How having fun on FB can make an impact on your marketing

So today I have a message from another author in my personal FB inbox — you know, that weird secondary box they give us where people who are not our friends can message us. (FB calls it message requests, so check it out, I’m sure you’ll be amused.) In all fairness, the person didn’t actually say he was an author, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume he was because I can’t imagine why anyone in any other profession would be worried about how many Facebook fans I have or how many of my fans are actually buying my books due to Facebook.However, the individual brought up a few questions that inspired me to post, so here ya go!

FAQ: Does Facebook really help sell books?

Sure it does. Or it doesn’t. Yes, I know that’s not a straight answer, but it’s the best I’ve got. Ask me something that I can answer, because when authors ask me that question I truly cringe. I can’t tell you that if you post your book ten time a day on Facebook that you’ll sell more books. I can’t tell you that if you spend $5/day on Facebook ads that you’ll sell books. I can’t even assure you anyone will want your books if you give them away for free on Facebook.

What I can tell you is what has worked for me and why I consider Facebook one of my top marketing tools — with or without running ads.

When I started this gig, I was already very active on Facebook with my personal account HERE. So when I started my Fan Page HERE, I already had some idea of what sort of online presence I wanted to have. I made some decisions early on that have affected how I interact on social media, and if you are just starting out, I suggest you consider these questions as well:

  • Am I using a pen name, or my real name?
  • Do I care if fans discover my real name and connect it to my personal page?
  • Will I allow fans to friend me or follow me on my personal page?
  • Am I going to be myself online, or am I going to project a different persona to my fans? (And why would I want to do that?)
  • Will I use my fan page to only connect with readers about my books, or will I interact with readers and use it the same as I would my personal page?
  • Do I have a professional image that might conflict with my author image?
  • Would I care if my co-workers found out I am an author, or if they follow me on social media or want to read my books?
  • Would my behavior on social media impact my family or my job?

It’s a good idea to think about these things before you begin. If you have a career outside of writing (and pretty much all of us do, at least when we start out), you need to consider how your new life as a writer will impact your current professional status. You need to decide if you are fine with both worlds colliding, or if you’d rather they remain completely separate. It is possible to have a pen name and keep it hidden from anyone until the end of time; however, this is the age of the internet and just be aware that curious fans are the best detectives. If you want to be anonymous under your pen name with no ties to your personal life, be mindful of how easy it is to link email addresses and social profiles, and how things like pictures you post can become a link. You might be surprised how a simple Google search will link it all together for anyone on the web to see.

In my case, I decided that I was going to treat my fan page pretty much the same way as my personal page, minus a few of the swear words. Yeah, I do tend to swear a bit in real life, and people who know me in real life know that part of me. I tend to laugh at inappropriate things, I make stupid jokes, I am like an emotional boomerang most days, and I’m always wearing this pathetic excuse for a heart like a banner on my sleeve. Those who know me already know that. Yet how exactly was that going to translate to my author profile? Well, I’m too lazy to be anything except myself, so I carried on my usual hi-jinks and it just works. I already enjoyed Facebook and loved chatting and being silly with my friends. My fan page is just an extension of that — and a very valuable extension to my business.

FAQ: So how does goofing around on the internet help you sell books?

It doesn’t help me directly sell books. What my FB presence (and any social media presence) does do, however, is lead people to my door. I’m not any different or any more fabulous than any other author out there. I don’t have a secret ingredient, I’m not writing some blockbuster NYT bestseller, and I’m not the best writer in the world. But the reason I write books is because I love doing it, and I want to get paid for  doing what I love. Getting paid for doing what I love means getting people to buy my books. Getting people to buy my books means finding a way to get noticed by strangers. (‘Cause let’s face it, my mom buying my book is not helping me pay my bills!) How do we get noticed by strangers? Use the internet.

