A Facebook author event is an on-line Facebook page set for a specific time frame and either an invited or open-to-the-public happening. Most often there are games, giveaways, contests, and content provided.
It’s not that planning and running an author event on Facebook is so difficult, but there are a lot of moving parts, so I split this post in two with Part I this week and Part II next week.
Part I will focus on the prep for a Facebook event.
Part II will focus on how to set it up and what happens during and after the event.
Planning an event or happening on FB is a little complicated, but not too difficult. Just be well-planned before you go to set it up, then fill in the blanks. Set it up. Let ‘er rip.
With adequate prep, the event should go off smoothly. But before the event there are decisions to be made and materials and/or resources to accumulate.
Planning your Facebook Author Event:
1) What kind of event are you planning?
A book launch? A connect-with-you event for fans? An “Author Takeover” event to allow connection with multiple authors? Fundraiser for some cause important to you and connected to what you write?
In an Author Takeover, gather a variety of authors in your genre (from around the world if possible). Or perhaps you are in an anthology. Get those authors to participate. An example of the fundraiser might be raising money for Desert Labrador Retriever Rescue if your books feature a rescue dog as an on-going character.
Name your event and select a picture to represent the event! Choose something memorable but short like “Pastabilities Book Launch.” The picture, of course, would be the book cover. Create a description that is concise, punchy, and use hashtags to aid in the spreading the word of the event.
2) Allow 2-3 months prep time.
You need this time for planning and gathering materials and resources, but mostly for building buzz about the upcoming event. Drop hints on your FB author page, your blog, and your website. Post things like “Save the date! July 15th is a BIG event coming your way.” Or, “Be my date. I want to spend time with you on July 15th? Got a couple of hours?”
If there are multiple authors involved, set up the schedule for when each must be available for their part of the event. Have them promote the same way you are on your social media avenues. Provid them with copy so all they have to do is copy/paste.
Be sure to invite those attending to follow you on your FB author page and to subscribe to your website. Post that information periodically throughout the event (people come and go) or have it permanently available on the event site.
3) What is your timeframe?
Will this event be a marathon 24 hours? Happen for two hours? What time frame works best for your fans in various time zones? What date has the least conflicts with other stuff in your life?
Make it easy for people to attend by making the time and location easy to find. Ask them to respond to the invitation for attendance and to spread the word to others.
4) Who is going to help?
Even if this is a “simple” event lasting two hours, you will need at least one other person to help out. So get a good friend or friends to pitch in. Doing what, you ask?
If you have contests going on, someone has to monitor the entries and decide on the winner. If you have a successful event, you will have multiple conversation threads occurring simultaneously. When people post something, someone on your team needs to respond quickly.
I accumulate memes, questions to answer, lists of culinary books and authors, recipes, cooking tips and hacks, giveaways, polls, mini-mysteries to solve, etc. that are posted every several minutes. Accumulate enough to post at least 15 times per hour. See why you need 2-3 months?
You have to keep things happening, moving. You
want people to stay for a long time and not leave
because the event is boring. With so much
happening, you need helpers to post and to respond
Okay, you’re now ready to set up and run your Facebook author event. Come back next week to see how that works. If you have some suggestions to add, please comment below. I’m always trying to get better at this promo stuff!