Does FB Sell Books & Do Writers Need a Facebook Fan Page?

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Social media is powerful for connecting us (our books) with the very people we wrote them for to begin with. But, we are wise to appreciate that creating a brand and cultivating genuine and passionate fans is not going to happen overnight. The deeper the roots, the stronger the brand and the platform.

Why that is important is if we keep chasing the newest shiny, we fail to ever gain compounding results. We are chasing fad after fad. Thus a saner approach is to build places that are the most stable.

***Yes, we can build on Instagram and SnapChat and the like, but that will come with more risk and possibly devour time we need to write more books.

The blog is still the strongest and most resilient form of social media. Blogs have been around since the 90s and unless the Internet goes down? Blogs will remain.

But other than a blog (at least for the moment) Facebook is the next strongest and most resilient. I recommend Facebook because I come from sales and in sales we had a saying: Fish where the fish are.

The readers fish are schooling on Facebook.

But here is where I often get a disconnect with writers. The first thing I often hear is Facebook doesn’t sell books!

And this statement is both correct and incorrect.

ALL social media is horrible for direct sales. Why?

It isn’t the place for it.

Trying to conduct direct sales on social media is akin to me showing up to a friend’s BBQ and toting in a portable table, boxes of books and a cash box then setting up shop next to the potato salad.

It’s rude. I would be invading that social space with a selfish agenda.

However, this doesn’t mean that going to the BBQ is completely useless for book sales. As I talk and chat with people and they find out I am a writer, they get to know me (hopefully like me) and this sparks curiosity and interest that could likely turn into a sale.

Additionally, if the person likes my book, there is a far deeper loyalty because I am the author they are “friends” with.

Facebook Doesn’t Does Work


Facebook, like a hairdryer, a screw driver or a jack hammer is a tool. Just because we are not getting the results we want doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the tool. We have to know how it works and how to use it for the results we desire.

We first need to understand the purpose of the fan page and this is where it can get sticky.

I do not recommend brand new authors with nothing yet for sale to have a fan page. First you don’t need one since you are not yet conducting any business. Secondly, it’s a formula to want to overdose on tequila and cookie dough when the only “fans” you have after three months are your mother and ten friends from your kids’ Aqua Tot class.

Building a fan page this way is excruciatingly difficult. This is why I recommend building your personal page first.

Your personal page is the foundation that will later support the fan page.

It can help you get to know people, and they get to know you and that you are a writer. Once you hit a couple thousand “friends” you can then build your fan page OFF your personal page.

This holds many advantages.

First, it makes navigation simple. You can simply switch back and forth across the two pages. Here is the view from the top of my personal page. I can switch easily and see if I have messages, etc.


Also, because folks have spent months getting to know us on the personal page, it is far easier to post a message:

Hey, finally getting an author page. Would you mind giving it a “like”?

The personal page has a lot more ability to socialize with others and this is the place you do the bulk of your initial networking.

Of course, you might now be asking, “Then why do we need a fan page at all?” Good question.

Why DO We Need a Fan Page?

YES. And the reason is that Facebook is very strict about keeping business and socialization separate. Now, this doesn’t mean we are the “all-selling-books-all-the-time-channel” on the fan page, then we only act like a human being on the personal page.

It only means that we cannot conduct commerce on a personal page without risking Facebook deleting our profile for violating the Terms of Service.

We CAN, however, post about books or classes for sale and promote them on a fan page. That is the purpose of the fan page.

Additionally, as your platform and fan following grows, eventually you will need a page that can accommodate over 5,000 people. A great problem to have, btw 😉 .

We DO NOT Need to Pay to Promote


A few months ago I attended a conference where I was not speaking, but I do enjoy learning from others so I attended the social media class.

*bangs head on wall*

This particular “expert” was busy scaring the bejeezus out of authors and telling them they needed to go to LinkedIn instead because no one sees your content unless you fork out cash to Facebook.

That was patently false.

We have to understand how Facebook chooses what goes in anyone’s newsfeed. Facebook runs the same way search engines do. They use algorithms to make sense of our behavior and give us more of what we interact with and less of what we ignore (because it assumes it is of no interest).

This holds true for the personal page and the fan page.

Recently, I posted a picture of my nephew on my personal page. I then got a distraught message from my aunt. All the other family members had gotten the image in their newsfeeds, but she did not. She was worried she’d offended me and I’d somehow blocked her.

I assured her it was not the case.

What happened was this aunt was very passive on Facebook. She never hit the like button or shared anything I posted (unlike other family members). Over time, FB assumed she was not interested so it no longer offered my content in her feed.

