August 21, 2012

FB Tip: Listing your "job" as your FB author Page

One of the best ways to connect with readers is for them to find your Facebook author Page organically. Some of our first supporters are family, friends, old classmates, neighbors, co-workers, and fellow authors. Most of us all know how to invite people to "like" our Pages, but not many have their Page listed in their Profile's About section.

I'm feeling lazy today with screen shots and videos, so I'm going to attempt to write out the necessary steps to link your personal FB Profile with your author Page. If it totally bombs I'll go back to video.

First, before we do this, let's make some assumptions. One, you have a FB Profile, whether it's your personal one or for your pen name. And two, you have a FB author Page where you list yourself as an author.

1) Go to your personal profile, and click on the blue About link under your name and personal info.

See mine here

See how it says "Author at C.J. Ellisson" ? The name is highlighted in blue, indicating it is an active FB link. Clicking on it will take people to my actual author page on FB.

2) Select to edit the Work and Education box (the pencil in the upper right corner of the box).

See mine here 

3) Add your current employer by typing in the name of your author Page. It should populate and you can choose it. If it does not, try deleting the other jobs you have listed and try again.

4) If you have multiple series with their own FB pages, or work with a publisher who has a Page, and you'd like to include the info here in your About section, list them as "projects" under your author job and state the dates. You can link to them as well, like you did with your author as your job.

If you list them as separate jobs the most recent date of any "job" will be the one that populates under your name on your profile, like "Works at Avon." You'd be driving people to their Page, but not to your own, which is nice but doesn't gain you any followers.

Those cute jobs that say "Works at Writer", or "Self Employed and Lovin It", or "Romance Author" are fun, but they don't help steer people to your FB Page, which is really the whole point, right?

Hope this helps you gain some followers on your author page.

Please let me know if the steps above don't work for you and I'd be happy to help walk you through it. For one author we had to delete every old job she listed so the system could kind of "reset" and work for her.

Don't give up. I think the added step looks professional and helps your connections to realize, "no, this is not my hobby."

Cheers,
C.J.
July 30, 2012

Facebook Tips Will Start Up Again

I haven't spent much time on this blog since February, and I apologize. I allowed one writer's comments in a Facebook Indie group to drive me away from it. We each have our own opinions and I thought I'd developed a thick skin regarding my peers, but apparently I hadn't. His reaction made me throw my hands up in frustration and walk away from the project. Hell, I should have been writing anyway.

I can't promise not to sound bitchy in this blog occasionally, after all tone is very hard to discern in a blog post and it might be that my attempts at humor fall flat and fail miserably. I swear I am not purposefully trying to put anyone down in my posts, but am genuinely attempting to write with snark to make people smile. If you perceive it as an attack, then go take a stiff couple of drinks and come back and read the post again. This time try reading it out loud, with a high pitch and a smile, and maybe some of the humor will come through ;-)

Instead of sharing what I've learned, I poured more time into writing and released my third novel on deadline. I'm writing again but have noticed I've missed blogging (but only a little, I swear). I think it is a nice way to babble and get some creative thoughts out without the pressure of every damn word must be "golden".

I returned from RWA yesterday and several things made me want to start blogging again. A few experts on the panels gave wrong information, or perhaps they were mis-informed to begin with. So, for any of you who attended them, I'd like to clear some things up.

I went to a PAN (PAN stands for the Published Author Network) presentation on Digital Marketing and learned almost nothing. Aside from the incredibly rude moderator who acted like an em-cee and tried to inject humor when reading the panelist's bios, I did feel the panelists were an interesting group.

One woman, Laura Reeth who is Nora Roberts' Publicist, shared what she felt was a humorous tale of a reader commenting on Nora's wall, asking when the next book was out. She expressed frustration that the commenter didn't even read the pretty banner on the FB page, which showed the cover and the date of the next release.

People in the audience laughed, everyone commiserating on the laziness and slight stupidity of the aforementioned commenter. But you know what? Ms. Reeth doesn't know that of her client's 480k followers almost half access Facebook via their mobile phone. A phone which does not include cover banners when they stop by to comment on an author's Page. It could very well have been a genuine inquiry from an actual reader, a reader eager to buy the next book the moment it comes out.

