Tips For Selling And Marketing Direct Using Meta Ads With Matthew J Holmes

What mindset shift do you need if you want to sell direct? How can you use Meta and AI tools to amplify your marketing? Matt Holmes gives his tips as well as insights from running my ads for my store,

In the intro, how to sell more books at live events [BookBub]; Future of publishing and LBF, includes video of our live panel [Orna Ross on SelfPublishingAdvice]; 5 Trends we learned at the Future of Publishing [Kickstart Your Book Sales]; Author business and Author Nation [Wish I’d Known Then]; Amazon de-lists my Companion workbooks, but you can buy the spiral-bound versions and bundles on my store,

Plus, Nvidia’s Earth2 digital twin development platform for climate science; Moonshots and Mindsets Podcast with Peter Diamandis; Sam Altman on GPT-5 [Lex Fridman] ; Using Claude for Shopify mass upload template [M.C.A. Hogarth]; Plus, join me and Joseph Michael for our AI webinar, 4 April, 8pm UK — register here to join us live or get the replay.


Today’s show is sponsored by ProWritingAid, writing and editing software that goes way beyond just grammar and typo checking. With its detailed reports on how to improve your writing and integration with Scrivener, ProWritingAid will help you improve your book before you send it to an editor, agent or publisher. Check it out for free or get 25% off the premium edition at

Matthew J. Holmes is a book marketing and direct sales specialist and the business partner of fantasy author, Lori Holmes. Matt has a great newsletter and courses for authors around Facebook ads and direct sales.

You can listen above or on your favorite podcast app or read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and the full transcript is below. 

Show Notes

  • A mindset shift when switching from KU to direct sales
  • Control of your cash flow and customer base with direct sales
  • Email marketing strategies
  • AI automatic targeting vs. manual targetting
  • Tools to create better ads for targeting your ideal reader
  • Matthew’s ad testing methodology
  • The influx of print sales when selling direct and how to source them
  • The Direct Sales Blueprint for Authors and Facebook ad courses

You can find Matt at

Transcript of Interview with Matthew J. Holmes

Joanna: Matthew J. Holmes is a book marketing and direct sales specialist and the business partner of fantasy author, Lori Holmes. Matt has a great newsletter and courses for authors around Facebook ads and direct sales. Welcome to the show, Matt.

Matthew: Hi, Jo. Thank you so much for having me on the show. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Joanna: I’m excited to talk to you. First up, just—

Tell us a bit more about you and how you got into the self-publishing and book marketing space.

Matthew:   Sure. So actually, Jo, it’s probably your fault, really. We actually found you, I think it was about 2016 – 2018, somewhere around there.

Lori, who as you said, is an author. She had a publishing deal with a publisher that fell through. Then we were deciding, should we go and find another publisher or should we try this self-publishing thing we thought about?

We did lots of Googling and came across your blog and your podcast and your YouTube videos. It was through that, that we decided, okay, let’s try the self-publishing route. So that’s the route we went because all of the content you were putting out. So it’s funny to really come full circle and be on your podcast now.

So that sort of started off the self-publishing thing with Lori’s book. She originally launched it in 2020, but that was after a rebrand before with the publishers, and she expanded that first book.

We launched in April 2020, and that is about the time when COVID hit. From about 2010, up to COVID, I ran a video production company. Before that, I worked at the BBC.

When COVID hit, my video production company just crashed and burned because you obviously couldn’t go out and film people. I couldn’t be around people, you had to be in bubbles and all that kind of thing. So that whole business just disappeared overnight, pretty much.

We had our first twin boys coming about two months later, and we suddenly found ourselves in this position where we have no income apart from the government furlough. That saw us through the first few months of COVID, really.

So I had a lot of time on my hands, and I like to keep busy. So I don’t like to do nothing. So I launched myself into learning Facebook ads to advertise Lori’s books.

That’s really how I got started with it all. I found I really enjoyed the Facebook ads dashboard, creating ads and all that kind of stuff, and all that the geeky stuff around ads. So I just launched myself into advertising Lori’s books.

It was just book one to begin with in April, and then book two came out in May. So a month later, because it was already written. Then we launched like a side novel, which again, was already written. I think it was June or July of that year, 2020.

Since then, Lori’s launched one book a year. So she’s got a total now of six books published.

It’s just been one book a year, really. So that’s our cadence. She’s a very slow writer, but that’s just the way she works, and it works for her.

So over time, we’ve just gradually increased the budgets, and we’ve obviously increased earnings as well. We’re up to about $17,000 – $18,000 a month in royalties, with about 2x return on ad spend, about 2.5x, something like that. So we’re spending sort of $7,000 to $8,000 a month on Facebook ads.

Then back in 2023, we started dabbling a bit in the direct sales side of things. We eventually pulled Lori’s books out of KU in about October of 2023, and then went all in on the direct sales.

Even now, we are still selling on Amazon, and we’re doing pretty well on Amazon. Just most of our budget now is going into the direct sales.

Joanna: I love this. So there’s a few things. One, Lori is not a slow writer, she is a normal writer, writing one book a year. People have to remember this, like the indie author rapid release thing, that is not normal!

Also, she writes pretty hefty books, doesn’t she? Like they’re fantasy books, right?What’s the word count on her books?

Matthew:  The first ones about 80,000, and then the other ones are up to about 150,000, something like that. Somewhere between 120,000 and 150,000. But there’s a lot of background research that goes into them.

Joanna: Yes, I just wanted to point out that Lori has six books, and they are good size books. I think this is so important because so many people think you can only be successful if you have like— well, the 20 books to 50k is kind of the model that has been talked about, but of course, you don’t need to have that many books. That model I think is the old kind of KU model.

What I love, and why you’re here, is because you teach the newer model of using direct sales, but also using Meta ads, which we’re going to come to. Thanks for sharing the numbers by the way, I think that’s very generous of you to actually say numbers.

So Lori’s books were in KU, and you pulled them out towards the end of last year, as you mentioned. For people listening, KU is just for eBooks. You were just doing print on the direct sales. Tell us—

How does the mindset have to shift between KU and selling direct?

Matthew: It’s quite a big shift. It took us a while to work on, and I guess some days we still are whenever we have a slow day on the store.

With direct sales, you really are responsible for every single sale that comes in. Whether that’s through ads, whether that’s through email marketing, whether that’s through any organic social media, you’re responsible for all of it.

Whereas with Amazon, you have to get your books to a certain point in the store, and then Amazon can take over with the organic sales based on the Amazon bestseller rank.

You have to shift away from relying on Amazon to do all the selling for you, to you taking 100% responsibility for every sale.

That’s probably the biggest shift we found.

It’s a pretty daunting prospect to step away from KU. Particularly, Lori, she just has the one series. Well, okay, there’s book one in the new series, but that’s not doing much at the minute because it’s not complete series.

It’s just that all her books were in one series, and they were all in KU, and we pulled all of them out at once.

About 50% of Lori’s royalties were from KU, so it was a big drop. So we had to make that work on a direct sales basis to get it to almost replace that income.

Joanna: Why did you do it?

People are like, why did you do it then?


Why did we do it? To have more control and have more ownership, really, of the people that are purchasing the books.

To have a more direct channel of communication to every reader, to be able to nurture the relationship with every reader a lot more than we can with the likes of Amazon.

Also, we can earn a lot more with the store in terms of the royalties we get because we don’t have the Amazon’s cut to pay. So we can earn a lot more for every sale that we generate through the store. They were the biggest reasons, really.

Joanna: Just on the money, so you mentioned the amount that you spend on Facebook ads. The other thing is cashflow, right, because if you send traffic to Amazon, you’re not getting paid for that for 60 days. Whereas with selling direct, you can get paid the same day or within 24 to 48 hours.

Matthew: Yes, that’s the other big thing, actually. We’ve set it to every week now. So you can choose your cadence of how often you’re paid, so we set it every week.

