Monday, October 21, 2013

Facebook for Writers: Do You Need an Author Page?

Maintaining a presence on Facebook is time-consuming. First, you need a personal Profile Page and some friends. Then you'll want to connect with potential readers in Facebook Groups interested in topics you write about. In addition, you're supposed to create and maintain an Author page. Or maybe not. This article discusses the Pros and Cons of Author Pages, recent changes to Facebook and how they affect writers, as well as tips for getting the most out of Author and Profile Pages.

Author Pages 101

Benefits of an Author Page

- Promote your writing on your Author Page without spamming friends and family who follow you on your personal Profile Page.

- Some publishers consider an Author page with lots of fans a sign of professionalism. (No snickering, please.)

- Schedule posts in advance to save time.

- Profile Pages limit the number of Friends you can have. An Author Page doesn't. (To get around the limitations of a Profile Page, see "Using Your Profile Page as an Author Page" below.)

- If you are operating your Profile Page as a business you are technically in violation of Facebook's rules. (Not sure this is an issue for writers.)

- See statistics on your Fans (Age, sex, where they live)

A Facebook Author Page provides demographic information about your fans -- information that maybe useful in a book proposal.

Drawbacks of an Author Page

- Adding Fans to an Author Page is more difficult than adding Friends to a Profile Page. With a Profile Page, you can basically send a friend request to anyone you want. With an Author Page, you can't view a person's Profile Page, send requests directly to them, or even comment on their posts -- even if they've Liked your Author Page.

- Facebook continues to limit the Reach, or number of Fans who actually see your posts. (See "Tips: Reach More Fans with Your Posts" below)

- Upcoming changes by Facebook might make Author Pages even less useful. For example, the proposed addition of a Follow button on your Author Page means someone could Like your page without receiving your updates.

- Personal Pages offer some of the same features. Adding the Follow feature to your Profile Page, allows more people to see your public Posts. (See "Using Your Profile Page as an Author Page" below for more on this)

Tips: Get More Followers

- Visit your Author Page from your Profile Page and invite Friends listed there to Like your Author page.

- Ask friends on your Profile Page to Like your Author Page.

- Pay up: Buy and ad or pay to Promote an Author Page post to people who don't already follow you. Caveats. (My unsatisfactory experience with paying to promote a post.)

- Add lots of Friends to your Profile Page and then convert it to an Author Page. (After you do this, you'll need to create a new Profile Page to interact with Facebook groups.)

- Post a Like button on your blog and in e-mail signature. Unclear if this works.

- Other tips of questionable usefulness.

Log into your Profile page, visit your Author Page, and "Invite Your Friends to Like This Page."

Tips: Reach More Fans with Your Posts

- From your Profile Page, visit your Author Page and "Like" some posts. Yeah, this is sleazy, but it works.

- Upload photos or videos to Facebook instead of just posting links that take readers off of Facebook. Maybe I'm cynical and paranoid, but it seems that posts that don't lead visitors away from Facebook, reach more people.

- Pay for an ad or promote a post to your Fans that explains if they want to see your posts, they need to Like or comment on a post on occasion.

Tips for Book Authors

Instead of creating an Author Page, authors may want to use their Personal Page for interacting with Fans and create a separate page for any books they've written. This is also another way for people searching for you or your books to find you on the Web. Here's a Book Page created by author Jenna Blum, who also has a Profile Page with almost 4,000 Friends.

One of Jenna Blum's Book Pages on Facebook

Jenna Blum also has a Profile Page with 3,900 "Friends."

Using Your Profile Page as an Author Page

To get the most out of your Profile Page, you'll need to turn on a feature called "Follow," which lets people you don't know -- or even like -- follow posts you designate as "Public." These folks will not see Posts you want to share only with "real" friends. This feature is similar to the Follow feature on Twitter.

Why Bother with Follow
 - You can maintain just one Page, your Profile Page, on Facebook.

- If you've befriended a lot of people you didn't know before, you can Unfriend them and they'll see only your Public Posts

- It saves time: If someone sends you a Friend request -- you don't need to respond and they'll still see your Public Posts.

Some good posts that explain how to activate Follow on Facebook.
- Instructions from Facebook
- Instructions from a smart blogger (other than yours truly)
- Add a Follow button to your blog.
- Five Reasons to Use Your Profile Page Instead of an Author Page
(thanks to Paula Krapf ofAuthor Marketing Experts for this last link)

More Articles on Facebook

Social Media for Writers: Facebook Is Not Your Friend 

Book Marketing: More on Facebook Ads and Promotions


Top of Page Art attribution: Steindy, 16 September 2013 via Wikimedia Commons  

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