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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Selling Books With Social Networking: #1, Facebook


 
I'll be posting a series on using social networking to promote books,
 based on material from my new book,


If Facebook was a country instead of a social network, it would be one of the most populous countries on earth. Its population is approaching one billion “members”—including more than 40% of Americans.

With such widespread use and familiarity, it should not be necessary to devote much space to Facebook. But if your main activities on FB have been wishing people “happy birthday,” showing silly photos, complaining about politicians and announcing what you had for lunch, you’re missing a lot. It’s time to think of FB as a venue for selling books by interacting with friends, readers and potential readers.

An FB page can be a very powerful sales tool, and it has several advantages over a website:
·     It’s free.
·     You don’t need any special skills or any software (other than a web browser) to set up a Facebook page.
·     You can modify your page whenever you want, as often as you want, from any computer or computer-like device with Internet access.
·     Many people expect authors to be on Facebook.

If you already have a personal FB “page,” it can also be your author page. If you prefer, you can have multiple pages for you as a person, as an author and as a publisher. You can even have a page for a series of books. or for one book.

Many FB users have hundreds or even thousands of FB “friends” and “fans.” Some are people known since kindergarten, others are neighbors or business associates, and still others are friends of friends, or people met online who share common interests, or even unknown admirers. It should not be difficult to convert some friends into readers.

FB is a great place to tell the word about you and your books. If people “like” your page, or “like” or “share” your postings or comments, you may get additional fans and some of them may buy books. Use FB to let people know what you are working on, when future books will be available, where you will be making public appearances, etc.

The area at the top of your page is officially called the “timeline cover” and can be simple or elaborate. You can build it from scratch with any graphics program, or even with Microsoft Word. There are also templates online. Approximate dimensions for the cover are 850 by 315 pixels.


(above) Bestselling legal-thriller author John Grisham uses his FB page to announce new books and to interact with fans (but someone at publisher Doubleday apparently does most of the FB posting for him). His page is business-only. You won’t find what TV shows he likes or his email address.


(above) Sue Dent’s FB page identifies her as “Author Sue Dent” and it promotes her latest werewolf book. The page tells about Sue’s writing awards, has links to her websites and blogs, and includes personal information such as her birthday, family members, high school and email address.

(above) “ZoeWinters” is a pen name for a paranormal romance author, so her Facebook page exists to promote books, not to discuss childhood memories. Facebook generally requires members to use their real names, but writers and performers can use their professional names.
 
(above) Stephen King’s page shows just him, not his books. Interestingly, he felt the need to identify himself as a writer, unlike John Grisham who is just John Grisham. Maybe that’s because there are lots of Stephen Kings.

(above) J. K. Rowling apparently felt no need to develop a Facebook page, so Facebook shows information from Wikipedia.


(above) My own timeline cover shows a lot of silly photos, and recent books that I want to promote. I use the page for both personal and business use, and also have an incomplete page for my publishing company, Silver Sands Books.


(above) In addition to personal pages, FB hosts pages dealing with many topics including various New York City neighborhoods, the U. S. Civil War, Miles Davis, the Honeymooners, baby boomers, menopause, Star Trek, Star Wars, Pawn Stars and dinosaurs. If you’ve written a relevant book, make a relevant comment and plug the book.



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