There it is – your new Facebook fan page. It’s got your book covers up there and some cute quips about writers shedding blood to get their words out each day. There are some personal pictures of you with other writers and readers.
Now if you could just get some fans, that would be nice!
It was easy to get your aunt and your mother to come to your personal page and ‘like’ it, but that’s not really who you want on your fan page – although that might be better than no fans at all.
Most writers know now that they should have both a personal, and a fan page, to use with their author’s platform. Why a fan page? Many reasons. You can have an unlimited number of fans on a fan page (only 5,000 on a personal page).
While 5,000 sounds like a lot, it’s not once you get going. Those are 5,000 people who might or might not be interested in your work. And it’s difficult to turn those ‘friends’ into ‘fans’ when the time comes for you to switch.
Fan pages also look more professional. You can get your specific message out to exactly the people you want to see it.
But once you’ve set up your fan page, how do you get people to ‘like’ it?
It can be difficult and take a while to get people to come to your fan page if you’re not Stephen King or Patricia Cornwell, but it will happen. You have to be smart about your content and give it some time each day. Commit to making this an important part of your marketing. There are hundreds of millions of potential people out there on Facebook.
Some writers have a problem getting on Facebook and are stuck on it when they should be writing. Set the alarm on your phone or any other device (even an egg timer) for twenty minutes each day. Use that time to add content and look at your stats (on the Admin page). When the alarm goes off, get out. Answer questions when you can during the day.
Link your fan page to everything from emails to your website. You should do this anyway to create the whole marketing effect you want for your platform. If you have an agent, ask that person to link as well. Writing friends are good too. The more people, the better. While you’re at it, look for groups and fan pages that readers – those who might enjoy your books - might be interested in. If your book has a chef in it, link to cooking sites, and so on.
Encourage participation from your readers. Ask questions. Hold contests. Looking for a name for a new character? Ask your fans (even if there are only three of them). Fans like to feel included and will reciprocate by telling others about your fan page.
Facebook marketing research has been extensive for large corporations. Use some of their tactics. Make your posts light and easy to relate to. Humor seems to be best. Don’t get too long or dragged down by dogma. If you’re going to have a contest, make it easy. Don’t expect your fans to go too far to win something. Have answers – even to negative questions that can pop up from time to time.
Keep it fresh. Give your readers content they might not find anywhere else. Share something about your work. Give them some personal photos, maybe you, writing at your desk today, or the dog that resembles the one in your book. Readers want to see the inside stuff. Give them that but don’t be mundane.
Getting people to become fans won’t be as easy as getting them to be friends but it is worthwhile. Don’t be intimidated by that blank space you have to fill in each day. As writers, we’re used it. With time and patience, there will be fans on your fan page that will be waiting for your new books to come out and badgering you about writing more words each day!
Joyce Lavene writes mysteries with her husband/partner Jim. Their 60th book, A SPIRITED GIFT, came out in December 2011 and is a National Bestseller for Berkley Prime Crime. She lives in North Carolina with her family and has 577 fans on her Facebook fan page. www.joyceandjimlavene.com Twitter - @author54 and Joyce and Jim Lavene at Facebook.