Sunday, March 15, 2015

Adventures in Self-Publishing - Facebook

Yes, the cool kids have all since moved on, and nobody under 30 bothers anymore, and you only keep your account open so Grandma can send you pictures, but Facebook is still probably the best general platform for authors

First off, you might want to create a new account (or two or three) just for your marketing.  You can't post to a group under anything other than your user name, so if you have a personal account under your real name you might not want to use it.

If you want to jack up your "friends" or likes, just randomly friend some authors, and you'll get a flood of folks who you'll never talk to filling up your feed.

Spam Mode:
The best place to spam is in groups, but only in groups where it's okay.  Do a search for "kindle" or "ebook", etc, and join the zillions of groups available.  Note that some are specifically for free books, $0.99 books, kindle unlimited, etc.

There are also groups for specific genres - these are even better, though make sure you fit that genre.  Also, take a look at the posts before you just spam away.  If there is mostly discussion, you may just want to post via Announce Mode, as described below.  If the feed is nothing but Amazon links, spam away.  Keep an eye on the rules - most groups have a few.  I've had my hand slapped twice: once for accidentally posting a $2.99 book in a $0.99 group, and once for my book not having enough rape in it.  Welcome to the internet.

The posts should start out with a line to get your attention, as well as a link to Amazon.  You can babble on to your heart's content after that, but have something that a reader can pick up on in the first lines before the "See More" jump.  Also, experiment with line breaks, etc, to see how much text you can get in before that jump.

If you post a picture (likely your cover, but it could be a separate ad), you get to better control what it looks like, but you can't have it link through to your Amazon page.  If you don't upload a separate picture, the preview picture from Amazon will show up, but it will only be the middle third in a lower resolution, but you can click through.  Decide which your happier with - if the Amazon preview looks good, I'd stick with that.

Of course, the link doesn't have to be with Amazon, but have a link somewhere.  In most of these general book groups, you can post once a day and not get on anyone's nerves.  One thing - don't go too fast!  On my first KDP free day, I slammed through dozens of groups - click group, paste, post, click next group -  with such machine-like efficiency that Facebook became convinced I was a robot.  As a result, every time I try to post a link to my first book, I have to enter an unreadable captcha, and anyone clicking on the link is told it's a dangerous virus.  Link shorteners do not get around this, and it's been a pain in my butt ever since.

Spamming doesn't work with every book or genre, but it works to a certain extent.  If I don't do it for a week or so, my sales start to drop.  But as a part-time job, you'd be better off doing tech support or working at McDonald's.  Luckily, it's easy and brainless, so I can do it while watching TV or when I get bored at work.

I would not bother posting on the wall of somebody's page - it's getting hard to find those posts even if you hunt for them.

Announce Mode:
Some of the genre discussion groups allow posting ads, but I would go into Announce Mode here, only posting when there's a new title or a sale.  Or just post way less frequently - get a sense of how other folks do it before plastering your stuff everywhere.

You can also announce in a page.  This is more about announcing to existing fans, as one has to like your page to get it in their feed, and probably not even then.  I've liked scores of author's pages and I still only get promoted content and the occasional dog video in my feed.

Interact Mode:
Be interesting enough in your own timeline or page that people will want to follow you, and do just limited announcements.  Joe Lansdale does this right - a little talk about his books, a little talk about the writing process, the occasional plug.

Involve yourself in conversations about writing, but don't plug your own stuff.  The idea here is that people will become interested in you and click over to your profile and then want to read your stuff.  I would only recommend this if you actual want to be in these conversations, as faking it is pretty transparent and will turn people off.

Also, I'd avoid politics and religion, as you'll alienate half your audience once you jump on a soapbox. 

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