71 percent of adults in the U.S. are on Facebook, which means there is a pretty good chance your readers are, too. That’s why Facebook is a great place to get started if you’re an aspiring writer or published author who wants to build a following for your writing. A dedicated Facebook page helps you connect with your readers and promote your work. You can share information that your fans will appreciate: updates about your writing inspiration and progress, author events and news, and also fun book-related stuff–like pictures of reading cats!
“Why can’t I just use my regular Facebook account to do all that?” you ask. While you can let others follow your personal profile without friending them, a Facebook Page is better suited to your promotional efforts as an author. A fan page is a searchable, public page that all Facebook users can “like”. (When a Facebook user likes a page, your updates appear in that user’s newsfeed.) With a fan page, your personal account is separate — your fans will see your writing-related news without seeing the selfies you share with your friends. You can assign administrators to your Facebook Page so they can help you manage it. We know, having a staff to manage your social media may not be relevant to you at this juncture, but you’ll thank me when you become a superstar author and have your arms full with writing and author events.
Facebook tracks what users do and shares those analytics with page owners in a section called Page Insights. It’s a great way to measure the temperature of what works for your fans and what doesn’t in your social media efforts. For example, you’ll be able to see how many people viewed each post and find out about the demographics of the people interacting with your page.
In addition to connecting with readers and learning about their preferences, here are a few other things you can do through your Facebook Page:
- post updates about your writing, including statuses about writing progress, author events, important publication dates, and promotions
- use Facebook Ads to promote your Facebook Fan Page or an outside link–your book’s buy page, for example
- gain exposure for your blog or website
- relate to other readers and writers by being a fun, real person
How do I set up a Facebook Page?
Creating a Facebook Page is easy. Log into your personal Facebook account and go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/create. Make sure you select “Artist, Band or Public Figure” as your category and “Writer” as your subcategory. Then follow the instructions–it only takes a couple of minutes.
One of the steps is uploading a profile picture, with dimensions of 180 by 180 pixels. Choose a professional-looking head shot as your profile picture–the one you’d use in your book bio!
Upload a cover photo–the big background image that appears at the top of your timeline, right above the profile picture. Many writers create a beautiful image that relates to the subject matter of their book. Some utilize the space by including images of their books–look at the cool cover photo of author Wendy Wax below.
Pay attention to image size. Cover photos are 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall. If you upload an image that’s smaller than these dimensions, it will be stretched to the larger size and will look grainy. To make your page look as sharp as possible, it’s best to post a high-resolution photo. Don’t worry if you don’t know Photoshop: you can resize and manipulate images with free online photo editors such as Pixlr and PicMonkey. To learn more about other image sizes on Facebook, reference this great Search Engine Watch article.
That’s it! Once you’re done pimping your page, start telling people about it. Go to the top of the timeline and select “Build Audience” to invite your email contacts to like your page. You need 30 likes on your Page to get access to insights about your activity–so get to work!
Here are some great Facebook pages from Book Country members. Study these to get a sense of how they engage their readers and fans. (Also, cough cough, support your fellow members and “like” their pages!)
- Kerry Schafer
- Nicholas Kotar
- Jamie Wyman
- Kathleen Shaputis
- Lynn Montagano
- Nikki Hopeman
- Dustin J Turner
- Ian Nathaniel Cohen
You might also like: The Five Golden Rules of Social Media for Authors.