The Challenge

Between 600,000 - 1,00,000 books are published each year between traditionally and independently published authors. In a sea of seemingly countless competitors, including bestselling writers, how can a first-time indie author even hope to be seen, let alone stand out?

When I published my climate- and science-fiction novel The Gertrude Threshold in 2014, I certainly had my work cut out for me.

Strategic and Creative Approach

Without a built-in base of fans, using my budget wisely to reach readers most likely to be interested in The Gertrude Threshold was critical. However, the ideal audience was elusive. Unlike genres with strong followings, such as romance or fantasy, the genre of “climate-fiction” was only beginning to emerge in 2014.

I turned to Facebook as my primary marketing channel because it offered more sophisticated audience targeting to help me find my readers. Yet the only harder place to stand out than Amazon is Facebook.

For this reason, attracting potential readers’ interest required compelling creative from end to end that quickly summed up the unique perspective of the novel. I developed everything from the cover of the book to the copy and images in the ads with this in mind.


The highly targeted approach on Facebook drove a steady stream of curious consumers to my website, where the book itself and strong reviews took care of the rest. The Facebook ads resulted in a 2% - 3% conversion rate – right within the standard for e-commerce – and since 2014, The Gertrude Threshold has been downloaded or purchased more than 1,000 times.

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