Yes, in terms of cash flow and supporting the ads, yes, you haven’t got to wait. If you have a big month, you haven’t got to wait two months to get that income into your bank account to pay for the ads if you want to start scaling up. So you can make decisions much more quickly because you have the cash flow to support it.

Joanna: Also, talk about the difference between spending money on ads to your store and getting customer data versus sending traffic to Amazon.

In terms of email marketing, how much can you sell in different ways?

It’s not all ads, is it?

Matthew: No, very much not. The email is a big thing because you can send traffic to your store, and okay, people may not buy straightaway there and then, but they may sign up to your email list through whatever you’re offering. Whether it’s a sample chapter, or sample chapters, a free book, or maybe it’s a discount code.

They may sign up for that, but not make a decision to buy straightaway. But you can have a flow of emails, a sequence of emails, that are automatically sent to these people over a certain timeframe. Those can bring them back to your store to make a decision further down the line. So that’s the big thing.

Okay, the ads. Books are a fairly impulse buy, I guess, because they’re relatively cheap compared to other products online. You also have to think about people have got to be spending, with Lori’s books, about 10, 12, 14 hours to read them. So that’s a big-time investment there.

So it’s not just, oh, it’s a three pound or $3 thing to buy. It’s the time element as well, because that’s obviously our biggest, most valuable asset is time. We can always make more money, we can’t make more time.

So we have to position the value of buying this book in the first place that it’s going to be worth their time, not just their money. We can do that over email.

If we send people to Amazon and they decide not to buy, okay, Amazon may email them a day or so later and remind them of the book. That can generate some good sales for you, without a doubt.

But you didn’t have control over that. You can’t build that personal connection with every reader like you can when you’re selling direct.

Joanna: Another big difference is we have—I say we, I mean I, and many of us—have spent many years get building our email list through freebies. Here’s a free book in exchange for signing up for the email.

With selling direct, you’re actually getting emails of buyers, which is a complete shift in mindset.

So it changes things because these are people who have already paid for a book.

The other thing that’s different with the way you’re now doing things, and can do, is conversion ads versus the pay-per-click ads.

Can you explain the difference of conversion ads, and why selling direct enables us to use this in a different way?

Matthew: Sure. So this is a big topic, but I’ll try to condense it down. So when we’re sending traffic from Facebook or Meta ads to Amazon, we have to use something called the traffic objective.

This is just where Facebook is optimizing to get the most number of clicks on your ads for the lowest possible cost. So once someone clicks on an ad and leaves Facebook and goes to Amazon, Facebook or Meta, they have no idea what’s happening after the click.

So you can get a lot of clicks over to Amazon, and we can track the conversions to an extent with Amazon attribution. But when we start sending people from our Meta ads to our store, our direct sales store, we use something called the sales objective.

What that allows us to do, is once we have installed the Facebook pixel and the conversion API on our store, which is a piece of code you put on your store to allow your store to speak to Meta and Facebook — 

Meta can then optimize your ads to show them to people who have an intent to make a purchase.

This is really powerful, because it’s not just optimizing for clicks anymore to get the cheapest possible clicks, it’s trying to get you purchases of your products, in our case, our books.

So it can find people that have a good history and behavioral signs of actually making purchases online and making purchases that are similar to what you are selling. So that’s probably the biggest difference.

These ads are slightly bit more expensive, but they’re not massively. When we’re sending traffic from our ads to Amazon, they’re probably 10 – 15 pence a click, whereas to our store, they’re perhaps 35 – 40 pence, something like that.

So okay, it’s a little bit more expensive, but in terms of the conversions we get, it’s converting much better with our store than it was on Amazon. That’s with the data we got through Amazon attribution to track the sales and the page-read that were coming from the ads.

So when you use a sales objective, it allows Facebook to just optimize for a more valuable interaction with whatever you’re selling. We found it to be a much better way to actually generate sales on our store is through the sales objective, rather than the traffic objective.

I have tested the traffic objective to direct sales, and it generated zero sales because there was no intent behind the people clicking on the ad. All they have shown a history of is clicking on ads.

