Putting More Than Your Face on Facebook
I believe I’ve blogged on this topic before, but since it’s a very broad and multi-faceted subject, I’ve decided to turn it into a series. In this, Part One, I’m going to concentrate on the general concept of marketing, and a little about Facebook for Authors.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s not all about the story. It’s not all about the right cover or the best editing. You do need all of these things, true. But a great story, even if it’s perfectly edited, and wrapped in the most fantastic cover in the world, does not sell itself.
Many authors love the creative part, but hate the marketing. Let’s face it, in today’s publishing climate, ALL authors are expected to market their books, even if they’re contracted with one of the Big NY Five. Now more so than ever before.
Marketing, it turns out, is my second favorite thing to do. Blame it on my dad—he was a door-to-door salesman. But I’ve often wished I’d majored in Marketing than in Biomedical Sciences.
Of course, dear old Dad didn’t have the advantage of Internet marketing, as we now do.
In the beginning, when my first book came out from SoulMate, I was not one much for social media. I saw it as a time-suck, wasting what little time I had to devote to my writing. But now I see social media as having a vital purpose.
The problem lies in how you use this potentially worldwide platform for making your book—and you as an author—known, followed, and loved. It’s not a free advertising platform, and definitely should not be used as such.
Presence: that’s one of the main goals of an author in finding and gathering their clan of ardent fans. If you want them to love your work, you’re going to have to give them more than your books. Sounds counter-intuitive? It isn’t, really.
Look at Hollywood. Are we happy with watching the top stars on the big screens or on television? Of course not. We want more. We want to get as close as we can to our favorite personalities so we feel as though they are our friends. We want to know about their personal lives. We want the gossip. Readers feel the same way about their favorite authors.
So it’s not enough to post regular “buy my book” blips on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like. In fact, these posts have exactly the opposite effect. Your words soon become white noise, blending into the fray to be ignored, or worse, blocked.
What readers want is genuine engagement. They want to know the small stuff, sneak peeks into our personal lives, our families, the towns where we live, the things we like to do. They want to feel as though they are our friends, not just our fans. If you take the time to share little snippets of your real life with your audience, on a regular basis, they are much more likely to be listening when you casually throw in the fact that you have a new book coming out soon.
Take Facebook, for example. I have found that posts I make about my next book cover, my newest trailer, or a sale price on my book get very few “hits.” Usually single digits. But when I recently posted a heartfelt ditty about how hard it was to say goodbye to my daughter & grandson at the airport, I got tons of “people reached.” Now, what does my sadness about their visit ending say about my writing? My books?
Nothing, right? In fact, because my family was here for five weeks this summer, I actually got very little writing done at all! But it does give a glimpse into me, as a person. As a mother, a grandmother, and how I value family and spending time with them. About my emotions. And since my “brand” of romance novels claims to be emotionally intense, this tells the public I don’t just write about affairs of the heart—I experience them. Madly, truly, deeply—to coin a phrase.
I used to scroll down my Facebook feed and think, “why is this person posting a picture of what their girlfriend made them for dinner?” Why should I care? Turns out, I know this person who, after being alone for a long time, met a wonderful woman who also happens to be a great cook. Posting magazine-quality pics of her latest culinary creation—that she made especially for him—shows us more than what they ate for dinner. It illustrates two things: how much she wants to please him, and how much he appreciates her efforts. In short—an expression of love.
Is that too much of a stretch? Perhaps to someone who doesn’t know these folks, and has no idea how much their getting together has changed both of their lives. But even a stranger, after seeing the pictures and reading a few of their posts, should be able to read the subtext. There’s a little word hiding in there all over the place. Love.
And isn’t that what we, as romance writers are all about?
So use your Facebook page to share snippets of your day with your fans that don’t relate to your writing or your books. Chances are, if those moments or experiences mean enough for you to post, they reveal something about who you, the person, really is. And that’s the person your readers want to get to know. The real person behind the love stories we write.
Next time, we’ll explore the ins and outs of Goodreads. Stay tuned!
Claire Gem writes intensely emotional romance, sometimes with a ghostly twist. Visit her at emotionalcontemporaryromance.com.