My first book was released in November of 2014. I started a Facebook fan page just before the release. Again, as with Twitter (see my January 29th, 2015 post), I was working off of the advice of supposed author marketing gurus. I created that fan page with high hopes of using it to connect with readers and conversing with them. I linked to it from the back of my book and I’ve linked to it from this site. You can see my fan page right here, if you like.
If you clicked the link and went to my page, then you’re probably only one of 4 or 5 people today to do that. I’ve worked myself up to 189 ‘likes’. Though I try and post something at least several times a week, only one or two of those people that like the page ever sees my posts and few of those that have liked it have come back to visit it. No one looks at it.
Now, if I were not so research minded, I would think this strange that all of these people took the time to like my fan page but then none of them ever visit, comment on my posts or even like any of them. Sadly, the reason they never do any of that is because they don’t have any idea that I’m posting anything. Facebook doesn’t auto post stuff from fan pages to the news feeds of those who liked you as they do with individuals pages for those who are your friends.
Facebook doesn’t promote your fan page posts to more than a couple to a small handful of your followers (those ‘likes’) unless you pay to ‘boost’ them. You can post all of the stuff you want. It’s going on almost no ones news feed unless you want to spend what few if any advertising dollars you have to promote that post by boosting it to a target audience that you choose based on how much you can afford to pay. The effectiveness of these boosts, by the way, is subject to much debate. Most former users will tell you that they got little bang for their buck.
That’s not the only problem with having a fan page as a debut author…or, really, as an author at any experience level. There are other things you can’t do with it to connect with potential readers (ahem, ‘fans’). You can’t participate in groups using it because it’s not a personal profile and only profile users have access to groups. Using my personal page, I participate in a number of reader/author groups in my genre. Because Anne Hagan is a pen name that I use for my writing for multiple reasons, my personal profile and my fan page don’t have any connection. I have to divulge my pen name when I’m talking about my books in my groups.
I could certainly resolve my dilemma by either not using a pen name (not feasible at this time) or by creating a personal profile using my pen name. I ask, how authentic would that be? I would have one profile for my friends and my family and another completely different one for readers and other authors. I also have to marvel at the time I’d be spending on social media interacting with people and not writing. Indie authors must do both of course but without the writing, the interaction with fans is meaningless.
My advice? Skip the fan page. Instead:
- Use your personal profile to connect with your potential readers.
- If you have a pen name, share it when you’re comfortable doing so.
- Join some groups and be an active participant in two or three that fit you best by posting something once or twice a week. Answer questions, ask questions or just converse with other group members about the topics at hand when you stop by.
That’s how you can talk directly to your readers and to other writers. Just say no to the Facebook fan page. You’ve got writing to do!