So we want to find people that have a history of making purchases, rather than just clicking on ads. So yes, it’s a much better objective really to use when you’re selling direct.

Joanna: Obviously, this is an audio podcast, so we’re not showing you all this, but you have a very useful newsletter, and you have very reasonably priced courses. So people can go find out more about that. We’re not going to get too much into technical detail.

One of the things that I really like about the way you do things, too, is you know, everyone listening knows, I’m AI positive. Every week right now, the AI systems are getting better and better and better.

Some people will find that scary, for sure. Scary on the one hand, but on the other hand —

AI is useful in terms of helping us with marketing. It is one of the things we should all be leaning on because most authors want to write, they don’t want to market.

So tell people how you’re using Meta’s AI targeting instead of what we’ve been talking about for years as authors, which is doing all this manual targeting. So I guess auto targeting versus manual targeting.

Matthew: So I used to do the detailed targeting, and quite intensely. At the end of 2022, our Facebook ads completely crashed and burned, and I panicked for a bit.

I did a lot of testing, and what I ended up doing was doing zero targeting, so something called broad targeting or unrestricted targeting.

So typically what you would do historically, you would say, “I want to show my ads to people who have an interest in crime books,” for example, or “Stephen King.” And also, “I want to make sure I only show it to people who have an interest in Amazon Kindle,” or something like that.

We have to really narrow down the audience. It worked for a bit and then it would just sort of die off.

Joanna: There weren’t any people left in that bucket, for example.

Matthew: That’s right. Exactly. What I learned through going through this process of our ads not working and trying to get them working again, was that the detailed targeting doesn’t do the targeting of your ads. It’s the ad creative itself that creates the audience that does the targeting for you.

So that was a big sort of shift for me, in that, okay, I needed to — 

Get out of Facebook’s way and just create ads that resonate with our ideal readers and let Facebook find those readers for me.

So, now I didn’t do any detail targeting at all. All I do is age, gender, and location. Even then, I keep it pretty broad. So I’ll say United States, male and female, 18 to 65, or 35 to 65+, something like that. That’s all I’ll do for the targeting.

Then on the ad side of things, the ad creative, I’m just creating ads that speak to our ideal reader. They resonate with the ideal reader, they position the books to our ideal readers, and then I just let Facebook get on with it and find the people that we want to show these ads to.

So it’s a lot easier, it’s a lot simpler to manage, because I had spreadsheets testing lots of different audiences and how they performed, and it was pretty complex. ‘

So now I just get out of Facebook’s way or Meta’s way, and just let the algorithm, the machine learning the AI, do all of that for me. So it’s a much simpler way to run ads now.

Joanna: Yes, so everyone listening who is still listening, who hasn’t been like, oh, no, ads. This is very, very exciting. In fact, I heard an interview with Mark Zuckerberg, who basically said, look, we want to be able to do all this for you.

Of course, image generation is becoming better and better in terms of AI-generated. So let’s talk about that because when we started talking like six months ago, I kind of showed you how to use some of these AI tools for images.

So I know you’ve been playing with that. So talk about how you are—because you mentioned there, ads that speak to an ideal reader and that the ad creative is so important. How do people do that?

How might they use some tools to help them?

Matthew: Yes, so you, Jo, introduced me to a tool called Midjourney, which has been a game changer for me. I use it every week.

Joanna: It’s so much fun, right?

Matthew: It is. I could spend hours in there. The other tool I use is called Claude. This is similar to ChatGPT, but I find it a lot better. I get a lot more creative output from Claude than ChatGPT.

I use those tools in conjunction with each other, which is something you taught me as well, which was using Claude to create prompts that we can use in Midjourney to create the images.

So Claude is like a text-based AI tool. And Midjourney is more of an image-based AI tool that uses text to create the images. So you put in what you want to create in terms of an image, what you want the image to look like, what you want in the image.

It will create some images for you that you can then go ahead and tweak and refine to what you want it to be. Is that a good way? You’re much better at the AI stuff than me, Jo. So is that a good explanation? How would you describe it?

