Facebook Release Party Lessons

About a month ago, Sonya Jesus invited me to take part in her Facebook release party. I’d heard of them, of course, through open calls to participate on my publisher’s Facebook group. I hadn’t ever participated, though, thinking that they were for people who already had books out. The direct invitation, however, made me curious, and, with a bit of trepidation, I accepted the 5:30 – 6:00 pm time slot.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Facebook release parties, they’re a chance for an author to reach anyone in the world by making a public Facebook event page. On the day of the event, the author, as well as any people they have invited to participate, will post to the page with information about available and upcoming books, giveaways, teasers, videos, etc. The idea being that the more people who are involved, the more fans and readers will check out the event, and, hopefully, the book being released.

Research

Because I’d never been part of a release party before, I wasn’t entirely sure of the protocol. So, I did what I always do: I researched. I asked some other authors about typical post content. I attended a couple of release parties and paid very close attention to the posts and engagement. And I made some unexpected discoveries:

  • You post, at most, once every 3 – 5 minutes.
  • Some people seem to treat release parties as a chance to outrageously pimp their own books. As in, every post is a link to buying their books with a picture of the cover or covers, with no real description of the books at all. I don’t know if this nets them any sales, but I noticed less interaction with those posts.
  • Facebook has polls. Yeah, I had no idea about this, and apparently they’re only available on event and group pages, because I don’t have the option to create one on either my personal Facebook page or my author page.

Preparation

Armed with some new information, I got to work creating posts. Since I don’t have a book available for sale yet (March 3rd, people *wink*), I decided to go for teasers. Hopefully they would entice people to follow me on various sites and buy my book once it’s available.

I hand lettered some book quotes (if this sounds interesting to you, check out my Instagram for #TeaserTuesdays). I also created the first teaser video for *The Most Special Chosen*, as this seemed like a great place to debut it (and hopefully get some views). And, of course, I had to provide a link to Sonya’s Author Spotlight. A poll (for interaction), giveaway (to get people to stick around until the end of my half hour), and links to my social media accounts rounded out my main posts. And let’s not forget an introduction and thank you post. Those are important, too.

I wrote up all of the posts so I could copy and paste them on the day of the party to avoid wasting time, or suffering from writer’s block. I’m very glad I did, as I edited everything a few times to have the best content possible.

Party Time

As the actual release party got closer, I started looking forward to participating. I expected it to be fun, and I hoped that people would be interested in what I had to post. At 5:20, I sat down at my computer, opened up the document with my posts, kept an eye on the event page, and prepared to have fun and be engaging. I think I succeeded at both.

It was fun to read people’s comments (especially the GIFs) and respond to them in return. And I can’t deny it’s exciting to watch the likes, loves, comments, etc. counts go up. My time went quite a bit faster than I expected it to, and I found myself almost sad when it was over.

I will note that I had a hard time keeping track of when to post things as Facebook shows “Just Now” for a few minutes after posting. My solution was to add time labels to the document where I’d written my posts. That way, I just had to ensure that the current time and the time label matched before I pushed “Post”. It made a big difference, and let me focus on interacting with people

Overall, It was a great experience, and I’m very happy, now, that I accepted Sonya’s invitation. I look forward to joining other release parties in the future.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, taking part in a release party is to gain exposure. And part of that is reviewing what you did and seeing what did and didn’t work. I think for a first time, I did pretty well, and gained about 10 new followers/likes on each of my social media accounts, which I don’t find too shabby.

The poll was (surprisingly) my best performing post, when I go by total interactions (comments, reactions, post interaction, shares, etc.). My giveaway post received the most reactions (17), while the introduction post received the most comments (12). So make of all of that what you will.

A couple side notes to interactive posts. I think everyone will agree that GIF comments are big right now. So I think I’ll look into requesting GIF comments in future posts. Perhaps one of those “pick your answer” posts would be good, too. You know, the ones where you piece together an answer based on your name, birthday, color of your shirt, etc.