Leading them to my door is not always a direct sale, but the impact of every connection is more complicated than that. So I keep trying to have fun on my pages and new people like a silly post or picture. Maybe they share that picture, and then a half dozen of their friends share it. Maybe some of them click on my page, wondering, “Who the hell is this EB Brown chick and why are people sharing her stuff?”. It’s the cascade of connections that matter here, not just the initial interaction. On my pages, you will see a wide variety of inspirational quotes, funny pictures, political musings, personal rants, relationship woes, and weekend party escapades (with pictures, until I delete them the next morning). I talk about my Great Danes and my past as a BMX champion. I post pics from when I rode horses and pics of all my travels. Why? Because someone who likes Great Danes will click that pic and become a fan. Because someone who used to race BMX bikes will get a kick out of that pics & tell their mother to read my books. I’ve attracted people within those niches who’ve become some of my most loyal fans. It’s all part of the big picture. Someone might hate a political post and complain about me to ten friends, and then maybe one echoes the complaint to a friend who gets curious and buys a book. Another person might love the hell out of every inspirational post I put up, share it with hundreds, and send more readers my way.

It’s the organic reach that I look at when I’m checking my Facebook stats. I want to see how many people are sharing, liking, and interacting. It just tickles my jimmies when I get a notification from two years ago from a post of mine that is still circulating, and someone new comments (on that 2 year old post!) that they just picked up my book — and that’s what a cascade of connections is all about. Sure, I run FB ads when I need to promote, but if you don’t yet have organic reach, I think your time is much better spent cultivating that before throwing money at ads.




I don’t have anything too enlightening to share regarding social media, but there is one thing I know for sure — I’d rather be really loved, or really hated. No one remembers mediocre people. As an author, I want people to tell their friends how bad my stuff sucks, or rave about how my book changed their life. That’s how I lead people to my door. If you like it, you are welcome to stick around. If not, well, don’t let the door hit ya in the arse!

So have fun, be yourself, and build your little army fan by fan. Post pics of your dog or 612q9obgkhl-_sy600_funny cat memes. Makes jokes. Vent. Be human. Soon you’ll see that like minded people gravitate towards you, and you’ll be well on your way to building your own loyal fan base.

Thanks for reading. Sometimes I write books, too.  If you’d like to be notified of my new releases, sign up for my mailing list at or follow me on my Amazon Author Page HERE.

Readers can find E.B. online at:
TWITTER: @ebbrown_




Sneak peek: Ghost Dance

A little taste of Ghost Dance. For those who have read the Time Walkers series, you know I tend to cross over with characters in my books. Ghost Dance is the first book in the Time Dance series and tops out at 120K words, so be prepared for a lot of new characters and adventures…oh, and of course, a hefty dose of romance thrown in there.



The Battle of Bloody Run

James River Falls, 1656


HAD HE KNOWN what was to come, would he still have traveled that same path? Not only for knowing that it would end, as all lives do, but for the when and how of it? For truth, it was a tricky question since he was privy to the history of time before it happened, yet despite that unfair advantage, Daniel knew the answer in his heart.


Even as his face pressed into the sodden earth and he tasted the muddy grit on his tongue, his answer remained unchanged. The trickle of warm blood seeping into the corner of his eye would not sway him, nor the scent of his enemy’s rancid breath upon his cheek.

Yes. I would do it again, he thought. For what am I, if not a spawn of two worlds, a man beholden at once to all and to none?

Blows from a club rained down on his back, taking the last of the breath from his lungs. Beneath his ribs, down deep in his belly, his muscles spasmed and he could no longer draw air when he gasped. He could not see his enemy but he could still feel the presence of the man with the club, and although the attack had ceased, Daniel knew there was little time to catch his breath before it would resume.

Totopomoi – the Pamukey Chief – was dead. Their English allies deserted them like cowards, fleeing from the battlefield as the bodies of Pamukey warriors fell to the muddy earth.  Had Colonel Hill ever meant to stand beside the Pamukey, or was it his plan all along to run, leaving the Pamukey to fight the Ricaheerians alone?

