Sunday, October 18, 2015
Effective Facebook promo tips for authors so you stop looking like an annoying idiot.
OMG 5 SMOKING STARS FROM USERANONEEMOUSSE ON AMAZON THIS TALE WILL BLOW YOU AWAY! &&^^^%%%%~~ ARE YOU READY FOR SOMETHING AMAZING...
How many times have you see author promos on Facebook that look something like that?
Worse, if you are GUILTY of promos that look like that, go stand in the corner for an hour. I'll wait here.
Back? Good, let's get you straightened out, then, so you can EFFECTIVELY use Facebook and not be a douche in the process.
These tips are geared mostly for Facebook (also see my previous posts on Facebook for authors: Thou Shalt Nots for Writers, Pages are a Losing Game, How NOT to use Facebook if you're a writer.) but apply to other social media as well.
1) DO NOT USE ALL CAPS! For starters, it's the Internet equivalent of shouting. Secondly, it's more difficult to read. Thirdly, it's annoying as fuck. Caps should only be used for emphasis or sometimes for the book's title. (I prefer not using all caps for the title.)
And stop with the curly emojis and all that other crap. Because I sit there thinking, how did they create those, instead of looking at the book information before I start scrolling again. (Hint: That's a marketing FAIL.) Anything that distracts from your book's title and blurb is a FAIL.
Also, keep in mind that many people are reading on their phones or other mobile devices. The more barriers you put between them and direct information to your book and what it's about means less clicks. The LONGER a post is, the more likely Facebook will truncate it and put the "read more" click link on it. If you bury the headline, so to speak, after all the floofly crap, you won't sell jack shit to people. (Unless your book is about creating all those odd and ornate characters in Facebook posts. If so, well-done, and carry on. But since most of y'all's books are NOT about that, knock it the fuck off.)
2) Do NOT (See? Caps used as emphasis.) post chapters or long excerpts, meaning more than a few lines, in promos you're posting everywhere. Put those on YOUR website, YOUR Facebook group. (Again, see? Caps for emphasis.) You want to draw readers to your online space. If they see a really long wall of text, they will not read it. Seriously. Also, use line breaks between paragraphs. The human eye needs that white space.
3) When you "share" something, check the permissions. If you have the original post set to friends only, or in a group where only members can see the posts, the only thing most people will see is an "Attachment Unavailable" box for your share and they'll scroll on past. Also, when sharing an original post, don't forget to put text in the post for people to see, like your title, pen name, etc.
4) Check the promo rules for a group BEFORE you post in it. I have one group where we ONLY allow promo in the daily admin-started promo thread. There is a pinned post with rules. There is even a warning in the description AND on the banner image for the group. People STILL try to post promo outside of the correct thread. I have another group I run specifically for BDSM books. I had to change it to approve all posts first because people were posting non-BDSM books.
It is NOT the admin's job to chase your ass down to correct you. This is not kindergarten. You are an adult. Start fucking adulting like one.
Which brings me to...
5) Hashtags. With Twitter using them, they've even become popular on Facebook now, too. People use them as a quick reference to what they're looking at. So tagging your book #amazing #5stars #floofy is NOT helpful. Tagging your book #BDSM #wolfshifters #PNR #MMF #menage is helpful.
Also, ONLY tag what it is. Don't be a douche and tag it with other popular stuff. Readers will hate you for that shit. And use as few tags as possible. More tags is NOT better.
6) Do NOT add people to your Facebook group (or any group) without asking them FIRST. DO NOT DO IT. I don't CARE that Facebook LETS you do it, do NOT do it. It's douchey. Post/share the link to the group.
7) Headlines matter. Start with the basics. Here's the text of an actual promo that I use:
Now Available: The Strength of the Pack (Suncoast Society 30, MF, BDSM). This is a direct sequel to Vulnerable (Suncoast Society 29, MM, BDSM) by Tymber Dalton.
Eva’s world collapsed when Leo announced he was divorcing her. She believed an imperfect marriage was better than none since Leo protected her and their daughter. Then she quickly came to love Jesse, Leo’s new husband, and realized their “pack” is better, for all of them.
