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Advertising and Marketing

BookBub Ads – Part Two: The Creative

By: Ginger on March 12, 2021

Our Hidden Gems guest author for today.

By: Ginger on March 12, 2021


If you’ve been thinking about trying to advertise your book on Bookbub’s relatively new advertising platform but aren’t sure where to start, this is the series for you. In part 1, Ginger discussed what the service offers and how to determine if it’s right for you, and this week he’s diving into what sort of images to use in your bookbub ads.  What can, and should, you include? It’s all explained below, with a real example ad Ginger created and used for one of his own books to help illustrate his points.


Last week, we pitched the idea of using BookBub to market your books.

It’s an incredibly powerful serve-yourself advertising platform that has arguable advantages over both Facebook and Advertising on Amazon – but the interface is deceptively simple and a lot of authors get their fingers burned by jumping in without a strategy in place.

Today, we’re going to be discussing one of the two essential components of a successful BookBub advertising campaign – the creative.

By ‘creative’ I mean the graphical image you use as the advert to display to BookBub readers. Unlike Advertising on Amazon, you can actually create bespoke images to drive your advertising – and, unlike Facebook, you can also include words on them!

This can make BookBub one of the most powerfully strategic advertising platforms – if you get your message right.

But that’s the thing, isn’t it? Being an author and writing books is one incredibly broad skill set, but advertising isn’t a natural component of it; so you have to learn not just new skills, but a new mindset when you start thinking like an advertiser.

I spent 20 years in advertising to develop this mindset, so hopefully I can give you some pointers in this blog post that might really help.

Provide an Offer!

The power of BookBub is that you get to go right back to the roots of advertising – displaying a sales message in front of a potential customer.

With Advertising on Amazon the art of advertising got consumed by click-thru-rates and cost-per-thousand impressions, and there wasn’t really much to ‘sell’ your offer other than the cover and a few lines of copy. With BookBub, you actually get to have a message – but it’s up to you to make it a good one.

BookBub readers are always eager for ‘deals’ like free or discounted books, and I strongly suggest that you try and make this one of the driving messages of your BookBub ads. You can certainly just post about your book in more general terms – and that does work for some authors – but the messages that really seem to drive action are the ones in which a reader ‘gets’ something for taking action.

So, look forward at your publishing schedule and see where BookBub might fit into it, rather than just use the platform for general advertising. For example, I often launch my books with a five-day free promo, and there’s not much more of an attractive word for readers than FREE!

Driving 99 cent books is also a powerful tactic – and it can be especially useful when you’re trying to drive those paid sales and get your book ranking in a category.

I strongly suggest that you tie your BookBub ads to some kind of ‘offer’ because it makes you a lot more strategic about how and when to jump into experimenting with the platform – and it forces you to think much more holistically about your advertising in general.

Creating the Creative

After you’ve buttoned down the offer you’re going to advertise, you have to build out the creative that will communicate this deal.

BookBub offer a number of tools to build creative for you – and I don’t recommend any of them. Just like homemade covers scream ‘self published’ on the digital bookshelves, creative built using BookBub’s tools can put some readers off by wordlessly suggesting that they’re not ‘professional’ authors. It’s unfair, inaccurate, but it’s true.

So I recommend learning how to built creative yourself, or hiring somebody to do it for you (in fact, we offer that very service here). It’s fairly inexpensive in the context of your advertising budget, and it will make your advertising really stand out from the other sales messages readers are constantly bombarded with.

I can’t claim to be Don Draper when it comes to my own advertising, but I know enough to have seen the difference. Here is an example of some suggested creative I recently came up with for my own book:

Bookbub Ad example

Remember, your ad isn’t selling your book – it’s selling your offer, and giving a reader a reason to click through and learn more about your book. That’s why you’ve got to be so strategic about the elements you use in your creative.

In this example, my priorities were:

  1. A visually striking image that would stop readers scrolling and actually encourage them to read the ad.
  2. The offer, in big bright letters. In this example, it’s that the book is 99 cents, but I also included the Kindle Unlimited logo, so readers who are in KU know the book is ‘free’ if even 99c is too rich for their blood.
  3. A tagline to get people interested in the book. You only have a few lines to work with here, so make them count.

I’ve also included an image of the book on a Kindle, which is a tactic that works well on Facebook for filtering out people with eager fingers from clicking on my ad and then groaning: “Oh, wait, it’s a BOOK?”

On BookBub, however, all the ads are for books – so I know a lot of authors who skip this recommendation and still find their creative works really well for them.

If you Google ‘BookBub ads that work’ there are a ton of examples of successful creative. BookBub actually provide a ton of material and support to try and make sure their advertising platform delivers – with possibly the best educational resources available from any advertiser.

However, with BookBub the true key to success is in testing things out – seeing what works and what doesn’t. Because the creative is such a massive part of this process, don’t be afraid to experiment with different creative approaches and track the ones which work well for you (and get rid of the ones that don’t.)

Don’t worry – you’ll have plenty of opportunity for testing, because while there’s no element more important to successful advertising on BookBub than your creative, it’s also vitally important to build out the right audience to advertise to – and that’s a lot more strategic than it sounds.

We’ll cover all that in part three – stay tuned!

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About the Author

Our Hidden Gems guest author for today.

Ginger is also known as Roland Hulme - a digital Don Draper with a Hemingway complex. Under a penname, he's sold 65,000+ copies of his romance novels, and reached more than 320,000 readers through Kindle Unlimited - using his background in marketing, advertising, and social media to reach an ever-expanding audience. 

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