It no longer mattered. The Ricaheerian with the club standing above him would not spare him, and Daniel knew he would soon join his companions.

“Is he dead?” one of his enemies asked.

Daniel winced when the tip of a foot jabbed into his ribs.

“Not yet,” another man answered. “Leave him. This is the one Wicawa Ni Tu wants. Let our Chief have the honor of ending his life.”

The men laughed to each other as they walked away, their voices echoing through Daniel’s skull and pounding in his ears. When he was certain they were gone, he buried his fingers in the damp ground and moved to raise his head. With all the damage done to his body it was no easy task, and it took a few moments before he could lift himself enough to look around.

By the tears of the Creator, he had never seen such a sight. Was this the Hell the Christian Englishmen spoke of? Only a few paces to his side lay dozens of fallen Pamukey braves. Limbs were twisted, heads bloodied. A man Daniel had stood with at Colonel Hill’s side was propped up, run through with a spear that impaled him to the tree at his back. A lanyard of eagle feathers around his neck fluttered in the wisp of a breeze, tangled in long dark strands of the warrior’s hair. Daniel did not want to look at him, yet he could not look away. The man’s eyes stared straight ahead, an empty chasm, and for a moment Daniel swore his dead lips moved.

“Run,” the dead man whispered. “Hurry.”

So he did. Daniel forced the remnants of his strength into his limbs, clawing at the dirt until he started to move. He darted a glance over the bodies of the dead and saw no enemy near, yet he could hear them in the distance and he knew they would return for him. When he gathered enough purchase to rise, he crouched on one knee with his hand over his belly, the burning taste of bile searing his throat. The river was close; he could smell the dampness in the air and hear the rush of the water nearby.

It called to him, and he obeyed.

A Ricaheerian bellowed a joyful war cry, and it was then that Daniel knew he was the last one left alive. He scrambled down the steep sandy bank and slid into the cold water, stumbling through the shallow stream bed until he reached a deeper spot. He tried to steady himself but when he waded deeper the force of the current struck him like a barrel in the chest, and for a long moment he clutched the slippery root of a tree.

Death was assured if he stayed, yet fleeing could give him no certainty of survival. The sounds of war cries echoing through the trees drew closer and Daniel looked down at his fingers entwined in the tree root.

He let go.

The frigid water took what was left from him, welcoming him, and he did not object this time as the current pulled him away from shore.

It was not long before numbness settled deep into his bones. Even in his dreams, he had never felt so peaceful, so weightless. The gentle lapping of the current rocked him and washed over his wounds, licking them clean and taking away his pain.

If this is the afterlife, he thought, then perhaps I have nothing to fear.

Every few moments he reminded himself to raise his head and open his mouth, taking a breath of air into his bruised lungs as he was carried downstream. A part of him realized he could not stay submerged for too long and that he must make an effort to float, but another part of him wished to simply give in. Let the water take me, wherever I am meant to be.

Water flowed over his open mouth and filled his lungs. He choked it up by pure reflex, past caring to fight it any longer. In the murky depths of his scattered thoughts, visions of his fallen companions spoke to him, taunting him as he drifted farther away from the carnage. He could hear the voices of the dead call to him over the sound of his own ragged breaths.

“Go,” the ghosts commanded. “Live!”

 He listened to them as best he could until the current slowed and his legs found purchase in shallow water once more. Although he much preferred to remain floating, the Creator had a different plan for him. It was with that assurance that he left the water and made his way onto a quiet sandy bank where the only sign of life was a pair of spotted-back turtles resting on a patch of tuckahoe. Loose pebbles shifted beneath him when he crawled out of the creek and he felt the quick rush of a cold breeze take the air from his lungs as he gasped and coughed.

The panicked cries of sand gulls protested his intrusion and he could hear the flutter of their wings above him in the trees. His breath left him in a groan as he pushed himself up on one arm. He stilled for a moment, cocking his head slightly to the side. He was not yet too far gone to ignore the new sound coming towards him, the creeping echo of something walking through the brush that he was certain was no animal.

