From time to time, clients forward messages to me from other publicists who are supporting book marketing efforts for authors.

I’ll admit it, my team and I use these emails in two ways:

  1. We look for great ideas to implement in our work.
  2. We use it as a chance to pat ourselves on the back for the ways we are excelling.

In reviewing an email that came into my inbox this morning, I visited an author’s book marketing website, looked at his collateral, and did a quick review of his tweets and other social presence.

This author had some great creative approaches. In fact, my team and I identified two or three good ideas to consider including creating a calendar of ideas, week by week, for angles on marketing/promotion.

But reviewing his approach had me scratching my head about two tactics: Using a Facebook business page for a book, and using Twitter to ask people to like the Facebook page.

Of two recent books I’ve seen Facebook pages for, each has about 70 likes. I am guessing those 70 likes are mainly organic: the author’s friends, family, and business associates. There are a few issues with a Facebook fan page for an individual book.

Fan pages for books have very short shelf lives. Even if you start the page as soon as you sign the book contract, how long will you keep up the book fan page? Once you write another book, will you share content on both pages? And to what end? Once your active promotion of a book ends, you’ll likely abandon the page. Or, if you don’t abandon it, it will be one more place to keep updated in a growing list.

Fan pages for books are financially costly. If you want to grow a page of significant size on Facebook, beyond your normal circle of friends, you will likely need to spend money, as Facebook is increasingly pay to play. Once you use Facebook advertising to grow the fan page for your book, Facebook will likely only show a small percentage of your fans your content. So you pay to GROW the page, and then you pay to SHOW your posts to your fans. If you feel strongly that you want to have a fan page, I recommend an author or business-centric page that can be evergreen; you can use that page as a place to share content from each book as you release it.

Here’s what I recommend instead: Use your Facebook profile in a blended way, personal and professional, and share about your book through your personal profile. Add as many friends as you can over time to build your network on Facebook. When you sensitively share about your book among other posts about your life and business, you will reach the people who are most invested and most likely to respond and engage.

And use Twitter as a place to find and form relationships. Save those 140 characters of each tweet to add value to your network, not to invite them to like your fan page.

P.S. I have one or two exceptions to this advice. If you have written a classic book (i.e., one that has sold hundreds of thousands of copies for years or decades) and your book is a recognizable brand, a Facebook fan page can be a very helpful part of your book marketing strategy. Or, if you are so famous that you would quickly reach Facebook’s limit of 5000 friends, you also should certainly have an author fan page.