Facebook groups: are you pro or con?

As an author, I can personally attest to the fact that there are few places where we can promote our books and share our news, especially for free. Many of us have joined Facebook groups that cater to one genre or another, and those groups kindly allow us to post excerpts/teasers/links. Hopefully, readers tune in, see something they like and one-click us. It’s all good, right? Readers find new reads and authors, and authors find new readers.

Well, sometimes. When the universe is in happy alignment.

There are many out there who feel the only people who frequent Facebook groups are other authors. If that’s the case, we’re not exactly hitting our target market. However, I have met many readers and bloggers through these venues, and people have told me they’ve purchased one of my books after reading my teasers. Even still, is this the ideal environment for us to post, or are we simply preaching to the choir?

I am one of the mods in the Heroes Wanted group, run by the ladies of Love, Lust and Laptops. I have also begun a very successful and fun group called Shifter and Vamp Romance, catering specifically to shape shifter and vampire books. Through these groups and others, I have been able to connect with many readers and have had a lot of fun too.

Then there are days when I feel I am spinning my wheels, posting and posting, wondering if anyone notices. And with the new Facebook policies, links might not appear on a feed for hours, if not days. To say nothing of the fact that authors need to play a delicate balancing game while promoting. Don’t promote too much; people get angry. And yet, if you don’t promote, no one will discover you.

So what’s a hardworking author to do? There have been times when I’ve been tempted to scrap all my groups. I certainly know authors who do no promoting whatsoever, and yet they still sell books. Nowadays we’re expected to have some sort of online presence, so I try to engage via my groups and pages. I enjoy it. My own readers have followed me and have been wonderful, sharing my posts.

But am I reaching that all-important new reader?Β I have yet to figure it out.

Are you a reader? Do you rely on Facebook groups to keep you posted on new reads?

Are you an author? Have FB groups been a successful tool for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

34 thoughts on “Facebook groups: are you pro or con?

  1. I have acquired new readers from others mentioning my work in other groups. I also joined a group blog and have been told by readers that’s where they found my work, so the right group with a welcoming vibe I think is the ticket.

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    • Thanks Cora. I agree about the welcoming vibe. And one does need to find the right group for one’s purposes, whether they be enjoyment or promotion. The wrong groups are time sucks.

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  2. I am a reader only and I love your group. I have found many new authors and books and I love interacting with both authors and readers. I check in to your group page several times a day, don’t want to miss anything. Thank you for all your hard work, this reader appreciates it immensely!!

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  3. I’m a non-Facebook user and that excludes me from a lot of things, but I really have no interest in joining. I like blogs like this one to get my news on upcoming releases and to interact with authors.

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    • Thank you Lisa! You brave soul, staying away from Facebook! LOL My husband is the same- no interest, no time. I’m so glad you enjoy the blog!

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  4. Interesting questions, Rosanna. I’ve found some new readers on FB, but as you mention, we walk a fine line of promoting vs. over-promoting. FB needs to be just one of many promotional vehicles in our marketing plan.

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  5. My biggest issue with liking groups or author pages on FB is that I get very little to no control over who else in my FB friends list is able to see my activity. Sure, there might be other friends who would also be interested in following that author whose page I just liked, but what about the people I am FB friends with purely out of necessity? Do I need everyone to see how much I enjoy reading mΓ©nage? Probably not. It makes me leery of wanting to be as active as I might otherwise be. Goodreads isn’t much better. It’s ‘safer’ for me to follow blogs individually but how am I to find out about other blogs I might want to follow?

    I have found most of the blogs via author blogs. I have hooked up with (no pun intended) most of the authors I follow based on links on the final pages of their books that I enjoyed so much I wanted to know when their next book was coming out. But again, how do I find a new author this way?

    Yes, it’s still a crap shoot, but places like this sure help when you bring in outside authors. Have you ladies thought about bringing in outside book blogs as well?

