So far in this series I have focused on Amazon Author pages, Goodreads and the book marketing potential of your covers, titles, tag lines and key words and making best use of your blog: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-book-marketing-series-2019/
This week I am going to Facebook in relation to book marketing and also the benefits of joining an exclusive watering hole on social media platforms.
This is not intended to be the definitive guide to Facebook, but just some suggestions to new authors who are getting started. I am sure that those of you with established pages find them successful for your marketing needs, and am only sharing my own experiences.
When I first joined Facebook ten years ago it was to keep in touch with friends from work and places we had lived. It was a simpler time, and people chatted about their everyday lives and you shared as much or as little as you wanted to.
Over the years it has become increasingly more complicated, especially if you are a blogger and author looking to market your books and blog without creating a page and being constantly hassled to upgrade, pay to advertise etc. Which I did for a year, until I realised that my page was followed by those already following me on my personal page, and therefore I was spending my time growing a following that I already had.
There are new policies introduced on a regular basis that impacts your visibility. Posting and interactions with others is filtered, and not everything that you should be seeing is available to you or your friends. Also Facebook will decide to put posts into places such as Timeline Review for that adds time and additional effort to ensure that they are shared with others.
Another interesting issue that impacted authors was concerning reviews on Amazon, and the purge of hundreds of thousands of reviews from ‘friends’ and therefore assumed to be paid for or fake.
First: when you are in contact with hundreds and even thousands of authors who are also readers, they most likely will review your book. That does not mean that they are fake.
Secondly: Allegedly Facebook sold all our information to Amazon which is the only way they knew about our ‘friends’.
Following the 2016 election and alleged fake news…. things got even more stringent and now, if you so much as dare post anything Facebook considers to be spam or unacceptable by their algorithms, you are rapped on the wrist for contravening community standards, and if they feel justified in blocking your content or suspending your account for a week or longer.
Earlier this year I found myself blocked from sharing any external URL on Facebook, or even sharing posts from Facebook to my own account. I went through the futile attempt to appeal, speak to a living person, reason with an adamant robot, and shut down my account and left for six weeks.
But, I kept getting messages from Facebook to my email about how I was missed by my friends and why had I stopped posting and when was I coming back. So I checked and found that despite closing down my account very firmly, it was alive and well and still active.
I missed my friends from Facebook and keeping up to date with all of them, and finally succumbed and began posting again. Also over the ten years I had developed over 4000 connections, most of whom are authors, and I didn’t want to lose contact especially as many are in the Cafe and Bookstore.
But in the meantime I had checked out some forums to find out how to avoid being blocked and suspended again.
The biggest problem is being labelled as spam and so if I share for example, Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Update, New Book on the Shelves, Book Marketing that could be up to eight posts in the week… Facebook would just see Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore and conclude that it is eight identical posts. The same applies to most of my other posts which usually have Smorgasbord in the title. So sometimes branding your blog can be a disadvantage if you are a serial blogger as I am.
One useful tip that can get through as the URL does not contain the blog name or frequent named series is before you publish your WordPress blog post.
Click on Get Shortlink
Cut and paste the short link into Facebook manually then post.. that usually seems to work for me… but I am still careful about how many times a day that I post.
I have now managed to keep out of trouble by following this different posting process, but most of you should not have a problem if you are only posting external URLs once or twice a day.
You might find this posts interesting on the subject of staying out of Facebook jail: https://postcron.com/en/blog/how-to-avoid-being-blocked-by-facebook-jail/
As a new author to Facebook, without already having an established personal account, you might consider creating your own page on the platform, and to use it as a way to sell books direct.
The one drawback of starting from scratch is that it will take some time to establish connections. However, one way to do that is to join some of the writing and author groups that are well established and connect to their members directly. More about these groups shortly.
I am not planning on reinventing the wheel and here is a very informative post on how to set up a business post on Facebook: https://blog.hootsuite.com/steps-to-create-a-facebook-business-page/
If you already have an established personal account on Facebook you can still market your books using posts from your blog and other’s blog, provided you don’t use the direct selling link.
The biggest red flag to Facebook is an external selling link such as Amazon. But you can still market your books and promote your blog on your personal account and boost that exposure by joining two or three key groups that have been established to reach new readership.
Once you have joined the groups you can also upload book marketing and blog promotion links directly into them. Again you will find that groups have also a policy against direct selling links, but those can be in your original post on your blog, or even someone other’s blog who is promoting you.
Exclusive watering holes for like minded writers and readers.