My main takeaway from it all is that I should have more interactive posts in the future. I should ask even more questions, and encourage discussions and comments.

That said, do you have any questions for me? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you. And if you need an additional participant at your Facebook release party, send me a message.

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Coming Soon: Author Spotlight Series

Author Spotlight

It can be tough for indie authors to get their work out there. We’re individual people, sometimes with small publishers, and we can’t do what the huge publishing houses do. Our resources are finite, and, many times, quite minimal.

Based off of the pool of indie authors I interact with (which is, admittedly, small in comparison to the number of indie authors in the US alone), many of us understand and acknowledge that we aren’t really each other’s competition. There are enough readers out there for everyone, and we can be allies.  We can help each other.

We’ve all been there (or are there). Spending every scrap of spare time posting to social media, attending events, and coming up with ways to reach new readers, in order to share a story that we love enough to put forth all this effort. It’s a full-time job, usually on top of our full-time day job.

So we have each other’s backs. We share and retweet other indie author posts; we pimp each other’s books; we try, whenever possible, to help each other out, because we understand.

In that vein of cooperation, collaboration, and alliance, I’m starting an author spotlight series. It’s hardly the first of its kind, nor will it be the last, but I’m trying to make it unique, or at least a bit different.

The spotlights will be short, 5-8 questions, usually. I’ve provided the first and last question to every author, but the middle three-six, each author gets to choose their favorite 1 or 2 questions from 3 groups of 10. This means that each spotlight will feature a set of questions unique to the author, so be sure to take a look at them all.

And these won’t just be shameless plugs for books. Here’s a sneak peek of some of the questions:

  • Have you ever had anything edited out of a book that you wish had been kept in?
  • What one person would you most like to get your book(s) noticed by?
  • What is the hardest scene you’ve ever written?
  • Does what you’re writing at any given time ever feature in your dreams?
  • How long do you honestly think you’d survive in a zombie apocalypse?
  • Would you rather be invisible, or able to read minds?

I’ll also be doing video interviews to go with some of the posts, as soon as I’m done moving and have my workspace set up. I really doubt you want to see a mess of boxes in the background.

I’ll be starting the author spotlight series with fellow authors from my publisher, Burning Willow Press, but I hope it will expand to include any indie author who would like to introduce themselves.

I will, of course, be sharing all of the author spotlight posts via social media, or you can sign up for email updates. The first spotlight should be up in a few days, so stay tuned.

If you know anyone who’d be interested in participating, have them leave a comment below and contact me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

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‘Gramming It Up

AInstagram logo with the Exalted Bloodlines logofter some deliberation, I’ve decided to start an Instagram account for the Exalted Bloodlines Series. I haven’t quite figured out a schedule just yet, but that won’t stop me from posting regularly. Follow Exalted Bloodlines on Instagram for sneak peaks, behind the scenes looks at my writing process, funny memes, and more.

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Social Media Overhaul

We’ve all heard about how important social media is for promotion. I’ll admit, I didn’t pay much attention to that when I self-published The Most Special Chosen. But I’ve been given this second chance. A second chance to really make things work.

To that end, I’ve updated the Facebook and Twitter pages for the Exalted Bloodlines Series. The profile and cover images for both have been updated to include the new branding for the series. I’m happy to say that the cover images feature the character renderings from my very talented friend Kyle McGill.

As you may recall from my post “From Mind to Paper“, Kyle drew my main characters — Elysabeth, Damien, and Shawn — a few years ago and is currently doing some more illustration work for me.

Now then, go check out my updated profiles. They look great. Make sure to like Exalted Bloodlines on Facebook and follow @ExltedBloodline on Twitter if you like the updates.


EDIT 7/14/17: With the rebranding of my site, you’ll find me under authorracheldlf on both Facebook and Twitter.  I’ve updated the links in the post, but I left the text as it was to preserve the post in its original form.

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