Facebook has 71 billion monthly active users and 1.13 billion of them are there every day. These numbers mean that it simply can not be ignored if you want to reach people. I have never exactly ignored Facebook, but I think I may not have been using it to its full potential.
Until now, my usual way of promoting my books on Facebook was to write a blog post then post a link to it to Facebook, and lately I have begun to suspect there must be more to Facebook promotion than that. This suspicion started nagging at me so insistently that I decided to start Googling for other ideas. I immediately found an article about a new idea for promotion on Facebook. The article is most interesting in what it says about things that don’t work, which is paying for advertising.
Even Amazon tried promoting books through Facebook ads, but quickly shut down the strategy when they found it wasn’t working. It turns out that promoting books via Facebook ads to a cold audience just doesn’t generate enough results to justify the investment.
I kept Googling, and found 16 tips for indie authors looking to engage with their readers. It starts by lifting the curtain and giving us a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes at Facebook.
The Holy Grail of the algorithm is shares. That means, of course, that when you write your status updates, you need to do everything you can to encourage your fans to share your content. The more you succeed at that task, the more your status updates will be visible in your readers’ newsfeeds.
To do this, the author of the article, a social media expert called Frances Caballo, recommends creating posts that fans want. For an author of cookbooks this for example would be to share favorite recipes or post images of home cooked meals.
The article also says to post a minimum of twice daily, and that really hit me. I don’t even post every day, never mind twice daily. That will really mean switching up my self-promotion game. There is also good news though, because the article recommends writing short posts of 80 to 100 characters, which is fine by me.
The big question was what kind of post could I create that might get shared. I wracked my brains, pondering everything I knew about Facebook, and considering the advice form the article. This boiled down to me coming up with the formula of a post with a picture, some short snippet of text, and (if possible) some cats. Using this formula, I hit on the idea of creating images of sci-fi authors’ quotes, preferably about cats.
He was an author, scriptwriter, essayist, humorist, satirist and dramatist. Adams is best known as the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which originated in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy before developing into a “trilogy” of five books that sold more than 15 million copies in his lifetime and generated a television series, several stage plays, comics, a computer game, and a feature film. Adams also wrote three stories for the television series Doctor Who.
There were a couple of his quotes there that related to cats, and I thought the cutest was something he said about all cats being wild.
I think all cats are wild. They only act tame if there’s a saucer of milk in it for them. Douglas Adams, discussing feral cats in Last Chance to See (1991).
I then went looking for a picture of Douglas Adams with a cat, and I swiftly found one. I couldn’t find out if the cat was his or not, but I like to think so. I fired up GIMP and started creating a jpg combining this image and the quote. I thought of it as a shareable nugget, and it turns out I’m not the first to coin the term. The idea of shareable nuggets appeared on lulupinney.co.uk back in 2014. And, as you might expect, the site has some useful advice about creating this kind of content.
Simplify the key message, use bold design and landscape orientation and embed in the picture both your brand and a hashtag or URL to bring the credit - and more importantly traffic - back to you once it has been extensively shared.
That part was hard, convincing myself that it was okay to put my mark on an image of one of the greats of sci-fi, Douglas Adams, sharing a cute remark about cats. I decided to do it, unobtrusively in one corner with just an URL, but I can’t say it felt good. But hey, a girl’s gotta eat.
Now I can use my shareable nugget to promote my Facebook feed, which will then hopefully promote my books, such as Galaxy Dog.
Galaxy Dog (Dark Galaxy)
The fist sci-fi book I ever wrote, and still the one that sells the best, is Galaxy Dog. It is the first book in the Dark Galaxy series and it is a story of adventure, spaceships, and rebellion across a galactic empire. A small group of friends, one woman, one man, and one robot incite a revolt and take on the might of the Tarazet Deep Space Navy. They find an immensely powerful alien spaceship so, even though the rebellion is extremely outnumbered, they still stand a chance. Galaxy Dog combines the action of military sci-fi with the heart of space opera. There are robots, aliens, space battles, and all the good things that make sci-fi so enjoyable. Galaxy Dog is available from Amazon right now, so just click the Amazon link and download a copy.