It is one of the most frequent questions I get when I meet an author. Do I need a Facebook Page? Not until your book is about to be released.
You need to consider using Facebook if your target audience uses Facebook. There are 1.11 billion users of Facebook, so there is a good chance some of your readers are there. It is a great tool if you are just beginning to build an audience platform; which should start a year before you submit a book proposal and two years before the publication date. Don’t wait to begin building an audience platform until after your book is written or published.
So what is the difference between a personal profile and a page?
Pages are different than Personal Profiles. Individual users have their own personal ‘Profile’ and network by ‘Friending’ those whom they know. Facebook Pages are created by businesses, nonprofit organizations, private groups and some government agencies. They do not have ‘Friends’ but fans who ‘Like’ them. Your favorite restaurant, music group, movie star, local farmer, author, artist, or political group may have its own Page.
So do you need an author Facebook Page?
Probably not; unless you have previously published and have already created an audience platform from your Page. If you’re just getting started, Facebook requires you begin with a personal profile before you can create a Page. Start with a Personal Profile.
If you don’t already have a Facebook Page, don’t bother creating one. Page posts are viewed by only a fraction of the people who Liked your Page. Facebook changed its algorithm so that Pages have to pay to “promote” their posts.
Around the same time Facebook began to monetize Pages, they initiated ‘subscriptions’ to your personal profile. You can still have up to 5,000 “friends” on a personal profile, but an unlimited number of people can “subscribe” to your public posts there. We recommend you use your personal profile on Facebook. Wait until your publisher is about to release your book, then create a Facebook Page.
We do recommend you set up a custom URL for your Facebook personal profile as one more step toward solidifying your brand as an author. Here’s how to do this in 7 simple steps.
- Login to Facebook.
- Find Edit Profile on the left in the upper corner and click on it.
- Scroll down to Contact Information and click the edit pencil.
- Find and click on Add/Remove Email. This will take you to the General Account Settings.
- Click Edit to the right of Username. Here is where you enter your personal customization (http://facebook.com/yourname)
- Click Check Availability. If not try adding yourmiddlename.
- Be sure to Save your changes.
It’s that easy.
Think about “Liking” the Facebook Pages of authors you admire, the bookstores where you shop, and your public library. Consider joining Facebook Groups about books in your subject area or subgenre. Before you put up a Facebook Page, observe how other authors for better or for worse use Facebook Pages to promote and publicize their publications. It can be an enormous “time suck” and a waste if not well executed as part of a professional marketing plan. It can also be where you find the base of your customers. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to social media for authors. It depends on where you find your audience the for your book.