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    • Thank you for your thoughtful response, Nickie! It is difficult to learn of everyone out there, without giving too much of ourselves away. I see your point. As for outside blogs, thanks for the suggestion. LLL is still fairly new in the grand scheme of things, as far as blogging goes and we haven’t investigated this option yet. Food for thought!

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  6. Great article, Rosanna!

    I am a reader and aspiring author and I rely on Facebook to help me keep up with my friends, author and non-author alike. I see my author friends constantly posting about cover reveals, release dates and out right frustration when a story is not clicking the way it should. For me, it is glimpse into the future when I earn my stripes as a published author. It’s great to know I’m not alone.

    -Erin

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    • Thank you so much, Erin! No matter its pros or cons, FB remains a place where like-minded folks can gather and learn. You are NOT alone. πŸ™‚

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  7. Hi Rosanna, As you know I’m fairly active on FB and belong to a bunch of groups. I personally am finding that a lot of authors are over promoting their books to the point where I just don’t care…when you see the exact same post over and over and over..you just tune it out. I find I get most of my reads by interacting with other bloggers or author/author group’s newsletters and still find I get the most on Goodreads. I have found that with my fav authors street teams are fun and you really connect with the author and other like minded readers. You feel special to be a part of them and have a lot more fun than just being in a group. Only my opinions of course:)

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    • Thanks for that, t’irla! Your opinions are valid. I find many of mine change with the wind, depending on recent experiences. Streets teams…hmm. This is a topic I’ve been doing much thinking about. There really seems to be a love/hate thing going on for these teams, and a lot of over-promotion by zealous members. It’s amazing people are passionate about their reads, but I have my concerns with how some teams are run. It’s something I’ve personally avoided doing thus far, but never say never. I guess there really isn’t one perfect option. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

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  8. Rosanna — Excellent questions — and the answer is? There is no one right answer. πŸ™‚

    I have author friends who work FB and the Amazon algorithms like crazy and do very well. Me? I’d rather write the next book which also has proven to be a good way to sell your books.

    I have found that when I am invited to a Release Party for one of my several friends who seem to have figured out the FB system that I do get an uptick on my blog followers and new readers who mention they met me on so-and-so’s release day. I also get an uptick in people wanting to Friend me after these same release parties.

    As for my presence on FB, I try to post something every day — usually sharing this blog’s posts. I do think this group blog has given me some cross-promotion and that helps also.

    All that said, I love hearing from fans and will respond – whether it is on FB, by e-mail, on my blog or this blog or at Goodreads. If I don’t respond, then it means I didn’t get the message. FB has been acting up lately and I am not one of those who has figured out how to “work” the angles.

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    • Ah, yes, release parties. Another of the bees in my bonnet. LOL. They seem like a great tool, Moni, but again I wonder at how much they help us sell our books. Do those who attend the parties only do so in the hopes of snagging a freebie they wouldn’t have read otherwise? Or are participants honestly eager to connect with new authors? I just don’t know. I guess we just keep doing what we do and write that next book!

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  9. At the moment I still think Facebook is a viable marketing tool. However, things change daily and it’s difficult to stay ahead of the curve. I do release parties and I truly think it probably does more for the authors I host than as much for me. I believe in a pay it forward system. I have been helped by some lovely and generous women in my relatively short time as an author and I intend to do the same for others. I do belong to many groups and have my own. It’s impossible to quantify what is working. Mostly I want to write good books and sell them!!! Marketing seems to be an ever evolving puzzle and I like puzzles! I loved your question and I wish I knew the answer…..

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    • Thank you, Robyn! I wish I knew the answer too. LOL And I value your comment about paying it forward, something I believe in doing as much as possible. When I began in this industry, I knew no one, had no clue and no business plan. I am here because of the kindness of strangers who became friends. The romance community is a wonderful one, full of sharing people. And the others? Well, who needs ’em? We’re too busy trying to stay ahead of the curve! πŸ™‚

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  10. I am a reader. . And I have found new authors through FB parties. I understand your hesitation on over promoting. But without these groups. I would have never found you, Rosanna…..So way to go FB reading groups…..<3<3

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  11. I am a reader, not an author, but I love being able to find out about new books and other authors on Facebook. If one of my favourite authors recommends another writer, I nearly always buy one if their books too.

