Let’s Live Stream on FB!

“Lights, camera, action!”

Not the words you like to hear thrown at you? I definitely fall in that category. But I was asked to live stream a video at a Facebook party, and I took on the challenge. Low and behold, it was actually fun!

Today, readers want to know more and more about their favorite authors. Gone are the days when we could just hide away and write. Social media has blown the doors wide open, and the public wants to talk with us.

So, I’m going to show you how simple it is to do a live stream on Facebook. I was very nervous, but it really was just like having a conversation with the people commenting. Here is a tea party for Reader Appreciation Day that I live streamed a couple weeks ago (It’s long so don’t feel like you must watch it all! LOL!). I ended up with two-hundred views and met several new readers.

Reader Appreciation Tea Party

Posted by Heather McCollum on Thursday, October 26, 2017

Here’s how FB live streaming works:

  1. Think ahead of time about what you want to say to and show your viewers. Know your time limit, and if you have a tendency to talk on and on, set up a timer to keep you on track. Practicing what you will say, and timing it, is always a good idea.
  2. Decide where you will be filming. Check out what is in the background. I filmed at my desk once and on my back porch once. I made sure that the area was tidy and free of distractions. You will be filming with your cell phone, so check out how you will set up the phone to record and what is in the frame.
  3. Write up a little introduction, which you can post right before you go live in a different post. Let people know that you are about to go live in your next post, but if they miss the live version, they can always watch the recording.
  4. Have your computer available to watch the responses pop up in the comment section under the live stream post. I set up my lap top to the side and my phone directly in front of me.
  5. Turn on your Facebook app on your cell phone, and go to the FB page where you wish to post the live stream.
  6. Click on Write Something, and a box will come up. Either post your intro here and then do it again to post the live stream, or just jump right into the live stream after your intro in this same post.
  7. Click the little red camera for Live Video. Don’t worry, you aren’t recording yet. You will see that you are filming in the direction away from you, so if you want to record yourself while watching yourself, you need to redirect the camera to film a “selfie”. Keep in mind, that if you hold up your book while filming as a selfie, the words will appear backwards on the recording. But you can always post the cover in a comment after the recording.
  8. When you are ready, hit the blue “Go Live” button and say hello to your readers.
  9. Make sure to check your computer periodically to answer comments and questions from your viewers. There is a small delay in the recording from real time, and sometimes the questions/comments get hung up in FB. Just let the viewers know that you’ll answer questions after you’re done talking if this happens. Don’t let a glitch stop you from saying what you had planned.
  10. When you are finished talking, remember to stop the recording. It will automatically set up as a recording on Facebook.
  11. Then go down the list of comments, and answer the ones you did not answer while talking.

I’ve also recently recorded a video (not live stream) on my phone as part of a promotion on my publisher’s FB page to celebrate the release of my new Highlander book, THE DEVIL OF DUNAKIN CASTLE (releasing 11/13/17!). It will be posted tomorrow on the Entangled Tea Time Takeover:

My ten-minute segment will likely be posted around 3:30 PM ET tomorrow, but the fun starts at noon.

Recording ahead of time makes it possible to record over and over to get it just right. However, that takes a lot of time. Also, the final recording needs to be uploaded into Movie Maker or an equivalent application. When my husband did this, the recording ended up being too large to e-mail to my publicist, so we uploaded it to Google Drive. I then sent her a link to the video in an e-mail, so she could retrieve it and upload it on Facebook at the planned time.

So even though this seemed to be a “safer” route, and my publicist liked to have the recordings uploaded ahead of time, it seemed more difficult than the live streaming (for me, anyway).

Have you dabbled in live streaming? Do you post recordings regularly? What type of recordings do you like to watch online?


22 responses to “Let’s Live Stream on FB!”

  1. Great post, Heather! I’ve never done a Facebook live video, so I totally appreciate the how-to. Your step-by-step is straightforward and thorough. I envy those who do live streaming video. Loved yours! The tea party looked to be a success! But I’m not sure I’m cut out for video. I despise seeing myself in any type of photography or film. *shudders*

    Super job!

    • Heather D McCollum says:

      Jenn, I think you could have a blast with this. Dress up like a pirate and show them how to throw a dirk or just say hi and ARRRR.
      Maybe we should do a live FB party for the Rubies, with us each doing a 5 minute live video.
      : )

  2. What a great post, Heather! You are so right. We can no longer just sit in our writing spaces and just write. Today’s readers want to interact with us. They fly to other states, to reader-author gatherings, to meet us. This seems like a great way to interact with them but… I hate to be photographed. Always did.

    However, I did a video ad when I released Perfect Fall, recording it ahead. It did take time and many takes until I was OK with the video. I found it hard to do, but then I was like it wasn’t so bad. Maybe I’ll do it again. But this is totally different. I give you credit for putting yourself out there.

