what you’re saying, but more often than not, those that fall prey to click farms and spam users are often those who don’t target their Facebook ads specifically enough or at all. Jon Loomer wrote a very interesting, thorough blog post about the subject, particularly about geographical targeting and how it can affect the legitimacy of a Facebook ad campaign. You should check it out:

        • AK Abeille

          I think what bothers me the most about the facebook situation as it stands now is that only a tiny proportion of your fans will see anything you post. If you have painstakingly built a legitimate cadre of fans who really, legitimately “like” you, wouldn’t it make sense that they would all receive your updates? You shouldn’t have to PAY for (possibly) more of them (still not all of them, and possibly not more of them, but more random people who may not even like or want your stuff, no matter how carefully you “target”) to get news they already said they “liked.” It’s just awkward, and seems wrong, to put a barrier between you and people who have already said they “like” you.

  4. Jayne

    I am curious to find out what blog system you are utilizing?
    I’m experiencing some minor security problems with my latest
    blog and I’d like to find something more secure. Do you have any solutions?


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