Her ignorance on how that reader was interacting with her client's Page lead her to believe they were just dumb or lazy, an attitude she passed on with her retelling of the anecdote to over 200+ authors. I did not raise my hand and correct her, to do so would have embarrassed her and the rude moderator from PAN already made us look like sarcastic bitches, so I wisely shut my mouth.

I also attended a 360 Degrees of Promotion panel, where again, people were told the wrong information regarding some Facebook details. The first of which was Facebook friend lists (aka smart lists) and how to utilize them properly, even to interact with their readers. It was downright scary how the people on the panel knew a little, but not enough, to really help the people in the audience. I wanted to raise my hand on that one, but my best friend Boone was sitting next to me and she kept telling me not to.

Hey, it was the beginning of the convention and she was right I shouldn't rock the boat too much. But it did prompt me to go directly to the workshop booth and offer to teach a class for next year -- three classes actually. Facebook for beginners, intermediate, and advanced level stuff. After attending some other workshops I'm adding a fourth -- how to promote cheaply on a limited budget.

I have to apply to teach these workshops and then the powers that be will decide. I'll keep you posted. I did speak up at the Digital Marketing panel I mentioned before, it was regarding how to utilize Facebook Author Pages and increase reader interaction so there are more "people talking about this" numbers on your page.

It wasn't my intention to speak up, but the handsome Harper Collins guy on the panel saw me muttering under my breath when a panelist gave a wrong answer on why an author's posts weren't being shown in people's newsfeeds. I started to answer from my chair (after he asked me to) and then the moderator called me up to speak in front of the whole group of 200+ people.

I almost peed myself. I've done a lot of public speaking, but normally I'm prepared and have some notes. Right when I opened my mouth over the mic, there was a loud chorus of "Who Are You?" from dozens of writers.

I was proudly able to answer, "I'm C.J. Ellisson. The first self-published author to be accepted into PAN in RWA's history." Lots of them clapped and then I gave my answer. I think I answered it well, I may have babbled, I'm not sure. I get like that sometimes when I speak in front of a crowd, I kind of blank on certain parts of it later and can't recall WTF I said.

Apparently, I did well. I had lots of people waiting to talk to me after the panel and more who sought me out during the rest of the conference. People even said "Oh, hey, we were talking about you at dinner last night." Which really freaked me out. I had to hold back from the obvious response of, "all good things, I hope." :-D

Overall, the RWA experience really was amazing. Speaking with so many nice people who wanted to learn, were eager to support one another, and always had a kind thing to say really impressed me. It also impressed upon me how much I've learned, too. Hours and hours of which I should have been writing, but damn, I did it and I taught myself.

I'll start with more tips each week and hopefully some of you will find me at RWA teaching a workshop next year. Please stop by and say hi if you're there.


February 23, 2012

Author Dos and Don'ts on Facebook


Cautionary Note: This post is filled with snark and bitchiness. If you take such things personally and think I'm actually speaking directly to you and my intent is to hurt your feelings, then stop reading and go on to something else more interesting. 'Cause I seriously don't care if I piss you off.

I think this post rant has been long overdue. Let's begin with a list of things you should not, as an author, do on Facebook (FB).

Terms we'll use today:

Profile - your personal FB "page" with a wall and/or the new Timeline setup.
Page - your business page on FB, most likely your author Page.

Here are some spankable offenses, in no particular order:

  • Do not "friend" a peer and immediately pitch your book to them on their profile wall with a link to your Amazon buy page or your website. Here's a clue -- If I don't know you, I don't care about your book. 
And hey, if you're doing this to honest-to-god readers who have graciously accepted your friend request and it actually works to earn you a sale I'd be shocked. This behavior is downright rude and smacks of self-centeredness. Stop it now or I will un-friend your ignorant ass in a heart beat.

