News for Authors

Connecting with Readers on Facebook Live

by Milena Schmidt|July, 2016

Facebook Live is an exciting new way to connect with readers on the platform using live video. This month’s marketing tip shares everything you need to know about this new feature, and how you can use it to effectively promote your book and your brand.


What it is: Facebook Live allows users to broadcast live video to their followers. When introducing the feature, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg described it as “having a TV camera in your pocket.” Facebook Live was first rolled out in 2015 for public figures and celebrities. It is now available to all users, opening a new window of opportunity for authors to connect with readers. 


How it works: In Facebook’s mobile app, go to the “Update Status” prompt and select the “Live Video” icon to broadcast live video from your smartphone. Anyone following you can tune in and share likes, reactions, and comments, as well as ask questions in real time. During the broadcast, you’ll be able to see the number of live viewers and which of your followers are tuning in. At the end of a broadcast, tap “Finish” to complete the video and it will automatically be posted and saved on your timeline.


How it’s been used: We’ve seen journalists broadcast live over Facebook, celebrity chefs perform cooking demos, and astronauts answer questions live from space. Penguin Random House authors who use Facebook Live include Melissa d’Arabian, who broadcasts weekly cooking demos; Arianna Huffington, who broadcasted a discussion about sleep and performance with an NBA player; and Adam Grant, who regularly broadcasts conversations with thought leaders about work and psychology. Check out Facebook’s Live Map to see who’s live around the world and how the platform is being utilized.


Ways you can use it: The possibilities are countless! Here are a few ways you can use Facebook Live to build buzz for your book and develop personal connections with your fans. Contact your marketer to explore or execute any of these ideas.

  • Promote a new or forthcoming book by reading a chapter to your followers.
  • Give readers behind-the-scenes access to where you write and your sources of inspiration. This can include a short broadcast from your desk or workspace as you share your writing routine with fans.
  • Broadcast from your next event to connect with fans who aren’t able to attend.
  • If you’re an expert in your field, broadcast a demonstration, from cooking and crafting to illustrating and organizing. Followers will love to learn from you and see you in action.
  • Broadcast from a location featured in your book.


Tips and tricks:

  • Plan in advance—know the theme/focus of your broadcast and be prepared to answer related questions.
  • Give your broadcast a compelling name.
  • Control the quality of your video by speaking loudly and clearly. Avoid broadcasting from noisy locations.
  • Use both the front- and the back-facing camera to broadcast yourself and your surroundings. Switch between views during your broadcast.
  • During the broadcast, invite viewers to tap the Subscribe button so they will receive notifications the next time you are live.
  • The maximum time limit for a broadcast is currently 20 minutes. Test different times to learn which length appeals to your followers.
  • Acknowledge and interact with your audience—encourage them to comment and ask them questions.
  • Determine whether you will answer questions during your broadcast or at the end.
  • End with a call to action—such as information about your next appearance or where to purchase your book.


More tips can be found on Facebook.


Milena Schmidt is part of the Consumer Marketing Development and Operations Group.