Joanna: Yes, I mean, technically, that’s a way of doing it. You can either go to or use if your country doesn’t have direct access to Claude. I also think ChatGPT with DALL-E has got a lot better.

So just coming back to it, fair enough, we can create images with Midjourney.

How do you know which ads will speak to that ideal reader?

Like you have a testing process, don’t you? You might create 10 images, but you’re not just throwing them all and leaving them all running?

Matthew: No, no. I’m quite methodical about what I’m testing. Once I figure out something that works, then I’ll try and refine that and create variations off that to try and improve it.

In terms of images that speak to your ideal readers, what I found initially worked well was just the sort of background image of a book cover works well.

Once I’ve started using these AI tools, I’ve taken scenes out of the book, and pop that into Claude, the AI tool, and asked Claude to create prompts I can use in Midjourney to create images around that particular scene.

These are scenes that are going to be quite prominent in the book. So if you write a fantasy book, it could be something like dragons or some sort of magical thing going on. If you write action-type books, then you can have people jumping off cliffs or running across rooftops, that sort of thing.

Just think of little things like that that just speak to the genre that you write in. That’s the sort of way I’ve been doing it, really.

Then on top of that, what I find works really well, and it’s always worked really well, from the beginning to even now, it’s just using little review quotes, little snippets from readers who have left a review on your books on Amazon or on your store or another retailer, that just speak to your ideal reader.

So perhaps in the review they mentioned a trope, or they mentioned, “Best fantasy series I’ve ever read,” or, “Best historical fantasy series I’ve ever read,” or, “Best crime book,” or, “I fell in love with the characters in this fantasy book.”

Something that mentions the genre that you write in, that really helps with the AI side of things to find the right audience in terms of Meta’s AI. Also, it helps for once Meta’s actually created the audience and found the audience, it’s going to speak to particular segments of that audience it’s found as well. So that’s the way I’ve been using it, really.

Joanna: Then as you said, you test things in a particular way. I think your testing methodology is easier to understand than some people’s, but it’s your methodology. So people can find that on your website. We will talk about this in a minute, in terms of the course.

I did want to ask you—okay, so just to be clear for everyone, you have been doing my ads for for almost six months.

Matthew: Probably is about six months now.

Joanna: Yes, 5 – 6 months at this point. Obviously, I wanted you to do my ads for reasons of — selling books.

What I love is that every single day, I’m selling more fiction now than I have sold in a really long time. That is very exciting for me.

In terms of what we are selling most of, it’s the eBook box set of my first three books in the ARKANE series. That’s Stone of Fire, Crypt of Bone, and Ark of Blood, three full-length thrillers.

There’s a special deal for the bundle. That’s another thing with direct sales, you can do these bundles.

But we have upsells, so quite a lot of people end up buying the 12-book eBook bundle, and quite a lot of people also will buy the print books, and even the 12 print books.

I’m like, seriously, from one advert on Facebook, someone is buying 12 print books?

It’s something I think that people don’t realize if they’ve been advertising into KU.

The KU audience is not the same audience as the people who will buy 12 print books (from an author they have never heard of.)

So I guess—From the data that you have gleaned from my website, what are some of the things that you’ve learned?

Matthew: Yes, so we’ve tested quite a bit with your books. We’ve tested various different individual books, we’ve tested different box sets, we’ve tested paperbacks. I think that the biggest thing, really, is when you’ve got such a big collection of books like you have, Jo, it can be very tempting to advertise everything.

What we’ve really learned through this process was, okay, none of these other books—I’m not saying they’re bad books at all, nothing like that—but what I’m saying is that —

The ads are really working for one particular box set, one particular series, and that’s where we need to focus the budget.

It doesn’t mean the other books aren’t going to sell or nobody wants to read them, but if we can get people into your ecosystem through one series, then we can use the email marketing to introduce them to other series in your catalog that they’ll enjoy.

So we tested various different books and eBooks and bundles and paperbacks. We landed on this box set that just kept performing again, and again, and again. It was this three-book bundle, the ARKANE bundle, and the first few books in that series.

It had a good deal on it and it had the upsell, which obviously works. Rather than just forcing money into advertising books that weren’t selling through the Facebook ads, we just doubled down on that hero product, so to speak. That box set, that bundle were clearly what was working.

So there’s no point spreading the budget across other books that weren’t really working well, when we could just put more budget into this box set that is working.

Once they’re into your system, into your ecosystem, into your world, then they can start getting introduced to the other books in your catalogue through the email.

Once you’ve got that first customer in and they’re on your email list, you don’t have to pay to acquire them again. You don’t have to pay through the ads to acquire them again for a second time because they’re already in your system. You can just use the email to introduce them to these other books.

So it’s obviously easier to sell another book, or another box set, or another bundle, to someone who’s already experienced your work in the first place. They’re not coming to you cold to these other books in your catalog. So it’s a much warmer sort of introduction to these other books that you have for sale.

They’ve obviously got a good sense of what your work is like, they enjoy your work, and they want to read more of your work. The email marketing will help do that in a very effective way.

Joanna: Yes, my email list is growing so much faster than it did do for a long time. That is really interesting.

The other thing is, I kind of think of the Meta algorithm now as a little engine that’s learning who markets those books for me. Again, when you start doing this, as with anything, whether you’re sending traffic to Amazon or anything, you have to allow a period of time for it to adjust.

It’s going to put your ad up in front of a load of people, and a lot of them won’t click at all, some might click and not convert, and then this is learning.

It feels like the snowball does get bigger and bigger, even though we’ve kept the spend pretty similar. We haven’t changed the spend, but I feel like some mornings I wake up and there’s just all these sales. It’s like, what just happened?

Okay, so let’s just talk about the downside. So we use the AI images, I don’t know if you’ve seen this because I look at the comments, but—

People have been saying, “Oh, you’ve got AI images. Does that mean your books are AI?”

Do you get that with Lori’s?

Matthew: We haven’t yet, actually. No. That’s actually interesting to hear that. No, we’ve never had anything like that on Lori’s ads.

Joanna: I’ve started to get a few, but it is interesting. Some of them I delete because they’re just offensive, but some of them I’ll comment back and say, “I wrote this a decade ago. These are the first books in a 13-book series. So no, they’re not by AI.”

Some of them I’ll just joke and say, “Yes, I want Gal Gadot to play Morgan Sierra,” or whatever. So that’s interesting. I think the print sales are interesting because I feel like with Amazon, getting print fiction sales is actually a lot harder than it seems to be.

Matthew: We’re selling a lot more direct with Lori’s store than we ever did on Amazon. We’re also selling more bundles, which is $70 for five books on the store. We’re selling more of those than individual books on Amazon.

Joanna: Yes, exactly. And just so people know—you’re using Bookvault as well, aren’t you?

Matthew: Yes, we are.

Joanna: So we get a lot more profit selling print books when we sell direct. I mean, it’s crazy.

I think the other thing is indies are so used to the very little money you make on print on Amazon compared to the amount you can make on print when you’re using Bookvault through Shopify or one of their other integrations.

Suddenly, print becomes a much more important part of the business.

Matthew: It does very much. Also, it’s going to depend a bit on your audience and who you write for. A lot of Lori’s audience, for example, are 60+. Not all of them, but a lot of them, like to have physical books in their hand.

Whereas there’ll be some genres that attract a much younger audience, and they will devour books on their Kindle or their e-reader of choice, much more than buying a print book.

They want instant access to it. They want to read five or ten books a week, which they can’t do when you’re waiting for print books to be printed and delivered.

Joanna: No, exactly. It’s a totally different audience. They’re also, presumably, not so price sensitive, because as you say, people are dropping like $90 on 12 books from an author they’ve never heard of.

Matthew: Yes, exactly.

Joanna: I’m like, how did that happen? Well, I say that, and then I’ll spend that much on some cat toy I see on Instagram. Then that, like you say, becomes an impulse purchase.

I feel like sometimes we forget that people who love books will just buy books on impulse, you know. We go to a bookstore and do that, right? So yes, I think that’s different.

