This week, I am taking a much-needed break, but I am leaving you in VERY capable hands. Hey, who do you think taught me to love and ROCK Facebook? One of the biggest fears we all have when getting on Facebook is we will bore our audiences to death. We feel the need to be clever and interesting at all times. Yeah, not necessary, so breathe….
Lisa is here to help!
One of the most common questions I get asked concerning Facebook is ‘What Do I Post?’
My advice is: ‘Let Them See Oz’
Your content strategy (yes – that dreaded word usually followed by a wide-eyed stare and a writer mumbling, I need a plan? Nobody told me I needed a plan. I’m telling you – you need a plan) must be varied, and there are a few key components to it – but something readers are always looking for is a peek into your world.
Lisa – My life isn’t that interesting.
Whatever. Writers who shun the spotlight like Salinger, Harper Lee and Cormac McCarthy are the exceptions. Listen, to readers authors are these secluded exotic individuals – celebrities. Don’t laugh. I’m serious. lol – Well, mostly. Readers don’t understand the creative process, they fall in love with our voice, our wit, our insights, our quirky way of seeing things, the questions we ask. They beg for more from the characters they love, the worlds they want to jump into.
And they want to see Oz.
I know Kristen’s into Star Wars and Star Trek and Zombies – but let’s not overlook the classics here. When Toto pulled back the curtain for the very first time, what were you expecting? That ordinary looking man was not what I had in mind – but I loved him even more because he was ordinary.
Readers want to see behind the curtain. They want to see Oz. Fans are tired of marketing’s smoke and mirrors ‘buy my book’ ‘look at me’ bravado. They want to see the real person behind the brand. People want to connect with people – not brands, which is why so many fans send a friend request instead of liking an author page. They don’t care that you’re balding, overweight, or have crooked teeth. You’re A Freaking Wizard!!! That’s still cool. So, give them what they want.
Let your readers into your world (and I’m not talking about putting a shot of your breakfast bowl on Instagram). Readers are dying for a peek behind the proverbial curtain into the writer’s world and the writer’s mind. Whether this is a literal peek – a shot of you in your office or on location researching, or maybe sneak peeks on upcoming work, deals/coupons/sales, insights or editorials on links or events. What makes you happy? What makes you shake your fist at the sky?
But Lisa, I’m a private person. I don’t like to post about personal stuff.
Kristen’s written about that A LOT like here Why Pen Names Suck & Can Make Us Crazy. If you can write like Salinger or McCarthy then maybe you’ll win the author lotto and get to remain hidden in your cave. “May the odds be ever in your favor.” Yeeeeah – we know how that worked out.
Seriously – nobody wants to know what you ate for breakfast, or – being totally honest here – that your toddler finally figured out potty training. You don’t have to be THAT personal. Be yourself. What would you tell a group of friends about yourself in a local coffee shop?
Fans are tripping over themselves for this kind of stuff:
George R.R. Martin says the HBO’s version of the Iron Throne is WRONG
George R.R. Martin, author the Game of Thrones tales now a hit series on HBO, recently posted on his blog about his vision for the actual Iron Throne used in the TV series. He says the show got it wrong! I’m hooked. How did HE envision the actual throne? What did they get wrong? And he has an artist’s rendering of the throne as he sees it – almost.
I’m not even a fan and I clicked through to read this. I’ve never watched the TV series, and I only read 1.5 books in the series because I threw the book across the room the third time he killed a character I had fallen in love with. But I wanted to know what the director/producers got wrong. I wanted to know what HE saw in his head.
This is exactly the kind of thing readers are eager to consume. Above, I inserted a few random examples from best-selling authors using Facebook to connect with readers (not directly sell books). Find an author on Facebook who writes the same genre you do. What are they posting? How often are they posting? How are they ‘pulling back the curtain’ for readers? I’m not suggesting you copy what they’re doing, but use what they’re doing as a jumping off point for content specific to your brand, your writing, your fans.
THANK YOU, LISA!
