Writers are solitary creatures, generally, and the part of writing and publishing that most authors seem most confused and intimidated by is marketing. The act of getting out there, making yourself heard and seen, to sell your books.
I’ve been published for four years and marketing is still a grind. I don’t have a magic formula, I don’t sell hundreds of books a month, but I have learned a few basics.
Today I want to talk specifically about Facebook Pages, how to set them up, how to manage them, why you need one, and what to post on it.
Go to your main Facebook feed. On the left side, click on Pages. Then click on the green button at the top that says Create Page. Follow the steps to create your page.
When naming your page: if this is an author page, have your name or pen name as the page name. Mine is “Casia Schreyer – Author”. It clearly states who I am and what I do. If you are creating a page for a series you write, call it something like “Official SERIES Fan Page”.
MANAGING & POSTING
You are the admin of your page. You can get others to help you, and set them up as editors or moderators. In these roles, they can make official posts, respond to DMs, moderate followers, etc. At first you won’t need help, I’ve been at this for years and I find there’s not enough work involved in the page to ask others to help me.
You need a banner or cover image and a profile pic specifically for your page. You can use a picture of you, pictures of your books, writing memes, or images related to the content you write. You can change this every time you have a new release, change your style, or simply feel like it.
Fill in the About information with as much detail as you are comfortable sharing. Set up a few photo albums. Good album ideas: Events (for readings, launches, and conventions you attend), Cover Art (post the covers of your books and in the description make sure to include a purchase link), Quotable (instead of posting snippets as text, paste them into Paint and save them as an image, or screen shot the document and post that image. It’s harder to plagiarize it, and images get more attention from Facebook algorithms).
Start posting! Introduce yourself and welcome new followers then share the page with family, friends, and writing groups (respect self-promotion rules within the groups). Let your followers know:
- what you’re working on, how many words you wrote today, if you have writer’s block, if you had a bolt of inspiration, if you’re enjoying the twist you’re writing, if a scene is making you sad
- writing memes and creative memes that you come across and find funny, relatable, or inspiring
- odd dreams you’ve had, interesting encounters on the bus, strange things that happened to you recently – start a conversation about your life as well as your work
- goals and deadlines, approaching new release dates, when you get a short story accepted in a magazine or anthology, when you complete a story/book/chapter
- quotes and snippets of what you’re working on, even raw, unedited stuff (just note in the description that it’s raw or unedited and you’re too excited to share it to wait), keep these short, 2-8 lines is ideal
- when you’re sick, when you’re exhausted, when you’re job is wearing on you (but always be polite or refrain from naming the employer because employers can see what you are posting about them), when your kids do something annoying/cute/brilliant
- upcoming author appearances, be it a launch, a reading, a table at a craft show or farmers’ market, a panel you’re sitting on, a workshop you’re leading, or a convention you’re attending
- book reviews, movie reviews, links to books your friends wrote with a recommendation from you (why should your followers read these books or watch these movies?), what you’re reading now, new books on your TBR pile
Aim to post 2-3 times per week, minimum, and 1 per day maximum – usually. If there’s big news you may post 2-3 times in one day, and once a day for three days after that, then slow down to 2-3 times per week again. If you forget to post for a while, come back with a “Sorry for the absence I was xyz and this is how that project is doing”. If you do a Like for Like chain, or a self-promo day in a group and there’s a sudden influx of followers, post a new “welcome new people!” post.
There’s one thing missing from that list, one obvious thing, the one thing we all want to post over and over again, and that’s a link to the book you wrote and a “BUY MY BOOK” message. I left it off for a reason.
Your page is about building a connection to fans and potential fans. You build connection by posting engaging content, conversation starters, things that make them see you as a person, not a product, or a product pusher.
When should you post links to your books:
- When your book becomes available for preorder. “TITLE is available for preorder! Grab it now and it will be automatically delivered to your device/door on DATE. LINK”
- When your book becomes available for sale. “TITLE is now live! I’m so excited. The cover looks amazing, don’t you think? You can grab it here or message me for other options. LINK”
- When your book is offered at a discount. “TITLE is available for AMOUNT off/FREE until DATE. If you’ve been waiting to read it, why not grab it now? LINK”
- When you’re doing a giveaway, post a link to the giveaway info, and a link to the book with a note like “For more info on the book, click here”
- When you’re doing a reading or launch specific to that book. “I’ll be at PLACE on DATE reading from TITLE. You can grab copies at the event, or get them early by going here: LINK”
- When someone asks you where they can find a book reply with a direct link
This posting outline can be used for Twitter, Facebook pages, and even blogs. I post 95% writing tips, book reviews, opinion posts, writing updates, movie reviews, product reviews, location reviews, and rants on this blog and only 5% directly related to selling a product or advertising events.
People are tired of ads. That’s why they’re leaving TV for Netflix and Amazon Prime. That’s why they get ad blockers for their PC. That’s why they click to block ads on Facebook. Book promotion groups become black holes, authors shouting “BUY THIS” at each other, over and over again, not realizing that there are no customers there, just fellow sellers. That’s why writing groups ban self-promotion or limit it to once a week.
In a digital era, we’re lonely, and we’re seeking connection any way we can get it. Real connection. The type that fosters creativity and conversation.
This isn’t a quick thing. This is the slow build, the marketing that builds trust and interest, that gets you real readers, real fans, who will share your stuff without being asked because they genuinely like you and the books you produce. So, be sincere, be inviting, and don’t be pushy, and you’ll build your base of followers slowly but surely.