How to promote your book in a Facebook group

I have been the admin for a couple of Facebook groups for writers for some time now. I have seen a lot of desperate writers posting book promotions. Most of these book promotions are very, very bad. Most would be bad in any context. But some would be good as a paid ad but are fatal as a posting in a Facebook group.

Today I had a fellow post something that started with the words PRESS RELEASE. He lost most of us at the words PRESS RELEASE. Press releases are to be sent to the press. In a Facebook group, what is wanted are posts.

Here are some rules for an effective Facebook group post promoting your book:

First, interact with the group like a person, not a book promoter. Make friends. Offer encouragement and advice to others. Since your time is limited, choose carefully which groups to interact in. There are some groups out there that are only visited by book authors on days when they have a book promotion to post. Avoid those groups. No one is going there to find new books to read! Find groups where conversations are going on. Ideally, not just groups of writers, but groups of readers.

Write a post for your book that reads like part of a conversation. Avoid phrases like ‘best-seller’, ‘Makes a great Christmas gift.’ When you compose your post, think like a friend talking to friends. You don’t go to a cocktail party and say ‘Ocean Waves’ is one of the great novels of our day. Don’t miss it.’ You might say. ‘I have a new book out. It’s called ‘Ocean Waves’ and it’s about a guy who leaves his wife to become a fish.’

Your post should not sound like back cover copy, either. That’s not personal. It’s not meant to be personal. The fellow who reads your book’s back cover in a store or your book description online isn’t looking for personal. People in Facebook groups, however, are.

Promoting your book in a Facebook group is best done piece by piece. When you get a book cover designed, post it. “This is the book cover for my new book. What do you think?” When you compose a short book description, post it. “This is my book description. What do you think?”

Being in a group means you will get feedback. Don’t ignore all feedback. If dozens of people think your book cover is amateur hour, think on getting a better one. If they say your book description is too generic, write another one.

Respect a group’s policy about book promotions. Many writing groups don’t allow this because they don’t want to choke off writing discussion and networking. Read the posts in such a group for a while and see how other writers in the group mention their books without being guilty of posting a book promo. Especially watch what the group admin does. A mere mention of your book in passing in a really good writing group will get you more sales than posting a PRESS RELEASE in a hundred groups.

When a group does allow book promotions, make sure you are reading and interacting with the other posts before you make one of your own. Even consider buying and reading some other books.

Facebook groups are not there for your book promotion activity. If you are going to use them for that purpose, use them wisely. You DON’T want people resolving never to buy the book of that nasty self-promoting writer. You want them to say: ‘Oh, that nice writer who encouraged me when I was about to give up has a new book out. I must buy it, read it and review it at once!’

My shameful self-promotion of the day:
My Facebook author page:
My Facebook group for Christian fiction readers:

You know that annoying pop up thing demanding you  sign up for my newsletter? Well, it now is more meaningful if not less annoying. I sent out my first newsletter. I’m planning to send out another one in January. So I have to think up some ‘inside information’ for the newsletter that I haven’t already blabbed about on the blog!


Define your blog niche to find more readers

I’m often working on improving my blog and my blog’s traffic. One resource I use is a site called ProBlogger. Today they had a post with the title How to Approach Influencers in Your Niche. OK, the problem with that was I wasn’t sure about the ‘niche’ thing. So I searched their site for a post on ‘niche.’ I found 15 Questions to Ask to Help Identify Your Blogging Niche or Focus.

This post contains a podcast on the topic. There is also another page which lists the 15 questions, called What Should I Blog About?.  Going through the questions I become more aware that I am a multi-topic blogger. There is a focus on writing and blogging, a focus on the genres of SF, fantasy and zombie fiction, a focus on politics, one on Asperger’s Syndrome, and also there is the faith thing.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I won’t ever be the top writing blog, or the top blogging blog, or the top zombie blog, or the top faith-based blog. But maybe I can be a good solid blog for people interested in several of these topics.

One thing I have noticed is that my faith-related posts sometimes get a lot of traffic. My all-time most popular post is the one about The Lutheran Rosary. Every day I get one or more visitors reading that post. Yesterday, when I posted on Churches in Chains, I got 42 page views. Normally I get 14. So I think I’m going to keep up with my Sunday posts on faith topics.

I also use Twitter to get my blog posts out in to the world. I use Buffer in order to post to Twitter several times a day without being on the Internet all day long. I’ve read it is recommended to post each blog post three times— the original posting time, later that same day, and then the next day. Of course I also go on Twitter to retweet other people’s posts and interact. I hope that will bring my blog traffic up.

If you are a blogger, what is your blog’s niche? Please tell us in a comment!

If you are a regular reader of this blog, what topics on this blog do you like the best?

On Twitter? If you leave a link to your Twitter page, I will follow you. (Though if you post naked pictures or other stuff I don’t care for, I may not stay a follower for long.)


