Our own Kelsey Browning stops by to tell us about Facebook author parties and how to plan them – and better yet, how to make them work!
Author Facebook parties have been all the rage for well over a year now, and in that time, readers and authors alike have learned tons about what makes for a fabulous FB event. Although you may think these parties are less time consuming than hosting a face-to-face event, the reality is they take tons of work to pull off. So use this list as a cheat sheet for your next Facebook festivity!
- Pick your event day strategically. Yes, your book may release on a Tuesday, but so do bazillions of others. Would it be better to host a Thursday-after-release event and possibly draw more attention to the party?
- Set up your event page early. Great news is you can create an event page in advance but don’t yet have to invite anyone to the event itself. That gives you time to tweak to your heart’s content.
- Create an eye-catching banner for the event page. I recommend you (or your graphic designer) create something different from your normal author page banner. Don’t be afraid to be silly or have fun.
- Create MORE than one banner. Every time you change the event banner, a post will pop up in people’s FB stream. That can keep interest in the event high. For my March 2014, Celebrating Texas Romance party (which lasted eight days 🙂 ), I made a banner for each guest author. It was graphically simple, but striking, with a black background, the author’s name and tagline, and peppers to indicate the heat of their books.
- Be sensitive to your audience. If you’re advertising the release of an inspirational title, assume you’ll attract readers who like closed-door love scenes. That means posting gobs of Man Candy may not be the best way to endear yourself to them.
- Post and pin a final winners’ post. Many authors consolidate picking the giveaway winners and posting them all at once the morning after the party. If you pin that post to the top of the event page, it makes it a snap for the reader to discover if she’s a lucky winner!
- Label your post clearly if you’re offering a giveaway. That allows attendees to quickly scroll through the posts (because there will be tons!) to quickly find posts they want to comment on.
- Decide if you’ll only let admins post to the event page. Some readers prefer the “clean feel” of an event not cluttered with posts from the attendees.
- Create a mechanism to keep track of your guest authors (assuming you’ve invited some). Many authors use a Google Docs spreadsheet to track time slots, email addresses, giveaways, and giveaway winners.
- Communicate clearly with your guest authors. Before the event, send details on how the event will operate. Be available on the day of the event to answer questions. And then, be sure to follow up with your guest authors about giveaway winners (and to thank them!).
- Ask your guest authors to invite their friends because the point of these parties is to introduce readers to new-to-them authors. The more invitations, the wider net you’ll cast.
- Invite guest authors who aren’t your besties. Reality is you probably already share some readers with your best buds. So why not reach out to authors you don’t know well but who likely share a common reading audience with you? It could be a huge win-win for you both.
Facebook events should be fun for everyone involved, especially the readers, but just like any “live” party, good prep and organization will help you throw a party people will remember for years to come!
Authors, have you hosted a Facebook party? If so, what tips do you have? And readers, what do you love to see authors do for their parties?
Do you have fun extras for readers on your website? If so, what do your readers love? If not, will you add them in the future?
Kelsey Browning writes sass kickin’ love stories and co-authors Southern cozy mysteries. She’s also a co-founder of Romance University blog, one of Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers. Originally from a Texas town smaller than the ones she writes about, Kelsey has also lived in the Middle East and Los Angeles, proving she’s either adventurous or downright nuts. These days, she hangs out in northeast Georgia with Tech Guy, Smarty Boy, Bad Dog and Pharaoh, a (fingers crossed) future therapy dog. She’s currently at work on a new contemporary romance series and The Granny Series. Give her a shout at Kelsey@KelseyBrowning.com or drop by www.KelseyBrowning.com. For info on her upcoming releases, subscribe to her Sass Kickin’ News.
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