Anyway! The Facebook is kind of a big deal. And authors must be thinking about how they should be on The Facebook. First step: don't call it The Facebook.
On second thought, do call it The Facebook.
Now, this post isn't about promoting your book or building up your audience or how to become friends with Zuck himself, that all comes later.
The first step: getting yourself started. Here are some tips.
Create a Fan Page
UPDATE: My advice on this changed because of new Facebook developments. See this post to first decide if you want to use subscriptions or whether you want to create a page. If you want to create a page, here you go:
When fan pages were first created, I think people were kind of nervous to get started on them due to the whole "fan" thing. It seemed a bit presumptuous to have a fan page when one wasn't a celebrity. But Facebook pages are increasingly how people distinguish between their private and public networks. So even if you aren't (yet) a published author, I would definitely consider creating a page for yourself.
Facebook pages are a bit different than traditional accounts because people don't need to be approved to Like the page and they're public by default, and thus they are a good way to keep your personal account personal and your public account public. You can tailor your posts accordingly. Here's my page.
How to create one? It's a piece of cake. Go here, click "Artist, Band, Public Figure," choose Author and follow the easy instructions. There you have it.
Degree of difficulty: Extremely easy
When to do this: You know, I feel like there's no time like the present. The earlier you start building up those likes the bigger your head start when prime time arrives.
Create a Book Page
For a long time I wasn't sure about creating a book page for Jacob Wonderbar, because there are definite pros and cons to having both an author page and a book page.
Basically, if you have people who Like the author page and other people who Like the book page, you are splitting your audience. If you post updates to the people following your author page you might miss the people following your book page. You can post to both, but you might annoy the fans who follow both pages.
Here's what swayed me. When someone goes to enter your book as one of their favorites, Facebook knows there's a Book Page and links that page to the person's profile:
I found this very exciting.
Also, it's better to create one yourself rather than having one created for you that you don't control. So now I have a Facebook page for JACOB WONDERBAR.
To create one, go here, then choose Entertainment, then Book. You're on your way.
Degree of Difficulty: Extremely easy.
When to do this: When you have a cover.
Optimize Your Blog or Website for the New "Like" Button
I don't know how you spent your weekend, but I went through and adjusted all of my Facebook "Like" buttons on my blog and added Facebook meta tags for optimal sharing. Yeah, it was pretty rock and roll.
Facebook recently introduced a new version of Like buttons that make them more prominent in someone's News Feed.
They went from this:
They just got much more important.
Now, adding Like buttons to your blog is not the easiest of endeavors by any means. It involves some coding, especially if you want to change the image and text in the share box. And if you want to give people an opportunity to comment when they "Like" the post you have to use the XFBML version of the Like buttons, which is a bit more complicated.
As I was figuring all this out, I found this post to be a really helpful resource. Please note, however, that it's geared toward WordPress blogs and if you have a Blogger-based blog like I do you'll need to find a separate post that explains how to do it. I drew upon this post for some Blogger-specific wrinkles.
But hey, after adding some code I managed to add new Like buttons and didn't even break the blog! Try them out!
Degree of difficulty: Tricky
When to do this: Yesterday
Stick Like Buttons Everywhere
If your eyes glazed over when faced with the earlier task, never fear, there are easier things you can tackle.
For instance, it's easy to add a Like Box to your blog like this one:
Just go to this page, adjust the style according to your preferences, and then copy the code into a blog widget or post.
And when you have Pages you can put Like buttons everywhere, including posts! Creating a basic Like button is really easy. Just go to this page, enter the URL for the page you want the button to share, adjust the style, and then voila, you have code.
Then you can put them wherever you want!
Here's a Like button for my page:
Here's a Like button for Jacob Wonderbar:
Here's a Like button for corndogs:
It gets addicting.
Degree of Difficulty: Moderate
When to do this: When you create your author page
In future posts: what to do with all these pages and Like buttons and widgets! On The Facebook!
Meanwhile, anyone have any other tips for getting yourself started?