13 November 2015

How to Survive Your First Author Takeover on Facebook

There is a peculiar marketing phenomenon when it comes to selling erotica and romance. This funky beast lives only on Facebook, and it is known as the author takeover. How it works is that someone creates a Facebook event and creates a takeover schedule.

The event can be for the release of an author's new book, a cover reveal, a holiday, or anything, really. If they're smart, they'll tell you what time zone they're in and pin the schedule post at the top of the event page. If they're not smart enough to do these things, avoid that event or suggest it to them.

During author takeovers, the event host will usually post an introduction of the next author. You like this post and leave a comment to say hello to everyone. I like to tell everyone I'll be posting to the main wall of the event so they should refresh their pages in a few seconds.

Invite the entire fucking world


Hopefully you invited everyone you know to the event beforehand. Hopefully you shared the event on your own timeline and in any groups you're in.


Click "Choose Friends" and invite as many as you can. Yes, it might take a long time. You want to sell books or what?



Do it again for "Share Event." Certainly share in on your own timeline, but also choose to share in a group and then start typing the names of some groups you're in. A menu pops up listing some groups and you pick one. Type a little something and then share it.

Bonus tip: copy what you typed so you can paste it into the same field when you share it with other groups too. That way you don't have to type over and over.

If you have a Facebook group for your street team (you should) be sure to share it with them and have them invite everyone they know too. Tell them you need them to come make you look good by participating. They should gladly help you. If not, you need a better street team.

Getting ready


Author takeovers involve a lot of picture uploading and a lot of posting. To facilitate this, it's a good idea to have your book cover images, teaser graphics, and other pictures all collected into a folder on your computer or device. I have one creatively titled "Takeovers" (I know, right? Too cool for school).

It's also a good idea to have the text of your posts already written out and ready to copy and paste. Things like:

  • Descriptions of your book and the link to its Amazon page. I like to mention what drew me to write the story in the first place, because it seems people enjoy knowing that. Your passion becomes their passion.
  • A brief biography introducing yourself and what kind of stories you write, especially if you write for a particular niche or sub genre. Say things a potential book buyer would want to know. You're kind of auditioning, here, remember that. You're auditioning for a spot on their Kindle and some of their precious time.
  • Excerpts from your stories, the steamier the better.
  • Links to all your social media profiles so that new fans can stalk you.
I put all my texts literally in .txt files, but you can do it however you want.

During the event


My "bio" image I use for author takeovers on Facebook
Remember that the purpose of a takeover is to get new fans and readers. All they need is an excuse to like you and buy your shit. Let your passion for your stories show. Have fun and don't sweat it. The first time you do an author takeover you'll probably be nervous. The worst thing is talking to an empty room, which is why you made sure you brought all of your friends along with you. 

I like to begin by posting my biographical "this is me" picture, a little something I whipped up in Pixlr.

Pro tip: Because Facebook likes to automatically create link previews for any link in your text, you should upload pictures FIRST, then paste or type in your text.

From there, I share my first book. Most takeovers give you an hour, which is enough time to adequately share two books. I've seen enough takeovers by other authors and done enough of my own experimentation to find some things that work well.

Facebook author takeover game 
  • Post images of book covers and then in the text box, paste in your prepared text about the book. This text should at least be the book's Amazon description or blurb and a link to the Amazon page where it can be purchased. I like to also say why I wrote the book or series in the first place, people seem to really like knowing that stuff.
  • Post a teaser graphic and an excerpt from the book. I precede the actual excerpt with some kind of introductory text letting people know what the scene is (like how an actor on a talk show will "set up a clip" before they roll the footage). If you don't hany pictures that's fine, but you really should. They draw the eye.
  • Sometimes I will also post a bunch of teaser graphics and/or screenshots of good Amazon reviews. You want people to get excited about the book. If they like your teasers and see that others gave it good reviews, you're making it easier for them to do what they already want to do: buy new smut. You just want it to be your smut. 
  • Once you get people worked up over the book, doing a giveaway can be fun and helpful. I like to make it revolve around the book. For example, I have a vampire series, so I found a picture of a vampire and added some text to it in Pixlr (a lot of people use PicMonkey too). I post this picture and ask people to go like my Facebook author page and then come back and post a pic of their favorite vamp. Later I randomly pick a winner (through random.org). You can send the winner a .mobi file of your book or actually gift it to them via Amazon, that's up to you.

Other tips

  • Refresh the page regularly
  • Follow up on people's comments and questions to your posts
  • There is NO HURRY. You may be nervous, especially the first time. Don't feel rushed. Everything will be fine.
  • Anyone who responds to you in a friendly way, add them as a friend.
  • Thank the host and say goodbye when you're done

Questions? Have tips of your own? Let me know!




Get free stories, blog posts, and announcements

* indicates required