To page or not to page

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

For a long time I debated whether or not to start my own author fan page on Facebook. There were many reasons why I thought the Facebook page was a bad idea. For one thing I thought it was pretty egotistical for me to have one. It’s not like I’m this world famous, best-selling, author with millions of fans. And then there was the fear aspect. Who would want to like my page? As I said, I’m not a world famous author with millions of fans. What if nobody hit that like button? What if I ended up looking like a complete idiot? And then there was the laziness aspect. I would have to do double the work. I already have a personal profile with the follow button switched on and I can decide who sees what on my profile page. I have over 2000 “friends” and a couple hundred followers. So why would I need a professional author page?

Well … because I’m a professional author, that’s why.

The Facebook pages come with certain handy functionality that you don’t have with a normal profile page. There’s the insights section that tells you in great detail what’s going on with your page with these nifty little graphs that allow you to track which posts work and which don’t. You can also track how similar pages are doing and compare what and how they’re doing with your own performance. What you do with that information is of course entirely up to you. You can use it strategically or not.

There are also the video and notes sections, which I’ve noticed many authors don’t utilise as much as they could. Not that I’m an expert, mind you. This is just an observation.

Once people are on Facebook they’re sometimes reluctant to click through to another site, so you can use the notes sections for excerpts from your books etc (that’s what I use it for any way). And the videos section can be used for book trailers, author readings, or whatever else you want to use. Remember, people are visual and they also want to see and hear their favourite authors. Most people have voyeuristic tendencies. I know I do. They want to have a glimpse into what authors do. A behind the scenes look. The videos section gives you that opportunity. Plus you have control of what you share with your audience.

Another button that I’ve noticed some authors not using is the call to action at the top of the page. You can decide whether your fans can subscribe to your newsletter or go through to a page where they can buy your books. The subscribe button seems to be the favourite one amongst many authors. I personally use it to send fans to my Amazon author page where they can shop for my books. It’s entirely up to you where you want them to go. But I’ve noticed that some authors haven’t set it up, which I don’t understand. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of something that useful?

If you want to see who’s doing their Author Page right, have a look at Author Rachel Morgan’s page. That woman knows what she’s doing.

The other rather handy thing with having an author page is that I get to spam it with all the stuff about my books and my writing to my heart’s content and nobody can give me shit about it because that’s exactly why it’s there and why people have hit that like button. They’ve hit it because they want to know about my books and my writing. Facebook also apparently objects to you using your profile page like a business thing. That being said you also have to strike a balance between interacting with your audience and spamming them day and night with stuff about your book. Once they’ve hot the like button you don’t want them to hit the unlike button. So once again the rule of “Don’t be a douche” applies.

Which brings me to another point. Writing is a business! We as authors whether we have a publisher or are going it alone have to approach our writing as a business. I don’t know about you, but I would like to earn enough money from my writing to be able to pay my bills. And having an author page allows me to conduct business. I can now advertise and reach an audience that I couldn’t do with my normal profile. Does it cost money? Yes. But as I said this is a business and sometimes you have to put a little cash in to get a lot of money back. You also get to decide on what your budget is for advertising and what you want to advertise on Facebook. You can advertise your page, or your website, or boost any of your posts, but you have to design them according to Facebooks specs. This is something I’m still figuring out how to do.

The fact is that as an author I have to use all promotional and advertising tools I have at my disposal in order to reach a wider audience. My Facebook page allows me to do this. It also lets me engage with that audience on a more personal level about my books and not just about coffee and cats without feeling guilty for sharing stuff about my books.

So … are you an author? Have you set up an author page? Or are you a reader? Have you liked your favourite author’s page? Have you liked mine yet? If not please go and do so here: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJoanDeLaHaye/

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