I guess one of the other things as we think about the way AI is developing, is what else do you think is going to get better and get easier for us?

As AI is developing, what else will we be able to outsource? What else are you looking at or investigating?

Matthew: The other thing we’re using AI for at the moment is writing the actual copy of the ads themselves. So I’m not using the copy straight from AI as it is, I am editing and tweaking quite a bit.

For example, like the headlines in the ads and the primary text in the ads, that’s something we’re using AI just to help us create some different options for our ad copy.

I’m also using it to track different desires and different segments of readers, and I’m using something like Claude to do that for me, to write copy for a particular market awareness or a particular market sophistication. That’s something I’m doing a lot with at the moment.

Also inside of Meta when you’re creating your ads, if you put in some primary text, they will have some AI-generated primary text that you could use as well. I haven’t used them yet, but they look pretty good.

You put in a piece of primary text and it will give you some other options that its AI engine has written for you based on that piece of primary text. You can then use that or you can tweak and then add it into your ad as well.

Also, video is becoming pretty big now. So it was recently, you will know more about this than me, Jo, but was it—

Joanna: Sora.

Matthew: Sora, wasn’t it? Yes. So that’s like a text-to-video tool, I believe. I haven’t looked into it yet, but that’s something that I think will be very powerful. I’ve been looking at all the examples I’ve seen on X about it and there’s lots of amazing possibilities you can do with that.

So I mean, I think there really is no limit apart from your imagination with these AI tools of what is actually possible. I think it’s just going to get better and better, but at the moment, that’s what we’re really using it for.

Joanna: I totally agree. That’s why I wanted you to come on, is to really encourage people. If you’re like me, and sort of just didn’t want to get involved at all with ads, there’s just more and more opportunities for AI to do some of this marketing.

So this isn’t about Facebook, but in 2023, I was paying someone to manage my Amazon ads. I only do them for nonfiction now, but I have them running just the auto ads. So there might come a point where that’s what we’re able to do on Meta and as well.

You don’t do this as a service, but what you do is teach people how to do it themselves.

Tell us about your new course, The Direct Sales Blueprint for Authors, and also a bit about your Facebook ads stuff.

Just tell people a bit more about it so they might know if they’re interested.

Matthew: Yes, sure. Thank you. So the Facebook ads course, which is the one that’s been around for the longest now, that is really just sharing my strategy on Facebook ads.

We dive into the basics of setting up your Facebook ads account, and then moving into creating ads that stop the scroll and ads that really speak to your ideal readers.

There’s going to be a new module coming in the next few months. I’m going to be diving into my research process of how I actually create ads and really understanding the reader. It’ll include all my different tools and strategies for identifying what readers are looking for in a book and particular types of book that you’re advertising.

So I’m really going through that now. I have a Facebook ads coach I work with that really helps me understand all this in a lot more detail and really understand the market awareness and market sophistication. So that’s been really beneficial. It’s really helping me craft better ads.

So then it walks through the actual setting up of the ads themselves in the Facebook ads dashboard, and creating the campaigns and the ad sets and the ads, and then also what to look for when you’re deciding is this a good ad or is this a bad ad.

It helps in making much more informed and confident decisions in which ad you keep running, which ones you turn off, which ones you make iterations of, which ones do you make variations of, and then also how to scale up your ads when you’re in a position to do so.

It helps with what metrics to look for to know when it’s time to scale up, and how to track everything so you have all the numbers that you need to make those decisions.

There’s quite a few authors that are obviously still selling on Amazon and using their ads to drive traffic to sell the books on Amazon, but there’s also quite a few authors now that are selling direct and want to know more about how to use Facebook ads or Meta ads to sell direct on their own stores.

So we cover a bit of that in there as well, in terms of the strategy and how it differs very slightly for selling direct versus sending to a retailer. So that’s the Facebook ads course. I should probably rename that to Meta ads.

As part of that course, as well, there’s also a Facebook group. So there’s lots and lots of people in there that will help you answer questions and give feedback on your ads.