Yet when he raised his eyes and the last glimmers of amber rays from the fading sunset blinded him, the shadowed outline of a woman breached his weary sight. There, in front of him, she stood like a messenger from the Creator, her illuminated form taking the very breath from his weary chest.

Daniel squinted, raising his hand to shield his gaze. Was this the one meant to take him from this time, sent to guide him on his final path? She was not as he expected. Not with her honey-colored hair streaming free over her shoulders, nor with her pale face defined by the glow of the setting sun.  Perhaps the Christians were right about death, and this was one of their angels sent to gather his soul. He shook his head as if the motion might clear his vision, but when he opened his eyes again and she remained, he knew what to he must do.

He reached for her, his hand slipping down past her dress to settle around one bared ankle.

“Take me home,” he said, his voice hoarse. “I am ready now.”

Instead of the comforting embrace he expected, she leaned forward and peered down at him. In her hands was an odd shaped flintlock pistol, smaller than those the English used, and as she raised it up in her fisted hand he wondered why a spirit guide might have need of such a weapon.

“Christ!” she hissed. “Not today. I am not doing this bullshit today!”

He had no time to wonder over her strange reply before she struck him with the weapon, smashing it into the side of his head. Darkness exploded around him. His hold on her ankle slipped away, and he sighed as the blessed sanctuary of the afterlife swallowed him whole.

~ end excerpt ~

TD_1I hope you enjoyed this preview of Ghost Dance. If you’d like to be notified of the release, sign up for my mailing list at or follow me on my Amazon Author Page HERE.

Readers can find E.B. online at:
TWITTER: @ebbrown_

7 Tips for discoverability that you might be missing

“All authors need a website.”

“All authors need a mailing list.”

“Authors need a Facebook account (or Twitter or whatever!)”

Sure, all of the above is good advice, but are you utilizing those tools in the most effective way? I really think many authors miss the boat with websites, mailing lists, & social media accounts.  The purpose of spending all that time online is to ultimately sell books. Yet I can’t count how many times I’ve went looking for more info on an author or wanted to sign up for a mailing list, and I simply could not find it. If I’ve had to click more than four or five times, you’ve already lost me….I’m moving on to another author who makes it easy for me to find what I’m looking for.

Discoverability means making it easy for readers to find out about you & your work.

1. Make sure your mailing list landing page states WHO you are (a blank landing page with just boxes to fill out makes the reader wonder if they’re in the right place and less likely to sign up) Check out my mailing list sign up HERE
2. Put your mailing list link (CLICKABLE) in the back matter of all your books in your “About the Author” section. If you have a list of books to your name, you can also add your mailing list link to the end of your book list.
3. Put your mailing list link in your Author Central profile, along with links to your social media sites. AC is one of the first places readers will look to find out more about you, so make sure you pack it with everything a reader might be looking for. See example HERE: AUTHOR CENTRAL PROFILE.
4. Put your mailing list link in the “About” section on your Facebook Fan Page, if you have one. SEE EXAMPLE HERE: FACEBOOK
5. Put your mailing list link in a prominent spot on your website. Look in the upper right hand corner HERE, and it is also a pull down on the main menu (VIP List).
6. On your website, make sure readers don’t need to look too hard for what they want. The less clicks, the better. Make sure a list of your book and vendors you sell them on is easily accessible via the first page or directly on the menu bar.
7. On your website, make every book cover image CLICKABLE with either a direct link to Amazon, or redirect link to your page where all your book vendors are listed. When you click on BUY BOOKS on my webpage, you’ll see each vendor listed as a clickable image; in addition, I link all the covers direct to Amazon.

Make it easy for fans to find you by maximizing the effect of your online presence. Part of being an indie author is not only having an online presence, but utilizing it in the most effective way.

