My first time doing promotion on Facebook was interesting.
Ever since I got my Author Facebook Page I’ve been tempted to hit the ‘boost’ button on every post I wrote. I initially thought the boost button was for boosting your post to the top of the news feed for those people who follow your page, and that boosting was a free service. I just didn’t hit the button because I thought it would annoy my followers (mostly my friends) to have my author’s page posts bombarding their news feed.

Then on Easter weekend I pressed the button.

This is what I found out.
If you boost a post it is more like an ‘ad’ than a boost, so don’t boost an ordinary post, like I did. My post was a ‘happy Easter’ greeting. Fortunately I also mentioned that I added six new chapters to my latest novel Hamster Heaven, and I offered a link to the wattpad site where it can be read. Unfortunately I didn’t get any more views on that novel by using the ‘boost’ option. I did however get my post seen by 13,555 people (that’s my post, not my author’s page). I thought that was fairly impressive for my $26 I spent on the ‘boost’.

My ‘ad’ ran for two days. Had I realized it was more of an ad than a boost to the top of the news feed I would have planned it better. The image I added to my ‘Happy Easter’ comment was a funny Easter cartoon I found, and it got over 200 likes on it! That’s the most likes I’ve ever gotten on a post (considering I only have 45 followers). People seemed to like the funny photo, which I will keep in mind for the next time I advertise (add a catchy photo to my post next time I boost one).

I thought it was interesting that my page didn’t get any new likes, despite the 200+ likes on the post. This means people aren’t so much seeing the page as they are seeing the individual post. So paying for a boost on your post on Facebook may not generate actual likes to your page, unless maybe your post says ‘like this page for a chance to win [something]’. I haven’t tried the (promotion) button yet, which, as far as I can tell, promises to increase your likes by 100 (very ambition claim if you ask me).

The next time I pay for Facebook advertising I’ll have a contest, win a free book by liking the page and commenting! That ought to generate me a few Page likes. I’m glad I tried the advertising with Facebook. I think, strategically planned, a Facebook ad is well worth the money. You can select a target age and target countries (I selected Canada, US and UK), and get a large number of views in a mere two days. But it can be just as useless as it can be useful, if you don’t know how to get people to engage with the ad (catch their interest enough for them to go to your actual page and not just simply like the post. although even that is something).

This is one of my many challenges of self-publishing, advertising for myself. But honestly, unless one of the big names in publishing like Random House pick you up as their client you’ll probably be doing a lot of your own promoting, even if you’re not self-published and got picked up by a smaller publishing house. I don’t mind doing my own advertising but I want to do it wisely. Advertising costs money and money is scarce for undiscovered author’s like me!

I’m enjoying the journey so far, discovering what it means to be my own editor, agent, publisher and promoter. In less than a month I’ll be done my edits (my own edits because I can’t afford a professional editor) on The Virgin Diaries. Then, I will officially self-publish for the first time in my life! (to e-book and Print On Demand with Amazon CreateSpace). I will happily blog my experience for you! And maybe, by doing so, I will save you some frustrations and give you some helpful insights as to what works, and what doesn’t.

Happy Writing everyone 🙂

For anyone who wants to start reading my novel The Virgin Diaries for free (then purchase it later when I publish it, to your favourite e-reader 😉 or as a real book) it can be found at http://www.wattpad.com/biancawatson 

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