I’ve been a part of a over a dozen Facebook parties now, and I’ve seen very visible sales spikes from some, to the tune of 50 books of the second in the series over a very short time frame, and nada from others. Here’s what I’ve learned about how to run a good one!
The parties that work best are sponsored by:
- very active groups
- a number of active, competent authors coming together
A few more tips:
- If you’re going to jump into a publicist-run or blog-run party, check their previous parties to see how many DIFFERENT people are active in each party. For blogger and publicist parties that I have to pay for, I look for people who can bring in at least 100 active attendees.
- Realize that the same group of hosts will probably bring the same group of attendees each time. So mix it up.
- Parties with tighter themes usually work better in attracting enthusiastic groups of readers, though there is some benefit in limited cross-promotion.
Authors should sign up for 30 minute to one hour blocks of time, with a minimum, typically, of eight participating authors. The bigger the party the better, and if you leave the posts open for a couple of days after the parties, you can get later swing-bys.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Running Your Party
- Establish the event date and schedule the authors.
- Create the event page and put up a wallpaper and a pinned post with the schedule.
- Invite all the authors (through the Facebook “invite” feature) and also PM them with the link to the event–if they’re like me, they get about 10 invitations a day and might lose it in their notifications. If an author doesn’t accept, nag.
- All parties should be OPEN events and should remain so for the duration of the party.
- Have each author make ONE introduction post. Links to permafrees in the post should be encouraged! This really gets a lot of eyes and traffic before the event.
- About five days before, start inviting readers through the Facebook “invite” feature and have the other authors do the same. Send the authors a reminder through PM with a link to the event page encouraging them to invite their readers.
- Pin a post to the top of the affiliated group.
- Ask writers to start promoting the event on their page, profile, and groups as well as on Twitter and in their author newsletters. In the author newsletter, they should explain that a reader must click the button saying they will attend to get notified when the party starts. They should let readers know five days before, one day before, at the start of the party, and at the start of their own time slot. Which venues different authors choose to promote through which days will vary–no one, for instance, will send out four newsletters about a Facebook party!
- Plan your giveaways ahead of time. I like to write out my posts and my links and gather my images before the party so that I can respond to people rather than figure out what I’m doing next.
- The most effective party posts have images and they pose a question or a poll or present a picture challenge for readers to respond to enter the giveaways.
- Don’t ask questions that people need to have read your books to know the answers to, but DO relate them to your books somehow. It can be as simple as, “I write one series with vampires and another with shifters. Which would you rather be? Which would you rather have a happily-ever-after with? One random respondent will get X.”
- If you’re in charge, have authors make a separate post for each giveaway. Having stacked giveaways with one author per post turns into a logistical nightmare.
- Start out your time slot in the party by introducing yourself and pointing people to one or more freebies for all participants. This could be your permafree on other vendors, a temporary code for Smashwords, or an Instafreebie link.
- THIS is actually where you will end up getting your sell-through, not the rest of the giveaways! Readers have “met” you and talked with you and are excited about reading your book.
- After the first giveaways for everyone, I’ve found that there’s no real point in giving away things to multiple winners on each post, but making the individual winners get something big–like a big bundle–makes a difference.
- Keep to your time slots, but you can set a policy in the party that entries are permitted for the next 24 hours or so to pick up stragglers. I find this very effective, too!
- When winners are announced, I send them to a form I created on my website where they enter their email address, their name, and their preferred format for their ebook. Then I have my assistant send them the ebook with links to directions on how to side-load it.