Connect Virtually

Facebook and Instagram are essential platforms as an author. The former for connecting and discussing with your readers, and the latter for sharing excerpts of your work or pictures of books you’re reading. You may, by now, be familiar with their “story” functions where you can add pictures or videos for a limited time. But did you know you can go live? For authors, this means being able to connect with an audience in real-time while holding Q&A sessions or virtual readings. It’s something many authors don’t think of as a tool for their work, but it is! You can still connect to an audience without having to go to an event venue or set up meet-and-greets. Learn to use these features now, and continue using the live function as a tool even after you’re able to step back outside.

So, how do you do it? It’s actually fairly easy for both platforms. For each one, you’ll need to start by downloading the app to your phone and signing in.

To go live on Facebook:

• Go to your Facebook News Feed. (This is the name for the page where you can scroll through posts from all your friends.)

• Click on live under “What’s on your mind?” It looks like a little video camera.

• Write a description of the video. For example, if you’re doing a Q&A session, you could write just that!

• You can change the privacy settings (who sees the video) by tapping the ellipsis in the bottom right corner and selecting “Audience Restrictions.” If you want to reach the widest audience, it’s best to set the privacy settings so that everyone can watch.

• If you like, you can add a Facebook Live filter or lens, but it’s entirely optional.

• From there, press “Start Live Video,” and you’re on your way!

To go live on Instagram:

• Start by tapping the camera icon in the top left corner of your screen.

• At the bottom, there’s a scroll bar that defaults to “normal.” Tap and hold it, and swipe your finger all the way to the right until you reach “Live.”

• Your viewer amount will show at the top of the screen, and comments will appear at the bottom.

• You can add a comment by tapping “Comment” and if you tap the comment, you can select “Pin Comment” so your viewers can easily see it. This is a good tool to use if you want viewers to know what your live video is about (e.g., a reading from your latest book) as soon as they start watching.

• If you don’t want any comments at all, you can turn them off by clicking the three dots on your screen and choosing “Turn Off Commenting.”

• And you’re off!

When you’re done with your video on either platform, there should be an “end” or “stop” option for you to select.

Especially during these times of quarantine, this feature on these two platforms will help you feel like you’re staying connected with your readers and potentially reaching a wider audience than before.