Are Authors Feeling Discouraged?

I came across a conversation on LinkedIn today. Just the title of the topic of discussion says it all:

Internet blogging, social networking et al has no effect on sales for 99% of new self published writers well certainly not for this one. Agree?

Sadly enough, most of the people who participated in the conversation do agree. Here are some excerpts of what they had to say:

Most of the time we’re blogging to other people who are trying to sell something to us — books, marketing, web design, etc. Same with Twitter. Has anyone else concluded that that almost no one reads other people’s tweets? I almost never do. I can’t understand 90% of them anyway.
–Peter Pollak

That is true I have almost given up. If you book is not getting shelf space and advetising somewhere it’s not moving.
–George Mavromates

I quite agree. My first book was with amazon/createspace. Zero-zilch-nothing in the way of promotion / marketing / sales…
–William Spencer

I thought maybe I was just being impatient–I just published last week, but it appears my concerns are justified. I do have some ideas that might help my sales, but I’m not encouraged. I’ve chatted on other sites with other authors with same concerns.
–Bracy Ratcliff

Boy, that’s depressing. But here’s my take on things (which will hopefully have you feeling a little more positive).

First of all, becoming a successful author is much like becoming a successful actor. You have to go into it knowing that the likelihood that you’ll be rich and famous is minimal. In fact, you probably won’t even be able to pay your bills on the money you’ll make. Deal with it. If you want more stability than that, go into banking.

That said, if you don’t do the things you need to do to become a successful author, then there’s no chance (none, niet, nil) that you’ll make it as a writer. Even the most talented writer probably won’t be successful unless he or she properly executes the non-writing requirements of being an author: in this case, blogging and social networking.

Thankfully, a few of the authors in this discussion agreed with me. Here are their comments.

It takes time to build a following and to expand your networks. Keep at it and the momentum will build.
–Lucy Adams

If you don’t do any of these things, there’s just no chance you’ll ever get yourself out there. Can’t win if you don’t play.
–Zihong Gorman

You’re right, Zihong. You have to play — and play well — to ever have a chance. So keep your head up and give it your best shot. If you don’t, you’ll regret it later.

Changes to Facebook and How They Will Affect You

It’s one of the most annoying things about Facebook: the “higher ups” just keep changing the way it works. From privacy settings to profiles, just when you think you have this Facebook thing figured out, the rules change on you.

Thankfully, there are plenty of people following Facebook and keeping people like us informed about what’s going on and how we should adapt. I rely on The Internet and Marketing Report newsletter to give me the scoop on such things.

Here’s a summary of what I learned from the latest issue … and how you, as an author, should adapt your Facebook usage accordingly:

What’s Changed
Facebook is adjusting its news feed. Before, Facebook showed you the posts that they felt were most relevant to you, sorted with the most recent on top. Now, Facebook decides which stories show up at the top of your page not by timeliness, but by the number of “Likes,” “Shares” and “Comments” that a particular post gets.

What This Means
Essentially, just investing the time in Facebook and posting frequently isn’t enough to get you seen any more. Unless your posts are getting lots of comments or likes, they’re going to appear momentarily … and then disappear when a more viral post takes off.

Tips for Getting Seen
In essence, all of this means that your Facebook posts have to be more sticky. Here are a few ideas on how authors can do that:

  • Post valuable content. Avoid the purely marketing-oriented Facebook posts, and instead write fact-filled updates that people can get something out of.
  • Have a sense of humor. People love sharing things that make them laugh. If you have a good sense of humor, use it.
  • Don’t be afraid to stir up some controversy. Push people’s buttons. Ask provocative questions. The people who agree with you will share or like your posts; those who disagree with comment themselves. It’s a win-win.
  • Ask questions. Again, make sure your posts are encouraging people to respond. Posing a question is a great way to do that.
  • Mark my words. It turns out that some words get more interest on Facebook than others. For example, posts that use the word “dollars off” seem to do better than those that just say “sale.” Interesting, right? Apparently, news links that were shared the most on Facebook included the following words: why, world, how, health, bill, big, says, best, video, you, Apple, media, top, first, and Obama. The least shared included: vs., apps, down, review, poll, game, Twitter, social, time, iPhone, USA Today, TV and live.

