Back in 2017 (how was it that long ago??), I did an "All About" series where I talked about various aspects of marketing and book launches. In case you're interested, they discussed Cover Reveals, Street Teams & Newsletters, and Reviews, ARCs, & Beta Readers. I always meant to do a fourth installment on Facebook parties, but when my book launch came up in early 2018, apparently I never got around to it! Since I happened to be a guest author in a Facebook party just this past weekend, I figured now would be a great time to finally share my thoughts on the subject :)
If you're not familiar with Facebook parties, they're events that happen right on Facebook. Usually they run for a few hours, but sometimes events can be as lengthy as a day or even stretch over a week or month. During that time, people post in the Facebook event, creating a virtual "party" where anyone, regardless of their location, can participate from the comfort of their own homes. I enjoy Facebook parties because they can be a fantastic way to interact with readers, collaborate with fellow authors, and talk about books! Probably other things, too, but the Facebook parties I'm a part of always center around books :)
I've been involved in enough Facebook parties as either a host or guest author by this point that I have a pretty good sense for what works and what doesn't. I'm sure other authors may have slightly different advice, but here are a few tips from my own experiences:
1) Be interactive! The event is called a "party," after all, and nothing will kill the feel of a party more quickly than a string of promotional posts that don't invite others to participate in some way. There are so many options, including questions, gif wars, quizzes, games, etc. And, if your posts do invite interaction, then actually interact! Readers will quickly figure out that your statement of "I can't wait to learn more about you!" wasn't genuine if you never show any evidence of reading their comments. In a really active party (I've seen posts with 60+ comments), it clearly won't be possible to respond to everyone, but make an effort to show you're actively involved.
2) Don't be afraid to promote yourself! I know this seems to contradict what I just said, but read on! If you're hosting a Facebook party or have a slot as a guest author, you've put time and effort into planning for the party and may be offering a giveaway, so make sure you get something out of it! Not every post needs to be promotional, of course, but there are lots of ways to promote and interact at the same time. Find things readers have in common with your characters, share about the theme of your book and ask attendees about how that theme connects with them, make a quiz about the types of magic in your book, talk about the authors that inspire you and find out about everyone else's favorite authors - the possibilities are endless! And having participants sign up for your newsletter or follow you on social media can be a great way for them to enter a giveaway.
3) Graphics are attention-grabbing. Facebook parties can get very crowded with posts, so graphics can be a great way to help your posts stand out. My preference is to use a consistent background and fonts for all of my graphics so it's easy to distinguish my posts from what other authors are sharing, plus it gives off a professional vibe, but a more eclectic look can be fun, too! Either way, graphics can be a great way to highlight book covers, art connected with your books, giveaway prizes,and even a question you want people to answer. These are a few examples from my most recent party in case you're curious!
4) Be responsible. Hopefully this goes without saying, but I know these issues come up fairly often with these types of events so they're worth mentioning. If you are given or sign up for a certain period of time during which to post, make sure you follow through. Double check time zones, since those can get tricky when people from around the country or even world are involved. And if you have any concerns about being able to post during your time slot, you can always schedule them in advance. Dead space from an author no-show makes it really hard to keep the attention of party-goers. Also, if you offer a giveaway, make sure you actually pick a winner, contact him or her, and send the prize. Again, I know none of YOU would do these things, but it's still good to be aware :)
That's all I have for now! I could do a whole additional post on organizing a group Facebook party and finding opportunities to be a guest author, so if that would be helpful to anyone, let me know in the comments and I'll consider it for the future! And let me know if you have any questions! What's your take on Facebook parties? Have you ever been to one, or is the concept too bizarre?
Thanks for reading!