SFFMP 102: Facebook, Twitter, and Blogging to Build Your Author Platform (and sell books)

Today, Jo, Jeff, and Lindsay talked about a few things they’ve been meaning to cover for a long time, building an author platform (and selling books) through Facebook, Twitter, and an author blog.

Here are some of the highlights of what they touched upon:

  • Is it better to have a Facebook page or use Facebook groups for appealing to fans?
  • What do you post about on Facebook anyway?
  • How can you naturally get more likes and interaction on Facebook?
  • Can a Facebook page actually help you sell books?
  • When does it make sense to pay for a boosted post?
  • Have the guys had any success with Facebook ads?
  • Twitter — What’s the point of Twitter?
  • Is it possible to sell books on Twitter, and, if so, how?
  • Being a content provider on Twitter versus just doing a lot of RTing.
  • Using the If This, Then That service for some automated posting.
  • What are the best practices for starting an author blog?
  • Should you host a blog on your own site or use a free site?
  • What should you blog about as an author?
  • How to get more traffic from the search engines (and how long it takes to build up a site and start seeing that traffic).
  • Is blogging really worth the time?

If you’re interested in writing for Kindle Worlds, in Lindsay Buroker’s Fallen Empire space adventure universe, shoot Lindsay a note for more details. You can reach her through the contact form on her site (http://www.lindsayburoker.com) or poke her on Twitter (https://twitter.com/GoblinWriter). She’s happy to provide the books for free to any authors who might be interested!

 

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SFFMP 48: Facebook Advertising That Works with Mark Dawson

We chatted with indie thriller author Mark Dawson today, someone who found success before he started tinkering with Facebook advertising, but who then really ratcheted up his sales and earnings by figuring out what’s working over there. He now runs a course to help other authors and has several free instructional videos up at Self Publishing Formula. If you like what you hear in the interview, you may want to check them out.

Here’s some of what we covered:

  • Setting up advertising campaigns versus running boosted posts (Mark doesn’t bother with boosted posts)
  • Sending people directly to Amazon to buy books or, even better, sending them to a mailing list sign-up page and giving them free books (i.e. your starter library or series starter) in exchange for an email address (never advertise just for likes to your Facebook page)
  • Setting a bid price for ads versus letting Facebook choose in order to optimize clicks
  • Choosing a target audience (i.e. as a thriller author, Mark targets fans of Lee Child) based on interests that are likely to make them fans of your work
  • Does it matter if you’re in KDP Select and your books aren’t available everywhere? Will fewer of your clicks convert?
  • Do certain genres perform better than others with Facebook advertising?
  • How much can a new author just jumping in expect to spend?
  • Using Chrome and the Facebook Power Editor for greater control over your ads
  • Taking your existing mailing list, importing it into Facebook, and creating an all new custom audience to target based on the interests of your current subscribers
  • Advertising consistently, day-to-day, versus just advertising when you’re doing a book launch or a sale
  • Tips for making it work even if you’re in a small niche without any big-name authors to target

 

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SFFMP 34: Facebook Marketing, BookBub, and Tips from Book Expo America

We talked among ourselves tonight, discussing a lot of the news and tips Jo brought back from Book Expo America. He went to panels on Facebook marketing/reader engagement and talked to the Bookbub people about what it takes to get listed and about some of the best practices. He also picked up some links to cool resources that you may want to check out.

Here’s a run-down of his notes:

Using Facebook to the best effect:

·       Facebook will always do its best to decrease the impact of non-paid advertising.

·       If you want to get the most bang for your buck, use whatever Facebook’s pet toy is. They will reward you with greater reach for free. Until they don’t.

·       Currently their toy is video. A 15-30 second video will get a much bigger push than post with any other media, or no media at all. (Don’t try to link to a video on another platform; you need to upload the video directly to Facebook to get their loving.)

·       A site you can use to create videos without a lot of tech savviness is Animoto

·       You can put a link at the end of the video, to actually get some use out of it.

·       Also, ask questions, because engagement amplifies reach.