Celebrating: fewer Twitter followers

Celebrating fewer Twitter followers? In an age when all the experts say that writers (and others) need more more more Twitter followers? When people send you private messages on Twitter claiming they can sell you more followers?

At first I collected followers— I followed everyone who followed me, I followed everyone Twitter suggested I follow, I followed the people that my Twitter friends followed…. and then I had a Twitter feed dominated by people who tweeted what seemed like ads for their books or blogs, sometimes tweeting such things every 30 seconds for nearly an hour.

What I got was a Twitter feed that seemed like a bunch of people shouting and never noticing that no one else was listening. No interactivity— and I doubted anyone would buy my book or even read my blog post if no one ever interacted with my Twitter posts.

So I stepped back and learned some lessons from a Twitter savvy friend, author Declan Finn. He did a lot of actual interacting on Twitter, having conversations there, informing all his writing friends on Facebook about a useful Twitter hashtag that was trending, making lists of followers….

Declan Finn on Twitter:

The first thing I did was start unfollowing Twitter followers who spammed Twitter with what looked like ads, or who retweeted things I found appalling for one reason or another. Not out of spite, but because it was clear that we just didn’t have any interests in common that would foster actual interaction between us.

Then I started following the Twitter Golden Rule— for every one thing I tweeted/retweeted that was about ME, I retweeted 9 things about others. Particularly others who had interacted with me, or others that had some things in common with me. Since I’m a poet, I retweet a lot of haiku and other short poems posted on Twitter.

I also made a private Twitter list of friends I interact with regularly on Twitter. If you aren’t familiar with Twitter lists— you list some Twitter accounts that have something in common. For example, you could have one for people who Tweet about your favorite baseball team, or for writers of Christian science fiction and fantasy, or political accounts…. When you click on the list, you see JUST the recent Tweets of those on that list— so you can easily find worthy things to retweet, which will make the people you retweet feel more friendly toward you.

How to Create a Twitter List:

I am by no means a Twitter expert— I’ll bet that there will be people who read this post who know loads of things about how to use Twitter more effectively. Whether you are a Twitter maven with good advice or a newbie with nothing but questions, I’d really cherish a comment from you. Particularly if you’d give the URL of your Twitter account so I can follow you.

Me, on Twitter:  If you visit my Twitter profile you will see a cute picture of a kitten in a boot.

This is a post in the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop. Which was yesterday. 😦


11 Tips for writers entering the Twitterverse

twitterTwitter. A lot of my writer friends have tried it and feel it’s a waste of time. But others are regular users of Twitter and seem to feel it’s worthwhile. If you haven’t tried Twitter, are new to it, or haven’t managed to make it work for you, here are some tips. My own Twitter, by the way, is @nissalovescats

  1. Add your reading/writing friends to the people you follow on Twitter. Suggest that they follow you back. If you are an Aspie, perhaps you don’t have real-world friends. So go on Facebook if you are not there already and join a couple of groups, especially those for writers. Try to find specialized groups that relate to what you write. There are a number of Aspie/autism writers groups. I’ve listed a few on a page on this blog.
  2. Take a minute to compose a short profile for yourself on Twitter. It should mention that you are a writer or poet, and perhaps mention a thing or two that is part of your author brand. Mine mentions my ‘poet, Aspie & cat person’ tag.
  3. Put up a profile picture that is a picture of YOU. Your face— even if unattractive like mine— helps your followers see you as a person. Post it.
  4. Put up a cover picture to help your Twitter profile look complete. I used one of my best kitten photos— one of a kitten in a boot— because ‘cat person’ is part of my author tag. And since it’s a photo I took with a kitten I own, it’s a unique image to me. Well, others may have downloaded it but they probably don’t use it on their Twitter profile.
  5. Think about some things that are a part of your author brand. For example, I am a poet, a person who likes zombie fiction, a Catholic, a person with same-sex attraction, a cat person, a Star Trek fan…. What you do is you look for Twitter accounts that relate to the topics that touch your author brand, and follow them and retweet some of their stuff.
  6. Learn to use hashtags. You need to know some broad hashtags— #amwriting, #books #Catholic — and some very specific and narrow hashtags. Like #haiku, #micropoetry and #catsforTrump
  7. Click on hashtags that you use to see what other people are saying about your topics. Click ‘like’ on some things you like.  Retweet a few things. Some of the people you have liked and/or retweeted will become your followers.
  8. You will get notifications when people follow YOU. Most of the time it’s a good idea to follow back. Other people you shouldn’t. Such as accounts that have never tweeted but have a thousand followers, accounts selling ‘author services’ or Twitter followers, and accounts that aren’t compatible with your author brand. For example, Evangelical fiction authors won’t want to follow an erotica ‘writer.’ And I, as a conservative, never follow anyone with ‘social justice warrior’ in their profile. Or any progressive account, unless they are poets. Particularly sijo or haiku poets.
  9. Don’t have a service tweet for you. Someone I know used a service to tweet science fiction related things, and it ended up tweeting pictures of naked teenage girls under his name. And he’s an Evangelical Christian author.
  10. Do use free Twitter services that are helpful. Buffer allows you to compose Tweets that can be tweeted at a time you pick. So if you are at work during peak Twitter hours, you can still have Tweets going out then. I have another service that tweets a thanks-for-following to batches of my new followers. I used to have one that would help me unfollow accounts that don’t follow me back. I do unfollow some of those, unless they are the Pope.
  11. Try to get together with Twitter followers you can relate to. Don’t go after teen Twitter users just because they are teens and you write YA. Some teen Twitter accounts are rather appalling— teens who won’t read, have contempt for the 1%, and think that the words ‘but I’m an atheist’ are a logical argument to practically everything. Though they normally spell it ‘athiest’. YA authors, you need to connect with teens who read and think and don’t believe every stupid thing some atheist, progressive or social justice warrior has told them.
  12. Limit your twitter time. Set a timer and do a ‘Twitterdoro’— timed Twitter session— and when the timer goes off, go do something else.

