By Tammy Trail
For the purpose of this article, I chose to research Facebook as a marketing tool. One source called Facebook obsolete, an unreliable venue to reach readers. Unless you have a fan base that likes and shares your post to garner interest, the news feeds in Facebook algorithms will not promote your posts unless you pay for it. Therefore, you must continuously engage your community to be noticed.
I have seen many author friends use Facebook to have virtual parties to promote new releases of their just-published work. Some parties are hosted by one author; other parties are hosted by several authors coming together to promote their work and to reach a new community of followers.
I polled a few of my author friends and asked the following questions.
- Were your expectations met by the number of participants who attended your Facebook party?
- Did it help with the sale of your book?
- Were you able to gather names for an email list or obtain more followers interested in your work?
Most authors felt that it was well worth the time to host a Facebook party. The authors who choose to join a group effort had more people attend their parties. Therefore, they had more folks to participate in the fun. These authors were able to reach new prospects by introducing themselves to an audience that may not have sought out their work simply because the author was unknown to the individual.
I was surprised to learn from my author poll that the purpose of having the Facebook party was not to sell books. Say what? I thought your main focus once you are published is to sell books. I realized that most of these well-loved authors care about their readers and choose to create a community or a tribe if you will. They enjoy the connection with those who love to read their books. Facebook parties can include raffles, giveaways, or teasers for the next book in a series. Some authors ask for input from their readers. For example, naming a character in their new work in progress. Others like giving a spoiler and letting the reader provide the rest of the plot for a scene in a new story.
The authors I polled didn’t gather names during their Facebook parties, they told me they have an author website for that purpose. Most felt they did garner more followers either on Facebook or their websites from participating in Facebook parties. The primary mission for the Facebook parties is for an author to introduce themselves to a possible readership, and to have fun! One author told me that after a book is published, it’s all about the reader. As an author, your job is to build a relationship with your reader, not to focus on yourself.
I also learned that I have my work cut out for me. I don’t have an author website or an author page on Facebook. I love to have fun. I love meeting people who are as passionate about history as I am and reading the same kind of books that I do. I guess without those folks, we would be the only one to read our beloved works of art. So, the next time you get an invite to a Facebook party, join in, have fun, meet new people. You already have something in common: the love of reading.
Writing Prompt: Which famous author would you love to have stop by your Facebook party to launch your new book?