  • Do not invite your peers to your online "events" surrounding your book. Let me say this as nicely as I can, I'm your peer, not your target audience. Stop trying to sell me your book.
  • Ditto for blog contests, blog anniversaries, publisher sales and the like. Do not send a FB invite to such an event. I don't want an invite and I bet most of your peers don't either.
  • Do not invite peers to your personal FB group revolving around your book or series unless you know it will be welcome and/or they have told you they want an invite. 
  • Do not place your book cover in your photo albums with a nice little sales pitch and then tag your peers (or readers) in the picture. Dude, seriously? That sucks as a marketing tool, stop it now or I'll spank your ass with my crop.
  • Do not "like" my author Page just to pitch your book on my wall to my 12k+ followers. 
If I know you I'm happy to support your book, and I will gladly do a shout out for you to my followers. If I don't know you I'm now pissed off you just tried to hijack a Page I've spent literally over six months of my life and a significant amount of cash to build. Oh - and news flash, when you post on a Page it is only seen by someone who stops by, it doesn't go out to their followers in a newsfeed update (which is much better coverage and should be your goal when trying something like that).
  • Do not post buy links to your book on your Profile as status updates. These are people you know, right? They have either already bought it or they don't care for the genre. Save "buy me" posts for your Page (and do them very, very sparingly).
  • Turn off your Twitter feed to FB. It looks like all you do is tweet all damn day when someone stops by your Profile or Page and it's filled with Tweets. FB is a different beast, don't treat it like Twitter and clutter it up with crap. If you really want your tweets on your FB Page, then upload a dedicated app for it. It will create a Tab that shows up under your Page's picture and people can access your tweet-happy ass there.
  • Try and refrain from religious and political posts on FB. You will alienate your readers who have friended your Profile and have people "un-like" your Page in droves. Unless, of course, your book is spiritually or politically based to begin with. Then you can feel free to bash whomever you want.
Please don't friend me if you spew hate, think those of us with open minds are idiots, or like to tear apart our government in every other post. I just ignore that stuff and if you're a writer and not a reader I will select to see none of your posts in my newsfeed. FB really does have some great filtering tools, and trust me, you will have no idea who is filtering you.
  • Do not send out private messages to all your connections on FB about your latest release. Read above where I said I don't care about your book. It's true. I don't care about it and now I'm annoyed I'm on a blanket FB message with a hundred other people I don't know.
  • Do not stop by my Profile to say "hi" and after you ask me how I am you include a link to your latest blog post or youtube trailer for your book. Uhh… crappy? Yup, that's crappy. And I won't read it now out of spite. Do I stop by your Profile and ask you to read my blog posts? No, and you know why? As a peer, you are not my target audience and I respect this. So should you.
Okay, and now to prove I'm not just some snarky bitch yelling at everyone, here are some Dos:
  • It is okay to tag a peer or another business in a status update on your Page. You must first "like" the other Page while using FB as your Page (meaning not just click like while using FB as your Profile, and if you don't know what the hell I'm talking about go back and read some old posts, I cover it there). 
In case you haven't noticed, Pages can't tag Profiles on an update. They can tag FB Profiles in an existing comment thread where the person has commented, but not in a status update.

Tagging another Page (using the @ symbol before their name) is a great way to get their readers to notice YOU, as long as you aren't deliberately doing it in a crappy way -- like tagging James Patterson and saying something along the lines of "If you like James Patterson then you will love my novels." That's a shitty way to mention someone and you can bet anyone who admins his page will "hide" such a comment or remove the tag in a heartbeat. And you know why? Because when you tag a Page it shows up on their wall.

A great way to cross promo effectively is to find Pages with interests that relate to your book, then interact on their Page for a day or so and tag them in a status update on your Page. I often share book deals from other popular pages with my readers and tag the page who posted it to thank them for the info. Win/win all around.

  • Do post on a Page introducing your self and asking if they would care to share the link to your Page or the buy link of your book. Do not include the link! Ask for permisson. Then, if they respond that it is okay ask if they would mind sharing it for you since it will be seen by their follows more that way. 
Most business pages do not understand how FB works and if you have been polite enough to ask before spamming you will be a step ahead of most people on FB and the Page may more than likely re-post your data for you. And now you've made a decent connection with someone who won't shudder if they see your Page name come up on their wall.

Example of a possible intro post on another Page, I used this when my book was free during the KDPS program. FIRST -- make sure you are using FB as your Page, not on your personal Profile:

My bestselling novel is up for free for the next three days on Amazon only. Would you all consider sharing the link on your wall? If I post it only people that stop by will see it, and plus, it's kind of rude to do that without asking first. ;-) Just stop by my FB Page (click on my name) and you could share the recent update if you were so inclined. Thanks!

