by Alan Parks
Almost every single Indie author that I know is on Facebook. Most of us spend time trying to sell our books to our friends, and many authors I know still insist on spending time copying and pasting a generic post to 20 or 30 Facebook groups and hoping that it will get them sales. STOP. There is a better way.
Facebook is still the best form of social media to use to sell your books, but you have to be smart. In recent months, Facebook has generously given us the best new tool for reaching and interacting with readers that we have had for years, and I haven’t seen anyone using it. It is called Facebook Live.
As authors, we hear a lot about algorithms. Whether it is Amazon algorithms or Facebook, all we hear is that these algorithms are working to stop people from seeing our posts/books. Facebook Live is different. If you have the Facebook app installed on a smart phone or tablet, you have the ability to use the live video to reach new and, crucially, different readers.
How to ‘Go Live’
This is the ‘nuts and bolts’ of how to actually click the correct buttons to start your live broadcast on Facebook.
1. Navigate to your Facebook app, on either smartphone or tablet.
2. Tap the space where you usually start to write your status. You should see this screen.
4. All you need to do now is type in a description of your video, and then tap the blue button on the right. This will give you a 3,2,1 countdown and your live video will start. People that follow you will get a notification telling them you are live right now, and hopefully they will watch. As you are talking in the video, the viewers can type questions which you can see and answer as you are live. It’s amazing!
How does going live help me as an author?
As soon as you tap on that ‘Go Live’ blue button, you already have those pesky Facebook algorithms starting to work in your favour. Over the last few years, we have been told that our posts only get seen by 10% of our followers. If you include a link, or even any kind of selling language in that post, you can reduce that even further. So we all started posting images, because that was what gave us the greatest reach, but even now images that before might have netted us 100’s or 1000’s of new eyes are not getting seen. This is because Facebook now favours video above all else. And Live video even above that. If people start watching your video, and interacting with you, the algorithms show it to even more people who might be interested. You can see where this is going. A few months ago, many of you will have seen the most famous live video so far, which was of a lady called Candace Payne demonstrating a mask of the Star Wars character Chewbacca. Within 24 hours, that video had been seen 1 million times. In the last three months it has been watched 160 million times. Candace now has 850k followers on Facebook. What wouldn’t the average indie author give for a following like that?
I am not suggesting that just by using Facebook Live this will happen to you, but you can certainly leverage the videos to give your current followers added value. You could do live cover reveals, Q & A sessions, author readings or even discuss brand new ideas with your readers. How valued would they feel then? I would suggest to try and not make everything about your books, otherwise people will feel like you are spamming them, just like scrolling past all those posts we used to do when we started sharing our own Amazon page to the same ten people who saw it day in, day out. Give them some entertainment. If something funny happens, pop on Facebook Live and tell your followers about it. People invest in other people. If you connect with readers in a personal way, they will be far more inclined to go and find out a little bit more about you, and maybe purchase your book. Invite them into your life, and they will reward you.
To try and take advantage of this great new tool, I have started a new Facebook group called Authors Live! I am hoping to host daily interviews with authors from a variety of genres. To make it a success will require a team effort, and authors will need to bring their fans to the group, but it is a chance for a group of authors to help each other discover new readers in an entertaining way. If you would like to join me, click here to get to Authors Live!.
Alan Parks decided ‘normal’ life was far too easy, and moved to rural Andalucia to breed alpacas and live off grid. He now spends his time writing and avoiding being spat at. You can learn more about Alan on his blog and his Author Central page.