Monday 7 October 2013

How To Conduct a Live Facebook Author Interview

I’ve been blogging for just almost five years now. In that time, the writing community has grown. A lot. If you read my post from last Monday, Let's Fix This Before We Die, you'll know that am getting tired of seeing that same-old book promotion everywhere.

My frustration with this made me wonder ... what if everybody feels like this now? How on earth are we going to be noticed in this vast sea of book promotion if we're constantly doing it the same way?

So, I starting thinking about what might make an author interview interesting enough for me to engage. (For some reason, I ignore author interviews the most). How awesome would it be to be interviewed in real time, like on the radio, somewhere where readers/followers can jump in and ask questions themselves, and receive immediate replies (that are longer than Twitter's 140 characters)? Wouldn’t it be so much more interesting to feel like you are actually talking directly to the author?

jessicabellscreen*Ding!* FACEBOOK!

So I tried it a few months ago. My very first Facebook Author Interview went really well and it was super fun, too. You can check it out here.

So what were the results?

I had one woman, other than the interviewer, actually engage in the conversation and ask questions herself, and she even bought my book because of the interview. Two others were lurking and 'liking' questions and answers. And the thread even got shared on a couple of other people's profiles. So I also made a couple of new friends.

How do you go about conducting a Facebook Author Interview?

I just jumped right in without saying a word to anybody about it until ten minutes before it began. But imagine the scope of exposure if I had advertised this a bit beforehand and drummed up interest? An easy way to do this would be to add a tiny note about it at the bottom of your blog posts for a couple of weeks prior, maybe with an appealing "teaser" question, that you will answer in the actual interview. (See note at bottom of post about receiving questions in advance.)

If someone offers to interview you on their blog, suggest that they do it on Facebook instead, so that it becomes a real-time discussion. All the interviewer needs to do is start the thread off with something like this:

Good morning world! Today, I'm interviewing [author name] about [book title], right here on Facebook! In this thread! So please feel free to join in the conversation at any time. [insert book link]

Make sure the interviewer tags your profile (click link to see an instructions on tagging) otherwise your followers won’t be able to see it. Also make sure they make the thread public, and not just visible to their friends. If you change the silhouette (Friends Only) to the little globe (Public), it will make the post visible to everyone. (See image to the right.)

Your interviewer then begins asking questions in the comments of the post, and you answer them in the comments, too. Random readers can then ask you questions in the thread as well. It really is rather fantastic. My interview lasted for an hour, and the thread boasted a whopping 73 comments by the time we were finished.

Don’t forget to share the thread with others, too (within reason, though, don’t be spammy). To get the permalink to a Facebook post all you need to do is click the date below it. (See picture to the left.) When you do this, it will isolate the thread. Then copy the URL from your browser address bar and post it where you want it.

I have to say, I enjoyed this so much more than commenting on a pre-written interview on a blog. It really did feel like we were having a conversation. And we were. The only difference was, we were talking, potentially, to the whole world.

Note: If you're nervous about answering questions right off the bat, you can always suggest your interviewer send you their questions in advance. However, even if you have pre-written answers ready, you have to be prepared for the conversation to take an unexpected turn if others jump in.

What type of book promotion have you stopped paying attention to altogether? How would you go about reinventing it?

*Disclaimer: This article first appeared in a less detailed form on The Alliance of Independent Authors Blog.


The Six Senses in a Nutshell (Nonfiction: Language & Reference, Writing Skills)
Bitter Like Orange Peel (Novel: Literary Suspense, Family Drama)

PS: If anyone is interested in conducting a Facebook interview with me about either of these books in the near future, please email me.

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  1. Great post, I'm gonna try this!

    Heh, I actually like author interviews. I don't notice cover reveals anymore, though!

  2. I think a Facebook one would work really well. (If I was on Facebook!) Twitter is fun as well, although limiting in the length of response. I have one coming up next month with SF Signal.

  3. Great idea, Jessica! I read your blog post last week and I think I'll always try to add something personal even when helping friends with their launches!

  4. Great idea, Jess, within the FB community. But I don't have the time for FB. And, um, I like author interviews and have bought books because of them.

  5. For me, if an author could be seen doing the interview...that would be fun. I always wonder what some authors look like, even they most have a pic in their profile, except Alex. Yeah, I would definitely tune in to see Alex C. For the most part, I'll take a gander at an author's new release, but I confess...I skim through the blog post's interview.

  6. I think facebook interviews are a great idea. Maybe I'll try it for my book. Can't wait to read your latest nutshell book.

  7. That's what makes you so exceptional, Jessica. Most of us out here have no clue how to market, so we just rely on the same ole same ole. It's people like you who break new ground. Thanks for posting about this.

  8. Good to know. I was not aware of this feature. I saved the link to my Favorites for future reference.

  9. Hi Jess - this sounds like an interesting alternative - and many people seem to engage in FB so much .. and thanks for putting up the detailed instructions ..

    Cheers to all who make use of this facility .. Hilary


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