Author Takeovers…Important Marketing Tool or EVIL Disappointment?

Hello everyone.  Since some of my blog readers are other authors and not just “civilians,” I feel the need to post authorly stuff on occasion, too.  This post is going to document my experiences doing Author Takeovers.  But if you’re not an author, please also feel free to read because I promise to be entertaining.  Am I ever NOT entertaining?  Gosh, I hope not!

Anyway… as you may or may not be aware…an “Author Takeover” is an event that usually lasts either half an hour or a whole hour. I had no idea what an “author takeover” even was until I went to one that a friend was having.  It looked super cool.   It involves an author logging on to Facebook and being present in a chat room or on a blog page.  The main goal is for the author to meet new people, interact, tell about themselves and their books, and hopefully get the word out about their books.  You post some graphic teasers about your latest release, play some games, hold a few giveaways to let people win your book, and then you go home and all is well.

Easy, right?  HAHAHAHAHA.  No.

If you’re a normal person, that’s usually how it works.  If you’re me…you tend to follow the old Murphy’s Law of “If it can go wrong, it WILL go wrong.”  Would you like some examples?  I would be more than happy to share with you.

So I signed up for one in a popular book blog.  I did my homework ahead of time and had a plan of what to post.  I can’t be too spontaneous…I panic when put on the spot and I have anxiety issues sometimes.  I’m extremely early for everything and always prepared.  The first one went without a hitch and I met some lovely ladies.  It was all downhill from there.

INCIDENT #1… My name was on the banner of a Facebook Group promoting my takeover at a certain time.  So when my time rolled around, another author started posting.  I was all “WTF?” and had a panic attack.  It turns out that the other author’s PA (that stands for Personal Assistant) had the date written incorrectly and the lady apologized for the error and bid her farewells.  She was extremely classy and we had a nice conversation afterward.  It made for a good story.  No harm, no foul.

INCIDENT #2…Bumped Posts.  If there are several takeovers back-to-back, the newest post that has a comment will get bumped to the top of the group and your post will slowly make its way to the bottom, never to be seen again.  That’s happened to me when a more popular author goes before me and I get bumped.  It also happened that people were commenting on my posts the day after my takeover and they were bumping another author.  I freaked out and deleted all my posts because I try to live for the golden rule and do unto others as I would have them do unto me.  I contacted the other author and apologized.  Of course she was more popular than me and had no idea my posts were even bumping hers.  Super nice lady.

INCIDENT #3 – Organization.  There was a blog offering takeover spots and I told them I would like XX time frame and they said, “sure” and I told two other author friends and they each signed up for their own takeovers in the group.  No problem, right?  Wrong.  The blog bumped my takeover in favor of one of my friends who was way more popular than me.  Major problem.  I ranted and raved (this means I pouted like a pissy-face) and the blog started the takeover early so I could have a spot after all.  The kicker?  It was a totally dead takeover with barely anyone showing up and it was extremely painful to sit through.  This happens.  Some takeovers are full of fun, crazy, amazing people who really play games and make lots of comments.  Some takeovers are so empty that you can hear crickets chirping.  Such is the nature of the beast.

Speaking of beasts….we come to…

INCIDENT #4….RAGE-FILLED Crap Fest.  Like the title?  It gets worse.  So I decided that I’m an Author Takeover addict and I searched Facebook for groups that allow author takeovers.  I contacted the admin of one page and asked if they were open for takeovers.  This was on a Tuesday.  She said they would be happy to allow me to takeover that weekend, on a Saturday night.  I told a friend that she should come to my takeover and she immediately said, “No.  You’re not doing that.  Cancel.  They treat their authors very poorly.”  I did not follow her advice (I’m a takeover addict after all) and it turned out disastrously.  The blog (which has over 22,000 likes) did nothing to promote my takeover.  I don’t expect them to hire a plane to sky-write over Central Park, however it would have been nice to have ONE MEASLY POST the morning of my takeover to announce that “Grace Risata will be here at 8pm…please join us.”  I got NOTHING.  Zip, zilch, nada.  However, they did have a promotional post pinned to the top of their page for an author doing a takeover IN TWO WEEKS!  Are you kidding me?  So, as expected, I show up for the takeover and no one is there.  Not even anyone from the blog.  Their page has 6 admins and an editor.  And not one of them bothered to show up.  I did get a one post announcement, “Welcome Grace Risata” and that was all.  If it was your blog, wouldn’t you bother to post or like something at least once?  I begged any of my friends who were online to please come over and help me kill an hour.  They did.  Because they love me.  And I am eternally grateful for that.  So anyone thinking of doing anything with Boys and Books Blog….consider yourself warned.

In conclusion….author takeovers can be amazing fun if you have a good crowd and plan to keep them on their toes.  Do games and give away your book.  Do ask questions and interact with your readers.  Do NOT just post 12 spammy  “buy my book” links, because that’s not fun for anyone.  Also, it’s more fun to do takeovers as part of events than as part of a normal day at a blog.  You get more of a diverse crowd and there’s less of a chance of having your own RAGE FILLED CRAP FEST.

Now…take my advice, do some takeovers, and get out there and sell some books!

As always, thanks for reading and have a great day!



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