Like For Like Doesn’t Work
The amount of likes a page has, does not determine the success of an author.
“Like my Author Page and I’ll like yours back!” Writing groups on Facebook and other social media sites are filled with these types of posts. There’s an idea that publishers want to sign writers with large amounts of fans to ensure that sales will be good.
Seems like a reasonable assessment. Of course publishers want to make sure their investment is going to pay off, that just good business. But the number of likes on Facebook is not going to tell them what they want to know.
The Fallacy of Likes
Many argue that by sheer numbers their book sales will be higher with more likes on their author page. Their goes like this, if they have 100,000 people on their page that means their ads and other marketing will hit every single person. This will result in higher awareness and more book sales.
What the theory does not take into account is Facebook’s algorithm. If someone interacts with an account more, they will see the posts more often.
Here’s a real life example. My friend has an author page, we’ve been friends since high school, so we like each other’s pages. Neither of us interact with the pages because we are also friends and usually like statuses on the personal profile. I never see anything she posts on the author page. Imagine my surprise when she causally mentioned a release and I had no idea about it.
Instead of seeing my friend’s posts about her upcoming release, I was seeing a million posts about the new season of The Conners. Why? Because I liked a few of their posts and Facebook assumed I wanted to see more from them.
This isn’t an argument that the system is fair. It is what it is. Learning to work the system to your advantage is the most important thing to to do. Once you know the system, the world is your oyster.
First and foremost don’t go on a like for like spree. Sure, the numbers will seem impressive at first. A deeper dive into the stats will show the bigger picture though. Of those 100,000 fans, about a dozen of them react/share/comment on your posts. There would be better results walking down the streets of Manhattan asking for a quarter.
The second thing you should do is post regularly. Any social media manager worth their salt will tell you that. The posts should be connected to your current project but not about them. For instance, if you’re writing about ghosts an article about a ghostly encounter would be a great way to introduce the subject matter to your audience.
If someone comments on your post, respond to them. It’s a nifty little trick I learned early on in my writing career. It lifts the post higher into the mysterious algorithm, and ups the chances of someone new seeing it. Sneaky but effective.
It also builds a relationship with the original commenter. One time I was promoting a controversial article, and a troll commented on the post. Incensed (but also secretly happy) I responded to her, and an epic war raged on. It pushed my views to more than 3,000 overnight. That troll and I never spoke again but she still reads my stuff, every once in a while there will be a comment that mentions our fight.
Increase Organic Likes
How do you get more people to like your page without doing a like for like? The ways above. There’s also Facebook/Instagram/Twitter ads but you run the same risk as like for like.
The best way is through hard work. Talk to people in your genre(s), not just fellow writers but also readers. Sometimes, we as writers forget that not every fan of reading wants to create their own work. Engage readers, they will give a lot of insight into what they want to read.
Engagement, not the number of likes will help convince a publisher to take a chance on your manuscript. Even if it’s slow going don’t give up!