If they respond and post it for you, you damn well better thank them or they will never want to help you out again. Example:


Thank you so much for listing my ebook! With your help, it has been downloaded by over XX readers so far. Really appreciate you sharing it with your followers!

Keep a list of all the people who reposted your link for you and thank the Pages publicly on your wall. It may earn them a few followers and the gesture will not go unnoticed by the Page owners.
  • Do post about other things on your Page besides your book. I share personal anecdotes, ask for help with naming minor and major characters, post links to books I'm reading, share fun stuff regarding vampires if I see it… that kind of thing. But I try my best not to over post. Unless it's something major all happening at once, you will rarely see more than two posts from me per day. And some days I don't post at all.
  • Do try and follow the 80-20 rule. I read this one somewhere so I can't take the credit or blame for it. Talk about other stuff 80% of the time, and anything related to buying your book less than 20% of the time. I'm not sure if I even post stuff about buying my books that often unless we'd count a question format when I'm asking for names or ideas.
  • Do respond to every commenter. If you don't you've effectively told them you don't care about their comment. Which is crappy. Click "like" or address them individually in your response by tagging them -- this is crucial. If you don't they may never know you responded in a long thread with lots of commenters and the whole point to this is to make connections with people, so do it right.
  • Do thank every reader who has tracked your profile down to "friend" you. Either in a PM or directly on their wall. You're trying to build a rapport, remember? If you don't take the time to thank them then they may not feel comfortable interacting with you first. 
Do I do this if you're a writer who has friended me? No, I don't. If you friended me b/c you actually bought my books I'd be surprised. Most writers go down another writer's friends list and just friend people who look like peers to increase their professional connections. I get it. Realtors were the same way when I was in the business. But since you're not my target audience I don't feel the need to drum up a rapport with you as much as I would an actual honest-to-god reader.
  • Do categorize everyone who friends you. Remember those smart lists I mentioned a few weeks back and the homework assignment I gave you to sort everyone out? Well, that was crucial for building your follower base on FB and it's crucial for you to understand how to interact with people.
Sure, I may have more in common with the daily posts from my peers, but they aren't supporting me like readers so I rarely spend time interacting with their updates on my newsfeed. FB, just like Twitter, is a social networking tool. If you don't change your mindset about whom you're interacting with on FB and why, then you will forever have more peers on your friend lists and following your Page than you will actual readers.

I think I've rambled long enough today. If I think of more dos and don'ts to add to this list I'll share them with you all. Tune in tomorrow and I'll share the video tutorial of the welcome page I designed for Get 10,000 readers through pagemodo.com

Toodles,
C.J.
February 21, 2012

FB Tutorial for Author Pages #3

Kids had the day off from school yesterday and it messed up my writing and blogging mojo -- sorry for the delay.

I had a request last week to go more in depth on static pages for business pages and I will -- I'll air it with an Author's Dos and Don'ts list for Facebook before Friday, so check back to see it.

This tutorial covers how to invite Contacts, set a username, set page default to All posts, deleting blog posts in Networked Blogs, install some static pages (like Contact me) and rename them, but it doesn't go as in depth as some of you might need. I recorded it before the request was made last week, so the ones I'll post next will show you some step by step guidance on creating a "like gate" welcome page.



As a little experiment, let's see how many of you are on Facebook and wouldn't mind supporting GTR and get some daily tips for authors:

http://www.facebook.com/get10000readers

Go on, give it a click. You know you want to. Oh, and you'll get to see the new like gate page I installed and will air the tutorial for in my next post.

~ C.J.
February 13, 2012

FB Tutorials for Author Pages #1 & 2

Hey, everyone! We're back and I've got more video tutorials for you.

I'll be doing a series of these for people to learn the basics of how to set up an author Page and how to use all of the FB functionality to better gain you exposure and readers. If you already have the basics down pat, skim what the topics covered in each one are before wasting time watching them.

The first one covers how to upload a "profile" picture for your Author Page and use the pictures above your Page's wall as an effective "banner".



The second video covers adding Apps to your Page like YouTube and Static HTML Pages, editing the Tab name for these applications, Info/Links on Banner Images, and inviting FB friends to "like" your Page.



