In this section:
One of the best tools you can use is Facebook. Every day, it gets more likely that you already have a Facebook account; there are over a billion users, but most don't take full advantage of the features that allow people or organizations to market themselves.
If you do have a Facebook page, please ensure that it is included in your Profile. There is a box provided for this link – please include the http://. This will then link to your author page on our website, and readers will be able to link to your Facebook page from there.
(You can also add your website, blog, RSS Feed and Twitter handle to your JHP Profile, which will all feed through to your author page on the website.)
We have Facebook pages for the majority of our imprints. All are at different stages of development. If you are active on Facebook, please have a look at our Reader Networks, like, and connect with the one that matches your imprint/cluster of imprints.
We also have closed Facebook groups specifically for JHP authors to share their news.
Choose the group applicable to you and use the link to ask to join the group. You must be a contracted (signed) author with us to join our groups.
Your publicist will link to you and your Facebook page when working on your book. Sharing one of our posts that concerns your book or another that is of interest to you, helps widen the possible audience. Facebook algorithms dictate how many people see your updates. There are few things that you can do to increase the number of people that see a post.
Copy and paste a link into a Facebook status update, and Facebook automatically generates a link preview. So, if you have an article or interview online, use the URL (website address for the page where the item is). Once the link is previewed below your status update, you can delete the link in the status and replace it with your own text. Use the @ sign to link to named sources on your text – we do this for author names that then ensures that our status about their book will appear automatically on their feed.
Visual posts get more views than text posts or linked articles - a lot more. So publicists produce Memes for books we are working on (see the section on Memes, with examples here). We upload these memes to ‘articles’ on the Marketing Page. You can use them how you see fit. They can also be used on Twitter. See here for more information on Twitter.
Here is a list of Facebook groups you can join that welcome all book-related posts. Share your book links, interviews, podcasts, blogs, videos with these groups and reach new readers.
The single most important part of marketing yourself on Facebook is maintaining your author page (also known as a fan page).
We have invested much in growing our own publishing fan pages to give our authors another platform for showcasing new releases. It's tough. Facebook evolves at lightning speed, and what works today may well not work tomorrow. Nevertheless, what follows is our most up-to-the-minute advice on building an audience on Facecbook.
Social media is an art, not a science. So always remember to be creative, experiment, be authentic, and play with different ideas.
Facebook is social media, so it is social. If you met someone at a party and the first thing you said to them was "Buy my book!" they will likely be put off. If you interact authentically, and imbue your communciation with your personality, then people are far more likely to respond. The hard sell all the time puts people off. So while you may want to use your page simply to convey news about you and your writing, this alone may not be enough. You have to communicate in a way which aligns with your personality, but bear in mind people like to argue, be provoked, inspired, and to laugh, and always aim to engage not just to tell.
Facebook artificially constrains who sees posts – if 1000 people like your page, then a very small percentage of them will see your posts. If you make posts which see a high level of engagement, then this number will rise. Alternatively you can do what Facebook want you to do which is to pay them to guarantee people who like your page to see your posts. However you need to do this intelligently otherwise it could get expensive quickly.
It will take time to build an audience on your author page. Don't expect to be a smash hit instantly, and be prepared to practice patience.
When you create a new page, you can invite everyone you are friends with to like that page. Advise them to set your page to "see first" – which means people are guaranteed to see your posts.
When boosting posts, you should be looking to boost posts that have already received good traction. Boosting posts that have no likes or comments will cost you more and will see less interaction. Look at your page insights, find the best-performing posts, and boost one or two of those per month. It's also best to use the Facebook ads manager as opposed to hitting 'boost' under a post. Boosted posts aren’t always the best return on investment, as they may not be optimized for what you truly want. You can dive into the Ads Manager and get a little bit more advantage.
Hashtags only work on IG or Twitter; forget it for Facebook or any other platform.
You may wish to boost and promote your Page or certain posts. It is worth ensuring you have plenty of quality content (as described above) before advertising your Page, so that when people visit it, there is enough featured to tempt them to stay. You can boost a post or promote a page. Facebook allows you to select a targeted audience, choosing demographics, interests, you can even choose people who "like" a similar author. You can promote on a limited budget, currently starting at £1/$1 per day.
You may wish to share admin roles with others, so they may post on your behalf. You will be able to see who posts what, but the general public cannot; it will all appear as your Page. Ensure that your other admins are aware of Facebook’s visibility issues, and consider a schedule, so that you don’t end up with 10 posts on one day, which smothers the most important post you were planning to make.
There are various applications that will make simultaneous or timed and scheduled posts to all your social-media streams.
It is important that the post you choose to boost is well constructed so that you get the most engagement and reach. Reach is the number of people who have seen the advert. Engagement is the amount of people who interacted with (liked, commented or shared) the post. If you have a post which is already getting a lot of likes and comments and you haven’t boosted it yet, then you should seriously consider doing so!
Here a few tips for creating a great social media post to promote your book:
Here's an example of advertising copy for my book, Haunted, Horror of Haverfordwest
Dare you read? Reviewers are calling Haunted: Horror of Haverfordwest one of the most frightening true accounts ever written.