Make sure you check out her classes over at WANA International. Facebook Start to Finish covers everything and it’s only $30 (it’s a PDF class). She is also teaching Advanced Techniques for Your Writer/Author Facebook Page.
I LOVE hearing from you and I know Lisa will too!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of July, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
NOTE: My prior two books are no longer for sale, but I am updating them and will re-release. My new book, Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World is NOW AVAILABLE.
On my blog, where I talk about journalism and non-fiction book writing from time to time, (what I do for a living), I’m always surprised by how much interest people have in “the process.” I enjoy unpacking the way I work and some of the challenges and it helps readers see there is no huge mystery to working as a writer.
There are many challenges to face — finding and developing ideas, finding an agent, finding a publisher, actually writing a book of 80,000 to 100,000 words — and the more candid you are about it, the more they appreciate the final product, knowing what it took to get there.
First off, I must have gotten the last of your first two books. One in hand and one on the way. Cool for me.
Relating to this post, the question is, how much to let them see? I’m not a big fan of telling the world I’m heading out of town for a week to go to a convention. Maybe I write fantasy but we still live in the real world where not everyone believes I control the universe. 😉 That’s why I wanted the books. I’m hoping to hear more about this very topic.
I love this advice! Over time, I’ve gotten a little more open about sharing with people, and I’ve met some really amazing people by letting my guard a little bit down. Yay for the interwebz!
Whenever I post something personal, a particular follower comes along and tries to be witty in response – really makes my teeth grind 🙁
Reblogged this on The Path – J. Collyer's Writing Blog and commented:
Some great advice for when you get to the stage of wanting to promote yourself
Great advice. I am still a little afraid of facebook so I might have to take your class. Thanks Lisa.
Glad you found it helpful! I’m offering the full 6wk course on Sept. 9th – which includes all the pdf lessons plus a lot more. Here’s the link if you’re interested. http://wanaintl.com/event-registration/?ee=171
I guess you have to provide actually interesting stuff–I read people from my writing group all the time posting things like, “Just finished an awesome paragraph! Now time to goof off and sleep!”
Always irritates me because I get FB notifications for it…
How much and what you share will depend on your audience and will require a certain amount of trial and error. If your audience is entirely made of other writers – then there’s a bigger problem than what you’re posting. Writers obviously won’t be as interested in this – unless they also happen to be a fan of your writing.
Thanks for reminding us that we want to understand who writers are, not what they ate for breakfast! Good information…
No one wants to really see Oz. The great wizard is sickly and deals with chronic pain…They want to see something far different from truth, but then who really puts themselves out there? Usually when I do, the result isn’t pretty Hahahahaha!
Great advice! I’m working on historical fiction and I’ve noticed that the authors I follow get the best responses when they post about the history of their time period, especially when it’s something unusual.
Thanks Lisa. I’m on week three of this whole “build your brand” thing Kristen is always talking about and I was already floundering for an interesting status update for today. (No one wants to hear how much I hate cleaning toilets, right?)
I could really use help naming the white dragon in my WIP. I’m off to check out some YA fantasy author Facebook pages.
You just might have convinced me to start using facebook. Thanks!
Woot! Another convert 😀
To paraphrase someone whose name I don’t remember: “She who tooteth not her own horn, that horn will not be tooted”
Facebook and I are barely friends. I use it a bit, but not effectively for sure. Thanks for more great information to feed our curiosity.
Great tips. I have to confess that I haven’t been going on Facebook much lately except to post my blog posts. I need to get more creative and share more. Thanks for suggesting how to make ourselves interesting and say something meaningful.
Very helpful article, Lisa. I have discovered that many Facebook followers like humor that I share, either my own or from someone else.
So true, must keep this in mind!
The Cowardly Lion of those from Royals and the Tin Man of king of industries and the Scarecrow of wealthy farmers needed a wizard in continuing to survive after a weather destruction that killed a wicked witch. The wizard gave them a diploma and everything was back to normal, black and white instead of color.