Do you use Twitter? Do you have any tips and tricks of your own that might help me (and others) get better at it?

Note: if learning to use Twitter better is something you are interested in, please say so in a comment. I have some friends who are good with Twitter that I could ask to do a guest post.

How to please the 2 main reader types on your FB author page

facebook-like-iconBig ‘news’ today about Facebook— it is leftist and doesn’t give a fair shake to conservative news stories on its ‘trending’ feature. I think that all conservative Facebook users other than a few people’s great-grandmothers knew that. But— back to our series about improving your Facebook author page.

To write posts that please your readers, you have to understand what kind of people are clicking ‘like’ on your author page. The two major groups are these:

  • People who have read one of your books and sought out your author page to find out more about you. These fans are your true fans— they really like one of your books and probably will buy another book from you.
  • Other authors with fan pages who ‘like’ your page because you are an author, too, and they want to network with you, or get you to ‘like’ their page, or get you to share some of the stories in their feed. And, oh, buy their books.

The first group is going to be easy to please so long as you keep writing books and giving them information on your upcoming books that other fans might not know. They want to feel that THEY are your friends, in an internet sort of way, and the best way to keep these fans buying your books is to treat them like friends.

The second group is more of a hard-sell. They are not interested in YOU or YOUR BOOK, they want to get you interested in buying their book. You have to win them over into being interested in your book. How?

First, ‘like’ all those author pages right back, with your personal account, ‘liking’ as your author page, or both. Then, check your news feed and when those authors have posted things about their writing life, post a short comment or at least click ‘like.’ Just doing that once to twice a month for each author actively posting on their author page can get you some attention.

Next, if one of these authors has really BIG news about their writing, particularly a new book coming out, consider sharing that big news on your own author page. DON’T do this at the peak time for your own original author page posts— you don’t want to compete with those posts that are most important on your page.

Instead, schedule the someone-else’s-news shares for a couple hours after your peak time. You can get in the habit of posting regularly at that time as well, sharing other author’s news or writing about what books you are reading.

Third, make sure your major posts— the ones aimed at your true fans— regularly give information about on what genre you write and what your books are about. Instead of saying ‘Bell Tower’ got several new reviews, say ‘my murder mystery ‘Bell Tower’, or perhaps give your book’s storyline (One sentence summary. ‘My book Bell Tower, a story about a ballroom-dancing hunchback who is framed for the murder of a mime, got several new reviews today.

So many writers don’t do this, they use their book title as if everyone knows about that book. Bad move. Most people don’t, and some of the ones that do may forget. To win new readers, you need to keep that basic information out there.

If you still aren’t getting attention from any of your fellow authors, go nuclear. Read their books. Many authors frequently announce on their author page when a book of theirs is temporarily free in ebook form. When such an announcement is made, and the book is in a genre you are willing to read, download it, read the first chapter, and then, as a comment on the post when the author announced the free ebook thing, announce that you downloaded it, read the first chapter, and say something positive about it.

Since many of the authors who read your page are indie or small press authors concerned about their book sales, you will have won a friend, especially if you write a review on promptly after finishing.

The preceding seems like you will be spending more effort winning over other authors with Facebook pages than with pleasing your true fans. Effort-wise, that may be true, but your author page should look as if your main focus is pleasing the true fans. Because they are what your writing life is all about.

Stuff I read online:

Lifezette: Trump v. Clinton … and Bush by Laura Ingraham
Dave Dubrow: SJWs and Content Creators: Ideological Purity Required
GirlZombieAuthors: Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, The Reward

Get more visitors to your Facebook author page

facebook-like-iconSo, you have a Facebook author page. Your next task is to set about getting some visitors. Here are some ways to get started doing that.

