The Five Pillars of Book Targeting small image

Romance (book advertising) is in the air…

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, the AdBiblio team has love on the brain! And while we love helping promote titles from all genres, romance novels hold a special place in our hearts. Often overlooked by literary reviewers and publications, romance is nonetheless one of the top-selling genres year after year. Romance books also tend to feature some of the cleverest titles, the steamiest cover art, and let’s be honest: in what other genre could we get away with using the call-to-action text “Mount Up”?


Wicked Ride ad creative


The Five Pillars of Book Targeting


Planning the optimal romance book advertising campaign is, like with any other genre, heavily dependent on the book’s content and intended audience. With sub-genres ranging all the way from New Adult to Amish / Inspirational Romance, a one-size-fits-all approach clearly isn’t the way to go. That’s why AdBiblio analyzes each campaign’s audience targeting approach from five major angles: demographics, traits, sites, locations, and title parallels.

The Five Pillars of Book Targeting

I’m going to call those targeting approaches the Five Pillars of Book Targeting, even though the rest of the AdBiblio team is totally going to make fun of me when they read that. Sorry, guys – new year, new level of geekiness. Actually, I firmly believe the five pillars of targeting apply equally well to any good advertising plan, but here at AdBiblio we only care about books 😉


While not all of these targeting pillars will play a strong role in every book ad campaign, it’s still crucial to consider all of them carefully. For example: does the title appeal broadly to most female readers, or should we zero in on single moms ages 30-45? Does the optimal reader for this book spend a lot of time reading weight loss content on Shape and Self, or is she more likely to be a fan of sites like Jezebel and xoJane? What other things would this reader enjoy doing – going to see a rom com? Shopping at Nordstrom? Knitting? Are people who live in a specific region, like the Southwest, more likely to be interested in this title? What about people at specific locations like beauty salons or yoga studios? What other authors and titles would the optimal reader already be a fan of – Fifty Shades of Grey? The Time Traveler’s Wife?


The Five Pillars of Book Targeting with examples


Some of these questions can be answered in advance, based on the content of the book and the author or publisher’s goals. Other factors may need to be determined over the course of the campaign as our team watches for indicators of higher and lower interest. Regardless, leaving out any of those considerations entirely (demographics, traits, sites, locations, and title parallels) is apt to lead to an ad campaign that wastes a lot of impressions on people who are unlikely to engage with the book.



The Five Pillars In Practice


This Five Pillars targeting approach works for romance titles ranging from contemporary to western to inspirational to paranormal to YA, and everything else beyond and in between. Here are a few starting points illustrating how we might plan a campaign for books in some of these sub-genres:


Contemporary Romance:

Contemporary Romance book ad examples

  • Demographics: Women ages 20+
  • Traits: Bulk contemporary romance series readers; Hallmark and Lifetime fans; Watch shows like The Bachelor and Grey’s Anatomy; Honeymoon planners
  • Sites: Woman’s Day; Shape; Self; Oprah; People; Marie Claire; Martha Stewart; Bustle; Cosmopolitan; Pop Sugar
  • Locations: Barnes & Noble stores; Bridal shops; Beauty parlors; Beach resorts
  • Title Parallels: Vision in White by Nora Roberts; The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks; Me Before You by Jojo Moyes; Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas; November 9 by Colleen Hoover


Inspirational Romance: 

Inspirational Romance book ad examples

  • Demographics: Mothers ages 30+
  • Traits: Avid inspiration romance readers; Conservatives; Christians; Church-goers; Homeschoolers; Fans of shows like Return To Amish
  • Sites: The Pioneer Woman; Christian Post; Guideposts; Fox News; Better Homes & Gardens; Taste of Home; The Homeschool Mom
  • Locations: Target and Walmart stores; Churches; Southern and Midwestern US states
  • Title Parallels: To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer; Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers; Rekindled by Tamera Alexander; A Touch of Grace by Linda Goodnight; Angels Walking by Karen Kingsbury


YA Romance: 

YA Romance book ad examples

  • Demographics: Women ages 18-45
  • Traits: YA and/or romance fanatics;
  • Sites: Hello Giggles; Elite Daily; Refinery 29; Teen Ink; Seventeen; MTV; Freeform; Thought Catalog; The Hairpin; The Frisky; Teen Vogue
  • Locations: College campuses and towns; “Most Romantic Cities” in America; Indie bookstores
  • Title Parallels: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green; Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell; Delirium by Lauren Oliver; Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews; The Romantics by Leah Konen



Planning your custom romance book advertising campaign


If you’re interested in planning a romance ad campaign we’d be thrilled to help. For a quick refresher of what AdBiblio can do, check out our romance book advertising one sheet. Or if you’re ready to dive right into the details, send Mary Beth a love note at to chat!


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