I told her that all she had to do to fix this was go to my Timeline and click like on a few things and maybe leave a comment or two and the algorithm should correct.

So Why Do Some Have to Pay?

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Why authors end up having to pay to promote is they are failing to appreciate how algorithms work and are choosing content that does not work in their favor.

They are using the fan page for direct sales and people don’t want that. They post a lot of BUY MY BOOK and talk about upcoming releases and book covers and events which is all fine within reason, but that is ALL they are sharing.

Most people will just scroll past and they aren’t likely to interact with that kind of content, let alone share it.

The fan page is still supposed to be social. The only difference is that we are allowed a book table at the back of the room without offending anyone.

What happens though is that writers keep posting content no one is interested in engaging with. How Facebook tries to help is it offers us the ability to pay to alter the algorithm back in our favor.

But mind you, we can do this for FREE on our own simply by engaging and acting much the same way as we did on our personal page. I regularly get over 80% engagement and I have never paid Facebook a dime.

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NYTBSA Lisa Gardner has an excellent fan page. Yes, she talks about her books, has everything easy to see and buy but she also talks about all kinds of other things that gets people talking and sharing and engaging.  Ann Rice is another author who ROCKS the fan page. Same with Jonathan Maberry.

By the time we are spending the lion’s share of our time on our fan page, we really are there for true fans so we get more leeway how much we mention books. But notice even ANN RICE still talks about ballet and recipes and feel-good stories. She isn’t the BUY MY BOOK channel.

There is a lot more to using Facebook for advantage, but we have to get these basics first or we will just end up frustrated. Once we understand how Facebook gets content in front of our audience, we can then adjust our behaviors to offer us the advantage.

Does this help? Were you getting frustrated with your fan page? For the newer writers, are you happy you don’t have to rush out and get a fan page today? I recommend looking at authors who do the fan page well and learning from them. No need to reinvent the wheel!

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of SEPTEMBER, 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).

Check out the other NEW classes below! Including How to Write the Dreaded Synopsis/Query Letter! 

All W.A.N.A. classes are on-line and all you need is an internet connection. Recordings are included in the class price.

Upcoming Classes


Pitch Perfect—How to Write a Query Letter & Synopsis that SELLS

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Bullies & Baddies—Understanding the Antagonist September 2nd–September 16th

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Your Story in a Sentence—Crafting Your Log-Line

September 7th

Log-lines are crucial for understanding the most important detail, “WHAT is the story ABOUT?” If we can’t answer this question in a single sentence? Brain surgery with a spork will be easier than writing a synopsis. Pitching? Querying? A nightmare. Revisions will also take far longer and can be grossly ineffective.

As authors, we tend to think that EVERY detail is important or others won’t “get” our story. Not the case.

If we aren’t pitching an agent, the log-line is incredibly beneficial for staying on track with a novel or even diagnosing serious flaws within the story before we’ve written an 80,000 word disaster. Perhaps the protagonist has no goal or a weak goal. Maybe the antagonist needs to be stronger or the story problem clearer.

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Blogging for Authors

September 17th

Blogging is one of the most powerful forms of social media. Twitter could flitter and Facebook could fold but the blog will remain so long as we have an Internet. The blog has been going strong since the 90s and it’s one of the best ways to establish a brand and then harness the power of that brand to drive book sales.

The best part is, done properly, a blog plays to a writer’s strengths. Writers write.

The problem is too many writers don’t approach a blog properly and make all kinds of mistakes that eventually lead to blog abandonment. Many authors fail to understand that bloggers and author bloggers are two completely different creatures.

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook




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  1. This helped a lot! Facebook algorithms are so confusing but the way you explained it was very simple. It shouldn’t be that scary anymore.

  2. Good explanation on how FB Author pages should be handled versus personal pages.

    An idea for a future topic (unless you’ve previously covered) – how to write an effective blurb/summary.

    1. Thanks for the idea! I love suggestions 😀 .

  3. I don’t have a fan page because I have a small business so I do lots of industry-relevant article-sharing / blog-sharing / stuff that makes me chuckle and has something to do with what I do stuff on there – it’s also where I talk about booky things when they occur because writing’s part of my business… But I often share things I post there to my personal page (not everything, but certainly blog posts written by me), so that people end up seeing and engaging with them (I have many many more friends than I have business followers)… I don’t know what the merits are of using a business page rather than a fan page, but I don’t think I”m at the stage where a fan page would much benefit me yet… and operating on three pages rather than two that have clear distinctions and then some crossover does seem like a bit much!

