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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Review: Facebook Guide for Authors

Facebook Guide for Authors ReviewI was pleased to receive a review copy of the fully revised, third edition of Facebook Guide for Authors by Dana Lynn Smith, aka The Savvy Book Marketer. Here's what I thought of it...

The guide is provided in the form of a downloadable, 79-page PDF. My first impression was that it is exceptionally well written and presented. It's printed in a clean, sharp, sans serif font, with screengrab illustrations where appropriate.

I was also impressed that the table of contents is fully hyperlinked, not just to the main chapter headings but to the section headings as well.

Dana starts by talking about online networking in general. This is a sensible approach, as it puts Facebook into perspective with other social networking sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn. The guide doesn't go into great detail about these other networks, but there are nonetheless some good suggestions on developing an overall strategy for promoting yourself and your work. Dana also reveals common mistakes people new to social networking as a promotional tool make.

The next chapter, Get Started With Facebook, is aimed at complete newcomers to Facebook. Dana takes the reader through setting up their personal profile, adding a profile photograph (and other photos and videos), adjusting privacy and notifications settings, how to import blog posts into Facebook, and so on.

Following this, in Network With Facebook, Dana talks about actually using Facebook to build your network of contacts. She discusses making friends on Facebook and responding to friend requests. Personally, though, I found the latter part of this chapter most interesting. This covers the sorts of things authors can post about on Facebook, how to gain added visibility for your updates using "tagging", and steps you can take to ensure that your updates get maximum prominence in your friends' or followers' news feeds. There are some great ideas here that I will certainly be trying out myself in future.

The manual then goes on to discuss other methods of promoting yourself on Facebook, including Fan Pages, Groups (both "Old" and "New"), Events, Questions, and advertising. This is all invaluable, thought-provoking stuff, and bang up to date (I don't even have Facebook Questions on my own Facebook Page yet - Dana says this feature is being rolled out gradually). Again, there are lots of ideas I plan to try out here.

The guide concludes with a list of common mistakes users make, and suggested daily and weekly routines for getting the most from Facebook while not letting it take over your life!

Do I have any criticisms of Facebook Guide for Authors? Well, I might just like to have seen a bit more discussion about how to use Facebook strategically, e.g. whether it's a good idea to have a Fan Page for every title you write, or just have one main author Page instead. Still, I guess this is probably a decision every author needs to make for him- or herself.

Overall, if you want to get up to speed with using Facebook as a promotional tool (and you almost certainly should), I highly recommend Facebook Guide for Authors, especially with its modest $15 price tag. It's definitely going to be my "bible" where Facebook is concerned from now on.

Disclosure: I received a free review copy of Facebook Guide for Authors from the author/publisher. In addition, the links in this review are affiliate links, so if you go on to make a purchase after clicking on them, I will receive a small commission. This has not affected my review of the guide in any way.

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Anonymous Dana Lynn Smith said...

Nick, thanks so much for this nice review! Regarding separate Facebook pages for different books, you can save time by having just one page if your books are similar, but if you write in more than one genre or on more than one topic, it may be best to have multiple pages. It partly depends on your marketing strategies and how much time you want to put into it. Facebook allows only one personal profile per person, but you can have multiple pages.

Also, since I last update the book in April, I have converted my Savvy Book Marketing Group on Facebook to the "new" group format. Although I lost a few members, I was pleasantly surprised to see that discussions on the page have increased quite a bit. So I have to say that the new format is good for networking.


12:56 PM  
Anonymous Sandra McLeod Humphrey said...

I couldn't agree more--as a social networking novice, I found it extremely helpful!

2:31 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thanks, Dana. I take your point about having separate pages for different books. I've also submitted a request to join your book marketing group.

One small piece of advice I would like to add from my own experience: don't give your Fan Page the same name as your profile. This will cause confusion, and once you have over 100 followers Facebook won't let you change the name of your Fan Page. I gather this is to stop people trading Fan Pages, but I wish I'd found out a little earlier.

Thanks for your comment as well, Sandra. Glad you agree with me about Dana's guide!

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Dana Lynn Smith said...

Thanks so much Sandra!

Good point about the Fan Page names, Nick. Facebook rules require that Personal Profiles be set up in your own name. If an author wants to also use their name for their Fan Page they can choose something like "Author Jane Doe" or "Romance Novels by Jane Doe". For nonfiction authors, a brand name or a keyword-rich name is usually a good choice.

10:19 PM  
Anonymous GFanthome said...

Thanks for the review! Seeing all these books out there that might be great to have as part of one's marketing arsenal, one's never too sure if they'll actually provide any truly useful tips. Judging from your review, this guide looks like it might be quite helpful.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thanks, GF. This is definitely one of the better guides I have reviewed. And, as you'll have seen, Dana is very responsive to comments and queries.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous DC Farmer said...

This sounds great, especially for dinosaurs like me. They say that writing is the hard part, but I suspect many of us find the promotional/ social networking side even more daunting. I'm off to buy a copy pdq.

7:34 AM  

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