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  12. I met you Rosanna through GR and people like T. And then Monette and the LLL ladies through you. And I met Robyn at a release party of hers through another author friend and now she is a part of the shifter/vamp group where I have also met great authors and friends.

    I think the best answer is to find what works for you and follow that until you find/add something that works better. FB used to be the perfect tool but lately it has become a very hostile place – both from people being overly critical or going out of their way to hurt others – and the changes that FB is making to cater to their “paying” clients. Everytime I get on their I have no clue what to expect!

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    • Thanks Heather! I am glad I had these venues to meet you and others. FB can be hostile, and so can GR unfortunately. Very hard to a new author to break into the GR scene. I guess we just keep trying and remain thankful for the connections we do have. πŸ™‚

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    • Heather, I am so glad you met me through Rosanna. And I like the pay it forward concept also — this is something I do by mentoring new authors and teaching on-line classes and pimping my gals whose books I adore.

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  13. I thinks groups are good if it’s about a particular author and guest authors I have found several new authors and added new favourites through FB I rarely use other social network sites too busy. But I think groups are good specially around new releases but then again you can do that on FB anyway. I share book posts on my own FB because while I have a lot of authors I’m friends with I also have readers.

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  14. Excellent post, Rosanna. I never really used FB much until my son, who only communicates that way, moved to California. Now, I’m beginning to enjoy it. Especially, since I can post pics of my gardening successes. As to how good a marketing tool it is – haven’t got a clue. I work full time and basically, use FB to get updated about my friends and family.

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  15. Thank you Rosanna for sharing this! I teach a workshop called “Social ‘Bet’working” because I believe social networking is pretty much a crap shoot but you’ve got to play to win. It changes daily and it’s so illusive that what works today may not work tomorrow. That said, you inspired me to test your Facebook theory. I’ve just spent the last hour joining several more FB groups and offering a free copy of my latest book. Before I was finished ‘joining’ the list of suggested groups FB kept enticing me with, I had four immediate responses to my Follow Me requests. Maybe LL&L will allow me to do a follow up blog about my results. πŸ™‚

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    • Hi KaLyn! Thank you, firstly. I appreciate your comments. And yes, please let us know how your experiment goes. We’d love to host you. πŸ™‚

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  16. I just started joining groups recently. At first, I thought “Oh wow…I can share to all of these groups.” Until my co-worker said she saw each and every time I posted. Then I went “Oh shit.” So I limit how many posts I share per day. I try to do no more than 3. Sadly other authors don’t follow these limitations. I’ve had (no lie) 72 notifications from ONE person sharing to 70+ groups within a matter of minutes. I would unfollow them, but then I notice it’s not just one author sharing to that particular group, but 4-6 more of my author friends. My point is it would be pointless for me to unfollow everyone. Gotta take the good with the bad, I guess. (And no, Rosanna, you are not one of the overshare peeps, by the way!) I thought about turning off my notifications for each particular group, but I would hate to miss any “likes” or comments on my personal posts. I try to respond to each and every mention of my books on FB. But my problem is I get zero-to-little attention. I do know with my last 2 releases, my promo efforts have mostly been FB shares to the groups and a few tweets, a $15 paid FB ad and both books have sold better than any of my others. So (shrugs) guess I’ll just keep on keeping on.

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    • Hey Robin. Thank you for your comments. Just so you know, you can turn off all notifications, and will still get beeped when someone mentions your name. As long as you are tagged in the comment or description, and your name has been highlighted, FB will still send you a notification. So turn those notifications off sister! You’ve have more sanity.

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