Hopefully, all of this information will help you figure out how to tweak your Facebook strategy. But beware … what’s working today may not be working tomorrow. That’s the nature of the Internet. Sigh…

Authors: Avoid the ‘Link Dump’

Most authors out there who have created a blog are trying every method possible to get traffic to it (see my blog entry last week on the subject). But here’s one method they shouldn’t be trying: link dumping.

What is “link dumping?” It’s simply posting links to your blog post wherever you can: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc… Most users just find those types of links too self-promotional. And, in some circles (LinkedIn groups, for example), it can get your comments banned from the conversation.

So how is an author supposed to include links to their blog entries without being guilty of link dumping? Here are three ideas, courtesy of Internet and Marketing Report.

1. Write intriguing text to go with your link. Ask a question that people want an answer to, and then link to your blog for more.

2. Explain the post. Rather than just posting a link, be very clear about what people will get if they click on it.

3. Do more than just self-promote. It’s okay to post sometimes with a link to your blog. But don’t do that all the time. Sometimes, write interesting copy specifically for the site that you’re on. Also consider linking to other people’s relevant posts and comments. People will be more likely to read your comments/tweets/posts if they aren’t always self-promotional.

Good luck with your traffic driving!

Author Success Story: Mark Hamel

This week, we feature another author who has drawn a great deal of traffic to his website. His name is Mark Hamel, and he’s the author of Kaizen Event Fieldbook. Most of us won’t understand a word of the book. But that’s okay, because what we really need to know is how he got so many people to learn about the book through his website. Here are his answers to our questions about how he did it.

Who built your website? How was the experience?
Smart Author Sites built my website. The experience was surprisingly pretty painless. I had conceptualized the layout and content and Smart Author Sites, took that and ran with it. After several iterations, a couple of emails and a phone call or two, we were ready.

Which social networking sites do you regularly participate in? Facebook? Twitter? GoodReads? LinkedIn? Any others?
I use LinkedIn quite a bit and am a low volume Tweeter. My blog posts are broadcast via LinkedIn and Twitter. No Facebook, so far.

How many online followers do you have? How many pageviews have you gotten on your website?
I do not track RSS followers, but email subscribers are in the many hundreds and the site’s unique monthly pageviews are around 3,000 …. more for total pageviews.

How has your online presence (be it through a website or social networking profiles) increased your visibility/book sales?
It’s hard to say how the online presence has increased book sales, but as one client shared, “You are all over the internet because of your blog.”

What is your “secret” to achieving this success? Were there any tricks or creative ideas (i.e. a contest) that you used?
No real secret. Just plan for the long haul, build a blog and continually add fresh and useful content for your community. Do that and people will come.

Is there anything you would do differently if you were starting over again?
I would have leveraged social media earlier.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned in the process of building your online presence as an author?
There’s no magic and there is no reason to be intimidated by the online thing. If you can write a book, the rest is just a matter of will.

How and where do you promote your website? Is the URL on business cards? Your email signature? Business cards, email signature, and within the book (and future book(s)).

Final words of wisdom for any new authors wondering how to get started….
Simple: 1) get started, and 2) don’t stress about being a big blogger, just endeavor to be a good blogger.

1. Who built your website? How was the experience?
Smart Author Sites built my website. The experience was surprisingly pretty painless. I had conceptualized the layout and content and Smart Author Sites, took that and ran with it. After several iterations, a couple of emails and a phone call or two, we were ready.

2. Which social networking sites do you regularly participate in? Facebook? Twitter? GoodReads? LinkedIn? Any others? I use LinkedIn quite a bit and am a low volume Tweeter. My blog posts are broadcast via LinkedIn and Twitter. No Facebook, so far.

3. How many online followers do you have? How many pageviews have you gotten on your website? (Any impressive numbers would work) I do not track RSS followers, but email subscribers are in the many hundreds and the site’s unique monthly pageviews are around 3,000, more for total pageviews.

4. How has your online presence (be it through a website or social networking profiles) increased your visibility/book sales? It’s hard to say how the online presence has increased book sales, but as one client shared, “You are all over the internet because of your blog.”

5. What is your “secret” to achieving this success? Were there any tricks or creative ideas (i.e. a contest) that you used? No real secret. Just plan for the long haul, build a blog and continually add fresh and useful content for your community. Do that and people will come.

6. Is there anything you would do differently if you were starting over again?
I would have leveraged social media earlier.

