Case Study: Top author Facebook Pages and their best posts

While publishers do a lot of the heavy-lifting when it comes to getting books to market, authors are still the ‘brands’ that most readers relate to. So who are the authors who are doing the best job of tapping into the internet’s biggest social network? Here they are.

#1 Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho

The author of The Alchemist takes out the top spot with 10.5 million Facebook “likes”. Coelho is unquestionably the book industry’s social media powerhouse. He has been active on Facebook since 2008 and this impressive fan count puts the 65-year-old Brazilian in the company of rockstar Facebookers like Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera. Unlike most of his fellow top-performing Facebook authors, Coelho also has a huge Twitter following (7.4 million followers, putting him comfortably ahead of well-known Twitterer Stephen Fry’s 5.6 million followers), and is an active blogger.

Top English language post from the past 30 days is Coelho’s homage to his wife: “My International Women’s Days: From Jan 1 to Dec 31.” It was liked by 44,000 fans and attracted more than 1300 comments. Coelho manages to mix the personal with the promotional to rally his fan base when he needs to, as the 28,000 likes for this post on his new book shows. If you want to learn from an author who understands social media, Coelho is a deserving role model to follow.

#2 Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

American poet and octogenarian Maya Angelou takes out the second spot with 4.2 million likes. Angelou’s page includes a bookstore app that lets users purchase her books directly from publisher Random House. A “Browse my books”  app lists her titles and points to several retailers but offers no samples to download.

Top post for the past month: “Thank you for all your kind wishes as I celebrate my 85th year. I am grateful for your kind words and thoughts.” It generated a very-impressive 189,000 likes and 15,000 comments. A post advising fans of a book-signing at Barnes and Noble Union Square earned more than 8000 likes and hundreds of comments, presumably helping to fill the store.

#3 James Patterson

James Patterson

Writing factory and ex-ad man James Patterson is unsurprisingly a top performer on Facebook as well, with 3.7 million likes.  He shares his page between his traditional thriller titles and his Middle School kids’ series. Patterson uses chapter samplers regularly in his promotion, including Facebook page apps that open up a group of chapters to fans who “like” the promotion.

Top recent post is another one prompted by International Women’s Day, neatly featuring a Patterson crime-fighting character. “Lindsay Boxer tells me I have to mention that today is International Women’s Day, and I wouldn’t get on her bad side for anything.” It led to more than 26,000 likes and 1000 comments.

#4 Chetan Bhagat

Chetan BhagatIndian investment banker and part-time writer Chetan Bhagat is India’s best-selling English-language novelist with more than a million copies of his five books sold, according to his publisher Rupa. And the 30-something Bhagat, who’s kept his investment-banking day job, is an effective Facebooker with 2.9 million likes.

Bhagat also seems to be a clever aphorist, appealing to the young professionals portrayed in his novels. An example (and his top recent post) is this photo with the words, “Work hard, but make time for your love, family and friends. Nobody remembers PowerPoint presentations on your final day.” It generated 107,000 likes and a very-impressive 123,000 shares. Bhagat is also smart using photos rather than text for his quotes, since photos deliver much higher “engagement” (likes, comments, shares, etc) — 53% higher, according to one recent study.

#5 Dan Brown

Dan BrownDan Brown has been off the best-seller lists for a while, but Brown has built a solid Facebook platform which will be a big help with promotion of his new novel Inferno. Brown is at pains to point out that he “does NOT administer this page. It is run by his office” whose efforts have taken the blockbuster thriller writer to the number 5 spot among authors on Facebook with 2.6 million likes.

Top post from the past month: “The beautiful UK cover for INFERNO from Transworld Publishers! Due out May 14th.” This cover image produced more than 44,000 likes with 12,000 shares. Posts of covers from France, Germany and other country editions also produced double-digit likes.

#6 Gabriel García Márquez

Gabriel García MárquezU.S. publisher Alfred A. Knopf /Vintage Books manage the Facebook page for Love in the Time of Cholera writer Gabriel García Márquez which has 1.9 million likes. It’s a simple, no-frills page, updated infrequently, mostly with quotes taken from the author’s work and sometimes in both Spanish and English to tap into the author’s large Latin American following.

Its top post of the past month — a timeline photo showing the 85-year-old Colombian author reading one of his books — managed to garner 47,000 likes and almost 2000 comments.

#7 Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz

Thriller writer Dean Koontz clocks up 1.4 million likes to take the seventh spot. In spite of the impressive numbers, most of the posts on Koontz’s page attract limited interest from fans, often just a few hundred likes. The updates have the feel of scheduled PR posts (which they no doubt are), with little character and personality shining through.

But the page has been updated consistently since it began in 2009 and with fairly modest input has produced a useful platform for Koontz and his publisher Random House.

The top recent post promoting Koontz’s latest Odd Thomas book attracted more than 8000 likes and 550 enthusiastic comments.

#8 Danielle Steel

Danielle SteelIn spite of its simple formula, Danielle Steel’s Facebook page has managed to attract 984,000 likes, just short of the 1 million milestone. The core of the page’s content is a very brief, chatty monthly newsletter from the author, supplemented by occasional new book announcements.

Top recent post was Steel’s April 2013 newsletter which attracted about 800 likes, a typical level for her newsletter posts. However, the page shows continuing growth in fans and its new book announcements generate as many as 10-15,000 likes, giving Steel a solid promotional return on her modest time investment.

#9 Haruki Murakami

Haruki MurakamiThe Facebook page of publicity-shy Japanese author Haruki Murakami is ranked 9th with 632,000 likes.  It is another top-ranking author page managed by U.S. publisher Alfred A. Knopf/Vintage Books.

Once again, the page is a fairly formulaic series of posts with quotes from the author’s works and publicity announcements, prompting one fan to comment: ‘Haruki, use FB to share ideas, rather than to market your past.’

Top recent post is this quote from Murakami’s book Dance, Dance, Dance which attracted more than 9000 likes.

#10 Neil Gaiman

Neil GaimanU.S.-based English fantasy writer, screenwriter and graphic novelist Neil Gaiman takes the 10th spot with 557,000 likes and a page which is clearly Gaiman’s own. He uses it extensively to promote his appearances, and Gaiman injects plenty of chatty snippets into the page’s timeline where he posts daily. It’s a style that translates well to Twitter where Gaiman has more than 1.8 million followers.

The top recent post on his Facebook page was typical of Gaiman’s style: ‘Things that made me smile this morning …” linked to an article showing Gaiman beating North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in a Time 100 poll and attracted almost 8000 likes.


(Ranking was current at April 2013)



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