Why Should I have an Author Page on Facebook?

This is a question that I hear often – mostly from authors who are just starting to build their social media profile.  Many will have already set up an author profile, so they wonder why a page is a necessary addition.  Many don’t know how to use it effectively and so it becomes a daunting thought.  Today I’d like to simplify it for you if I can.

  • You absolutely should have an Author Page on Facebook.facebook-pages-logoAs an author, in this modern age of digital connectivity, it is easier than ever for you to control your interactions with your fans.  We’ve already discussed my position on adding people as friends on Facebook as an author, but this is a great option for those of you who don’t want to add any “strangers” to your personal profiles. Having a page will allow you to maintain contact with readers while maintaining your privacy and in order to build your author brand and possibly generate sales, interacting with readers is important.
  • How do I know what to post?I would recommend that you search for your favourite authors on Facebook and find their author pages. “Like” the page and then spend some time looking at what they post and how they manage their page.  If it’s a fantasy author, do they focus solely on fantasy style posts? A murder mystery author who shares only relevant info? Or perhaps they share various things about writing and reading in general?  Most post a mixed bag of things. From pictures and links to advice and articles of interest. An example of things to post would be to post funny pictures, writing memes, author quotes, links to favourite recipes and even music on YouTube.

    One of my favourites writes with a view of a river, so she posts pics of the boats on the river. She’s also an avid gardener, so she shares pics of crop successes (and failures) as well as meals that she’s cooked and photo’s of her favourite travel destinations… as well as pictures that are relevant to her books. Inspiration for settings, new covers, character inspiration etc.

  • So how do I remind people that I’m also trying to sell books?There are a few different ways to do this that don’t boil down to “here’s my book, please buy it”. It’s time for you to get creative and to think outside the box.  Sure, you should share your book covers and links to buy pages etc, but there are many other ways to remind people that you’re a writer!

    When you’re working on a book, let’s say a romance set in medieval Scotland, you could post a picture of a sexy, topless man in a kilt with a comment that says something like “I’m working on my new release and I needed a hot Scot for inspiration… you’re welcome! #Scot #inspiration #Sexy”. This will make people smile, make them wonder what your hot Scot is up to in the book and make them look forward to hearing more! When you participate in blog tours or if you’re having a giveaway, you also share these links on your author page.

  • This is going to take up a lot of time. Shouldn’t I rather be writing?You’d be surprised. Once you get the hang of it, managing your page will take up remarkably little time.  There is a great feature which will also make your life much simpler… you can schedule your posts!!  This means that you can set aside a few hours and schedule posts for several days to come.
  • Do I really need another social media profile to manage?Another great benefit of the author page is that you are able to link it to many of your existing other social media outlets.  This means that you can schedule posts to your page and also post simultaneously to your Twitter feed, Tumblr page etc.  Many birds with 1 stone!  (Just be careful not to link your Twitter feed to your Page, especially if you Tweet a LOT!).
  • How often should I post?Ideally, the frequency for posting to your page should be around every 5 hours.  This keeps your page active without being “spammy”.

Once you get into it all, you’ll find that it’s rather fun to search for images, links for articles and if your page is about you as an author, the kinds of books you read and write, fun trivia etc, you’ll start to build a following of people who are fans of you and your work.

If you fancy some further reading, this is a great blog post to start with.

Until next time…

BM xx

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How do I know you? An author’s Facebook dilemma

MinionAdmit it… we’ve ALL been there! We log into Facebook, ready to waste – I mean, spend – some time trawling through our newsfeed and there it is… The “Friend Request”. Mostly, this is something which doesn’t even cause us to pause… we see, evaluate and either accept or ignore, but every now and again, something happens which makes us develop a twitch.

Every now and again we will get that weird friend request… and I don’t mean a request from a weird friend (been there though)… The friend request to which I’m referring is of course the total stranger.

The person who has selected us – apparently at random – from amongst the millions of potential profiles on Facebook. There is not only not a single friend in common, but they invariably live in another country and may even have a totally unpronounceable name. It’s like the Facebook equivelant of winning one of those great email lotteries… millions of Dollars from some dead dictator… you know the ones I mean.

What is it about your profile picture that made them decide that YOU were the lucky person they would pick? The truth is that you’ll never know… unless you decide to accept the request and ask them *grin*.  At this point, most of us hit the decline button and possibly even the block button (depending on how creepy this person seems).  But what do you do if you’re an author?

This is where things get slightly trickier. Naturally, even authors would like to hit “decline”, but is that the best course of action? These days, social media has enabled us to connect with our readers in a way that wasn’t possible before. Yes, this also leads to a degree of loss of privacy, but is the trade-off worth it?  Many authors circumvent this problem by setting up a professional profile (not page) and adding friends to that profile.  This allows them to keep friends and family on their private profile and still connect with readers, but it isn’t always practical for an author to manage more than one profile.

