Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Business of Writing: A DIY Facebook Party in 7 Steps #ampromoting

Today on The Maze I am pleased to present the expert wisdom of my in-the-flesh author-friend, K.R. Thompson, on the subject of DIY Facebook parties.

In a recent email exchange, when she demurred about being labeled an "expert," I shared with her the original meaning of the word, from the Latin expertus: "one who has been tested." I have been involved in one of her Facebook parties, and I know she most certainly qualifies by this definition! 

7 Steps to an Awesome Facebook Party
by K.R. Thompson

  1. Create an event on Facebook.
    I suggest setting this up well in advance. At least a month, if possible. This will give everyone a chance to see what you are doing. It also builds suspense and anticipation for your book.

    [Note: The day of the week that you select will of course be governed by your schedule, but the common wisdom from professional tour coordinators is that weekdays work best to maximize participation. KR has not observed any significant attendance difference in the party's day of the week among the many parties she has organized and attended, but she has noticed that evenings seem to consistently draw the highest numbers. In any case, it is best to avoid the days before, during, and after holidays, when people are likely to be busy—or playing catch-up. ~kih]
  2. Set up your first game.
    For me, the best thing that has worked to get people to attend is to post a game of “who invited you?” The person who has invited the most people at the end of the party wins. (Amazon gift cards work well for this.)
  3. Decide how long you want this party to last and if you want guest authors to attend.
    I've done a few parties and I've found that if you can last for five or six hours, you'll have one heck of a party. Granted, your bum will go numb at some point and you may lose a bit of your sanity by the end, but your guests will have a ton of fun and you'll get some great publicity for your new release.

    Now, here is where the guest authors come into play. Having a party with only yourself as the author is going to be tough going if you have to come up with prizes and games for five or six hours. If you are planning on being the sole author at your party, I strongly suggest decreasing your party time to 2 hours, 3 tops. Unless, of course, you are a superhero and simply do not care about your blood circulation. Having those guest authors “take over” at their time slot will give you the chance to get up and stretch, grab a bite to eat, and use the restroom. (Trust me. You'll want to do at least one of these things at some point.)
  4. Guest authors. (If you're the superhero with the steel bladder, skip this step.)
    Decide who you would like to invite for a time slot. (As far as how long each author should come and talk about their books, I suggest half-hour slots. You can get more authors to participate this way, plus it keeps your guests engaged. I've found hour long slots tend to get a bit dull, with long lapses of silence. One thing you don't want is for your guests to be bored.) Do you want to invite authors who write the same genre as yourself or do you want mixed genres? It's something to think about, but either way works.

    A tip to keep in mind is that an author's fans tend to follow them wherever they go. If their favorite author is going to be at your party, you'll have those loyal readers who may have not heard of you and you'll have the chance to meet them and hopefully make new fans out of them.
  5. Prizes and Games.
    I typically post a “grand prize” and pin it to the top of the page. The grand prize can be anything. (Gift cards, books, jewelry… whatever you want.) Post details on how to enter the contest, such as “to enter, purchase a copy of my new release, and comment below with a copy of your Amazon receipt number.” I always leave this particular prize open until well after the party has ended to give everyone a chance to enter.

    During your party, you should also have other chances to win prizes. Everyone loves to play games and have the opportunity to win something cool. These prizes should be smaller than your grand prize, such as an e-book from one of your backlisted titles, autographed swag, etc.

    Games can be anything, from “caption this” contests, to posting an excerpt of your new book and having the guests fill in the blanks, or anything else your heart desires. Be creative and try to have the game relate to your book in some way.
  6. Reminders.
    A few days before your party, touch base with your guest authors and make sure everyone is still planning to attend. (Life happens, and sometimes people forget. :) )

    Also, post something on your event every day or two to get your guests amped up to party with you. It can be something as simple as “Three days left until we party! Who's getting excited?” The more interaction you have with people on that page, the more it will be seen by others.
  7. Have fun!
K.R. Thompson is the author of Pan, one of the Untold Stories of Neverland, and other fantasy/fairy tale/folklore novels.

Thanks, K.R., for all the great advice!

If anyone else has tips or tricks to share, 
please post them in the comments below. 
We would all love to hear about them. :)


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  1. Thanks for the info! Good to know...and I hope to be needing the tips soon.

    1. You're welcome... and good luck!
      (And don't forget to upload your photo here too, Ro Bin Wan. :)


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