Most authors are pitifully under-qualified to create a presence on Facebook. You’ve seen them. The writers with a book cover as a Facebook Picture. Somebody needs to let them know it’s called Facebook for a reason. Readers want to see your face. And if your face is just too awful to put up there, you need to find something that reflects your personality, or your brand as an author, instead.
Facebook is all about feeling warm and fuzzy. It’s about giving your readers a peak into your world. You would think authors, as observers, would have noticed this.
Then you have the writers with pencils clenched in their teeth.
Does that mean that they are eating their words? Or are they encouraging lead poisoning? Or perhaps hiding their appearance behind the gimmick. You would think they would have worked through this process as well.
Of course you have the usual soft porn poseurs.
This happens across Facebook. But I’m left wondering what they are offering as authors? Perhaps a bonk if you buy their book?
I could go on…But, what writers should realise about Facebook is that 800 million people who are able to read use the social network. Having a great Facebook Page is more important, and cheaper, than having a website.
You need to: • Create a genuine presence • Choose, and promote, your appearance • Charm your readers.
Make your Facebook Page look like the you your readers love. Does it fulfil your readers’ expectations? Does it fit your personality? Janet Evanovich (437 841 fans) and Cormac McCarthy (38 927 fans) have translated their very different personalities to their Facebook pages with success.
Once you have an audience, you need to nurture it. Remember Outliers? Malcolm Gladwell’s 10 000 hours for success applies equally to a Facebook Page. You will never be able to put a picture up and wait for the fans to find you. You have to update your page daily. You need to post quality content. Some of it must be personal. Add your favourite food, restaurants, and holiday destinations.
You will have to work out what your readers want. Do they want you to share some of your writing tips? Your quotations? Nicholas Sparks (988 813 fans) and Alexander McCall Smith (24 192 fans) do this wonderfully well. You will need to start conversations, ask questions and show you’re interested in your reader. If you do this successfully you can reach groups of readers in one post. James Patterson has 2 197 021 fans.
Share news. Jeffery Deaver (81 951 fans) and Michael Connelly (118 042 fans) have effective pages. They promote new books, speaking engagements and tours. Facebook is perfect for writers who are willing to invest time and effort.
If you feel you need a private life, I suggest you leave the arena completely. Facebook is all about creating connections between readers and authors. It’s not about you being precious. Old school authors are dying in the age of the Internet.
However, I respect your need to do it your way. Use the traditional outlets. Get your reviews in newspapers that nobody reads anymore, get hard copies of your books in bookstores that are shutting down and get your book nominated for prizes new readers don’t even know exist.
Or you can follow these guidelines and win the page wars.