Compelling and disturbing chronicle of what happens when ordinary people are subjected to extraordinary events ~ Fortean Times
One of the spookiest writers around, G.L Davies dares you to enter his latest haunted house. A couple are pushed to breaking point as an entity possesses their home. Terrifyingly real, this is a must-read for horror fans. Sequel to the bestselling A Most Haunted House (Bonus: Included as a new edit) Dare you step inside... https://amzn.to/2BImG1X
This chilling read will certainly start to worry the reader and will certainly have them looking behind them at some stage – Fred Batt, Most Haunted.
This is a modern paranormal masterpiece, complete with the original A Most Haunted House and a must-read section on explanations, this is possibly the most important paranormal account of the 21st Century – K-Town, Mysterious Radio
Once you have created the post, post it. You are now ready to boost it (please note, sometimes it takes several boosts to refine your audience). When you come to the boost page, Facebook will ask you what your objective is:
As you want to sell the book and for people to go to Amazon, we recommend you choose the former. Now, refine your ad – select People who you choose through targeting for your audience.
Once you have created and saved your audience, location, and interests, set duration and budget you will then be given an Estimated People Reached number. This is how many people Facebook believe will see your post per day.
You will then have to set up payment details – credit card or PayPal. You can limit your spending in your payment settings as well as setting payment dates. Please note, if you fail to pay your Facebook bill, you may find that Facebook severely limits your user status and engagement with other Facebook users.
Before your post is boosted, Facebook will check that it lies within their community and advertising standards. So avoid inappropriate language and images in your post. Even images of horror, partial nudity, people suffering distress or extreme paranormal events can be flagged as inappropriate and the boost rejected. Facebook will notify you if an image has too much text on it, and often refuse to use it. Our text ad example with an Amazon link works perfectly and effectively.
I try and capture the weekend reader. I start my boost on a Thursday and end it on a Monday. I budget $25 ($5 per day). I let it run into Monday, as I hope that people who commute or have the day off or a holiday planned, will make the decision to buy my book at the start of the week (or ready for the next weekend).
On summer holidays (semester), bank holidays, and key days (Halloween, Christmas) I will increase my budget to $50 ($10 per day) or run over 14 days.
I always try and boost towards the end of the month and into a new month, as many people are paid at the end of the month and are more likely to make a purchase decision.
My last 5-day campaign (my 12th since book release), on a $25 budget, generated a 12.3K reach for 296 click-throughs, which put my book at #1 in several Amazon categories for the duration of the boost plus several days after, as those readers promoted the book through word of mouth.
If you wish to promote to two countries, then run two different posts for maximum effect (unless you are planning a huge campaign spanning several weeks and several hundred dollar budget).
Experiment with boosts, note the results, and build up a profile of your readers. You can experiment with trying to engage other age groups, interests, and behaviours and within two to three boosts you should see trends appear on who is interested in your book.
Start on a modest budget ($25 to $50) and build from there. As you see the results coming in, you can reinvest back into advertising your books. Always remember to note down the statistics from each post to what works.
You can stop or pause a boost at any time, but please note that it can take up to 24 hours for the boost to effectively increase engagement and reach. Happy boosting!
Here is an example of Facebook boosting for Raising Faith: A true story of raising a child psychic.
The author and I had noticed a trend from a previous boost – a certain sort of person was engaging. We targeted them specifically for this post.
The post reached 2400 people and 71 people clicked through, and by Sunday, the book was #1 in its Amazon category.
As a comparison, I ran the same post using different parameters.
This post reached 1400 users and had 31 engagements.
When I checked the analytics for my post, the main engagement came from UK woman aged 30-65.
This confirmed our judgement that boosting to a female-only audience was currently the most effective tactic.
As you might expect with a range of imprints focusing upon different books and markets and utilising different publicity strategies, the extent to which Facebook is used is a judgment call between Publisher and Publicist. What follows is an example of how one of our imprints, Moon Books, made effective use of Facebook throughout the entire lifecycle of a book.
From its inception Moon Books has pursued a policy of developing a reader / writer community with Facebook at the centre. Naming the Goddess was a product of this policy. For the second part of the book the Publisher invited Facebook followers to contribute to a gazetteer of Goddesses. There was an enthusiastic response and the book ended up with eighty-five contributors. During the writing phase of the project, Facebook was used not only as a vehicle to attract contributors, the whole process ran through a dedicated Facebook group set-up to accommodate the project and articles were transmitted via Facebook messaging.
Facebook was also used to gather endorsements with the Publisher messaging well-known authors and commentators in the book’s field (not only did many contribute endorsements but we had to delay the book’s production as some people asked if they could contribute to it!)
Finally, the book has been promoted heavily using Facebook. When the book was released, for example, we ran the ebook at a special offer price and advertised this solely using Facebook.
Facebook remains a central element of Moon Books’ Social Media strategy, using closed groups to support, authors, casual writers and ebook readers. Other imprints have used Facebook in other creative ways to engage readers and promote their titles, insuring its continuing growth across all our publishing areas.