7. What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned in the process of building your online presence as an author? There’s no magic and there is no reason to be intimidated by the online thing. If you can write a book, the rest is just a matter of will.


8. How and where do you promote your website? Is the URL on business cards? Your email signature? Business cards, email signature, and within the book (and future book(s)).

9. Final words of wisdom for any new authors wondering how to get started….Simple: 1) get started, and 2) don’t stress about being a big blogger, just endeavor to be a good blogger.

Why All Authors Should Be Using Facebook Insights

If you’re an author using Facebook (and really, I hope you are), then you need to look at social networking as a piece of your business. That means analyzing it — just like you would any other advertising initiative — to determine what’s working and what’s a waste of your time.

Enter Facebook Insights. Much like Google Analytics (which we install in all of our author websites), it provides you with statistics on who is looking at your Facebook page, which of your posts are getting the most views, likes and/or comments, the days in which your Facebook page got the most traffic, etc…

And unlike GoogleAnalytics, Facebook can actually tell you who was looking at your Facebook page. So while both tools can tell you how many people viewed something, only Facebook Insights has the data to also tell you the age and gender of those individuals: valuable information in helping you determine what to write about in the future and who seems to be most interested in your writings.

According to Jay Baer, a social media strategist, the specific things you should be looking for in Facebook Insights are:

  1. Feedback: Every time you post a status update, Facebook Insights can tell you how many people have looked at it, liked it, or commented on it. Obviously, you want likes and comments. The ones that get more of those are “successes,” and you should aim to post similar updates in the future.
  2. Hides: A “hide” is when someone clicks the “X” to remove your updates from their news feed. It’s just like unsubscribing from your newsletter. Essentially, it’s a lost fan. By tracking these hides, you should be better able to figure out how to avoid them in the future.
  3. Impressions: This is simply the number of people who saw your update. By determining which of your updates were viewed by the most people, you can decide what types of updates (and what time of day) are most successful.

Just like the rest of Facebook, “Insights” is free. Click here to check out some FAQs on the tool.

Ready to get started? Simply visit http://www.facebook.com/insights/

Author Success Story: Richard Bard

Every author wants to build a website that generates thousands of visitors (and hopefully, thousands of books sold). Richard Bard has done just that. In the five weeks since his website launched, he’s had 5,000 visitors and over 9,000 pageviews. That’s impressive! Richard has also been kind enough to take the time to answer some questions we had for him about how he went about achieving such online success. Here are his responses …

Who built your website? How was the experience?
I interviewed several different website developers before selecting Karin and her staff at SmartAuthorSites.com.  Karin’s extensive experience working with authors put her near the top of my list.  But you know what sold me?  I told her I wanted “the best site ever.”  She had three “packages” available and I insisted on the most expensive of the three, assuming that’s what it would take.  But when I outlined my requirements, she said I would be better off with a less expensive option.  Not many companies would have done that.  I signed the contract the next day.   I enjoyed working with everyone on her staff and was particularly impressed with 1) the ability of their designer to produce an end-result in accordance with my specific ideas, and 2) the responsiveness of their primary coder, Mike, who made changes nearly as fast as I requested them (often two or three times the same day).  Karin has an excellent team.  I’m a happy client and proud of my website.

Which social networking sites do you regularly participate in? How many online followers do you have? How many page views have you gotten on your website?

  • My Twitter handle is @Richard_Bard where I have 1,000 followers.
  • I have 200 Facebook fans on the BRAINRUSH fan page:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/BRAINRUSHthebook
  • In the 5 weeks that my website has been “live” I’ve had had approximately 5,000 unique visits and 9,000 page views.

What is your “secret” to achieving this success? Were there any tricks or creative ideas (i.e. a contest) that you used?
Here’s what I told New York Times bestselling author CJ Lyons in a recent interview:

A successful marketing campaign is predicated on two things:  First and foremost, you need a good product—that’s the hard part.  Once you’ve done that, all you need to do is make that product ‘discoverable’ by your target audience.

Step 1 — A good product:  So how do you know when your book is good enough?  The obvious answer is to get feedback from readers.  There are countless forums, workshops, and writing classes that provide an excellent vehicle for this.  Don’t be afraid.  Thicken your skin and just do it.  For BRAINRUSH I started with 7 or 8 classes at UCLA.  Then I moved on to Authonomy.com and finally I entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest two years in a row.  It was a lengthy and humbling process but it was worth it.  Instructor and reader feedback led to one revision after another, making the book better along the way.  The original manuscript looks nothing like the final book.  In the end your gut will tell you when your baby is good enough.  Trust your instincts.

