Monday 29 January 2018

Create a Facebook Page

I won't give instructions on how create a page as Facebook changes all the time. It's quite intuitive, actually, and if you visit your own page often you'll be able to take advantage of any new features. So here, I'll just leave a few tips.

First Decision

Do you want a separate page for every book, one about you as a writer or both? As you get more and more books out there, it can be difficult keeping up with multiple pages. Facebook always prompts you if you've not been there for a while, however. It unpublishes your page but you just have to post something to make it live again. This often forces you to find a new angle about your work.   
You might consider, for example, having one page for all of your short stories, all of your flash fiction and all of your poetry but separate pages for complete volumes such as novels and collections of short stories, flash fiction and poetry. 
Once you've decided, set about making your page as attractive as possible. Use as many pictures as you can.

Call to action

Always have a call to action. Normally, the action you want is that your readers buy your book. This isn't a hard sell. Your posts should interest your potential readers and your call to action, which Facebook displays at the top of your page, is a convenient way for your friends to find the book. It's easiest here to link to your book on Amazon.

What to post

You should let certainly let your fans know about any launches or other events. You can also think about:
·         When the book is on special offer
·         News to do with the book
·         News about events you've attended where your work has featured  – e.g. our celebration
·         Anything of interest to do with the research
·         Anything to do with any background issues in the book
·         Information about your writing process in producing this book  
·         If you're producing another book in the series, or a prequel or sequel, you might usefully talk about it here. Eventually you may want to produce a new page for the new work.
·         Use as many pictures as you can- as long as they're not copyrighted.

Life-time of the page

You may feel that you run out of things to say. However, I find that when I get that prompt from Facebook, I can usually find something and it keeps me in touch with my fans.
You always have the option of closing down your book page and redirecting your fans to your author page if it really does become too much.  

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Our Celebration Events

We've now started holding these twice a year and we're now forced to look for bigger venues. Hopefully, this is a sign of success.
We try to find somewhere that will give us the space for free on the understanding that we will spend generously in the bar. Often we're asked to cover a minimum spend but that is normally easily met – a couple of drinks per person and a few snacks usually covers it.  

This is what happens at the event:

General mingling

You arrive. You get your drinks / food and generally chat to anyone. 

Cash Bar

London prices or Manchester prices. No pressure to spend. We seem naturally to cover that minimum spend. Sometimes it’s possible to order lunch in advance and have it waiting there for you as you arrive.    

Buying books

We sell all books produced this year at an advantageous rate. If you have author copies left over you want to sell, you can bring them along.

Speed dating

The bell rings every five minutes. I have a cute little brass bell I call Esmeralda. I ring it and you move on to the next person. You get to speak to as many people as possible. You can promote yourself to readers and swap tips with other writers. Bring your business cards / postcards / book marks to hand to other people.   

Latest news from us

We tell you about what's new. At the December event in London we also announce the theme of next year's annual anthology. Delegates to the event may also share their news though this has to be prearranged with us.    

Author Readings

Authors read for up to five minutes each, depending on how many want to read. It needn't be from work represented here. 

Charity collection

We make a collection for a charity. Sometimes we produce a charity book. In that case, our choice of charity is obvious.

Big book swap

We ask everyone to bring along a book to swap. You get to take one home at the end of the afternoon. You can bring along one of your previous titles or just a book you have enjoyed reading. Your non-writing friends of course may bring along a book they have enjoyed.    


Reviews are so important for authors that we hope everyone will review any books they take home with them. 

Sunday 7 January 2018

A Different Way of Lauching Anthologies

It may be quite difficult to persuade people to come to a launch / event if you have just one short story in an anthology with around twenty other people. You may be able to do this if you have a back list but it can still be tricky.
Here are a couple of suggestions as to what you may try.  

Combine with other writers in your area

Find out who lives locally to you and combine with them to organize a physical launch. The whole is greater than the parts. You can pool ideas, share work and introduce your readers to new authors. This is actually a win / win situation.

Work with other authors online

Get together with several authors from your anthology or with several authors whose material is similar to your own. This would be conducted in very much the same way as the on-line launch described earlier though can be very effective because again you are accessing each other's readers.
Here's one I prepared earlier:
Food and drink
Information about authors
Notice too how each writer had a time-slot. This makes the event easy to manage and keeps the pressure off individuals