  4. This was helpful. Just started a fan page and a blog. It gets busy. I have a personal FB account under my real name, a professional account under my pseudonym (was in radio, now a writer) and just created a fan page and a blog. It eats into my writing time. I’m exhausted.
    I was glad to find Anne Rice’s fan page. Stood in line 5 hours (in heels, mind you) to meet her and have her sign Taltos.

    1. Are you still using the professional account? The fan page should be simple for now. Just keep hanging out at the personal page and just post the same kind of stuff on the fan page. Keep an eye on it but no need to throw a lot of work into it yet. And the blogging can be pretty simple too. I have a class coming up that might help you if you haven’t taken it yet. Not all blogs need to be articles.

    • gapwriter2014 on September 14, 2016 at 2:16 pm
    • Reply

    This was amazing! I had no idea why I was suddenly asked to pay to promote my posts on FB. Thanks, Kristen. I will work on your advice and see if it changes.

    • Lisanne Harrington on September 14, 2016 at 2:30 pm
    • Reply

    I haven’t even thought about a fan page. I confess to blasting my “buy my book” a bit on the overkill side lately, since it is my first, but I’ve apologized on my timeline and promised to calm down soon. But mostly I post cat memes, doggie videos, werewolf/zombie/monster thingies and whatnot. Oh, and coffee memes! Plus I try to connect with others on their timelines by liking and commenting, trying to build and maintain that connection. I learned that from a Social Media Jedi… *wink*

  5. This is something I’ve been pondering for a while, but since I don’t even have a short story published yet (nor anything longer remotely ready for submitting) I’ve thought I shouldn’t bother until I at least reach that reach that first step (or if I do). I have author friends who certainly do utilize their Facebook profiles for promotions and sales. You use the resources we have!

  6. Great post. And I have to say something that infuriates me. When I accept a friend request from someone I don’t actually *know*, but have friends and interests in common, and then 10 minutes after I’ve accepted the request, I get hit with the “Like-my-author-page” request. Without even a hello and thank you! Grrrrrr!

    Wow – clearly I’m Ms Angry today. Thank you for the opportunity to vent 😀

    1. No you are right to be angry. That is another post, LOL. They are abusing the personal page and they could get kicked by FB for that.

  7. I attended a conference where Jonathan Maberry was the keynote and he talked about connecting with readers on Facebook. He really knows how to make that happen.

  8. I have both a fan page and a personal page, but I’ve been reluctant to post much on my fan page besides new posts, mystery-themed tidbits, and book news. I have some friends who are seeing both my fan page and my personal page, so I don’t want them to see stuff twice. But now that I read this, I’m wondering if I should go ahead and duplicate what I post on my personal page?

  9. Timely post, Kristen, thank you. I was feeling the pull to invest in a FB ad. Now I’ll save my hard-earned money and get my fan page going instead. I have four books for sale, so what have I been waiting for, right?! If I may ask, I use my real/author name for my personal page. Will I need to come up with a different title for my fan page? I’m concerned about fans reading personal posts. Not that they’re anything embarrassing, but they are, well, sometimes personal, intended for friends and family only.

  10. I tend to neglect my fan page, so thanks for the reminder, Kristen! And thanks for the BBQ and book sale comparison. I hope this helps more people “get it.” There are some days when I scroll through my news feed and find nothing but “BUY MY BOOK,” and want to bang my head against a wall!

  11. Reblogged this on Mystery and Romance.

  12. I have my author page, where most of the work ties into my series. I just dropped a story about the New Orleans cemeteries on it since book 1 starts in one of them. My personal site has all the fun/weirdness/family stuff about me.

    I’ve been working with my brother, who is a new author, about how to work on his author page, I tagged him on the post with your latest blog on it because it may help him figure out why I’m telling him this stuff. He’s woefully untaught (and sometimes uninterested) in how the whole “branding thing works.” (and of course, I learned a lot of what I do from you. 🙂 )

  13. Good to know!!

  14. I don’t have a Facebook page of any sort – but I do have a blog (which is lying fallow for a couple of weeks while I re-read Rise of the Machines and get my head back together). Incidentally, does anyone actually read the Terms & Conditions before they sign up for a Fb page?

  15. You’re probably right about Facebook, but this is no help to authors like me who were never social in the first place. Facebook assumes that people want to chit chat, talk about their kids, what they did on the weekend and generally all the kinds of interactions that normally happen at /parties/.