·       And if you’re going to pursue something pursue shares. They expand your reach by the most.

Book Bub:

·       I talked to BookBub and asked for advice on how to make your book more likely to be chosen.

·       As expected, there’s a strong emphasis on a good cover and strong reviews.

·       The role that price point (and how much of a discount you offer) plays

·       Whether being in KDP Select puts you at a disadvantage to books available on a wide variety of platforms.

·       The reviews are by are the most important. A book with a great cover and a dozen decent reviews will probably lose to a book with a mediocre cover and fifty great reviews.

·       However, even if your book is flawless, with a perfect cover and hundreds of reviews, you might not get picked.

·       This is either because they were fully booked for the available period, or because your book is in a genre that has historically gotten poor click through.

·       In neither case are you doomed, they CAN still promo your book, but you’ll have to be persistent. New openings occur every day, and there’s always the chance your non-favored genre book will have no suitable competition for a given period.

·       They also gave advice on how best to promote your books depending on your goals.

        Shooting for a Best Seller:

        *  Discount the most popular book (if you’ve got one with over 100 reviews, use that).

        * Discount to lowest price possible. (99 cents, since free won’t count)

       Marketing a Series

       * Discount first book.

       * Free if possible.

       * Discount for three or more days.

       * Link to series in back matter.

Products that caught Jo’s interest:

·       Note: We aren’t being paid to mention these folks; Jo just thought they were interesting and potentially useful.

      * PiracyTrace: https://piracytrace.com/

      * Service that proactively searches the web for plagiarism of your work.

      * BookMarq: http://bookmarq.io/

      * An iOS App that is looking to be a slicker, dedicated mobile alternative to goodreads.

      * Slicebooks (https://slicebooks.com/en) and YaBeam (http://yabeam.com/)

        Slicebooks is a service that lets you chop your book into chapters for distribution purposes. More useful for nonfiction, because users can create mix and match derivative books by taking an assortment of chapters from different books and share the result.

       YaBeam is a service that uses the iBeacon feature of iOS to advertise to people by causing a notification when they walk by a YaBeam beacon. IE stick one at the door of a book store where you are doing a signing to offer passers by a heads-up that you’re in there and a free chapter to entice them.

      * Lithomobilus: http://lithomobilus.com/

       Think of this as choose your own adventure, or DVD extras for books. It uses the epub 3 enhancements to allow you to link to alternate scenes, fan art, etc that tie in to the current portion of a text. And of course, you can SELL this additional content.

      * Vellum: (https://180g.co/vellum/)

        This is an ebook formatting software for Mac that creates BEAUTIFUL template based ebooks in epub 2, epub 3, and mobi. Super user friendly, built in previews, etc. Like Scrivener if it was focused on publishing a book rather than writing it. (Though you can write in it too.)

      $30 for single use, $200 for unlimited.

     * Dropcards (http://www.dropcards.com/home/)

     * Enchanted world of Boxes: http://enchantedboxes.com/wholesale/catalog.htm?line=19

       They sell these neato book boxes, which lots of people resell through Etsy.

     * Poetic Earth Designs Handmade Journals (https://www.poeticearthjournals.com/)

       Gorgeous leather bags and hand made journals, also resold on Etsy.

 

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Facebook Marketing: Selling Books, Building a Community, and Does Advertising Ever Help?

Today’s show is dedicated to Facebook marketing. How do you use the popular social media platform to sell more books and keep current readers engaged? We took turns answering questions, based on our experiences. We may not be gurus, but we’ve all been on Facebook as authors for 2-4 years, and we had quite a bit to say!

Here’s a little of what we covered:

  • Separate author page or personal page, what’s best?
  • One page or one for every series?
  • How do you get readers to find you and like your page?
  • How important is interaction, and how do you get people to engage with you?
  • Facebook advertising, pay-per-click and boosted posts, are they ever worth it?
  • Groups, can they help with anything?
  • What about events?
  • Has there been a decline in the effectiveness of Facebook over the years?
  • What’s the future going to bring, and how will it impact authors?

 

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