11 October 2015

How I do Author Takeovers on Facebook to Get New Readers (Without Spending Any Money)

Facebook is a fantastic place to get new readers and strengthen the relationship you have with your fans. One marketing tactic I see a lot of is the author takeover. When another author creates a Facebook event to celebrate the release of a new book, they try to make it a big ol' party by inviting other authors to come share their books. When you take the floor in another author's Facebook event to talk about your own books and have some fun, that's a takeover.

This post is not about creating and running your own event, it's about attending another author's event as a participant, conducting a takeover.

Most Facebook events are one or two days, but some are longer. Each day of the event there are 30 or 60 minute time slots to be filled with other authors to pimp their books. In the short time I've been publishing erotica and erotic romance, I've learned a lot about running successful takeovers. I should give credit where it's due: most of what I do I picked up from Alice K. Wayne, C.C. Genovese, Yolanda Olson, and of course every other author whose events I have attended.

Bring friends

First of all, doing a takeover at which there are few participants is an exercise in sad desperation. But even if you've never done one, before, you can still have enough people at it to not completely murder your pride. What I do is make sure all my friends and fellow authors know about it. I share the event on my own Facebook timeline and I use the invite feature to invite all my friends. Yes, all of them (or nearly so). Nobody is going to complain about you wanting to sell your books and if they do, you don't need that kind of stupid negativity in your life, unfriend that fool.

If you have a street team to help you publicize your books, have them come and make you look good. If you've created fan groups for your books, tell them, too. You can simply keep sharing the same Facebook event and in the dropdown for its destination, choose group and then start typing in the name of the group. (P.S. - having street teams or fan groups is something I'll post about at some point.)

Get a good time slot

Getting a good time slot in a takeover also helps. I find evening ones better but honestly it depends on your time zone. If you live in England and you're at least 5 hours ahead of the U.S., it's hard for you to have them at a time that's good both for your and for your U.S. readers. Personally, I prefer to do them at 8pm Eastern or later. I also like to do them back-to-back with other authors I'm friends with, because we often have the same readers.

Say hello and tell people about yourself, let them stalk you

The first thing I post is a greeting where I tell people about myself. I don't talk about myself personally, although I could and there's nothing wrong with that. I talk about what kind of stories I like to write. In other words, I'm telling potential book buyers what kind of stories they'd get from me. I have a graphic I post with is that gives people some kind of idea of the stories I write and it has a picture of my face on it, too (whatever you usually have as your Facebook profile pic).

The text that goes along with this picture would take too long to write every time I have a takeover. It would become tedious. I have this text in a document which I then copy and paste into the comment field. This text also includes links to all my social media profiles and author pages.

Decide in advance your game plan and have a routine

Usually, you have an hour. What I tend to do is talk about two books, one during the first 30 minutes and the other during the second 30 minutes. For each book I post a blurb about it and link to its Amazon page. After all, the whole point of these things is to sell books and get readers.

In between posting about my 2 books I try to remember to post a shout-out and thank you to the event's host. After all, it's their event. The entire reason why they want all these other authors tor bring their readers over in the first place is so they can sell them their book. So be a good sport and help them sell it. I link to whatever they're selling and pimp it out to my people who came to the event to support me.

Depending on how I feel things are going, I might also do an "ask me anything" post at this point, so that questions have time to come in and be answered before my time is up.

Should you always do the same routine, every time? No! But you should at least have one routine. Just don't let yourself get into a rut using only the one routine. There are other fun and effective things you can do, like reverse takeovers and live writing, which I'll cover at some point later.

What I do for each book and why

I have a very specific way of doing this, and I do it this way because it seems to work for me. Your mileage may vary. There's no way to relate book sales back to a Facebook event unless you have the money to offer a decent swag giveaway in exchange for event participants posting screenshots of their receipt emails for legit book purchases. But this is all about doing this without spending any money.

The first thing I post is the cover to the book I want to share, but I don't type or paste anything into the text field, just yet. Facebook likes to read any links you paste in and then create a clickable preview before you're done typing.

If it does this, then the picture icon for uploading pictures disappears. The clickable preview is a nice big clickable target, but the picture of your book cover is kind of small. I like to have a nice big image of the book cover. Then I copy and paste some text I have already written and saved in order to save time and not make any mistakes.

I don't just post the book blurb. Instead, I say why I was attracted to write the book in the first place. I try to get people interested in reading it for the same reasons I was interested in writing it. Included is a link to the amazon page for the book. Post individual links for US, UK, CA, and AU pages (another reason to have all this ready to go in a document from which you can simply copy and paste).

This next part has to do with how Facebook works. Facebook automatically refreshes new comments to posts, but it won't necessarily reload the entire event web page to show new posts. So unless someone clicks on a popup notification or otherwise reloads the page themselves, they can easily miss new posts to the event. Also, posts which have a high number of likes and comments, and comments with a lot of likes tend to float to the top of the event page, and that's good for you. So what you want, it seems to me, is more action on fewer posts.

After I post my "biographical teaser" text as described above, in the comments for that post, I then post my teaser graphics. You can only post one picture in a post comment, so it gets seen more readily than if you post it in a jumble of other pics. I also post book reviews. What I do for these is go to my book page on Amazon and use Windows' Screen Clipping tool to cut and capture the review out of the rest of the screen. Using the Screen Clipping tool is easy but it's beyond the scope of this post, so please look that up on your own. They look like this:

Because likes matter, I like every post I make and I like every comment anyone makes on them, including myself. If you want to encourage more comments with your teasers and reviews, you can always toss in "Do you like this?" or "What do you think of this teaser?" in the text portion of the comment.

The other thing I do is post generous excerpts from the book, usually something super-steamy and/or violent (they tend to go together in my stories, heh). I also post a picture to grab attention on the page. This can be a teaser or whatever. This would be a good candidate for custom graphics but I haven't made any, yet (I'm still learning and experimenting, too).

How to find new readers

When I post about my books, I look to see who's commenting on them. If I brought along a bunch of my friends and fans, there will be a lot of comments by them saying how they liked the book. But what I'm looking for are comments from people I don't know saying they're intrigued by the book and expressing an interest in it.

Usually for each book I'll do a giveaway, a random drawing. I'll post some kind of contest or participation sort of thing that's related to the book. What I'm interested in is a new person I've not yet seen before, posting time after time, hoping for a better chance to win because they really want the book. At the very least, I make sure to add these people as friends and then message them to say hello and just strike up a conversation.

I don't have any illusions about writing a bestseller out of nowhere. I win my fans over one person at a time, usually, and usually during Facebook events.

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