I’m in there as well, answering questions or giving feedback, and just helping people out to really support them in their own journey with ads, their Facebook ads.

Yes, the course lays out everything for you, but you can come across issues that are a little bit more specific to you. You might want support on that. I don’t want to leave you on your own stranded on top of a hill with no way to get any help or any assistance.

So that’s why the Facebook group is there, to help you with all of that. Then if you want to get some feedback on your ads, or on your blurb, or on your headlines, your images, etc, that’s going to be done through the Facebook group.

Then leading on from that is that there’s The Direct Sales Blueprint for Authors course. Which when this goes out, it will be live and available to sign up for.

In that course, yes, we have a module in there on Facebook ads for direct sales specifically, but that’s just one module. The rest of the course is all about getting your store set up. So the minimum viable store that you need to really get going in direct sales.

We walk through how to set up a Shopify account, how to set up your email marketing, how to create product pages, how to create a theme, how to optimize your sales pages, how to create offers, and how to build your email list, and how to scale up your store.

So there’s lots of lots of detail in there about really running a direct sales store for your books. It is specifically about books and how to get eBooks into your store, the different options there.

It covers how to integrate a company like Bookvault to print your print books on demand and get them shipped off to your customers all without you having to do anything. It all happens in the background automatically. So we’ll show you how to integrate all of that.

So it’s really the blueprint for just getting everything set up for your direct sales store. It can be another income stream for you, or it could be your main income stream. It could just be a supplementary income stream for you if you want it to be, or it could be your main thing.

So there’s no right or wrong way to do it here, but direct sales is a really powerful platform. We’re really enjoying it ourselves. It’s made a big difference to Lori’s business and also to enable the relationship she has with her readers as well.

It’s been a big, big change that we’ve never had before. We’ve never experienced it before with Amazon.

Joanna: Yes, exactly. Everyone knows I’ve done quite a lot of shows now on selling direct, and I really appreciate your approach, and also that you are taking advantage of the AI tools.

Authors who don’t want to use AI for writing, no worries, but you can use it for marketing. So I love that you take advantage of that. You also have an email newsletter which gives people quite a lot of tips and things.

Tell people where they can find your newsletter, and the courses, and everything you and Lori do online.

Matthew: Sure. Thank you. Yes, so I have a free daily-ish newsletter. It goes out three or four days a week. In that, I just share tips on sometimes it’s Facebook ads, sometimes it’s direct sales, sometimes it’s more about the mindset about running an author business.

It’s just really everything I’ve learned in the past and everything I’m learning right now about running an author business, and in particular, Lori’s author business.

When you sign up for that, you also get access to the Facebook Ads for Authors Masterclass. It’s a seven or eight lesson video course, completely free, that just walks you through my strategy for Facebook ads.

It will show you how to get everything set up and show you some winning Facebook ad examples. It’ll just really help get you started on getting going with your Facebook ads if you’re coming to them fresh, or your Facebook ads, like us, just crashed and burned and you don’t know where to turn.

This course will just lay out everything that I’ve learned the hard way and get you going again with your Facebook ads.

I’ve had plenty of authors come through that course who haven’t even bought my paid course, but they’ve seen a massive transformation in their Facebook ads performance, just through what I’m sharing in that free course. So that’s completely free when you sign up for the newsletter.

Then Lori’s books are at That’s where you can see her store. They’re also on Amazon, and they’re on the other retailers such as Kobo and Barnes and Noble. But primarily, we’re really focused on the direct sale store.

Joanna: I don’t think you gave the URL for your newsletter.

Matthew: I didn’t, you’re right. It’s That’s where you go for the newsletter and for my free Facebook ads course.

Joanna: Brilliant. Well, thanks so much for your time, Matt. That was great.

Matthew: Thank you so much, Jo. It’s been a pleasure to be here. Thank you.

The post Tips For Selling And Marketing Direct Using Meta Ads With Matthew J Holmes first appeared on The Creative Penn.

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Author: Joanna Penn

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  • March 25, 2024