    But human beings can be divided into two broad groups – the gregarious party-goers and the non-gregarious wall-flowers. Facebook is useless for wall-flowers. Blogs, however, are much kinder to wall-flowers. Blogs are like intimate dinner parties where trusted friends can sit around having in-depth discussions, or even arguments, about life, death and the universe in general…without feeling as if they are boring everyone else. 🙂

    1. lol – of course not! That’s like navigating a ten mile obstacle course where all the signs are written in ancient Tibetan.

    2. I’m a wall-flower, and find Facebook very comfortable. I can click like and love and share all without being social or actually interacting with people, but it makes me seem more accessible. I’m also a big fan of uplifting memes which I share regularly, and have gained friends and followers this way.
      I guess what I’m trying to say is maybe you should give it a try because you might be pleasantly surprised 😀

      1. Ugh…got half way through and the text box closed on me. 🙁 I do have a ‘presence’ on Facebook, but that’s about it. I’m glad you’ve found a way to make Facebook work for you.

    3. If others are not interested in our general observations about life, then our fiction probably won’t sell either.

      1. lol – now that I’d have to agree with. 😀

  16. Apologies! The comment about the Facebook ToS was supposed to reply to Deborah Makarios.

  17. Lotta useful information.

  18. In the past year I have changed the way I use my fan page. I keep the book selling stuff to a minimum. Instead I share a lot of fun stuff, like memes and cartoons that reflect my warped sense of humor. I also share interesting articles on all sorts of topics, not solely writing stuff. Occasionally I toss in something controversial to get people talking. My engagement has risen considerably and I get regular likes on my page without asking for them.

    1. There YA GO!

  19. *reminds herself to create a Facebook page*

  20. Feeling a little queasy about creating one author fan FB page for both romance and children’s books. I figure it’ll be OK because I’m a PG-kinda-romance writer. But I figure I need separate websites for my “copywriter/freelance features/corporate editor” and my “fiction (romance/children’s) writer” selves. STRESS.

    1. No! You can do all in one place! Just have different tabs for each thing. So long as you aren’t trying to blend erotica and kid’s books you are fine. The adults are who are going to buy the books for kids anyway. You do not need to spread yourself so thinly. You will go crazy.

  21. Excellent advice, Kristen. Thanks.

  22. Cool. I’d been wondering about the fan page versus personal page. But my other hesitation is about getting thousands of fb friends on my personal page. I don’t like to add anyone I don’t actually know.

    1. You are going to have to get over that unless you only want to sell books to people you have met 😉 . I just check their pages to see if they look like creepers and it is easy to unfriend anyone who misbehaves.

    2. I have two profiles. One is reserved only for my close family and friends. The other is for meeting people I don’t know. I don’t feel comfortable having a lot of strangers know my exact location or the names of my kids. I’ve never had problems with stalkers, but I know authors who have. I don’t want to have to censor everything I say to my family.

    3. If you don’t want to accept a friend request to your personal FB profile, then don’t. Everything about promo is a guideline, not a must-do. Remember that FB limits who can see your posts to about 15% of your friends. So, even if you have 5000 friends, only about 750 people will see your posts. That won’t do your book selling much good.

      I had about 2900 “friends” and no FB page. No one bought my books, and all I heard was a lot of ranting and abuse. All that upset me too much. Even if people bought my books, putting up with all that wasn’t worth it. Then FB caught me promoing on my profile page, or someone ratted on me, and FB told me I had to create a business page. I did. And I unfriended over 2000 people on my profile. My newsfeed is much better. Now I’ll put the fun posts I used to put on my profile on my book page and see how that works, and I rarely accept a friend request.

  23. An excellent blog today, and one that I totally agree with. Thank you for verifying what I have been telling myself and my family for some time now .

  24. I was so please to run across your blog this evening. I use FB for personal use and for a website I started but had been wondering if it was better to have a Fan Page on a Blog site when I ran across your FB blog. I suppose once my books start really selling it would be wise to have both, especially if I plan to have a site where other’s could interact with my children’s stories. I appreciate your input!

    1. No, keep them together. YOU are the brand.

    • Mo on September 15, 2016 at 3:53 am
    • Reply

    Excellent read. Thank you! Reblogging!

    • Mo on September 15, 2016 at 3:56 am
    • Reply

    Reblogged this on Mugglestones and Mayhem and commented:
    Kristen Lamb hits the nail on the head regarding writers’ fan pages on Facebook! Read all about it! So informative. Thanks Kristen!

  25. Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.

    • Linda on September 15, 2016 at 9:22 am
    • Reply


    Thank for all the great information you get out. This article was very interesting because I am just jumping into the social media pool and would like to know what the difference is between having a FB Personal of Fan page and a personal blog through or WordPress. Do they basically work the same way?

