Recently, I organized a Facebook Hop for our anthology's prelaunch. I'd participated in several and found it was a great way for authors to share connections and to find new fans and readers. A Facebook Hop is an online event that starts at your book page and connects a group of authors by linked posts. Guests start at the first site and hop through each, registering for the give-away.
Here's what I learned from putting the event together.
- Before you begin to plan your event, check Facebook's terms and conditions about contests. They do change, and you want to make sure that you're following all the rules.
- Recruit authors about 3-4 weeks before your event. Have a recruitment email ready with all the pertinent information. Decide up front if you want all authors from a specific genre or not.
- When the authors sign up, create a spreadsheet and collect names, emails, phone numbers, links to the author Facebook pages, the prize, and an estimated prize value. I didn't put the individual prize values on any of the materials. I just used it to total the amount for all the sites (e.g. Over 25 authors and over $750 in prizes).
- Arrange the order of the hop, starting with your page. You will want to mix up the prizes. We had a lot of ebook and book give-aways. I mixed these in with the gift cards, jewelry, and other things. Make sure to put at least a couple of valuable items at the end to keep people interested in all the stops.
- Make sure that all of your participants have an AUTHOR page.
- Have a cut off date for recruiting and stick to it. Avoid adding authors. If you do, you have to go back and redo links.
- Send an email to each author with the verbiage for the post, the artwork for the event, and a link to the next person. It took a little time to compose all of the emails, but it made the process easier for the participants.
- Instruct the authors to schedule their post for the designated time and pin it to the top of their newsfeed. (I had to include instructions for both of these tasks in the author email.)
- Specify the time for the hop to your authors and fans in the time zone you're in. We had folks from all over the world participate (e.g. 6:00 AM EST April 1 - 12:00 AM EST April 3).
- We let each author pick his/her winner and post the name when the hop was over.
- If you have rules or procedures, let everyone know them up front (e.g. like authors with hop stops shouldn't participate).
- Get all of your participants to help advertise the event. It's a great way to share fans and readers.
- Do not plan to do anything the morning that the hop goes live. You'll need to check all of the links. We got almost to the end before we hit a broken link. I spent several hours that morning helping a couple of authors get their posts updated.