If you’ve met me before you know I love to talk. I love it so much that I joined Toastmasters at the same time I started writing. I didn’t join to get over the fear of speaking but to be a better communicator.
Yes I want to write a romance that happens between two Toastmasters… don’t get me started.
I have additional skills, somewhat outdated, in video editing. In fact, in High School, I imagined I would do it someday. My lack of interest in paying attention to detail and not really enjoying it changed that plan. Lately, all of this has turned into an interest in the ways authors build relationships with their fans over video. AuthorTube on YouTube is full of authors who do vlogs of them writing, post videos offering their advice on being better writers, and other topics. I’ve played with some of these and quickly grow bored. There is a large but unique group of readers who also watch YouTube videos.
What’s more common are readers on Facebook who interact in book groups. No, not book clubs. They are Facebook pages and groups around a genre or age range. I see them for almost every genre and, for their organizers, coming up with engaging content is difficult. They often welcome authors to take over the page. You can take it over for a few hours or all day. You play games, give away books, etc. but you are still competing with someone’s Facebook feed. Facebook doesn’t like text posts, links outside of Facebook, or images. It likes videos. It will rank videos higher than any other post.
Try it! Film something simple on your phone and post it to Facebook. More of your friends will see it than anything else you post. It’s an actual problem that Facebook is getting a lot of backlash for.
How can an author leverage this to their benefit? You want both engagement from the post and engagement in the feed of your potential reader. The answer is a Livestream! They are fun, can be short, and are beloved by the Facebook algorithm. There are many reasons to do a Livestream over a pre-ordered video.
Livestreams feel more spontaneous and authentic than a pre-recorded video. Watch pre-recorded videos on YouTube. They are often very polished and crafted. Lighting is important, so is sound, and looking your best is critical. Women on these videos are often made-up, hair perfect, and clothes ideal to reflect the light. Not a Livestream. Maybe you make sure the light is balanced, but they are done on phones, tablets, or computers. The quality is expected to be low.
Livestreams allow you to interact with those who show up. You can see their comment and respond to them. You see when people arrive (but not when they leave). You are speaking to the camera but are allowed to stop the flow of your content to engage with viewers. In fact, you’re encouraged.
Here are some of my tips on doing Livestreams of Facebook:
- Prepare an outline of what you want to say. Try to avoid rambling (it’s difficult).
- Keep the Livestream short and stick to three key points.
- Be aware of who is watching and any comments they post.
- Share the video when you’re done. This is an option but you will continue to get engagement after the video is over.
- Be casual, like you’re talking to your friends. You can’t see the people watching, so don’t worry about their reaction.
- Make it an event that you can promote to let people know its happening. YouTube does handle this need better but you can fiddle around in Facebook to get it done.
- Give people a bit of time to find you before you start talking. Open with some small things: say hi to those people who have arrived, an overview of what you want to talk about, introduce yourself, etc.
- If you’re promoting a book, show it! Let people know where to get it.
- Follow up on the video post to answer questions and comments from those who watched it later.
- Make mistakes – this is supposed to feel spontaneous and authentic. You’re human!
Have you done a LiveStream? How did it go? Do you have any additional tips? Share them and any questions in the comments!
Our own Sara Marks is a self-published author. She primarily writes chick lit and contemporary romance books but sometimes takes on horror. In 2017 she decided to focus her efforts on self-publishing over traditional publishing. This monthly series is about her experiences publishing and promoting her own books. You can learn more about her and her books on her webpage.