Step 2 — Make it discoverable:  Believe it or not this is the easy part.  Yes, it’s time consuming and it can get expensive if you’re in a rush (for ads and other placements), but if you’re patient it can be done on a small budget and a modest investment of time.  Imagine this:  You’re book is ready.  You know it’s good because the feedback you’ve received in the past few months has been generally positive (if not, go back to Step 1!).  Now imagine your book is accidentally placed on the Amazon Top-100 BS list. There you are amongst all those famous authors.  (Wouldn’t that be nice?)  What do you think your book sales will be tomorrow?  What about next week after thousands of readers start sharing their comments online?  If you’re not sure of the answer ask John Locke.  Book sales will skyrocket because suddenly everybody sees it when they go to Amazon—it’s “discoverable”.  They read a sample, buy it, love it, and tell a friend.  Of course Amazon wasn’t willing to make that kind of mistake on my behalf so I needed to find a different solution.

So what did you do?
Not advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark; you know what you’re doing, but nobody else does.

Everyone says social networking is a must.  I can’t disagree but I’m frustrated over how time consuming it can be.  I’ve tried a little of it with Twitter and Facebook and I will continue to do so.   However, I needed more.  I blogged a couple times and even received some nice feedback.  But everybody blogs and there are a zillion new books out there and only so many eyes.  I wanted to come up with an original way make my book stand out, something nobody’s done before.  A lot of folks recommend offering the book for free.  I personally don’t like that approach.  It diminishes the value of the product in the long run.  The product is good, remember?  It’s worth a few bucks.  So instead of giving the book away I decided it would be better to give gifts to anyone who paid full price for my book ($2.99).  I checked around.  Nobody had ever done anything like that before.  Good.  As far as the gift choice—from a reader’s POV what could be better than a bestseller or two?  So I got permission from three top bestselling authors—CJ Lyons, Michael Prescott, and Rick Murcer—and started gifting their books under a special promotion called “Feel the Rush” — Buy-1 Get-2 Free.  The promotion was well received.  BRAINRUSH sales jumped and people started talking about it.  Best of all many of them emailed me after reading the book—and for the most part the response was positive.  Many readers said they couldn’t put it down—including David Crosby of Crosby, Stills & Nash, who later gave a shout-out for the book at a major concert.  Wow…that was a brain-rush!  To be honest I was totally blown away.  Sure I talk a good game up above about making sure the product was “good” but a hidden part of me is astounded every time a reader is actually moved by Jake’s story.  What an incredible feeling.

Is there anything you would do differently if you were starting over again?
From a business perspective it would be great to have three books “in the can” before launching a campaign.  I’ve had many readers tell me how anxious they are to read Book-2.  (So am I!)  If it had been ready to go, overall sales would have grown considerably—adding to the buzz.  Three months later I could have released Book-3 to keep the fires burning.  But that’s hindsight.  Too late now, at least for me.  Fortunately Book-2 is almost finished.  It will be available for release in December—just in time for Christmas. (Fingers crossed!)

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned in the process of building your online presence as an author?
Be different in order to be newsworthy.  It’s one thing to buy ads and sponsorships (which I heartily endorse), but the response from unsolicited mentions can make or break a campaign.  Be creative.  Indie book publishing via the digital age is an industry in its infancy.  Become one of its founders by thinking outside the box.

How and where do you promote your website? Is the URL on business cards? Your email signature?
All of my ads, sponsorships, blogs, interviews, etc., include a link to my website.  I created a special landing page there for the promotion.  In my opinion, an Indie author needs a professional website above all else.  How else can potential readers get to know you and your books?  And remember—your website must grab a visitor’s attention within five seconds or you’ll lose them.  So don’t be afraid to spend a little extra money up front to make sure it is an accurate reflection of you and your work.  In the long run you’ll be glad you did.

Final words of wisdom for any new authors wondering how to get started….
Focus first on your book.  Don’t move on to promotion and marketing until you’re convinced that the majority of your target audience will love it.  After that, say your prayers and let ‘er rip!