On Wednesday I'll be posting a third video on uploading contacts, setting a username to your page, making sure your Page shows all posts and not just your own, how to delete posts imported via the NetworkedBlog app, and how to insert a ContactMe Tab.

If you have a specific question or topic you'd like me to cover in these intro videos, please let me know in a comment below. I may not sound the best in these videos, but I've found the time it takes me to show you what to do via video capture software is a heck of a lot faster than writing coherent instructions out step-by-step. Who knew?

As the weeks progress the information covered will gradually increases in difficulty, so if the topics I'm covering now you already know well, please feel free to stop back at a later date and see what we're covering then.

Wishing you all well on your quest to reach more readers,
~ C.J.
February 8, 2012

Facebook Author Video #1


Monday's post talked about FB and why you need an author Page. Today I'll show you some dos and don'ts.

Ahh… here it is… my first attempt at a tutorial. I ramble a bit while doing the multiple comparisons, but hey, we all have to start somewhere, right?

Next video will be on building the Get 10,000 Readers Facebook Page. Never a dull moment here on GTR -- enjoy!




February 6, 2012

Where to Find Readers Post #2

Welcome back, everyone. Last week's post was more of a run down on where NOT to find readers, and the week before was dedicated to why you might want to listen to the crap… er… uh… advice I post here.

I've slowly been getting my feet wet with Twitter, but I still find the best place to met real readers is Facebook (FB). Facebook's culture is all encompassing. I rarely meet people connected through girl or boy scouts, our kids' school, neighbors, or my local book club on Twitter, but almost every single one of them is on Facebook.

The inflated numbers I see on Twitter are due to one simple fact: these people are on BOTH social networks. Many will prefer one over the other, but I'm betting most Twitter users are also on FB.

You may be one of a large group who were angry at Facebook's privacy issues a while back, or their use of your photos in targeted ads (which I believe also stopped), but first and foremost, most issues grew from users' ignornace of how to use Facebook properly.

There is so much to cover on Facebook regarding authors and building a following that I will try my best to cover things in a linear fashion. First -- do you have an author Page or are you using your Profile? Do you understand there is a difference? There is, so let me begin with some FB jargon.

Terms we will use today:

Profile: referring to your FB personal profile
Page: referring to your FB business page
Apps: Free and paid applications you can use on your Page (NOT Farmville ;-)
Tab: the little icons that show up under a Page's "profile" picture (to the left), and represent different static pages a user can access on your Page

It's simple to create a business Page and everyone who is taking their career seriously should do it.

"I have a pen name."

Facebook used to be real sticklers about pen name Profiles a few years back. I'm not sure what their policies are now. If you didn't use a real name you ran the risk of FB deleting your account with no notice whatsoever. I'd met writers who were coming over from MySpace at the time and had lost 2k "friends" because their pen name wasn't a real person.

With that in mind, I launched my business Page back in April 2009, when most of the functionality was extremely limited, and I mean extremely. For example, you couldn't even comment under a post -- if you wanted to thank someone for posting you had to send them a message.  A direct message which inconveniently used my real name from my real profile and was not from the business page. It was a mess and led me to create a FB Profile with my legally registered pen name -- worried the whole time FB might delete it for being "fake".

"Why go through all this? I like interacting with folk on my profile. It's easier and I know how to use it."

Let's start off with some whys and then I'll list some hows:

  1. Facebook caps you at 5k "friends" right now. Which may not seem like a possibility, but it will be some day.
  2. FB has implemented a new subscriber feature for Profiles, which is great, but it still isn't the same because Profiles have limited functionality for diverse user interactions (meaning Tabs and Apps).
  3. Profiles require a lot more security settings to master. With a Page, everything is public so it's easier to understand what you should and should not post.
  4. Use your Profile for your work and personal interactions (meaning family, friends, dedicated readers and peers) and understand that your Page is your public face.
  5. Pages allow more dynamic engagement from an interested person through available FB applications without them having to become "friends" with you (and yes, some real people don't want lots of "friends" they don't actually know).
"Should I have more than one Page?"

That depends. I don't recommend one with the title of your book, series, or character name. Too much work in maintenance and in building a following. You're going to write more than that one book or one series, right? You're not going to be solely defined by that character, correct?

