Thursdays with Amanda: Using Facebook as an Author
Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.
Using Facebook to promote yourself as an author seems like a no-brainer. After all, everyone’s doing it. You should too. Right? Well…
I think I speak for all of us when I say that I roll my eyes, groan loudly and hit “delete” when faced with “like” requests from pages like Kaufmann Realty or Investors’ Insurance or … and I’m not making this one up … the Cardinal Fitness Cardinal. It’s not that I don’t like those companies. It’s just that they haven’t answered the million dollar question…
What’s in it for me?
While Facebook is highly commercialized, it’s still a very personal experience. It’s a representation of who you are. And while you may not know every person on your friends list, you certainly want to give them the chance to know you. So, you dig around for only the best timeline cover photo. You painstakingly rearrange your activity so that only the most impressive things show up. You carefully select music, movies and hobbies that reflect who you are.
And as for “likes?” You only “like” things that reflect your personality. Your style.
UNLESS! Unless they offer something in return that is simply irresistible.
Cardy the Cardinal had nothing to offer. No coupons for free spin cycle classes. No updates on “dead times” at the gym. I couldn’t even find updated information on local running events or gym hours. There was nothing in it for me. And since I had no connection with Cardy the Cardinal other than the fact that I was a member of his gym, I deleted the request.
This, my friends, is an example of the main pitfall of using Facebook to promote yourself as an author. You assume that since you’re among family and friends, they’ll all want to be part of your writing experience. But who wants to “like” a page only to be updated every time the author writes 1k in 1 hour? Who wants to hear about rejections and NaNoWriMo and “OMG I just figured out why my protag is the way she is!!!”
The answer is other writers. Other writers want to hear about this stuff. They want to talk about it and analyze it and gush over it again and again. But fans? Fans don’t care.
The greatest issue that I see with authors using Facebook to promote themselves, is that they focus it in a way so that it targets other writers. When it should be targeting readers.
Other writers don’t buy your books. They don’t come to your events and sit and listen at your readings. Why? Because they’re busy with their own books. Their own events. And that little thing called jealousy can sometimes get in the way.
But readers? Readers will support you, love you, and tout your books. Readers are the ones we should target with our Facebook groups and pages. And to do that successfully, we need to provide a takeaway that is irresistible.
In the coming weeks, we’re going to go over exactly how to do just that. It’s not an easy task for unpublished authors, and might not be the best way to go about building a platform. But we’ll still give tips and ideas. And for all of you published authors looking to make an impact with Facebook, stay tuned. There’s going to be plenty of info for you in the coming weeks.
I want to your questions! We’re nearing the end of this great discussion on platform, but it doesn’t have to stop. Post your platform-related questions or email them to me at amanda (at) macgregorliterary (dot) com. I’d like to do a few weeks’ worth of Q&As before I bring in some guests to post on how they conquered the Platform Monster.
Hi Amanda! I usually post my blogs on FB, 2-3 times the first day and once or twice after that during the week. Is that overkill?
I agree with your take on Status updates… I get more comments when funny/weird things happen to me (especially when my four year old is involved) than any other time… 🙂
Thanks again for a great post! 🙂 – Raj
Hey Raj! Yeah, that might be overkill. especially if you have friends on Facebook who aren’t interested in that part of your life. You may want to develop a separate page where you can freely discuss your writing and those who want to stay updated can join. Otherwise, my personal rule is to post my blog posts on my facebook wall only once. That way, no one is overwhelmed.
Amanda, I’m a fiction writer. How do we attract readers when we’re not yet published?
Hey Sally! Are you thinking about Facebook in specific? This week, we’re going to look at how to unpublished authors can use Facebook to gain readers.
If you’re asking the question in general, I’ve covered the topic numerous times over the past few weeks. Go back into our archives and check out my Thursday posts. Lots of info there.
This is a timely topic for me. We are trying to figure out how to grow the Dragon and Turtle facebook page. We get the most comments and shares from cute pics and video clips. I know I need to dive in and master the art of video posts, but I end up in a “I’m not a tech person” panic. Do you have tips for putting together a good video post?
Thanks, Evangeline! I’ll mark this down for my Q&A post in a few weeks.