If you’re interested you can see the BRAINRUSH promotion here:  www.RichardBard.com/Promo

While you’re there you might get a laugh over the home-made trailer on my home page.  I had to scramble to put it together as a placeholder when CreateSpace informed me that the “traditional” trailer was delayed six weeks. (Yes, the little kid in the video is really me!)

Happy reading,

Richard Bard

Why Only Doing Social Networking Can Be a HUGE Mistake for Authors

One of my clients (thanks, Chip Wagar!) sent me a link a few days ago. He thought this article might be a good tool for me to use to stress the importance of author websites in today’s world of Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn.

The article is called “Are You Digital Sharecropping Your Book Business.” I highly recommend it. If you want to read it in full, click here.

Here are some of the highlights….

  • “Digital Sharecropping” is a term that was coined in 2004. It refers to the spreading of information on the web … and not necessarily in a good way.
  • It basically means that Landlords, like Facebook and Twitter, get the majority of the profits from content that is created by the rest of us. Landlords own the site and we, as authors, populate their sites with content.  We sow, they reap.
  • The more we post on Facebook and Twitter, the more money those companies make. But are authors making money off of those sites? How does an author even know if they’re selling copies of their books as a result of all their social networking efforts?
  • Landlords like Facebook and Twitter come and go. MySpace was once the hottest site on the web, and we know what happened to that. If we put all of our eggs in a Facebook or Twitter basket, what’s going to happen when those sites become soooo yesterday.
  • The only way to avoid the sharecropping (and ensure that your content lives forever — even after Facebook and Twitter are long gone) is to be your own Landlord. How do you do that? You focus on your own author site.
  • Social media is still a great marketing tool, but your goal for using them should be to send people to YOUR property: your website. On your own site, you dictate what’s there and how it appears. You also have far more information on who is visiting it, how they got there, and how you can contact them going forward.

Here are the last two paragraphs of the article:

If some self-proclaimed expert suggests you abandon your website or blog and only use social media RUN the other way. He or she isn’t an expert. You’ve put in a lot of time and effort into writing your book, why would you risk only using digital sharecropping with a Landlord that can delete you on a whim or change the landscape that no longer supports you?  If you do some research you’ll find the Landlord Facebook and Landlord Tumblr are notorious for deleting accounts.

Bottom line:  Use social media for what it is intended for; a tool to drive traffic to your site.  But…the most effective is to build your audience on what you create on your own real-estate:  your website and your blog. Social media is only one tool in a very huge tool box. It’s not only one thing you do in marketing, it’s everything that you do that brings intended results so use ALL of your tools.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Author Success Story: Askhari Hodari

Every author wants to know how to get lots of traffic to their website (and ultimately, sell lots of books). Well, Askhari Hodari is a great example of that success. She is co-author of two books and has two websites (one for each book). Best of all, she gets nearly 9,000 pageviews a month on the two sites combined. How does she do it? Here are her answers to our questions…

Who built your website? How was the experience?

[Smart Author Sites] built the websites for both my books, The African Book of Names and Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs.  She took the designs of our previous websites and morphed them into WordPress.  I learned a lot about website possibilities during the process and am appreciative of being introduced to WordPress.

Which social networking sites do you regularly participate in? Facebook? Twitter? GoodReads? LinkedIn? Any others?

We have created an online presence for both books on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/LifelinesTheBlackBookOfProverbs -and- http://www.facebook.com/TheAfricanBookofNames), and Twitter (@DailyLifelines & @AfrikanNames).  We use Networked Blogs to post from WordPress automatically to Facebook; and Facebook posts automatically to our Twitter account.  We also have a minor presence on LinkedIn.  )

How many online followers do you have? How many pageviews have you gotten on your website?

We have hundreds of subscribers to our Daily Lifelines (LifelinesProverbs.com).  We regularly get over a thousand visits to both sites.  In fact, Afrikan Names regularly averages around 6,918 pageviews per month and LifelinesProverbs regularly averages around 2,790 pageviews per month.

How has your online presence (be it through a website or social networking profiles) increased your visibility/book sales?

One of the more frustrating aspects of spending time building an online presence is the inability to determine the relationship between social networking and book sales.  If would be helpful our royalty reports could give us an idea of the areas where our book is selling and what types of venues, but we don’t have access to that information outside of bookscan, which gives limited information.

What is your “secret” to achieving this success? Were there any tricks or creative ideas (i.e. a contest) that you used?