This is about branding YOU, your author name. Nor do I recommend something really long like "John King, Official Facebook Author Page". The reasoning is every time you post an interaction anywhere using your Page that long-ass moniker will show up.

Think long term--go for short, sweet and professional. When I made my Page I couldn't have a Profile with the same name, so my C.J. Profile has a lowercase "j" in it. I wasn't an author yet, so putting "Author" on the end for the Page never even occurred to me. Hey, I didn't say I was the brightest bulb in the box.

"I have two pen names." 

Well then, yes, you'll want one for each because I'm assuming it is a different genre and audience. If you're one of those romance authors who has two because she/he also writes erotica then I'm sorry you took such bad advice and split yourself in essentially the same field. I suggest two names when there is a clear delineation between adult content and children appropriate content or fiction and non-fiction. 

To think you really need one for sci-fi, one for horror, and one for romance is just a waste of time. If a reader likes your voice and style they may like you in other genres as well. I know I read cross genre, don't you? 

This is your brand -- don't create more work for yourself by essentially splitting yourself into building two different reader bases at the same time. No matter how good you are, one will not get the attention it deserves. But, for the sake of argument, I acknowledge this is a personal decision for every writer, so do as you will.

Okay, you've created your Page and understand the why of why you needed it. Yay! Now when you look at it, it's empty. I plan on devoting all of next week's post to how you can fill up your Page with Tabs and content to look professional before you start attracting people to it. But first, I need you to do something with your Profile.

You need to go through all of your friends and categorize them into lists. This is crucial and very, very time consuming. Make them something simple like family, friends, acquaintances, writers, readers… or as diverse as you need. But do it. And the longer you wait, the harder it will be.

I'm using FB Timeline, not the old set up, but I did start my lists before Timeline when I had about 400 contacts and have diligently categorized every new contact since then. How to access Friends for lists:
  1. While on your FB "Home" screen, look to the left.
  2. Choose "Lists". Mine was near the bottom and hidden until I hit the "More" option.
  3. If all of them don't show up, click "More" to the right of the "Lists" header.
  4. You'll see a bunch of FB SmartLists. These are pre-made lists and you might want to utilize some. To learn more about SmartLists, go here. 
  5. "Can I edit existing Lists?" Yes, read this.
  6. Create a new list and put people on it: Hit +Create List and methodically go through all your friends. Work in chunks if that is easier.
  7. Adding new friends: The moment you accept a new friend immediately categorize them using the drop down menu next to "Confirm". Writers are easier to spot because you'll have a lot of "mutual friends". If you don't know, stop by their Profile to figure out how you know them. They may very well be a reader (and yes, some old friends are indeed readers and it's okay to put your real friend on both lists), you won't know until you look.
Next, after you've done this horribly boring and tedious task, do it with your email contacts. You won't know who your readers are until you start examining everyone you have had contact with. I wish to God I'd started it from the get go. It literally took me days to do.

We'll cover more next week. I bet if you do all that we covered here, you'll be surprised how many readers you actually DO know already.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to say howdy if you have something to add or share. I upgraded the comments section to Disqs, which I also use on my website -- it allows you to fix a typo and it let's you reply individually to folk, much better in my opinion! Literally hundreds of you stopped by each day last week and I'm hopeful things will build over time and become an interactive dialogue.

Cheers,
C.J.

See? Not Talkin' Out My Ass!

About this blog:

"Who the heck is this C.J. chick?"

Sure, you may not have heard of me and that's okay. I may not have heard of you either ;-) But ask yourself this one simple question -- What were you doing in January 2009 and had you ever written one word of fiction?

I can tell you where I was and what I was doing. I spent days in doctor's offices and sitting at home the rest of the time, wondering what I was going to do with my time now that my property management and Realtor business was on hold for the foreseeable future.

That's right, I never wrote a fictional piece before and I never thought I could be a writer. My background is Art, Chemistry and Business… not English, Journalism, or Creative Writing.

Now, I'm an award-winning bestselling author of contemporary fantasy. In under three years. And I have over 10,000 followers on facebook. Do you? 'Cause if you do then you probably don't need my help. ;-)

Side Note: I use an editor for all my books (several in fact), but not on my blog posts. So if you see errors, try to be nice and overlook them.

Please comment on the posts you find helpful -- I look forward to getting to know you!

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