  1.  Add original, quality wall posts daily/Mon-Fri. Original means stuff you wrote yourself, not shares of things from other people’s Facebook page. Quality? At minimum it should be correctly spelled, grammatical and understandable. Your blog posts, syndicated to your Facebook page, count. Other people’s blogs, memes, updates generally do not.
  2. If visitors comment, interact with them— comment back, at least with an emoticon or LOL, and ‘like.’ You want visitors to your page to feel like you are their friend.
  3. ‘Like’ other authors’ Facebook author pages AS YOUR PAGE. From time to time, share some of these pages on your wall with a comment or two about the author. You can also share them on Twitter. I have a list of FB author pages that you can use to get started. More FB author pages will be added in time, so keep checking back.
  4. Interact with the Facebook author pages you have liked regularly. You can find the pages feed for your FB author page on the left side of the page under your profile pic, where it says ‘See Pages Feed.’ Read some of the pages, ‘like’ stuff, comment on stuff. Don’t overdo it by commenting on one page all the time, spread the love around.
  5. ‘Like’ and interact with other FB pages that relate to your genre, category or ‘brand.’ For example, a zombie fiction author might ‘like’ a few of the more active The Walking Dead fan pages, and interact there. If your fiction has a lot of conservative/libertarian political content, find a couple of related political FB pages and post some pithy comments there from time to time.
  6. Join some good FB writing groups. After you have interacted for a while, ask for the links to others’ FB author pages, suggesting that members can all ‘like’ one another’s pages. Be sure you do this on a day that you can keep checking back with the group so you can keep ‘liking’ pages.
  7. Be sure and ask your friends and family to ‘like’ your FB author page. That’s usually good for a few new ‘likes.’
  8. Be patient. Post original, quality content every day for a week and you may feel like no one notices. Do it for a month and your page may feel a little more interactive. Do it for a year, and who knows what might happen?

Don’t miss the next post in the series, ‘like’ my Facebook author page and be kept up-to-date.

Why do writers need a Facebook fan page? #writing

NissaWnameWriters today are saddled with the task of promoting their own books and their own writing career. And most don’t know where to start. One excellent resource is something you may be using already: Facebook.

When you join Facebook, you get a personal FB page. This is not what I’m talking about. A Facebook fan page is what I’m talking about.

Why not just use your Facebook personal page to promote your writing? Personal pages are limiting. No one can see them without making the effort to become your Facebook friend. And you can only have 5000 friends. For a writer, that can be bad. [Facebook Fan Pages vs. Profile Pages: Which is Better for a Writer?]

For a FB fan page to work for you, you build it thoughtfully. This is how you do that:

  • Find a good name for your page. Stephen King, Writer or Stephen King, Author are better than just Stephen King until you get world-famous. You can’t change your page name after you get 100 likes for your page, so choose wisely. My page name is Nissa Annakindt, poet, Aspie and cat person— a little long, but it expresses my quirkiness and promises kitten pictures.
  • Your profile picture should be a decent author photo of you. Not your book cover. Your pic makes your fans feel like they know you, would recognize you if they saw you in Aldi’s or Walmart. My usual profile pic is above— it’s a selfie. I wore the cowboy hat to indicate my interest in the Western genre. Sometimes I change my profile pic to an old family photo of me at about age 4, wearing a cowboy hat also.
  • Your cover photo is where you can put one or more of your book covers, if you are published. Otherwise use a pic that says something about you as a writer. Perhaps a pic of you at your writing work area, at a library, on a zombie walk?
  • Facebook will ask you what kind of page it is. Choose ‘author.’ Even if you are not published yet.
  • Enter information into your ‘About’ section thoughtfully. (I haven’t finished filling out mine yet, must work on that.)

When you have your basic Facebook page set up, then it is time to work on a strategy for posting on the page. Perhaps write down some topics and themes that crop up again and again in your writing life, or in your reading life. For example, my writing, even my poems, very often has religious or political themes. So posting about political or faith-based things will attract the kind of readers I’m looking for.

Tell your writing friends about your FB page. Dont have any writing friends? Join a few good FB writers groups— ones that have actual discussions on them, not ones where the posts are just a series of author self-promos of their books. Interact with the other group members by liking and commenting on their posts. Do about 8-10 comments on other people’s stuff before posting something of your own.

Another trick with Facebook writing groups is to start a topic where everyone is invited to share one another’s Facebook author pages, so that group members can ‘like’ one another’s stuff.

Once you have even 5 or 10 ‘likes’ on your page, make sure you are posting things of interest regularly. In time, your page will grow.


Kredu al la Sinjoro Jesuo, kaj vi estos savita.

la = the
Sinjoro = mister, Lord
kaj = and