I don’t know that we have been successful.  I can only say that we have tried to create the type of presence our publicity and marketing team advised us to.  So, no tricks or secrets.

Is there anything you would do differently if you were starting over again?

    If I understood everything WordPress had to offer, I would have probably thought to design the website differently.  I would create more interactive activities on the home page and other key pages on LifelinesProverbs.com.  And, if I had known how popular AfrikanNames was going to be, I would have highlighted the book more.

    What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned in the process of building your online presence as an author?

      I don’t know that I have learned lessons.  Personally, at times, I feel building an online presence is time consuming and as a writer, I realize that time is precious and irretrievable.  So, I have learned to focus on building quality relationships to maximize the time.

      How and where do you promote your website? Is the URL on business cards? Your email signature?

        We promote our websites anywhere we can.  The URL is in the book, on the business cards, in our e-mail signatures, on our videos, on our Facebook and Twitter pages, etc.

        Final words of wisdom for any new authors wondering how to get started….

          Work to establish an online presence before the book is released; and make sure the book lists your URL.

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          Authors on Facebook: Profile Pages vs. Fan Pages

          I must confess. Up until today, I had a profile page on Facebook. It wasn’t the same as my personal account (I’m not that 2005), but it was still an account for the individual with the name “Smart Author Sites,” not the business “Smart Author Sites.” Finally, today, I made the migration. Yes, I’m now a business with a fan page.

          Here’s why I did it, and why all authors should create fan pages on Facebook:

          1. You don’t want to mix business and personal. Your personal Facebook profile is for family and friends. On it, you can share pictures of your kids, stories about trips to the supermarket, etc… Your professional Facebook page should be used for the purpose of marketing yourself and your book(s). Keep your personal life out of it.
          2. You don’t even have to accept “fans.” When you have a personal profile on Facebook, people request that you “friend” them. If you do, you get bombarded with their personal information on your wall. In short, you don’t really want to friend most of these people. But with a professional page, people don’t “friend” you. They simply become your “fans.” You don’t have to do anything to allow them to do that, and their posts, updates, etc… don’t appear on your page.
          3. You can add “like” buttons. On your website, you can have links through which people can “like” your professional page on Facebook. When they do, their liking of your page appears on their status update. This allows all of their friends to see that they like you, which only spreads the word further in the Facebook universe.
          4. Fan pages show up on search engines. As a professional author, you want as many people to find you as possible. With a professional page (which has no privacy settings), Facebook is free to share the information on your page with the search engines. Because personal profiles need to remain private, personal Facebook pages can’t show up on search results. By having a public page that people can find through many channels, you’re increasing your visibility.
          5. Professional pages have no fan limit. If you’re lucky enough to get 5,000 followers (and don’t we all wish we were), Facebook would actually cut you off at 5,000 friends. But with a business page, you could have an unlimited number of fans. So why limit yourself?

          See? You should all do what I did: take the plunge and create a professional Facebook page. If you’ve already done so, please share your tips and ideas here on how to make it work.

          4 Ways to Liven Up Your Author Facebook Presence

          There’s no question that having an active presence on Facebook can increase an author’s visibility (and book sales!). But exactly how to make your Facebook presence lively and active can be harder than you think. Here are some words of advice, courtesy of Internet and Marketing Report, on how to do just that.

          1. Be proactive. Don’t wait for people to friend you and/or become a fan. Reach out to other authors, reading groups, etc… Join the groups, post on walls, and start conversations. This will allow a whole new audience of people to learn about you and your work.

          2. Mix things up. Some authors just post status updates. Others only upload photos. But the more variety you offer on Facebook, the more likely you are to appear on other people’s news feeds. So post text updates, add photos, tag people in your updates, and post videos. You’ll be more likely to get views (and responses).

          3. Solicit responses. If your Facebook posts say nothing except what you’re doing, you’re unlikely to get a whole lot of response. But if you ask questions, you’re encouraging people to become involved. For example, Microsoft posted the following on Facebook: “My favorite feature in Office 2010 is _____.” They got 300 responses.

          4. Offer a reward for becoming a fan. People who friend you and/or become a fan should have special benefits. That may be a discount on your book, a raffle ticket, etc… One pizzeria picks a lucky fan each week and gives him or her a free pizza. Just the chance to win a free pizza led to a rapid increase in their number of fans.

          Here’s to an active Facebook presence and lots of adoring fans!