Sunday, December 13, 2015

Strategies for Promoting Your Book Using Social Networking (part III) by Uvi Poznansky

copyright 2015 Uvi Poznansky

So you have gained some experience promoting your book through Facebook events and would like to take your promotion up a notch. One way to do it is by setting up a multi-author event. In this article I will offer a few tips, beyond the obvious (because you already know about setting up an event in a Public mode, and about creating a killer banner and a catchy title for it.) So prepare to add a few more tools into your toolbox.

The whole idea of joining forces is a potent one. Promotion is bigger than any single one of us, and even for the most successful among us, pulling together may yield surprising results. When each one of the authors brings her audience along, the project starts floating upon a huge pool of readers and listeners, all eager to find new, exciting reads.

But consider this: not every author is willing to share her audience. Why? Because competition is hard. Being an Indie writer is an uphill battle, and many of us have learned a misguided lesson: to survive, we must fight harder, and fight alone. So for many authors, accepting the idea of sharing may go against the grain. They may be prepared for others to share but are reluctant to do that themselves. Put simply, they come in ready to ‘steal’ the pool of readers, without contributing a single reader of their own.

So your task, as the organizer of a multi-author event, is not an easy one: what you must do is pull in the best talent you can find, and more importantly, use your team-building skills to create a cohesive team. Running a single-author event is a tremendous amount of work, as you might have discovered already. Running a multi-author event is beyond tremendous, because you have to deal not only with setting up the program and not only with the responses of guests but also, behind the scenes, with your fellow authors.

So the very first task, and the one most crucial to the success of the event, is to select the right team.

This is what I do, on an ongoing basis (well ahead of setting up an event): When I notice an author (who may be posting in the same Facebook groups I visit) I check out her Amazon page. I go into several of her books, get an impression of her writing (using ‘Look inside’), note the ranking of her books. I check the size of her Twitter and Google following. I friend her and support her posts (liking and sharing them) and her tweets (retweeting them), waiting to see if she reciprocates.

Then, when I plan an event, I send a private message to those authors with whom I have already built a supporting relationship, who write well, and who have a great following.

Your message should include the event date, its name, its theme, and what you expect your team to do: invite, post, and possibly take part in a giveaway. Not all the authors may be able to join (because of date conflicts, for example) so send your message to more authors than your target number of participants.

There are many kinds of programs you can create for a multi-author event: a program where is author is allotted a time slot, a program with no time slots but with a Grand Finale where all the authors announce their winners and sparks fly at the same time, and other programs.

A program with time slots

In this program, the event will be set up in advance with a time slot for each author, typically half an hour or an hour, where she is expected to ‘entertain the troops’ for the duration of the time slot.

Discuss the time slot with each one of your authors, making sure they have no scheduling conflicts. Your teammates may come from different time zones, but to keep a handle of things and avoid confusion, use a particular time zone for all slots, for example PST.

You may suggest the type of posts you expect: excerpts, polls, or games.

Announce the list of authors and their time slots (again, using a single time zone) on the event page, by posting it as a text post (which is easier to edit and make changes as necessary, unlike an image post where you have to edit the graphics.)

Remind all your authors of their commitment to post, a day ahead of time.

Create an image for each one of them, announcing her on the event page ahead of time, to draw her readers in. Be sure to ‘tag’ her name so that she and her fans get notified by Facebook.

During the event, set a private message to each one of your authors, as their slot is about to begin.

You need to give some thought what to do if one or more of the authors leave you ‘high and dry,’ neglecting to ‘entertain to troops’ during their time slot. Would you post yourself, or invite one of the others to start posting earlier than scheduled?

A free-flowing program with a Grand Finale

In this program, authors are expected to post any time, they can pop in and out of the event as their schedule allows, up to the Grand Finale, which is when all of them are expected to be there.

You should let the authors know what type of posts are acceptable. For example, if this event has a theme of Valentine’s Day, you may want to suggest that they post excerpts from their books that relate to love, passion and desire.

You can set up a common way of announcing winners at the Grand Finale. For example, you can design ‘announcement cards’ personalized for each author. Such a card may include images of the author’s book (the one she is giving away) over a background relating to the theme of the event. This extra work is beneficial in two ways: it will wow your guests during the Grand Finale and it will raise the level of enthusiasm from your team members.

You can set up an additional event, a ‘Private’ one. In it, authors can practice ‘tagging’ guest names (which is different in Facebook events as compared to Facebook timeline posting) and they can practice posting their announcements ahead of the Grand Finale.

Prepare the guests so they know what to expect during your event, so they come back to attend the Grand Finale. Make sure they know when it happens, and start it by greeting them and offering (virtual) refreshments to get some clamor. When winners are announced, make absolutely sure their names are ‘tagged’ or else they will not be notified by Facebook. If you discover that any one of the authors forgot to ‘tag’ their winners, ask them (behind the scenes) to edit their announcement.

The more distinct winners tagged in your Grand Finale, the more guests will arrive to check out what the fuss is about. So give some thought to the selection of winners, avoiding announcing duplicate names by some of your team members.

Note: Thank you, Uvi, for providing such amazing insight and advice for our authors. We are grateful for the time you took to document this!


Uvi Poznansky is a California-based author, poet and artist. “I paint with my pen,” she says, “and write with my paintbrush.” She received a Fellowship grant and a Teaching Assistantship from the Architecture department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she earned her M.A. in Architecture. Then, taking a sharp turn in her education, she earned her M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan. Uvi writes across a variety of genres: romance, literary fiction, historical fiction, biblical fiction, poetry, horror and children’s books. Among other work she penned two series: The David Chronicles and Still Life with Memories.

1 comment:

Uvi Poznansky said...

Thank you so much Aaron for this opportunity to offer some tips for writers :)