By Melissa Tagg
I recently participated in one of the most fun author Facebook parties ever! Like, I was sick, people–we’re talking Kleenex, cough medicine and pajamas for days–and I still had a blast participating in the party. The event was made up of seven contemporary romance authors. We had an amazing turnout and a fabulous time.
(And I can’t take any credit for it, by the way. The whole thing was coordinated by author Crystal Walton. If you’ve never read her books, you have to check them out!)
Since it’s fresh on my mind, I thought I’d share a few tips I learned from this and past parties…
1. Know your end goal.
I’ll just say it: If your end goal is to sell books, um, you might want to rethink this. Ask any marketing guru and they’ll tell you Facebook events rarely directly result in skyrocketing sales. So why bother, right?
Wrong. Facebook parties are great when you’ve got the right end goal in mind. In the case of the party I mentioned above, we wanted to grow reader engagement, reach new readers and–the clincher–expand our e-newsletter lists. Newsletter marketing is an author’s best friend, so growing our email lists was a tangible, reasonable goal. We did this by including a Kindle Fire giveaway in our docket of party fun. To enter, you guessed it, attendees had to sign up for our newsletters.
2. Don’t stress the promo.
It can be tempting to spend a ton of time trying to get people to RSVP to your Facebook party. And it’s great to do some pre-event build-up. Make some fun graphics, build a little buzz, etc.
But don’t stress out about it if you don’t get several hundred people signing up for the party in advance. The true beauty of Facebook events is that they tend to promote themselves on the night-of. As long as you’ve made your event Public, anything you post in the event as the administrator will likely show up in your friends’ Newsfeeds. If they hop on over and join in, their event posts may show up in their friends’ feeds. And so on. That’s how Facebook works best…by grabbing people’s interest in the moment due to something they just happened to see in their Newsfeed.
3. Have a plan.
I know, obvious, right? But it’s smart to have a plan for your party. Don’t just set an hour or two aside, then expect folks to show up and start talking. You’re an event coordinator now, so you need to coordinate. Write up some posts in advance designed to get your party guests talking. Ask questions. Create a few graphics or photos to go with your posts. Post something new every 3-5 minutes throughout the party. Be welcoming, spirited, and personable.
4. You knew I was going to say it: Giveaways.
Another word for this: Bribery. J/K! But seriously, giveaways are wonderful for enticing potentially interested readers to check out your party . . . and you and your books. One of the great things about doing a multi-author party like the one I was a part of recently is that by the time the party was over, we’d given away 20 books…plus a Kindle Fire. But because we were working as a group, it wasn’t a major cost to any of us.
Just make sure to dot your I’s and cross your T’s. I.E. Add a post in the event indicating that none of the giveaways are sponsored by Facebook and be sure to note somewhere whether giveaways are open in the U.S., Canada or beyond.
Have you ever thrown a FB author party? What tips have you tucked away?
Melissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant writer and total Iowa girl. She writes romantic comedies in the banter-filled style of her favorite 1930s and 40s classic films, including Keep Holding On, the latest in her Walker Family series. Her spring 2016 book, Like Never Before, was named by Publishers Weekly to its spring 2016 “Religion and Spirituality” Top 10 list. Melissa loves connecting with readers at http://www.melissatagg.com and on Facebook and Instagram.