Now, go fix your website and your Author Central profile. And for Pete’s sake, please add something to your blank mailing list sign up form!



And this is why I love indie authors

Just when I’m wondering if anything in this industry makes sense, I read a post from a fellow author that resonates with me hard. Hugh Howey makes a lot of great points, highlights the struggle between the old way & the new way, and gives some straight-talk insight on what is going on in the industry today. Check out Hugh’s post here: The State of the Industry

About mailing lists & stuff

I would like to take a few minutes to go over mailing list compliance tips and how mailing lists are valuable resources to authors. I’ve received questions asking why I do not provide a total list of all the readers who sign up for my giveaways so that all the authors can put them on their mailings lists. The straight answer is that I can’t do that because of things like the CAN-SPAM Act found HERE.
Readers need to opt-in to your list. If you are adding emails manually to your list, you are dancing with trouble.

Many of you have been around long enough to know how to manage your email list without getting into hot water. We also have a great bunch of new authors who may not be up to speed on how it all works and how your mailing list is a powerful tool for your career. This post is aimed at those who are just starting out so that (hopefully) you can build a quality list without having to experience the stumbling blocks lots of us have already been through.

Ideally, you want your list to be full of readers eager to read your next book. The best way to encourage sign ups organically is to put a link to your mailing list in the back matter of your books, include it on your website and all your social media accounts. Make it super easy for readers to find. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to find a list sign up for an author and simply gave up because it was just not accessible. Check out my website, and you will see that my mailing list sign up is in the upper right hand corner along with my ARC sign up; it is also listed in the menu bar for even easier access. (See HERE for example.) On my FB Fan Page, I use the “sign up” button which is right at the top of the page. (See MY FB PAGE HERE for example.) The point is that you need to make is super easy for readers to find information; the more clicks a reader has to make, the more likely the reader is to give up. **As an aside, that goes for links to buying your books on your website as well. Make your book covers clickable straight to Amazon, or make a landing page with all your retailers. (example: EB Brown landing page)**

Back to lists. As I said above, readers need to opt-in to your list. This means they need to sign up voluntariliy. If you are purchasing mailing lists or manually adding to your lists, you can end up in big trouble with your mailing list service, including having your account shut down until you can PROVE that all those people opted-in to your list. Can you see where I’m going with this? If you’ve manually imported emails to your list, how exactly will you prove they signed up? You can’t. That’s why all the major list services provide opt-in confirmation prompts.

So you’re new and you want your mailing list to be huge RIGHT NOW. Well, I say hold your horses. This is one of those things where it is not the just quantity that counts – quality of your list should be an equal consideration. Your list ideally will be filled with people who want your books. Signs of a good performing list are many: high open & click rates, minimal unsubscribes, and no spam reports. Many successful authors go through and prune non-performing emails in their lists on a regular basis. You really do not want people to sign up if they aren’t interested in your books. That leads to unsubs and spam reports, and it’s a big waste of your time. Cultivate your list carefully and soon you will be able to estimate how many books you can sell on a release day, or how many readers will share your posts, or how many on your ARC list will write a review. When you know your readers, you can start to plan your career rather than throw everything out and hope something sticks.

So how does the mailing list promotion come into play? Well, I started doing mailing list promotions because I participated in one that was successful. It was full of authors I knew were popular in my genre, who I knew had fabulous fan bases. I ended up with new list members (who stuck around!) and ended up selling books and moving lots of copies of my freebie. What confirmed to me that it worked was the sell-through — I not only moved a bunch of freebies, but the rest of the books in that series sold as well. I took note of the way the promo was managed and I made a few changes, and that’s how I came up with the method I use. It’s actually funny that I ended up doing this, because I’m not a fan of inorganic methods of attracting sign-ups.

I hope that all makes sense. Any questions, ask away.

A few other links to check out:
10 Email marketing spam laws you need to know

Examples of compliant & non-compliant lists

Guidelines for List Compliance