So what to do? Naturally, every author must decide for themselves, but the advice I would offer is this…

See if you can see more about the person. Do they appear interested in your genre? Accept the friend request If you aren’t sure and take a few minutes to “check them out”. You can always unfriend or block them if they turn into internet trolls or become a bit creepy.

The truth of the matter is that if you are building your author brand and you have set up a Facebook in the name that you use for publishing, then it is reasonable to assume that new fans who are discovering your work or who have perhaps heard about you would add you as a friend. They aren’t necessarily going to be friends with any of your other friends and that is ok. After all, you want to be reaching new readers all the time and if you only reach friends of friends, then you’re paddling in a very small pond really.

What do you think?

Until next time…

BM xx

Ten Things Not To Say To A Writer

hashtagUnless you’ve been living under a rock (and really, that’s no excuse), you will have seen posts on either Facebook or Twitter this week about the trending topic #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter.  I confess, some of them were hysterically funny, but mostly, what struck me, was how accurate they were.  Sitting down for coffee with a few authors we started to compare notes on which ones were our favourites.  After all, we’d all had vastly differing author journeys and so it would follow that we’d heard totally different things.  As it turned out, we had all heard essentially the same things, only the wording differed *grin*

So what was it about this particular hashtag that resonated with so many writers?  I think it was the fact that we were able to see that it didn’t matter whether we were published or still writing, a multi-millionaire or self-published dreamer, we all had common ground! Here are some of my favourites from Twitter…

“Writing is so easy. Your life must be like a vacation all the time!” @Samantha_Eaton3

“You’re a writer? But I’ve never heard of you…” @cristela9

“I always thought I’d write a book after I retire, once I have some time to kill.” @i_Author

“I heard that writing books is really just a formula. And there’s software that does it all for you.” @janmoran

“Why should you get paid? You like writing. I don’t get paid for my hobbies.” @LIanaBrooks

“I wish I could sit at home all day, writing, but I have a real job” @Author_Devika

“Are you still doing that little writing thing?” @gabesingin

“Writing YA is easy, right? I think I should try it. I need some money.” @ashposton

“Self-published, so you’re not really published then?” @chadh1234

I could totally have included almost all of them, but these (or variations of them) seemed to be very popular and when we’d finished giggling and commiserating – round about our third glass of wine – we started to wonder what it was about being a writer that made people think it was ok to say these things to us. Don’t get me wrong, I love to get feedback from people and I really enjoy talking to readers or potential readers, but why do people think that being a writer is just a hobby? What is it that makes people discount so blithely the hours of time we’ve spent working at our craft?  For craft it IS!

Yes, it’s certainly true that everyone “can write”, but equally true is the fact that while everyone can string words together and possibly even in a pleasing way, not everyone has what it takes to create worlds, characters and stories that reach people, that touch the heart, move the mind and build fandoms.  Not everyone has the discipline required to make the time to write – and believe me, if you consider how many authors hold down full-time jobs, raise families and STILL manage to complete book after book, it really does come down to making time to write!

WritersIn the end we agreed that like most creative endeavours, writing is seen as somehow “less”.  Less than working in an office certainly. Artists, photographers, writers, we all seem to get asked the same kinds of questions and this #TenThings hashtag certainly shed a lot of light on that.

Ultimately, seeing that we’re not alone in our experiences was not only entertaining, but also strangely cathartic. It doesn’t matter whether you’re starting out, self-published, have a publishing deal or fortunate enough to do this full-time… we are ALL working hard at something we love, something we’re passionate about.

So by all means, say what you want.  Ask the silly questions.  Put down the dream I’m pursuing.  You may well end up in my next book or fade into obscurity.

Either way, I’m living my passion and your approval isn’t needed.

Until next time…

Domino xx

Social Media

social-media-logos_15773Let’s be honest, you don’t have to be an author to love social media.  At least to a degree *grin*. As an author though, social media is less about mindlessly being social and more about figuring out how to make the most of your social media “leverage”.  Yes, that sounds quite mercenary and it really isn’t meant to.  You see, authors have had to adapt or die (as it were).

Before the rise of eBook publishing and the age of the internet, you’d find that most authors were published by well established publishers who had an in-house marketing or publicity department that would assign a proportion of their annual budget to promoting your book.  They would invest in traditional print or radio advertising, perhaps some marketing material (posters or the like) for bookshops and then they would arrange signings and tours for their authors. Even smaller publishing houses tended to follow the same path and so your journey as an author could be fairly predictable.

Fast forward to today and your journey as an author is very different. Even those authors that are published by the larger publishing houses are encouraged to engage with their fans through various social media channels.  For the author published by smaller, independent publishing houses the social media journey is a “must” rather than a “nice to have” and for those authors who self-publish, it’s an absolute non-negotiable.

Why is that?  Well, in an average day, people are bombarded by information from thousands of sources. In order to stand even the smallest chance of being heard in all that “noise”, you need to be one of those sources. Authors can no longer afford to simply write and wait for sales to come to them. We need to take control of our voice.  Modern readers like to feel connected to their authors and at the end of the day, they are far more likely to part with their hard-earned money if they feel like it’s going to a human being they care about rather than some faceless “writer”.