Nate Crawford practices acupuncture and enjoys helping people in his clinic and at Venture, the BDSM club. Family is all to him, because he raised his little sister as a single parent. He thought Leo, Jesse, and Eva were a triad, until matchmaking Tilly gets involved. Their only barrier to long-term love is whatever dark secret Eva keeps deeply buried.
When a confrontation finally forces the truth out, Nate and Eva are able to move forward, with Leo and Jesse’s blessings. But the worst day of Nate’s life pales in comparison when an unexpected crisis forces him to rely on the strength of their pack to carry him through a nightmare he can’t escape.
This is clear, concise, and basic. The title, the series, the KIND of book it is and the romantic pairing (if applicable), my pen name, and in this case that it's a direct sequel to another book. Followed by buy links and the book's "blurb." If you don't have an effective blurb, then it's time to change that, dontchathink?
WHY is this important? Because, hopefully, people might share your stuff. If you don't have the title, your pen name, the genre, and the romantic pairing (if applicable) at the TOP of your post, NO ONE WILL BUY IT. That's like someone saying, "Hey, here's a book." Well, who wrote it? "I dunno." What's the title? "I dunno." What's it about? "I dunno." Why should I buy it? "I dunno. But it got five stars somewhere and a picture of a hot chick having her hair held in the picture." Is that what the book is about? "I dunno..."
8) Quit telling us about what other readers say. Honestly? We don't give a shit. We really don't. If we want to look up the reader reviews, we will look them up on OUR site of choice. Think about it from what you read as a reader. Do you honestly care what readers say before you learn what the darn book is about, or are you interested in what the book is about? If I as a reader have to hunt for the genre and romantic pairing and blurb, you've lost me already. If you feel you have to include that stuff (hint: you do NOT) then put it AFTER the other stuff. Your blurb should be a hook to pull readers in. Shoving all that other stuff in front of it is like using the world's tastiest, sure-fire bait and then sitting there and smacking the water to scare the fish off while your hook is in. And frankly, most of us are at the point now where we really don't trust most reviews. We get our recommendations from our friends. So save yourself the time and save our eyeballs the scrolling.
9) QUIT using graphics that are NOT your book cover. For starters, I've seen plenty of authors use images they downloaded off the Internet and don't have legal permissions to use. Remember, just because you found it on the Internet does NOT make it "public domain." Use YOUR BOOK COVER. (See? Caps as emphasis.) You are SELLING YOUR BOOK. So why would you want a picture of a woman or a cartoon on your promo graphic for it? If you don't like your book cover, that's a problem you need to resolve ASAP. But you risk getting yourself into serious legal shit if you use graphics you don't have a legal right to use.
While I'm on the subject, make sure people besides you can actually READ the graphics you create. Cutesy fonts and low contrast are NOT going to make someone stop scrolling. Especially if they're viewing it on a TINY PHONE SCREEN. And even if you post a graphic, don't forget to post TEXT with it! Because a graphic is NOT a direct buy link, which leads me to...
10) Post your freaking buy links! I cannot tell you how many people I've seen post on Facebook something like this: "My book, Amazeball Book, is now available!"
That's it. No link to their website, no link to the book, no link to ANYTHING. Um, yeah. TOTAL fail. If your book isn't out yet, post a link to your website, your Facebook group (you should have one of those if you're an author and no, do NOT force-add people to it), a link to your publisher's page, ANYTHING.
But to post no links is basically like walking into your hall closet, shutting the door, and telling your winter coat you have a book out. It's literally THAT effective. (Meaning not at all.)
11) Again, another one I can't believe I have to say, but PROOFREAD your promo. No, I'm not going to click on your links if you use text-speak in your promo, or if your promo and book blurb are rife with errors. I just won't. Because I assume if you can't put together a short, cogent, typo-free promo for your book, then your book is probably full of the same kind of crap, and life is too short for bad books.
12) Do NOT post your promo to other people's walls without permission. When someone friends you, do NOT post promo to them as a "thank you for friending me" reply. DON'T DO IT. STOP IT. In real life, when you meet someone, do you say, "Hey, thanks for shaking my hand, I'm a mechanic, would you like to come in for an oil change next week because here's a coupon, I can make that appointment for you right now..."
So those are the biggies I see. Go forth and promo properly, peeps. Your bank account will thank you.