Historical crime writer Angela Buckley explains why it's a great idea to hold an online launch for an indie book, and shares her top tips on successful Facebook launches, based on her own experience with her new non-fiction title, Amelia Dyer and the Baby Farm Murders, which reached an astonishing 5,000 people.
Online Facebook events are an excellent way to launch a new book, both fiction and non-fiction. They offer an exciting opportunity for new readers to explore the settings and characters of your book, with intriguing hints to draw them into the story.
For my first book I threw a big party, which was really an excuse to get my friends together. When I ventured into indie publishing, I decided to try an online launch using Facebook. The event was a great success, reaching almost 5,000 people, with 800 interactions.
I hosted my launch on a Facebook event linked to my author page, Victorian Supersleuth. I chose a two-hour slot on a key date relating to my new historical true crime book, Amelia Dyer and the Baby Farm Murders. Throughout the launch I posted information about the book every five minutes, including images of the locations and characters, quirky facts and local quiz questions.
My Top 10 Tips for Hosting a Facebook Book Launch
- Choose a date for your online launch preferably after a ‘soft’ launch, so that you already have some reviews for the book and have generated a buzz. I released the book and held the Facebook event on the same day but next time, I’d keep them separate.
- Select timings for the launch which will make it easier for people to take part. I chose 5pm to 7pm (UK time), to catch those who would have been working during the day and before people went out for the evening. The timing worked well for participants from overseas too.
- Use an eye-catching banner (I used Canva.com) and an intriguing description on your event page to invite as many people as possible via Facebook, and other social media channels.
- Explain the instructions for joining the online event as clearly as possible. Many of my participants had never taken part in such an event before and it was tricky making sure that they were in the right place on Facebook.
- Prepare all the material for posting in advance and hold it in a separate file. The event will be hectic so you’ll need everything at your fingertips. I wrote the posts and copied the images in order, ready to post at five-minute intervals.
- Offer a free giveaway to anyone who says hello or leaves a comment on your event page. I entered the names into random.org and gave away two books, at the halfway point and the end of the event.
- Engage a helper to respond to comments, note down the names for a giveaway, and to make sure that all participants are welcomed and any queries are answered. A second laptop was helpful too.
- Ask a friend to tweet the events for you as they happen, to draw people from Twitter and other social media channels.
- Invite other writers to take part, maybe in a longer event, and allocate them a slot for posting, whilst you engage with the partygoers.
- Leave the event on your page afterwards so that people can browse through the posts at their leisure. Do check for comments posted later.
I thoroughly enjoyed my first experience of a Facebook launch and I would definitely do it again, perhaps with more writers taking part. Apart from the launch itself, I doubled the number of ‘likes’ on my Facebook page and its reach has increased considerably since.
‘I can’t wait to read the book, especially after exploring the characters and locations at the launch.’ (Giveaway winner)
OVER TO YOU If you've run a successful Facebook book launch, do you have any further tips to share? Any questions to ask Angela? Fire away!
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