When my new release came out this spring, my friends told me, “You must have a Facebook party.”
I freaked. I didn’t know what to do and my party was scheduled for hours and hours, so I did some research on line and gathered other authors’ advice. I attended a few parties. Then I had my own. Thanks to other authors’ wonderful suggestions, my party was a success. Right away, I liked the process, and I really enjoyed doing take-overs, where you as an author are a guest host at another author’s party.
For the last few months I’ve been a frequent guest and fellow host at Facebook events, and as a kind of payback, I’d love to share what I’ve learned.
- Pick a time and date. Decide how long you want your party. In my experience, an hour is a long time when you’re hosting a party, so be wary of 24 hour parties. Pick a manageable length and host it at a time your diehard fans can attend. Next, decide if you’re hosting alone or if you want to invite other authors to “take over” part of your party time.
I like the “take over” option. If other authors “take over” they’ll invite their friends and fans, and you’ll likely have a broader audience. Also, it’s fun to check out what others do and to get to make comments and just be a party goer.
- Invite lots of people, but make sure you have a core group of diehard fans or friends, people who will absolutely participate. This will encourage lurkers to join and make your party more fun.
- Ask one of those super loyal friends to show up physically (come to your home) and sit with you (on another computer) as your assistant. That person can watch the feed and make sure you didn’t miss your guests’ comments.
- Prepare your script and your pictures in advance, so that you’ll only have to copy and paste them into the Facebook post. You will need a picture or a post which could be a question, a comment, a game or an info-bit about your book every 3-5 minutes.
- Expect some dead time, some moments that you’re confused and some snafus. It’s okay to be human. Just try to roll with the unexpected and know that guests will likely enjoy the party even if it’s not perfect.
- Make special banners, pictures or teasers for your party. Canva.com or Pic College or Adobe Spark are free programs that can help you. Also, you can look for already-made humorous gifs and cartoons on line at sites like memegenerator.net. Try to give credit for the images you use.
- Let guests ask questions and try to answer them all.
- Try to acknowledge comments and likes even if you need to scroll back in your feed again and again to do so.
- Remember to hit refresh, so you can see current activity and comments.
- Offer prizes, but remember they don’t have to be huge cash amounts and before you offer them, plan how you will award them and how you’ll get them to your winners. Announce or contact your winners as soon as you can. You may have to ask for e-mail addresses or give badges that can be attached to Facebook messages. Some party hosts give physical prizes. Budget for postage costs and collect mailing addresses if you plan to do this.
- Plan some games. Soon I’ll post my suggestions for Facebook games.
I hope your Facebook parties are successful. Let me know, and if you need suggestions or another author to do a takeover, feel free to e-mail me. miaATmiacelesteDOTcom