Fifteen minutes doesn’t seem like a long time; unless you’re in math class in Junior High, or gym class, or whatever class you couldn’t stand. Or perhaps if you’re Dad or Mom was lecturing you in the car. Then fifteen minutes didn’t seem like a short time at all. Well, now you’re an “adult” or at least you’re supposed to pretend you’re an adult. And you’re an author. Or at least an aspiring author. What can you do in fifteen minutes a day?
Here are some tips and ideas for Facebook for authors. We’ll assume that a) you already have a Facebook Profile (you, as an individual), and that you have b) a Facebook Page (you, as a “business” or you as a “public persona.”), and that you know the basics of Facebook – that is you post, and your users have the ability to see what you post in their news feed. We’ll also assume you’ve thought about why your potential readers / readers will want to “follow” your content on Facebook, the ultimate question being “what’s in it for them?” Readers read to escape (“entertainment”), to learn stuff, and to be part of a community an “in” group around a topic, author, or world that has been created for them. We’re all Harry Potter now, if you know what I mean.
Content is King, Jack, Queen, and Deuce
Content! That’s really what it’s all about. You have to identify content you can create as an author plus the other types of content (there are four) –
- Your Own Content. Content that you produce such as text posts, images / photos, and videos.
- Curated Content. This is “other people’s” content that you curate for your followers as a “helpful expert.”
- User-Generated Content. This is content created by your fans / followers, although you can “nurture” this type of content.
- Interactive Content. This is content between you and your followers, or among your followers.
We’ll also assume, therefore, that you have some type of content plan relating to the four types of content.
Fifteen Minutes a Day. Really?
OK, here we go – ideas for your fifteen minutes a day –
Your Own Content –
- Post a Quote. Build up a “library” of quotes from your book, especially provocative quotes and post them. Use a tool like Pablo to make them visual.
- Post on a Day of the Week or Holiday. It’s national popcorn day! It’s national take-your-kid-to-work day! It’s election day! It’s Mother’s day. Post something around a theme that others are sharing.
- Mini-blog Your Writing Journey. Your followers want to know about you as an author. So “mini blog” your journey – what’s going on today in your mind? What are you writing? What are you struggling with? Share it as a text post, or perhaps a short video direct for your phone (to theirs).
- Upload a Video. It doesn’t take much. It can be a video filmed on your phone, or from the webcam on your PC. But a short, video “from” you the author “to” the readers can make a big difference in organic reach. You can also repurpose video content adding it both to your “Facebook Story” as well as to your timeline.
Other Peoples’ Content –
- Chime in on Current Events. Not necessarily political, but current events in your “community” whatever that is. It could be your “physical community” like your city, state, nation or it could be your “cultural community,” whatever it is that your readership is interested in. But track current events using a tool like Feedly or Google News, and chime in with your two cents.
- Post a Review Your Book Got. Post a review / comment / mention you / your book got somewhere else. Perhaps an excerpted Amazon review, for example. Or a mention on a Podcast.
- Chime in on Hashtags. Hashtags aren’t huge on Facebook, but you can research them and then chime in on content. Alternatively, search for groups or themes that relate to you / your book and be an active (and positive) participant elsewhere. Don’t be spammy!
- Start / Foster Your Branded Hashtag. Nudge readers to participate in your own branded hashtag. Create / nurture a conversation around a theme. Which character would you be? Which character would your mother be?
- Create a Challenge or Contest. Create a “challenge” around your book / genre, and/or a contest. Have a prize – it can be something non-monetary – perhaps you can record a video greeting to a fan, the winner.
Interactive Content –
- Respond to a Reader. Hopefully, you’re getting reader questions, letters, emails, fan mail. Single one out and respond to him/her in public on Facebook. Invite them to do a Facebook live with you. Chat with them in public, online on Facebook.
- Ask a Question. Post a question or Facebook Poll. Ask readers what they like / dislike about a character? Post a question for an alternative ending? Brainstorm (with your readers) on new ideas for a short story or spin off.
- Interact with Readers. Go back on your timeline and view / review what readers have interacted with. Interact with readers directly – like, comment, or share their comments. Use your Facebook Page as a discussion between you and readers, and among readers themselves.
- Schedule a Reading, Event, Watch Party. You can go live on Facebook – it doesn’t have to be formal. Read an excerpt from your novel or story, or create a “watch party” to watch (and comment on) the content of others in your genre.
- Start / Participate in Your Facebook Group. If you have enough of a following, start or participate in your own Facebook Group. Groups can be unwieldy, but they allow for a multi-faceted conversation around an author, a novel, or the themes in a book.
Advertise on Facebook
Not everything is free on Facebook, and – in fact – I would argue that you can’t really succeed without a little advertising. You don’t need that much, however, if you’re smart. Consider “Boosting” a post (especially one of your posts that has already received some engagement) to your fans, or perhaps your fans and their friends. This is the easiest way to “pay to play” to increase your visibility. In many cases, even your most loyal fans will NOT see your content unless you boost it. But consider boosting something that is likely to “be shared” or even “go viral.”
- “Time is money” – $25 a week will go a long way towards promoting your content it you target it ONLY to people who already like your page.
LEARN FROM OTHERS
Spend a few of your daily fifteen minutes, “reverse engineering” what other authors are doing. Identify a few favorites and follow them on Facebook. “Reverse engineer” what they’re doing in terms of content and then imitate it. There’s nothing wrong with imitation – it’s the “highest form of flattery.” Bookmark the best-seller rankings in your genre on Amazon and look up those authors who are breaking out. I’m a fan of the horror genre, so –
And authors for example –
Author Page on Amazon. https://tinyurl.com/y8vw9tl2
Author Page on Amazon. https://tinyurl.com/ybkbdkl4
Author Page on Amazon. https://tinyurl.com/yb4glyxf
Mark Z. Danielewski