Whilst the main watering holes are helpful in getting your book noticed, you can make an even more effective impact by joining groups where your specific genre is appreciated and sort after. Or where you are part of a community that shares and supports each other not just on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and your blog, but across all of the platforms.
Here are some groups that you might like to join on Facebook and Twitter, and in particular the ones that that I belong to. As an author it is good to be in the company of others and don’t forget that authors are readers too.
The Literary Diva’s Library for book news, reviews and interviews: https://www.facebook.com/groups/658119141244524/about/
The Literary Diva’s Library started as a creative collaboration between admins D.G. Kaye, Colleen Chesebro & Sally Cronin with the intention of providing a place for independent authors to get the word out about their books, through thoughtful reviews, and book promotions. Think of us as the place to find your next favorite read!
As a member of this group you can share book reviews you’ve written, book reviews written about your own books, and book promotions featuring price specials including and announcing release dates.
Other posts that can be shared are those that discuss how to write book reviews, how to design book covers, and other book review related information from Amazon, GoodReads, and publishing platforms like Draft2Digital.
Currently at 217 members and again growing, it is small enough that you will soon get to know everyone, and if you interact by liking,commenting and sharing posts, visiting co-member’s blogs etc, you will find that in a short space of time you are being shared too.
Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Group- https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/about/
A supportive group for authors, bloggers, and book bloggers to create a community of like-minded individuals. Admins are M. J. (Marjorie) Mallon and D.G. Kaye (Debbie Gies). and is a great place to share your blog posts and news about your books. Currently 150 members but growing.. and you get to know people better than in some of the larger groups. Too big and you get lost in the noise..
The Poetry Sharing Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/167743577260827/about/
Again another supportive group and if you are already a member of the blogging community you will be familiar with many of the faces here. Robbie Cheadle is our Admin and has grown to 108 members quickly. If like me you participate in poetry challenges, or you have a poetry collection being released, this is a great place to showcase your work.
An example of some of the other groups that are more genre specific that it can be useful to join to gain more readers. Do be aware that they have strict guidelines on what you can post.
Romance Writers and Readers United: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RWRUnited/
This group has been active since 2013 and the Admin is MIchelle Miles and Moderator is Doug Simpson. Currently with 2083 members it is still at a size where you won’t be lost in the daily postings. If you are uncertain about the sub-genres acceptable get in touch with Michelle.
Welcome to the group! This open group is a place for readers and writers of romance to connect! All subgenres welcome.
NO SPAM. This is for ROMANCE BOOK PROMO only. Do not post nonfiction books or a genre other than romance. NO ADS which includes posts on how to increase your kindle/nook/etc sales. Posts will be deleted and users banned immediately. No exceptions.
Please do not post your stories in their entirety here. They will be deleted.
This group is for people who love to read and/or write Paranormal Romance and Horror. All are welcome to post book links, reviews, and blog posts. My only request is that you do not share links more than once a day. 🙂 Oh, and no porn, please.
You get the idea. These are the specialist watering holes and most platforms have similar groups to check out. I suggest that next time you are on social media that you search for your particular genre on non-fiction subject, and location and find yourself an exclusive spa to hang out on.
I have now covered the main platforms that I use for book marketing… my blog, Twitter and Facebook.
I also am on LinkedIn, Pinterest and the newest social media on the blog, MeWe.
I have been on LinkedIn for many years as it was useful in relation to my career, but I stayed there as an author, as I am now self-employed and in business. Over the last two to three years more and more authors are using LinkedIn to promote their books and blogs and unlike the other platforms, many who follow me there are not duplicated. So fresh eyes to my marketing. I recommend that if you have been on there and built up a reasonable following over the years that you update your profile to including your books and blog and add your posts on those that you feel other business people and authors would find interesting.
If we have not connected to LinkedIn as yet here is my link: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1
MeWe is very similar to Facebook but guarantees that is will not sell any of your information. I have a personal account and also belong to mirror groups as an admin, such as The Literary Diva and Author/Blogger Rainbow support group. Both of which are still growing and have unique members who are tired of Facebook’s restrictions and use of personal data. It will take some time to be as effective as Facebook just on sheer numbers but well worth considering, especially as it will grow in numbers over time.
Personal Account : mewe.com/i/sallycronin
Authors/Bloggers – https://mewe.com/join/authorsbloggerscircleabcgroup
Literary Diva’s Hangout: https://mewe.com/join/theliterarydivashangout
Poetry Sharing Group: https://mewe.com/join/poetrysharinggroup
My Twitter and Facebook links
Next week a look at a local approach to book marketing with print copies, and how to get the news out to the press and local radio.
Thanks for dropping in and your feedback is much appreciated as always.. Sally.