Friday, 24 April 2015

Talli Roland on Facebook!



I invited Talli Roland to be a guest on my blog today, and she kindly offered to write a post about Facebook for Writers. I know Talli through the Romantic Novelists' Association, and she was one of the first people I followed on Twitter, back in October 2011. Talli writes fun, humorous romantic fiction, and you can find out more about her books here. Talli really knows her stuff when it comes to social media, and it's a real honour to have her write a post for my blog. Talli's posts on Facebook always get loads of Likes and Comments, and it's interesting to find out how Talli has built such a successful Facebook following.

Thank you for visiting my blog Talli, over to you!

Facebook for Writers: How to Interact with Your Readers, by Talli Roland

Who doesn’t love a good surf around Facebook? From kittens to toddlers to hot men without shirts, it’s a fun way to kill an hour or three. But apart from procrastinating when you should be writing, Facebook is a valuable tool to connect with your readers – and to grow your readership, too. While Twitter updates are fleeting, Facebook posts have the power to stick around for a while, making it a great medium to share news.

If you have a personal Facebook account, it’s important not to be too precious about accepting friends and reaching out to new ones. Yes, you need to be careful about not oversharing (your home address, etc.), but people want to get to know you. If you’re anxious about mixing business with pleasure, I’d suggest setting up two Facebook personal accounts and using one specifically for writing. It’s easier if you have a pen-name, of course, and the division is clear. Either way, don’t worry about accepting people you don’t know in the real world. You will rarely meet your readers in person, anyway! There may be the odd scammer or two, who you can sometimes identify by having no profile photo. When in doubt, check out the person’s profile. If they have no status updates and hail from an obscure part of the world, chances are they’re not a reader.

Facebook is a casual medium, so don’t be too formal. Share snippets from your everyday life as well as your writing activities – think about it as providing a window into the life of an author. For me, that includes photos of my local neighbourhood, adventures with my young son, and everyday life in London. When I do have a new book out, I post about it, but I’m careful not to harp on and on. Likewise, I’ll share the news of my friends’ book, but I’m aware that I don’t want to turn my account into a promotion machine. It’s a delicate balance, and many authors often say the posts that get the most notice are those on their cat, their children, or their apple-tree . . . not their books.

Try to be positive and upbeat. Think of your Facebook account as putting your best foot forward; how you’d behave at a cocktail party, for example (minus the booze!). No-one wants to read update after update featuring tribulations with your bowels, or plod through venomous diatribes slagging off your publisher. In the isolation of your home, it’s very easy to forget that what you put out there can be consumed by many. Many author’s reputations have been tarnished by complaining about negative reviews, hoping for support but instead being taken apart by readers who feel their opinions should be respected.

Make sure to interact. Don’t just post, but respond to comments on your posts. Leave comments on others’ status updates, too. Like many things, social media is a two-way street. People want to know you’ve seen their responses and that they haven’t wasted their time. Plus, the more you respond to comments on your post, the more it gets ‘bumped up’ people’s timelines – meaning more people will see it.

If you would like to talk more about your books and less about your personal life, starting a Facebook page is the ideal place. You can drive ‘likes’ by making sure you have the page’s URL in the back of your books, your newsletter, and on your blog. A Facebook page is a more business-like environment, and a great way to connect with readers who may not want to know the minutiae of your life, no matter how interesting. It’s also a brilliant place to run competitions, where you can give away copies of signed books or your new novel, for example. Using websites like Rafflecopter, you can keep track of entries and even add a gateway, where people must like your page to enter the competition. Conscious that those who have liked my Facebook page may not want to be bombarded every day, I try to keep my posts here to a minimum, sharing only news relevant to my books.

Long gone are the days of writers sitting in their ivory towers, far removed from those buying their books. With social media, the line to our readers is open, and Facebook is a great conduit to meeting them half-way. Not only can you sell books, but you can also make friends. I certainly have!

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Talli Roland writes bittersweet and witty contemporary women's fiction. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine).

Despite training as a journalist, Talli soon found she preferred making up her own stories--complete with happy endings. Talli's novels have been short-listed as Best Romantic Reads at the UK's Festival of Romance and chosen as top books of the year by industry review websites.

To learn more about Talli, go to www.talliroland.com or follow Talli on Twitter: @talliroland. Talli blogs at talliroland.blogspot.com.