I’ve met the most wonderful people on my self-publishing journey, and indie author Susan Salluce is one of them. In this guest post, she’s agreed to share her success with book promotion on Facebook, a platform I know little about. Enjoy!
Ah, Facebook. Just take a minute and reflect on what that brings up for you. Fun? Time waster? Connecting with friends? A way to
stalk – I mean – snoop around and see what your high school sweetheart is up to?
If you are a writer, Facebook can be an incredible tool to market your book, but questions lurk in the dark corners of the anxious author’s mind: Does Facebook marketing really work? Do sales go up with all the time one spends “Liking” the multitude of pages devoted to authors and readers? When we do a tit-for-tat review or “share” of one another’s books, blogs, articles, and comments, does this actually drive traffic to sell our novels?
The answer is an unequivocal, “Maybe.” Here’s my experience.
I’m an Indie author who published a Psychological/Contemporary fiction novel, Out of Breath, in 2011, not knowing A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G about book promotion or the business side of writing. I’m a counselor by trade. After learning about marketing at a writer’s conference, I feared that I’d come across inauthentic and look like a charlatan. It all felt, just…yuck. At the same time, I also knew that I had some strong messages in my book that I wanted people to hear: grief is survivable, people make mistakes, redemption is possible. So, I put on my proverbial work boots, opened a Facebook “Fan” page, and got busy. I was pleasantly surprised, and met some amazing Indie authors on my journey.
Fast forward to thirteen months of interfacing with authors, using free Facebook networking as my primary source of marketing, and giving away my book for free one time only, in November of 2011: Out of Breath is on Amazon’s Top 100 of Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Psychological Thrillers, and is in the top 5,000 of all e-books. So, perhaps the answer to my earlier question is … Yes, Facebook is a GREAT tool for authors.
I’ve made my share of mistakes, but from those, and along with perusing other author pages, I’ve compiled a list of “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for Facebook marketing. Here they are:
Say YES To These Facebook Marketing Tactics 🙂
√ Set up a Fan page that is Public. Make sure that the photo you use is YOUR photo. If you go to my page you’ll see that I used my book cover- huge mistake – I can’t change it. I’ve tried.
√ Make sure you install the “Like” button, and then invite all of your contacts, friends, associates, etc., to “Like” your page. This felt so narcissistic to me, I almost died of shame.
√ Post flattering photos of your events: book signings, visits to book clubs, fans holding your book, pointing to your novel, your novel at the beach…you get what I’m saying. Encourage fans to send you their photos with your novel as well!
√ Update your comments frequently – at least once a week. It’s appropriate to post your stats once in a while. Your fans will be excited. However, throw out a question, ask for an opinion, give some inspiration. In other words, make yourself a little vulnerable. People like to know about you, the person.
√ If a “fan” comments on your work, take the time to respond.
√ Look for Facebook groups to join that are devoted to authors/readers who will allow you to advertise. Some are VERY strict about posting, others not at all. The e-Reader House is a great example of a page that helps new authors get known. I had immediate results after joining this page!
√ Take the time to find authors who are new. Offer to read their books, review them, and then promote them on Facebook. When I interview someone on my blog, I always link my interview to Facebook where I receive many comments, and the author gets a great deal of exposure.
Avoid These Facebook Mistakes 🙁
∆ If you must party on Friday night, I recommend that any comments stay on your iPhone. I truly believe that this is your business page. Treat it as such. Remember, you’re trying to attract a wide variety of readers.
∆ When an author reaches out to you, take the time to return the favor. What if you don’t like his or her work? It’s tricky. You don’t have to lie, but you can say something that IS truth without trashing the author’s work. If you must critique, I believe a personal email is the venue for this.
∆ Short of a death in the family, illness, and such, don’t forget about your fan page. Remember, it’s part of your job.
∆ Don’t be one of those authors who self-promotes to the point that when one of us comes across your photo or name, we want to shut down the computer. There’s self-promotion, and then there’s, “Look at me! Don’t look at anyone else but me!” I fear that this tarnishes the reputation of authors on Facebook.
∆ Be prepared: If you feel very passionate about, say, composting, and you make a comment about composting with lots of exclamation points!!!! explaining that anyone who DOES NOT COMPOST is certainly (A) Going to die a horrible death surrounded by plastic, or (B) wind up on a Carnival cruise swirling in the plastic waste that is the size of Texas … then, you may lose a reader (or twenty). You get what I’m saying. It’s your call. I stay pretty neutral in my comments, such as, “Oh, fall is here! The colors are so amazing …” Then, I await the responses and smiley faces.
Clearly, none of my information about marketing novels on Facebook is based on statistics, empirical evidence, or science. But, when I wrote Out of Breath, I didn’t know if I would sell one book or twenty, and something has helped me sell over 15,000 to date. I am beyond humbled. I believe that networking with my Indie community has been SO helpful, most of whom I met on Facebook.
If you decide to join the Facebook frenzy, I will “Like” you, and I hope you “Like” me. I rarely turn down a chance to read and review. I’m honored to promote new authors, and believe that we are all here to help one another, rather than journeying back to 7th grade, and restoring the pecking order of who is the hottest thing in Dittos and driving a 280 Z (and if you are under 30, you will have to Google what that means!).
About Susan: Susan Salluce, MA, CT, holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and is a Certified Thanatologist–a death, dying, and bereavement specialist. With a passion for writing, impacting the bereaved, and having experienced her own sense of compassion fatigue, she wrote Out of Breath, which is available on all E-readers and in traditional book form in a variety of local book stores, and soon available on Amazon.
Susan continues to contribute to the field of bereavement through her writing, consultant work, and her work with Friends for Survival, a non-profit dedicated to those affected by a suicide death. She is currently at work on her next novel, No Ordinary Girl. When Susan is not working on her novels, you can find her either in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada’s or on the beaches of Aptos, Ca. What she truly calls home is anywhere she is with her amazing, loyal, and fun children, Kellen and Marina, and with her best friend/husband of twenty-four years, John.
About Out of Breath: On a drizzly October night in the coastal town of Santa Cruz, California, seventeen-month-old Nevaeh drowns. Her mother, Alyssa Buchanan, is wild with rage and regret for placing her trust in her husband Seth, a former pro surfer who has a drug problem. Seth is adamant that he was clean the night of Nevaeh’s death, yet a dirty drug test contradicts his story. His parental rights stripped and criminal charges looming, he battles to prove his innocence, love, and family devotion. Adding to the couple’s grief, their five-year-old daughter Daisy hasn’t uttered a word since her sister’s death. Into this fragile scene steps therapist Katherine Middlebrook.
An award winner in the South West Writer’s Contest for literary and mainstream novel, Out of Breath is an exploration of parental grief, addiction, compassion fatigue, and suicide; it’s the prodigal story of grace undeserved. Salluce’s expertise as a psychotherapist and grief specialist enables her to create dynamic characters that will leave you breathless as you jeer their shadow sides and cheer their heroic journeys.
Facebook Advertising: Does It Work for Indie Authors? by John R. Phythyon. Jr.
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