Facebook profile or fan page? Who should set it up — author? Publisher?
The other day I was discussing an author’s Facebook fan page with a colleague — we’d set up the page, but months after the book’s publication, we didn’t have time to maintain it. So what to do? Shut down the profile? Post an “out of office” status message? I’ve blogged about this before, suggesting that book publicists not maintain Facebook pages and profiles for authors. And in fact, while we did establish the page, we made it clear that it was set up by the publishing house … except no one saw that.
This raises two issues (at least for those authors and publishers interested in promoting a book on Facebook, which often is a good idea — but not mandatory — for all titles):
1) Do you set up a profile (typically for people), or a fan page (for people or products)?
Profiles and fan pages allow you to connect with friends or fans in different ways. (For example, if you friend request someone, they need to accept your request; on the other hand, anyone can become a fan of a book or author.) But what it really comes down to is that there needs to be a real person, i.e., not a book publicist or marketing team, behind a profile — with more and more authors on Facebook these days, users automatically assume that any author profile or fan page is maintained by the author. (If you as a book publicist or author are getting pressure to do otherwise, send the powers that be the link to this post.)
There’s a little more leeway for a book, i.e., product, fan page — for example, I assume the folks behind the Red Mango fan page to which I belong are on its marketing team, but that doesn’t make the suggested flavors / toppings any less yummy.
Some authors choose to set up both profiles for themselves as well as fan pages for their books, which is great as long as an author has the time to maintain both. The advantage is that a user looking up either an author’s name or the book’s title will find something.
2) Who should set up and maintain the Facebook page or profile — author or publishing house?
Although I am advocating authors getting involved in their Facebook profiles / pages (if they are interested in social networking), there’s still plenty that the publisher can do. A book publicist (or someone else at the publishing house) can help set up a profile / page by:
– providing content about the book (text, JPEGs)
– adding information about in-person and virtual author events
– helping to update the page / profile with links to coverage of the book or author
In addition to any of the above, an author should:
– maintain the page / profile by interacting with readers
Facebook, realizing the increasing popularity of its service, has published its own tips for creating pages and profiles. Also, Buzzmarketing Daily offers good social media tips. Do you use Facebook profiles? Or fan pages? If you’re a book publicist, how much do you and how much does the author do?
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Fall 2012: I’ve really enjoyed writing about book publicity and meeting (0nline and in person) writers, publicists, editors, agents and others in the publishing industry, but I’ve — reluctantly — come to the conclusion that I just don’t have the time to maintain this blog.
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For some time now, I’ve closely followed a lot of very informative sites about media and about the publishing industry. Since I find myself quite voluble at times about issues that pertain to my job in the publicity department at a large publishing house, I thought I’d set up a book publicity blog. The purpose of this blog is provide tips, primarily, but also information about publishing / marketing trends that will help book publicists — and hopefully others in media and publishing — do our jobs with greater ease and efficiency. Please note that the opinions expressed on this blog are my own, not those of my company.
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