It’s a sad but true fact of life that even if you spend years pouring your heart and soul into your masterpiece of literature, it has to have a good marketing effort or it will just sit there, languishing in the shadows of your mom’s bookshelf. If you manage to land a deal with a major publishing house, they have professionals who can market the heck out of it. If you self-publish, as so very many of us end up doing, it’s all on you.
There are resources out there to help you publicize your book, but very few as far-reaching a platform as Facebook. The big problem with Facebook is that they want to make a profit more than they want to help you do your thing. So if your thing isn’t stirring up the masses and bringing in views and clicks and conversation and sharing, and therefore more revenue for them, they’re not very interested in helping you. You can buy ads, with the exposure they give you dependent on how much money you spend, but like other marketing ploys out there, there’s no guarantee you’ll sell enough to make up for what you pay. You can post your own notices that your epic tome is available and wonderful, but if you just put it out there, it can be pretty and enticing and magnificent and amazing as it can possibly be made, but nobody will see it and it will keep languishing in those shadows.
Here’s an article by Karma Bennett in the San Francisco Book Review that has some tips on how to engage some of the power of Facebook to help spread the word, and the interest, about your book. It’s a few years old and Facebook’s algorithms are ever-changing and frustrating, but this is a good picture of the way things are and some things you can do about making your posts visible and interesting and maybe even profitable for them, which translates into profitable for you. It’s a partnership, and your job is to puzzle out what your side of it can do to energize their side of it.
Facebook Isn’t Showing Your Posts? Here’s What to Do About It.
by Karma Bennett
May 10, 2018
12 Ways to Market Your Book (Despite the Facebook Apocalypse)
You may have noticed that your posts on Facebook aren’t getting as much traction as they used to—epecially the important posts promoting your book. Yikes. It’s what marketing pros are calling “Facebook apocalypse.” (Sound dramatic? Welcome to marketing!) A few weeks ago I explained why this is happening; this week, I explain what you can do about it.
The Three Most Important Words in Social Media: Engage, Engage, Engage
Before Facebook’s Russian troll problem, the company was already under criticism for promoting shallow content. A social network is supposed to be a place for friends to interact. So, when people complained they saw more posts from brands than from the people they know, Facebook took it seriously. Henceforth, comments are more important than likes or shares. In general, your posts are more likely to be seen if people are commenting on them. Facebook wants conversation, so generate that however you can.
Tag People on Your Posts
Facebook doesn’t show your post to all your friends. Instead, Facebook shows it to a small sample, and if those people like or comment, it will show your post to more people. But you don’t know which of your followers Facebook is going to show it to or if this post will be of interest to them. That is why whenever you have something important to share, you should tag people you think will find the topic engaging.
You can tag people on Facebook by typing the “@” symbol, followed by their name, and this should make their name appear in a drop-down list; then select the names you want to add. Do this at the end of the post so that the copy of the post is most likely to get read. Also, don’t be afraid to tag people in the comments if they are not in the conversation and should be.
I like to include a message explaining why I tagged them. For example, “I’m tagging @Howard Lovecraft and @Edgar Poe because I know you love a morbid conversation.”
Stop Relying on Autopost Tools
I understand how helpful it can be to have a plugin that autoposts your latest blog to Twitter and Facebook. But if even you never see your own post, you are breaking all three of the rules of social media. How can you expect people to engage with your post, if you yourself had no engagement with it?
The way Facebook works now, you get a preview of the title when you post a link. But, most of the time, a blog’s autopost uses the TITLE of the blog post as the content of the Facebook post. So, anyone can see that your contribution to the Facebook conversation was to simply copy the title that is already there, which might suggest this isn’t something especially important to you.
Additionally, the autopost won’t tag your friends, so you’re at the mercy of whomever Facebook randomly selects as to whether your post gets widely seen or not.