I was recently invited to speak at a romance writers' conference. What I learned from this group of prolific, hard-working and successful authors was eye-opening to me about the breadth and depth of commitment they have to their readers. It also occurred to me that the approach these authors are taking to develop their readerships especially through Facebook Tools can be applied to other genres. In this, the season of Valentines, it seems very appropriate to focus on romance.
The Romance Writer's Profile: The group of some 200 romance writers that I met at the conference have had or still have traditional publishing deals, but many are also publishing independently as the rights on their older titles revert back to them. They see themselves as “hybrid” authors, meaning that some of their content is brought to market through a traditional publisher while older content is being repurposed, refreshed and republished under the author’s own imprint. Most seemed to see this as a good thing in that they have more control. The whole notion of a joint effort bridging traditional and indie publishing, especially in establishing the author as a brand to attract readers seems to be a rather smart approach.
Rather than promoting individual titles, most are using social media.
Facebook is a Major Key to Romance Writers' Success
Having personal relationships with their readers is tantamount to their success. They do this from their own websites, but Facebook has become the number one partner in creating and expanding their publishing business.
1. Use Facebook to Engage with Your Readers
- Have one-on-one conversations with your readers.
- Have readers participate as you are writing—to gauge their interest—and work any good suggestions into your narrative.
2. Expand Your Audience
- What do your ideal readers have in common?
- To build your audience, encourage your current readers and supporters to "Like" you.
- Also explore the options under the “Build Audience” button.
- Share your Page—and be sure to like it yourself. Be a spokesperson for yourself as an author.
- Like other author’s pages—be generous with supporting your fellow authors.
3. Create Compelling Facebook Content
- Be authentic: Share what you’re genuinely excited about so your readers will be excited too.
- Be responsive: When readers comment on your posts, show that you care.
- Be consistent: Post regularly.
- Do what works: Replicate your success on posts that get the most engagement.
- Make successful posts into successful promotions: When you notice that a post is getting a lot of engagement, promote it to reach even more people.
4. Promote Yourself as a Romance Writer
- You can use Facebook Ads to raise awareness, stay connected and drive sales.
- Generally, romance authors are plowing 10% of their earnings back into promotions and lead generation activities to find new readers. Plan to always invest a percentage of your earnings back into your business—that’s the way any business grows
- Once you’ve built a community around your Page, use the Ad Create tool to target your ads to reach the friends of the people who already like your Page.
- Be specific about the audiences for different ads. You can create sets of ads to connect with different target audiences. People are more likely to respond to a message crafted just for them.
- Make sure your ads look great wherever they’re seen on Facebook.
- Build your own Custom Audiences and then use Lookalike Audiences in the Ad Create tool to find other people who are similar to your original lists. (We discussed this previously, here.)
Measure and Adjust—Frequently
- Your Page Insights will keep you up to date on activity on your Facebook Page. Make sure to look at the gender, age and location of the people who are the most engaged with your posts.
- When you create the ads for yourself and your titles, try out different images and headlines to see what works. Facebook will automatically optimize your campaign so that more of your budget goes to the ad that’s performing the best.
- Ask how people heard about you—when you direct them to buy—and keep track of what they say.
If you've tried any of these strategies, we'd love to hear from you. Your comments and questions are always welcome.
We love to keep our indie authors happy. Join BookWorks network of established and emerging self-published authors and gain exclusive insight to publishing and promoting your book. Sign up HERE.