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December 18, 2014

How to Rock a Facebook Author Event by @samcheever

If you’ve never joined a Facebook Event/Party, you’re missing a great chance to make real friendships and have a lot of fun. These events are the closest thing to a real party you can have online, and are valuable to both the authors who host them and the readers who attend. Although, I’m guessing Facebook will eventually change the rules to make the events much harder to hold…just because that’s what Facebook does…for now at least, if you haven’t looked into doing one of these parties I highly recommend that you do.

I do a few Facebook events a month, celebrating new book releases, genres, holidays, anniversaries…whatever ideas  the hosts could come up with for a party! I’ve hosted a few parties of my own, but most of the parties I attend are hosted by other authors or promotion groups and I’m just generally assigned a one or two hour slot (though some have half hour or even 15 minute slots!). Basically, you have a certain amount of time to inspire some portion of the attending group to at least take a look at your website or books to see if they look interesting. You can probably achieve that flying by the seat of your pants. But if you really want to rock the event, make long-time connections and sell some books, you’ll want to make a plan for the event and spend some time preparing for it!

Making a plan isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Here’s my formula for a typical 1-hour event:

  • Post intro and bio with all of your pertinent links
  • Introduce the book you want to highlight during your hour
  • Introduce your first game/contest
  • Post a couple snippets of your highlighted book
  • Introduce another game/contest
  • Post another snippet of your highlighted book and something fun having to do with your book
  • Offer a Q&A session (if you have leftover time)
  • Say goodbye

Now, obviously there’s some play in this outline. The key to success is your interaction through each phase of the things on this list. If you just post your stuff at predetermined increments, your hour probably won’t inspire anyone to find out more about you. But if you interact with people as they respond, I can almost guarantee you’ll have a successful party:

Post Intro and Bio with Pertinent Links

HoHo Honeybun
Every author has a bio. If yours is friendly and succinct, use it here. But if your bio encompasses two full pages and mentions everything from where you went to pre-school to what type of undies you prefer (silky bikinis) you might want to rewrite it to make it party friendly. You want to inspire attendees to check you out and to do that the bio should be short enough to read quickly and it should be fun. Nobody wants to hear about the bad case of shingles you suffered through the year before that kept you from winning Author of the Year. #:0) Joking of course, but you get the point. Also, and this is the most important thing of all, make sure you include links to your website, blog, twitter, Facebook Author page, and newsletter sign up. These are direct avenues into your writing webworld that enable you to keep in touch with the new friends you make at the party.

Introduce the Book you want to Highlight

Tell them why you’re highlighting that particular book. Is it a new release? Is it a Christmas event and you’re talking about a Christmas book? Just a couple of lines to tell them why they should be interested.
Provide a blurb and all buy links. Don’t use hyperlinked terms for your buy links because people using mobile devices (a high percentage of the people attending) will have to click through a few times before they find your book. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to make an impulse purchase!


Introduce Games and Contests

I generally do two contests for a one hour event. One contest per half hour. If it’s two hours I do three, spacing them out over the two hours. Contests are invaluable because they pull lurkers (shy attendees) out of the woodwork and allow you to interact with them. Use your imagination on your contests. DON’T pick something that limits your ability to chat and DO pick something that gets them digging around in your website.

Some examples:

  • Have them go to your book page and pick their favorite line from the book’s blurb or excerpt. 
  • Ask them a question to be answered by checking out the same information. 
  • Send them on a brief scavenger hunt or ask them to post pictures. 

Whatever you do, keep it light and make sure you comment a lot on their contributions. Prizes for these contests are totally up to you. I generally use some combination of gift cards, books, or goodie boxes.
Games can be used as contests or just for fun. If you have a basic graphics software and some imagination you can create fun games. Here’s one I used in a recent event:

Posting Snippets of Your Book

When posting snippets of your highlighted book, make sure you pick something that will make it impossible for them to resist buying the book. Keep the snippets brief. Pick one that ends on a cliff-hanger, and make sure you include buy links. Thrilling, sexy and humorous snippets seem to do best. I recommend that you keep your snippets PG-13 or milder so you don’t get gonged by Facebook. Spend time when selecting your snippets, they’re a very important part of the event.

You can also post something fun that pertains to your book. For example, if you wrote a Christmas-themed book, you can post an online quiz such as the one below. This site always has a lot of fun quizzes: .

Offer a Q&A Session

If you’ve exhausted all your goodies and still have a few minutes left in your assigned timeframe, don’t go silent, offer an Ask the Author opportunity. Attendees really like these because, as they’ve been visiting with you over the hour, they’ve probably found themselves wondering things about your books, your lifestyle, your world. This gives them a chance to ask those questions.

Say Goodbye

Make sure you don’t just slip away at the end of your hour. Create a new post just to say goodbye, tell them how much fun you’ve had and that you’ll see them at the next event. Manners are important and when people have taken time out of their lives to spend with you, you owe them that at the very least.
Part of what makes a successful party is variety and flexibility. Don’t always do the same exact thing or highlight the same book the same way every time. If you consider these basic guidelines but make them uniquely your own, you’ll enjoy much success in the Facebook party world!

Party on, Everybody!


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About the Author

USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.
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  1. Thanks so much for letting me visit your wonderful blog today!

  2. Replies
    1. Hey Brenda! I'm glad you found it helpful. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. I find Facebook chatting a great way to meet people and spread awareness of my brand. Great post, thanks.

    1. Thanks so much Charles! I agree, on meeting people, particularly readers. Thanks for taking the time to read the post!