Posted in Social Media | Posted on 08-12-2011|
Back in August, I finally put up an author fan page on Facebook. I say finally because it was on my to-do list for months before I actually did it. I’d never been a big fan of Facebook when it came to having a personal account, just because I never seemed to be able to find anything, and if I did find whatever elusive thing I was looking for, Facebook would have an update and hide it from me again.
But 600-odd million people are on Facebook, so it seemed like an up-and-coming author should be there, too, right?
Despite my waffling, I’ve found it to be a good experience, yes.
Has my Facebook fan page led to more book sales?
It’s hard to pinpoint where sales come from. As an independent author, you can see real-time sales numbers at Amazon and Barnes & Noble — something that can be helpful with linking promotional campaigns to results… or a lack of results — but they don’t tell you where those sales came from. Did a visitor originally click through from Facebook or Twitter, or did the visitor simply find your book by surfing through the bookstore? It’s impossible to know.
Sometimes readers will tell me how they first found my books (i.e. I tried your sample after seeing a post on Twitter or I found your free ebook at Amazon and got into the series that way), but I don’t think anyone has mentioned Facebook to me yet.
I imagine there are at least some folks who have tried the freebies I have listed there, but for now I’m thinking of the site as more of a place to keep in touch with folks who have already read the books and who enjoy interacting on Facebook. If you read last week’s post on author branding, you know I try to be out there everywhere I can.
Maybe I’ll figure out how to be more effective on it in the future (I’m not one to go running around, liking a bazillion things or participating in oodles of discussions in the hopes that some bored person will find a way back to my page), but for now I can say that the page seems like it’s worth keeping and that it plays a small role in my book-promotion efforts.
How do I get fans for my Facebook page?
I have 300-some fans (this is just when someone “likes” your page), which isn’t all that many, but I don’t believe in asking random people for likes. Not because of any moral issues with the notion, but because, from what I’ve read, your page will do better with fewer fans, fans who actually interact with it, than a lot of drive-by like-clickers who never return again.
The fans I do have on there came from…
- a few initial posts on Twitter where I let my followers know that I’d set up shop on Facebook
- a brief advertising campaign I tried for sharing my free ebooks (I wasn’t looking for likes when I did that, but if you’re advertising a FB page, Facebook will put the like option right on the ad.)
- adding my Facebook page to the afterword in my recent ebook releases
- people gradually finding my page through other means (in particular, I posted a picture of a sand-sculpture dragon that went viral and had something like 160 shares and 400 likes, and I remember I had a bunch of fan page likes during that unusual week)
What do I post on my Facebook fan page?
Despite my past difficulties with Facebook, I’ve found it to be easy to keep my author page updated. It’s the work of a couple of minutes a week. I post book updates, of course, and links to blog posts I think fantasy fans might find interesting.
I’ve also posted pictures of cool things (like that dragon I mentioned). Pictures seem to do very well on Facebook, meaning people like, comment, and share them readily (when your updates have a lot of interactions, they’ll appear on other people’s walls, so it’s a bit of viral marketing).
Some people do more and get very involved in the community, but I ultimately prefer to focus on other things (like writing the next book!).
What’s the point? What can a Facebook fan page do for you?
You might be thinking that it’s not worth the effort, especially since I couldn’t say, “Oh, I’ve sold XXX number of books solely because of my Facebook page.”
I believe there are some pluses to having a presence there even if it’s not immediately apparent that it can help you sell books (of course, just because Facebook hasn’t sold a lot of books for me doesn’t mean there aren’t authors out there who have had different experiences):
- Some of your fans are there, waiting for you — With so many folks on Facebook, it’s inevitable that some of your readers (and future readers!) will hang out there. People who enjoy Facebook like to interact on there every day, not just with friends and families but with businesses and, yes, authors too. The first week I made my page, a nice reader popped in and said, “Oh good, I was waiting for you to get on Facebook!”
- Advertising on Facebook becomes more affordable and practical once you have a fan page — I’ve only tinkered with this a little bit, and Facebook advertising should probably have its own post, but the short and sweet of it is that it’s cheaper to send people to a fan page than it is to send them off-site (i.e. to your Amazon book page or your blog). There are ways to put sample chapters and links to free ebooks right on your Facebook site.
- Being on Facebook gives you a place to chat with your readers — While some people might come to your blog and comment, there are more who are likely to interact with you while they’re in the process of interacting with other folks, so it can be worthwhile to hang out where they hang out. (It’s the topic of another post, but this is why I have my blog syndicated on Goodreads.)
- Facebook fans can share your links around — You may only have a hundred fans for your author page, but if a couple of them share some of your links now and then, you’ll have people that you couldn’t otherwise reach becoming aware of you and your work. If you have freebies or samples up on your Facebook page, these new folks can easily check you out when they pop in.
How do you get your own Facebook author page?
You can go here to make a Facebook fan page now.
You can use something like PageModo to make a free landing page or gate page if you want visitors to come in on something more enlightening than your wall. (A gate page is one where people are required to “like” your Facebook presence before they can get to the meaty stuff — I don’t do this, but I do have a welcome page that tells new visitors who I am and what they can do on my Facebook site.) If you don’t like the PageModo wizard, and you don’t want to do the coding yourself, you can also hire someone to design a custom Facebook page for you for around $150. (I’m having this done and hope to have the new version up in January.)
Authors, readers, what are your thoughts on Facebook?