Part of my “Sell” approach here at Publish and Sell Enterprises involves helping authors examine, establish and maintain successful online marketing activities. Needless to say, it’s a multi-faceted approach based on the type of book and the intended audience, and one size certainly doesn’t fit all. For one, although I strongly recommend that all my author clients have a blog to market themselves and their book, other social networking tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter depend, as they say, on the situation.
That being said, there are many good reasons an author should be on Facebook. Facebook is the king of the social networking world right now, connecting tens of millions of people together every day. Not only is it easy and fun, but it offers a lot of useful social discovery and networking features that can help an author connect with potential buyers.
In a recent post I briefly covered some of the changes that Facebook is pushing out in regards to their Profiles and Pages, most of which improve the overall Facebook experience. For example, you can now customize your incoming “stream”–i.e., the posted activities of your friends–to your tastes. This is especially good for authors that have distinct friends lists composed of authors, agents, and–most importantly–readers. You can now separate these groups into their own streams and use them to more successfully to interact with, communicate to, and market to these distinct groups. Good stuff!
However, the jury is still out for Pages–especially in regards to their benefits for authors. Created specifically for businesses, non-profits, music artists and celebrities, Facebook Pages enable your audience to sign up as “fans”–not friends. In an author context, fans are people that appreciate you for your written works, and are not necessarily people you grew up with or people that you would share your personal life with (as you would, say, through a typical Facebook Profile). A Facebook Page can better represent you specifically as an author, which can potentially offer you the credibility you deserve. Also, newly released features for Facebook Pages give you more control over the look of your Page, and allow you to better assign posting permissions to your fans.
As things stand now, however, Facebook Pages for authors don’t seem to be a run-away success, even for the established author. Dean Koontz, for example, is a brand author with over 18,000 fans on his Facebook Page, but he hasn’t contributed to it since May of 2008. He’s not alone, either. After doing a quick search of Facebook Pages I couldn’t find many authors, famous or otherwise, that seem to be interacting on a regular basis with their fans. It’s just not happening with authors and Pages.
On the other hand, I personally work with authors that are building and interacting with their readership through their regular Facebook Profiles. Sure, Profiles represent a broad mix of your friends–including people you may not even know–but this approach seems to be a better way for authors to have a presence on Facebook, at least in the beginning stages of their marketing approach. Several authors I personally know do just that–check out the Profiles of Jeremy Robinson and Jacob Israel (you’ll need to be logged in to see their profiles), for example. They have hundreds of friends that they’re communicating with every day, but more importantly they’re talking about their book.
So, if you’re an author, let your Facebook Profile serve as your marketing channel for now. It’s simpler to maintain, and it’s still the more effective marketing choice.
Till next time–Keep Publishing!