    Thank you,

    1. Your blog needs to be on your AUTHOR WEB SITE where you own the domain. I did all the dumb stuff so you don’t have to 😉 . This blog is going to be migrated to my author web page. In fact, need to go call web person now.

    • Sherry on September 15, 2016 at 12:19 pm
    • Reply

    I must say that this is the best information I’ve read about FB fan/business pages. I developed one under my twitter name but haven’t published it yet. (sahwrites) I also have a personal one which mixes writers and friends, and I’d like to redirect the writers to my new page. My website is new also and covers other topics. (It’s called, My Creative Side) I have ideas now how to use my FB fan page as opposed to my personal page to promote my twitter and website and try to connect with other writers out there. Thank you.

  26. The moment I signed to a publisher, I created
    Over the last four years, I’ve found that page to be a perfect outlet for posts that wouldn’t make as much sense on a personal page.

    Now that my book is on Wal-Mart, my FB author page is getting lots of views. Over 100 a day, even on days I don’t post….

  27. Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog.

  28. I’ve been trying to keep my personal fb page for family and close friends. It’s how I keep in touch with them. I do get friend requests from these random strangers that I haven’t accepted because of this. I figure my author page is for anybody and everybody, although these people don’t migrate to my author page. So, you’re suggesting I accept every friend request? is that correct?

  29. My fan page is in process because I am a LONG way from having 5000 friends on my profile. Still struggling with all this mumbo jumbo, but thanks for addressing the topic.

  30. Very informative 🙂

  31. Reblogged this on Live…Love…Share!!! and commented:
    Trying to sell your book? Awesome post on Kristen Lambs blog for authors. Check it out!!!

  32. I am retired, which means I have to work a lot of hours to support my ‘retirement’. Being a published author with a small and growing press, I have the fan page, personal page, website, and am starting a blog. Between writing and editing, where on earth do you find the time and more important, the interesting stuff to put on a fan page to keep people coming back. If you follow all the advice out there, you’d need a marketing director. As an aside, I told my publisher that with attending conferences and events trying to get my name out there–read expense–I can’t afford to be a writer.

    1. Just follow me on FB. I find the funniest stuff. It really is just a scan, that’s fun…post. And also we generally have to do a lot of reading and researching for our fiction. Post some of that. Relax and don’t overcomplicate it.

  33. Reblogged this on Silver Threading ~ Fairy Whisperer ~ and commented:
    This is a must read! What do you guys think? How do you authors do with your fan page? <3

  34. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Kristen Lamb on the subject of selling books on Amazon and how important blogging is to book sales.. – definitely a must read.

  35. Yep, I set up a fan page early on, and regretted it. But fb drives a lot of traffic to my blog, it’s my top referrer after search engines, so I’ll always maintain a presence there. I actually Don’t like it for personal use, I’m not interested in seeing what someone ate for lunch or all their show-off holiday pics, or dozens of pics of their superior over achieving children. But for keeping in touch with other writers, and hopefully, readers too, its a lot of fun! ?

    • margaretpinard on October 3, 2016 at 5:40 pm
    • Reply

    This is a good reminder, but I am often at a loss at what exactly people want from me on the FB platform. Torn between trying to get interaction on my personal page, and posting book-related stuff on the fan page (I didn’t wait to get to 1,000 fans–oops)…I think that I am keeping it pretty consistent and on-topic, but … minimal interaction! I may need to pay a few dimes to FB to get the ball rolling, maybe…?

    1. Again, go look at authors who are doing the fan page well and see what they are doing. Often it is a mix of their book stuff with some personal fun with memes or articles other people want to share.

  36. Do you find that creating FB pages for individual books is helpful as well? I’ve read that in several different places (so I created them), but I’m sure if it’s really that useful or not.

    1. No. It fractures your focus and you can use that timer better 😉 .

  37. Reblogged this on Writer's Treasure Chest and commented:
    Kristen Lamb informs us about the difference of a personal and author fan page on FB and publishes this excellent post about FB helping us writers selling books. Have a look!

  1. […] Source: Does FB Sell Books & Do Writers Need a Facebook Fan Page? […]

  2. […] to figure it out. I got frustrated and fed up so I stopped. Kristen Lamb’s latest post Does FB Sell Books & Do Writers Need a Facebook Fan Page? made the lightbulb in my brain click on. Oh? Really? That makes […]

  3. […] Does FB Sell Books & Do Writers Need a Facebook Fan Page? […]

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