You’ve finished your book, it’s off to the printers and you’re ready to start telling the world about it. What’s the first thing you do? Tell everyone you know! And what better place to do so than on social media. Social media has made large audiences accessible to everyone with access to a computer or smartphone, and it’s a great way to connect with your current and potential audiences.
Of course you want to tell all your friends and family about your new book, but you also want to make sure you’re reaching people you don’t know! The first step in doing this is creating an author’s page on Facebook, not just using your personal account. Just as you wouldn’t send an important work related email from your personal email address, you don’t want to deliver important book related messages to your audiences from your personal Facebook page.
Let’s start with the differences between a page and a profile:
- A profile is meant for someone’s personal use. To share pictures, news stories, and goofy memes with their friends and family. It’s totally ok and encouraged to share book updates with your friends and family as well, but it wouldn’t and shouldn’t be the sole use of your page.
- A page is meant to be used by businesses, brands, and public figures. And directing your friends and family there too is a way to keep your book promotions organized and keep your personal page more personal.
Having a published work means that you are now in the public realm, and it’s time to start cultivating your brand.
Functionally, there are advantages to having an author page over using a personal profile:
- You can have a built in “shop now” button for your book’s buy links.
- You can invite people to like and follow the page.
- You can access analytics to learn how to better optimize your page’s set up and posts.
- You can give access to more than one person to run the page.
- You can run ads to grow your brand.
- An author page will let you have unlimited likes/follows, whereas your personal profile is limited to the number of friends you have–and Facebook actually caps that amount at 5,000 friends.
- Your author page makes it socially acceptable for a stranger to connect with you online without feeling creepy. When someone enjoys your books and goes to Facebook, they probably won’t be able to find your personal profile, and even if the reader does, you may not be comfortable adding a stranger as a friend (and they may feel impertinent adding you as a friend!).
- By using an author page, you can allow your personal acquaintance to “opt in” for content about your book by encouraging them to like that page where you plan to share info about your book–that way non-bookish friends don’t feel spammed by your new book content. This is just being polite!
Having an author page creates a sense of professionalism for your career as an author. Although it might not feel like a career yet because you know you wrote the book in bursts between meetings, brief respites before the kids get home from soccer practice, and in your head on long commutes, being an author is work and should be treated as such! And along with the professionalism comes a boundary between your personal life and your life as an author. It may not seem important to have that distinction, but as your career progresses you’ll be glad that you drew that line early on.
But, as with anything with promotion, it’s only what you make it. Just having a fan page in and of itself doesn’t do much. Like just having a book trailer, a twitter account, or a website doesn’t do much. Those things have to be “worked” and incorporated into a comprehensive promotional strategy to have earned meaning.
Ellen Whitfield is senior publicist at Books Forward, an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers.