Over the summer, I participated in a Facebook event unlike any I had ever been to before. It was an online Women’s Fiction Summer Party. A collection of women’s fiction authors banded together to hold a Facebook event that lasted several hours (5!). By cross-promoting the event, these authors were helping each other to increase their fanbase and mailing lists.
This same group of authors is hosting their next event, a Facebook Author Holiday Party on November 7, 2017. So, if you want to see this phenomenon in action, check it out!
The idea seemed ingenious to me and was one I wanted to learn more about, so I contacted one of the participating authors, Patricia Sands, to see if she’d be willing to fill me in on the process behind the event a bit more. After spending a lovely hour talking with her, I knew I wanted to share this information with you as well, so I asked her to write today’s guest blog post–the first ever on the Emerald Lake Books website!
So, without further ado, here’s Patricia’s feedback on how to hold a successful Author Party on Facebook for your fans.
The key ingredient to success is organization.
After being a novelist for eight years, I have learned many lessons about interactions on Facebook with readers. The bottom line is that writers and readers all benefit from opportunities to connect with each other. Make them fun!
Facebook author events are always chaotic with many conversation threads going at the same time. It is essential to refresh your page regularly to keep up with the chat. Some people actually follow along on a second device, such as an iPad, phone, or another computer. I have not mastered that technique yet!
There are Author Assistants (AA) who offer services to manage such an event. In my opinion, this assistance and experience are crucial to the success of the party. What our AA offers us is priceless. She helps put together graphics and makes suggestions with regard to the theme.
To participate in the event, each author commits to be present at a specific time and to provide at least one giveaway as a raffle prize for the readers.
Once all the authors are on board, the AA sets up a Google document or Excel spreadsheet. Each author enters their information into the spreadsheet, including desired time slot, name, giveaways, questions they want asked, website, Rafflecopter links, etc.
We typically have a theme for each Facebook author event (usually seasonal, for example, Summer Party) so our AA can prepare promotional graphics for us.
Each author shares about the event through all their social media platforms. We may even send a “save the date” message out first.
Our event is also cross-promoted as a Goodreads event. However, we hold off on serious promotions until a week before the event. At that time, each author invites all their “friends” on Facebook and Goodreads.
During the event, each author has a half-hour time slot (or whatever works based on the length of the party and number of authors) to be featured to the attendees. (Scheduling consideration is given for different time zones.)
The AA introduces each author at the appropriate time, including posting an author photo and book covers as well as other basic information about:
- the author
- the book being promoted at the party
- their giveaway.
Ebooks and paperbacks are the standard prizes for giveaways. However, everyone makes an effort to add more creative prizes, from something as simple as Amazon gift cards or book bags to coffee mugs and candles.
At our last party, since my book was set in France, the biggest prize I gave away was a box of macarons (cookies) from France. It was a big hit.
For each giveaway, a question is posted by the author, always accompanied by a photo of something relating to the topic. The more fun you can make it, the better.
The AA monitors everything, keeping track of participants and winners. She comes in at the appointed times to introduce the next author and keeps everything to the established timeline.
The AA also sets up a Rafflecopter raffle, which fans must enter to be eligible for the BIG prize (established by the authors) and tasks must be completed to enter (such as subscribe to newsletter, “like” certain social media pages, “follow” on pages, etc.) Often the authors will all kick in an agreed amount for the “big” prize…say ten authors will each contribute $10 to offer a $100 gift card. Or $20 each and have a few smaller gift cards as well.
At the end of the event, the AA sends an email to the authors with contact information for the winners and a separate document with all of the new names.
Authors also go back into the event once it’s over and “like” any new person who attended.
Our experience with these events has been positive. We try to maintain meaningful topics for our questions that allow readers to tell us something about themselves, rather than us doing the talking. Each author attempts to respond to every comment posted on their threads…although this is not always possible when there is a high attendance.
The key thing is to make it fun, sincere and interesting…with good giveaways.
Bestselling author Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else, and calls the south of France her second home. I Promise You This, Book 3 in her award-winning Love in Provence trilogy, was published May 17, 2016. Her next novel, Drawing Lessons, was released by Lake Union Publishing on October 1, 2017.
Find out more at Patricia’s Facebook Author Page, Amazon Author Page or her website. There are links to her books, social media, and a monthly newsletter that has special giveaways, photography from France, and sneak peeks at her next book. She loves hearing from readers.
Patricia is represented by Pamela Harty of The Knight Agency.