Facebook Events: How-To

With Facebook being the number #1 preferred social media platform available, it is a shame to miss out. But how can an author make Facebook effectively work for their writing career? This is where “Takeovers” come in.

Prior to Takeovers, authors couldn’t say much more than “like my Facebook page.” But to what end? Some authors reserve certain topics just for Facebook while others only repeat information found on their websites. “Like my Facebook Page” did little to impress.

 

What is a Takeover?

A Takeover is an online party. It is normal for a book release party to be thrown for an author when their book releases. They rent out space in a pub, invite their friends, serve drinks, and mingle. The event is open invitation and the paperback is put on display for purchase so anyone can show up, meet the author congratulate the accomplishment, buy the book, and leave. Book Release parties are one of the strongest ways to launch a book and bring in sales fresh out the door. Remember the Harry Potter Midnight Madness Parties? It’s that only imagine J.K. Rowling there as the host.

Now, at a live party, there is a lot to do. Games, prizes, eating, drinking… But online… there really isn’t much to do. The internet mandates a spotlight as something always must be happening or people surf somewhere else. But it is exhausting for an author to host for an entire day. Enter… the Takeover!

 

How it works…

I’m releasing my book. I am an introvert and can’t afford to buy out a local bar. Instead, I take things online. To Facebook! I may be the host, but I only have 1,000 dedicated readers on my site. At best, it would be just them listening to me talk about how great I am for 8 hours. NOT impressive.

So I invite C.L. Schneider to my event and I hand her an hour to promote herself and entertain my readers. We share the spotlight. And it’s more credible when she tells people how great I am and I, in turn, tell people how great she is (and she is). She brings her readers to my event, adding her 1,000 to my 1,000. Now us two are entertaining our combined 2,000 readers. We’re not done yet. I invite Matthew William Harrill, Chess DeSalls, Adam Dreece… the list builds. And for every author, we invite an additional 1,000 people. Now we’re up to 5,000 people.

FYI… I have witnessed, followed, participated in, and hosted more than 4-dozen Facebook Takeover events. In every one of them, 10% to 20% of those invited showed up. At the moment, 484 people have been invited to Helldat Takeover. 43 are going (10%). 475 people were invited to Chess DeSalls Takeover Event. 81 went. (20%) Invite people! I can not express that enough.

Although I am the host, I invite authors to “takeover” my event for an hour to give me a break from selling. Takeovers go a long way for an author.

 

What does it look like?

Unlike most other online events, Takeovers allow you to talk to your readers directly… and vice-versa. As a result, it provides a more personal touch. Like a politician who walks out and “meets the people.” This goes a long way to establishing long-time fans and readers. I have picked up my first and most dedicated fans from another author’s Facebook Takeover event. Don’t underestimate this opportunity.

You have one hour (usually). I have done Takeovers where I planned my hour, while other times, I have improvised them. Planning worked out best for me, but I also enjoy the energy from an improv. No matter what, you will need to prepare! Like a chef getting ready to film a cooking show, you will need to set out your ingredients before hand. I’ll tell you what you’ll need in a moment. First, let’s look at the schedule and what I usually do in my hour.

 

Here is how my schedule usually goes:

  • Welcome and introductions…
  • Giveaway #1 + Games
  • Bio, About the Author

15 minutes has already passed. This is the slowest of the hour as people take top of the hour to grab a bathroom break or something to eat. Others are settling in preparing to meet you and are looking for something to comment on.

  • Giveaway #2 + Games
  • My first book… Dolor and Shadow
  • Book trailer
  • Excerpt
  • Book Reading
  • Book Covers
  • Blurb

30 minutes in. Now I’m hopping, trying to answer questions and comments while keeping pace. This next run is the most hectic for me because now I’m getting comments and conversations happening on the posts from the first 30 minutes.

  • Giveaway #3 + Games
  • My second book…Broken
  • Book trailer
  • Excerpt
  • Book Reading
  • Book Covers
  • Blurb

45 minutes in. You can have up to 50+ comments by now. Keep on top of them…

  • Giveaway #4 + Games
  • Talk up my website
  • Blog Novels
  • Story Time
  • Featured Reads
  • Closing and Thanks

As you can see, I didn’t even have time to talk about a 3rd book OR Brain to Books. I also need to work in buy links, Social Media links, follow me promo… There is a LOT to cover in an hour. AND… you are usually expected to promo your host, which I like to work into my games.