Let’s be honest though, social media can be extremely overwhelming. It seems as though there is something new every time I turn around and it’s almost impossible to keep up.  Even if we only tried to post to every social media platform that currently exists without worrying about new ones, we’d never have time to write!  Yes, there are tools that can assist in posting to multiple platforms, but even those require time to be set up.

So what would I tell a new author about social media?  Well, there are some basic guidelines that I have shared in the past.

  • Have a website or a blog: Having an online presence in this digital world is essential.  You don’t need to invest a lot of money in having a site built, you can use one of the many free website building tools or simply set up a blog through Blogger.com or WordPress. Figure out what works easiest for you.  Then figure out how often you can update the site.  You need to have fresh content that returning visitors or fans can read when they come back to your site.  It doesn’t have to be every day, but it should be regularly.
  • Facebook: Facebook can be fun and useful for you to stay in touch with friends and family.  It has just as much usefulness for an author. You can set up an author page on Facebook that will allow your fans to “like” you and stay in touch.  This should definitely be updated far more often.  The recommended frequency is roughly 3 – 4 posts a day (or approximately every 5 hours).  Share interesting articles, information regarding inspiration you found for characters, pictures of your writing area, gardening achievements… you name it.  Anything that interests you or contributes to your writing journey could be fun for your readers to see.
  • Twitter: What can you possibly say in 140 characters or less?  You’d be surprised! Best of all, you could also set up your Facebook page to automatically post to your Twitter account.  This means that you’ll catch two different types of audience with 1 post.
  • Pinterest: Pinterest is another interesting and great way to draw attention to your work in a visual way.  It’s also fun for you!! You can create boards for each book and pin images of pictures that inspire characters, locations, story ideas, covers and even links to the graphics in your blogs which will lead people to your blog / website.  You can also pin the cover from Amazon or other sales websites which will allow people to click on that “pin” and buy your book.
  • Goodreads: This is an amazing place to reach a dedicated community of readers.  As an author, you have a lot of functionality on Goodreads, including being able to blog there, offer give-aways and more.  It’s worth setting up a profile even if you’re not terribly active.  This is a site dedicated to lovers of books and there’s really no better place for an author to be!

Is there more to social media than these 4 elements?  YES!  There is Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, YouTube etc.  I think they all have their merits and if you want to swap out one of the others (Twitter or Pinterest) and use one of these or even use them in addition to the ones I mentioned above, that is great.  You need to do what you feel comfortable with.

My greatest advice to authors is to investigate all the various options that they’ve heard of.  See what makes sense to them.  What they feel is manageable and what is too daunting to even try.  Start small.  Don’t be afraid to experiment to see what works for you.

In future blogs I’ll try to expand on various individual forms of social media.  If you have any questions or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time…

BM xx

Introducing yourself

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Today was a day for a bit of self promotion in amongst confirming tour dates for June and sourcing info for July and August.

It’s been so great to chat to new authors and share ideas with them. It’s important to be willing to answer questions and be accessible. People are happier when they build a connection with you and it’s a great way to network. After all… The person you’re talking to may not need your services, but they could recommend you to others!

Have an amazing evening!

Best,

BM xx

Well, hello there!!

rose-764267_1920When you start a new venture – or in my case, formalise a venture – you find yourself having to do all the admin of setting yourself up.  Gone are the days when it was a simple case of setting up a website or simply printing some business cards.  These days, the bare minimum is Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and a blog.  If your industry involves publishing, you also need Goodreads and let me tell you… setting it all up isn’t a quick exercise 🙂

There are a number of services that we will be offering, including blog tours, video promo clips, audio reviews and guest bloggers to fill space on your blog.  This blog will also allow us to talk to you about tips and tricks in writing and marketing and provide a platform where we can promote not only our own tours, but also new writers, books that we’ve loved and more.

Our reading tastes are wide and so we’ll be sharing all of that with you.  In the meantime, we’ve set up our YouTube channel, Goodreads profile (which still needs to be populated properly), a Twitter account (and we’ve started to follow all our favourites), a Facebook page to make communicating as simple as possible and now we’re breaking in this blog 🙂  It’s been a busy day!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX9gOSrmF_A6HKdl5Oke1Zg

https://www.pinterest.com/TheBookMistress/

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/43478052-book-mistress

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Book-Mistress/543201862487119?ref=bookmarks

https://twitter.com/_BookMistress

We’ve been organising blog tours for the past few years and recently branched out into providing short promotion videos for authors to use and we will also be doing YouTube reviews that can be shared on author blogs and websites.  It’s an exciting time and with all the changes, the time had come to formalise our freelance activities and so… The Book Mistress was born.  It’s a lovely play on words as I’m a mistress to my book obsession and I’m also the mistress of the books…

The great news is that we have managed to get the delightful Domino and Dominic Lane to join our blogging team and I look forward to having them share their great advice and experiences with you all.

Until then… have a spectacular day!

Best,

BM x