I’ve been considering “introducing” myself on my Facebook page, and wondered if it was a good idea. Think I’ll be moving in that direction. Thanks for the insight!
I really enjoyed reading this. Facebook pages are tricky beasts.
Hi Lisa, you are the Facebook Queen, thanks for sharing your secrets with us.
I could rave on and on about her, but I love what Gail Carriger does. She has an affection for tea, which helps writing steam punk. She has Octopi as a theme, so her facebook page constantly posts stuff like that which inspires her.
I officially love these tips! I’ve seen this method used by writers and have yet to utilize it myself but it DOES feel fun to be a part of the process and to see how somebody works their writing process. Everyone is so varied in their approach but nobody can write (at least in my opinion) in a bubble. Those who say they need complete radio/social media silence while they write never made sense to me. I feed off others when I’m writing, their energy, enthusiasm and support of my process.
I’m going to use these tips this week & get some of my readers involved in my process. Thank you.
Great post! I love the question that Ted Dekker posted on Facebook.
Ted Dekker actually is really good at engaging his Facebook fans. He does this fairly regularly so he’s a good one to follow or scroll through his status updates and see what works for him.
Still do not understand how my everyday ‘stuff’ on FB will ever connect to anyone, but I did take your advice, went and added a few more authors in my favorite genres to my friends (I already had several) and will be intentionally watching them to see how they ‘show me Oz’ over the next few weeks.
Although I suspect it helps a LOT if you actually have a published (or soon to be published) Oz to share with them?
You won’t get the engagement they get certainly, and asking them to name characters and the like works better when you have several thousand fans, obviously. But you don’t need thousands of fans. I’d rather have 100 dedicated fans who are interested in me, what I’m writing, where I’m headed – than a 1000 people who don’t care at all.
Definitely won’t get the attention a well published author does; that goes without saying. But how to ‘show them Oz’ before your Oz is published? Not sure I understand that one yet. Telling them about my pitbulls or my gardening, or spelunking, or the beach… that is everyday life. Not Oz.
Toto, I think we’re still in “Kansas”, LOL. I want them to see glimpses of the worlds I build, but I have no idea how.
Should be interesting trying to learn this.
“Whatever. Writers who shun the spotlight like Salinger, Harper Lee and Cormac McCarthy are the exceptions. Listen, to readers authors are these secluded exotic individuals – celebrities. Don’t laugh. I’m serious. lol – Well, mostly. Readers don’t understand the creative process, they fall in love with our voice, our wit, our insights, our quirky way of seeing things, the questions we ask. They beg for more from the characters they love, the worlds they want to jump into.
And they want to see Oz.”
Yes, they want to see Oz. Just like men want to see naked women. However….what keeps a man coming back for more is the fact that he hasn’t seen her naked. It’s the anticipation. That little bit of lace covering what he so desperately wants to see that makes him hungry for more.
I understand your point about Salinger, Harper Lee, etc but in this day and age oversharing is the norm and to be honest, it’s getting a little old. Anybody can do it. No creativity or ingenuity required. Plus, writers have always been seen as dignified artists and I personally don’t like what the whole attention whore marketing mindset has done to our reputation.
In my own career I’m trying to find that tasteful but enticing negligee that reveals enough to keep them interested, but leaves them just a little bit hungry at all times. It’s a balancing act, I believe and one that shouldn’t be allowed to get off-kilter just because of what readers think they want.
I wasn’t suggesting you verbally vomit all over your page spilling every minute detail about your life, your thoughts, or your writing processes. You keep your brand in mind when posting, choose content that always provides value to fans — and fans today want to connect with authors in a professional but personal way. Show up – be present. Focus not on marketing but building genuine relationships. You might not know them personally, you might not ask them to babysit your kids – but you can share a laugh, share an insight, share a bit of yourself in return for their support and interest in what you have to say.
Could you tell me why my FB news feed now only shows the most recent 3 posts? What’s up with that?!
This is what I’ve been trying to do on my blog. It is great to have a place to write about the challenges I’m facing or the questions I have while I am writing. Thanks for a great post!