    • Heather D McCollum says:

      Good for you, Autumn, for stepping outside the comfort zone!
      I guess I like the live stream because it can’t take up my whole day with retakes. Just like with my books, I’m a perfectionist and don’t want to let it go. But I just don’t have time to do it over and over.

      Also, I think that readers like it when we are “human” in front of them. So when my dog knocked over the phone that was recording, my readers all wanted to know about my dog, and there were more connections made.

      As long as I don’t toot or burp or sneeze all over the camera, I like readers seeing how real I am. You really should try it!

      : )

  3. Hope Ramsay says:

    Thanks you so much for this post. I know I need to do more of this, and I’m frankly terrified. But your post’s step-by-step instructions are most helpful. Now I just need to get over negative body image issues. A reason I never do selfies either. 🙂

    • Heather D McCollum says:

      Hope, you are beautiful! And readers just want to see that we are real people. You would be great!

  4. Cynthia Huscroft says:

    I watched this from start to finish and enjoyed it thoroughly! So much I didn’t know about tea…& what I did know would fit well, “in a teacup”.

    Great tips & checklist…thank you. Am so, so glad that the blogs are archived for future reference.

    • Heather D McCollum says:

      Thanks so much for watching, Cynthia! I love the slowing down and comfort that comes with drinking tea.
      Today I will celebrate my new book release with a brewed pot : )Maybe I’ll live stream it on FB! LOL!

  5. Great information, Heather. I’ve only done a FB Live video once – for the Second Chances anthology and I was glad to have a bunch of other authors there to take the pressure off me to carry the conversation. I guess I always feel like why would anyone care what I have to say? But this is great info. Thank you!

    • Heather D McCollum says:

      Thanks, Vivi!
      You are very interesting! And with all the research we do to create our books, there is always something to impart to readers. They can learn something and also see that you are a real, smiling, breathing person. The connections are important, and being live (and even messing up) draws readers in.
      Definitely do it again!

  6. Heather D McCollum says:

    I just went ahead and recorded a one-minute live stream video on my author FB page to celebrate my new release today:

    It seems FB is always improving things. I received a message once I hit end, that said they were making the recording higher quality. So it took a couple seconds to update. But I don’t think that affects the live feed. There was also a button that said you could delete the recording if you want. So I guess if I did toot or burp and didn’t want it up on my FB page forever, I could delete it just like any other FB post. However, those watching it live would still see it.

    • Love the tiara! Congrats again.

    • Hope Ramsay says:

      Heather, I have a comment about the feed. (Loved the Tiara, and you are so brave to show your face.) But you must have had the camera in selfie mode because the book cover was reversed. So, just a note for everyone, including me, who is contemplating this. It might be better not to set up the camera in selfie mode if you’re going to show the book cover. Which leads to another question. I guess if you weren’t going to use the camera in selfie mode, you’d need to have a friend there to make sure the camera was aimed correctly.

      • Heather D McCollum says:

        Yes, Hope, you are very right. If you really want people to see something written out, then you have to have someone film you.

        I like the selfie mode so I can make sure I’m in the frame. When I do show my book cover in selfie mode, I try to remember to post the book cover, the correct way, in the comments under the live stream when I’m done. : )

  7. Great post! Thank you so much! Quick question, though. A few authors and I are talking about doing this, but the date chosen is before my book comes out. Is this still a good option is I don’t have a book out yet? If I don’t have readers yet to ask questions about my book?

    • Heather D McCollum says:

      Great question, Rachel!
      Sure you should still do it. You don’t have to talk about your book. You could talk about being a writer, something you’ve researched, or about your cute cat. The idea is to open yourself up to future readers. Let them get to know you. And if you are close to publishing, show the cover or read a blurb about it.
      Best of luck! I’m sure it will be fun!

  8. Rita Henuber says:

    Thank you so much for this. You did well explaining.

  9. Very cool, Heather! You’re so composed. I’m not sure I could be so relaxed.

    • Heather D McCollum says:

      Thanks, Laurie! LOL! If you only knew the years I went through blushing so hard every time I had to speak in front of anyone! I worked in a drug development company and I would get so red and blotchy, I actually had Vice Presidents of the company stop me to make sure I was physically okay.

      So they sent me to a bunch of “how to speak in front of others” and confidence building seminars. I ended up getting to the point where I taught scientists how to give professional presentations. But gosh, it sure was a long road!

      So thank you very much <3

  10. Darynda Jones says:

    What a great post! Thank you, Heather! I loved that you mentioned the followup when finished and answering the questions you didn’t get to. Great job!

    • Heather D McCollum says:

      Yeah, sometimes you just feel like “whew, I’m glad that’s over.” But it is really important to respond afterwards. People like to know you noticed them or connected with them.

      Thanks! : )


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