 

Keeping Track…

If you’ve ever spent five minutes on Facebook, you know it’s formatted in Blog Form. This means if you post at 1:00 PM, by 4:00 PM, your post will be lost and forgotten in a whole line of posts. When it came to going back and looking up Giveaways… Let’s just say, five authors later and the next day I couldn’t find anything about my own posts. The solution required two parts.

  1. Save your posts. Then, while you are logged in to Facebook, go to https://www.facebook.com/saved.
  2. Compose a post on your blog linked to the giveaways you saved.

You’ll never go hunting again. And—this is the beautiful part of this—when reader Joe who missed your event, gets out of work, he can head to your site, see your post, then select each link and be taken right to you giveaways where he can enter! I can not tell you how many people have come into a Facebook event through my site because of this feature.

View a sample

 

Using your resources…

This is where I got really creative. One my first takeover, I improvised it. I improv most my takeovers. It was crazy sitting down, typing and pulling links, posting book covers… It was overwhelming. I got through it and wow! It was amazing! An hour long adrenaline rush.

On my second takeover I was better prepared. I made sure all my links and excerpts were ready in advance. This made for less time searching and more time talking.

By my third takeover, I jumped onto my webcam and recorded me talking. I could smile, laugh, joke… suddenly things really changed! Down side? Not everyone can view the videos. You want to keep them low.

On my fourth takeover, I was using the webcams alongside posts.

In my fifth takeover, Facebook booted me and locked me out for overposting. Heheheheeee… Posting too fast is mistaken for “spam.” Mid-takeover, they locked me out and I could only reply to comments.

 

What to do?

To know what to do, you will need to know what kind of posts you have at your disposal.There are two types of post: Information and/or Interactive. Do not just post information. This is information dump and dulls the readers. Keep them entertained with games that entice them to interact! This builds up energy for a successful takeover.

 

Information Posts:

  • Your Bio
  • Book Blurb
  • Book Cover
  • Excerpt

Interactive Posts:

  • Games
  • Links
  • Subscribe
  • Videos to Watch

Award Giveaways!

Games

  • Caption This (Post a funny pic then have people caption it).
  • Chain Story (Start a story and have people continue it)
  • Post memes (Request themed memes)
  • 2-word themed story (Post a theme and have people add only 2 words to continue the story)

Selecting Winners.

I strongly recommend random winners. I once ran a game where they had to post a funny booze-related pic. I announced I would be selecting the winner who made me laugh the most. It came down to 5 pics! I couldn’t choose. Fortunately, 4 of those pics were posted by the same person. I selected them as the winner. Since then, I only select winners randomly.

Also consider international shipping costs. Are you able/willing to ship to an international country? What will you do for international players?  Consider finances when it comes to shipping. Always look at Media Shipping in the US if you’re shipping a book.

 

Things to keep in mind when planning:

  • The hour goes FAST.

I mean… FAST! I budget 15 minutes for Dolor and Shadow, 15 minutes for Broken, 15 minutes for Brain to Books, 15 minutes for Bio and back story, 15 minutes for my website, 15 minutes for my Blog Novels… Get it? As you can see, I can EASILY fill 90 minutes.

  • Use Giveaways to break up and mark the 15 minutes. Set aside 10 to 15 minutes just to reply to comments.

While you type and post, people are commenting on your posts. You can’t see them posting until you refresh the page! At times, I refresh and have seen 40+ comments suddenly! Between the comments, you will be hopping!

  • Engage and interact with the public!

This is your chance to win people over with your personality! Personality, above all else, sells books. You! Use it!

  • Don’t forget to post your buy links.

Everyone does this quite often. It’s so easy to upload cover, talk, and “send” that we often forget to post the buy links. It’s embarrassing. You think we’d learn.

Get ready… Get set…

A final word and then I’ll let you go.

I keep Word open at all times during my Takeover hours with a list of items on hand at all times. The items on this list are:

Links to keep on hand:

  • Amazon buy link
  • Link to my website
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Facebook
  • Goodreads Author Page
  • Amazon Author Page
  • YouTube
  • Instagram

Information to keep on hand:

  • Book Blurbs
  • Author Bio
  • Excerpts pre-selected and ready to post.
  • YouTube URL links for book trailers
  • YouTube URL links for book readings
  • YouTube URL links for any videos I may have recorded in advance for this Takeover.
  • Pretty pictures I built on Canva.com with quotes. I like to have 4 for every book.
  • Giveways planned, designed, and ready to roll.

I use Canva.com for almost everything I do and strongly recommend it.

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