by author Patricia McLinn
Some people play Facebook like a Stradivarius. Me? More like a one-fingered piano-player wearing boxing gloves.
Then I saw a Tweet by Harlequin Presents author Lynn Raye Harris about how she’d created a tab on her Facebook page listing all her books, with cover art, plus links to purchase. Wow. It looked great – check it here under the tab “My Books.” And it didn’t need constant tending. It’s there permanently.
Lynn very kindly started me on my way to figure out how to do this myself. I’ve now added a list of my own “My Books” as well as FBML tabs on my Facebook page and the Facebook page of AWritersWork.com. You can see “Buy a Book, Help a Pet” and (through the end of the month) Book-Up in January as examples at http://www.facebook.com/AWritersWork.
So, here step-by-step instructions on how to get the FBML application started and on your Facebook page. (NOTE: This only works for “Pages” — not Profile or Groups.)
Note that Facebook has said it’s going to start “deprecating” FBML this month in a move to force a shift from FBML (easy) to iFrames (not easy). My understanding is that that does NOT mean you will no longer be able to add FBML, but rather that it has to do with serious coder types creating applications based on FBML. Furthermore, Facebook has been moderately clear (by Facebook standards) that existing FBML pages will continue well into the future – no pulling the plug on your existing FBML pages.
Now, my understanding of Facebook is minimal, so if you want to read further about this, go here.
Still with me? Here we go:
Adding the FBML App to Your Page
- From your Profile, go to “Manage Pages”
- Select the page you want to add to.
- Click “Edit Page” – left side, under your picture.
- On menu list on the left, go down to “Apps” and Click on it
- Go to “Browse More Applications” at the bottom
- In “Search Apps” Box (upper left part of page) type in FBML
- Go to “Static FBML”
- Click “Add to my page” (If you have more than one page, it will ask you which page you want to add to.)
- Go to Account/Manage Pages/ Go to the page where you’re adding FBML
- There should be an added tab after Wall, Info, etc., that says FBML – ignore it for now – clicking on it doesn’t do any good at this point.
Putting Content in Your FBML Tab
- Go to “Edit Page”, then “Apps”
- Scroll down to FBML
- Under FBML, click on “Go to App”
- In “Box Title” type in the title for your tab – keep it short!
Now, in the big box, you use FBML, which is Facebook’s version of HTML code. If you don’t know HTML, that sounds more intimidating than it really is.
My basic concept is to use an existing string of code and tweak it, so I’ll share some with you in a bit. First, here’s a theoretical sample. Sample 1 gives the “category” of info that will be needed inside [ ].
<CENTER><IMG SRC=”[url of your cover]“><br><br>
<font size=”3″><A title=”[Title of the web page where your Chapter One is located]” HREF=”[url of your Chapter One]“> Read Chapter One</A><br>
<A title=”[Title of the web page where your book's Reviews, Blurbs are]“> Read More About It (Reviews, Blurb, “Patricia Says”) </A><br>
<A title=”[Title of the web page listing this book as a Kindle on Amazon.com]” HREF=”[url of the Amazon.com Kindle web page for this book]“>Buy at Kindle</A> / <A title=”[Title of web page where your book is also for sale" HREF="[url of web page where your book is also for sale]“>Buy ePub or PDF at AWritersWork.com</A><br>
That is the design I used to create my MY BOOKS tab on my Patricia McLinn Facebook page. Look here to see what it looks like.
Sample 2 is the specific code for the first two of my books shown there – A Stranger in the Family and Prelude to a Wedding – back to back:
<font size=”3″><A title=”Microsoft Word – A Stranger in the Family-1st chapt” HREF=”http://www.awriterswork.com/mclinn_patricia/astrangerinthefamily_pmclinn_ch1.pdf”> Read Chapter One</A><br>
<A title=”A Stranger in the Family by Patricia McLinn” HREF=”http://www.awriterswork.com/mclinn_patricia/astrangerinthefamily_pmclinn.asp”> Read More About It (Reviews, Blurb, “Patricia Says”) </A><br>
<A title=”Amazon.com: A Stranger in the Family (Bardville, Wyoming Trilogy) eBook: Patricia McLinn: Kindle Store” HREF=”http://www.amazon.com/Stranger-Bardville-Wyoming-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00457VKIA/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1287705771&sr=1-5″>Buy at Kindle</A> / <A title=” a stranger in the family by Patricia McLinn” HREF=”http://www.awriterswork.com/mclinn_patricia/astrangerinthefamily_pmclinn.asp”>Buy ePub or PDF at AWritersWork.com</A><br>
<font size=”3″><A title=”Microsoft Word – Prelude to a Wedding – 1st chapt ” HREF=”http://www.awriterswork.com/mclinn_patricia/preludetoawedding_pmclinn_ch1.pdf”> Read Chapter One</A><br>
<A title=”Prelude to a Wedding by Patricia McLinn” HREF=”http://www.awriterswork.com/mclinn_patricia/preludetoawedding_pmclinn.asp”> Read More About It (Reviews, Blurb, “Patricia Says”) </A><br>
<A title=” Amazon.com: Prelude to a Wedding (The Wedding Series) eBook: Patricia McLinn: Kindle Store” HREF=”http://www.amazon.com/Prelude-Wedding-ebook/dp/B0044XUZ72/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1287706914&sr=1-1″>Buy at Kindle</A> / <A title=”Prelude to a Wedding by Patricia McLinn” HREF=”http://www.awriterswork.com/mclinn_patricia/preludetoawedding_pmclinn.asp”>Buy ePub or PDF at AWritersWork.com</A><br>
To add more books, copy and paste a complete chunk, then swap out the detailed information referring to Book A with the information for the added book.
A Few Notes:
- You can change/skip where you want people to go – for example if you don’t have a page with reviews, etc. Or you don’t have a first chapter/excerpt on the web.
- You can, of course, skip the pictures, and just use type, as I did at bit.ly/hoVrQe for Book-Up in January for http://www.AWritersWork.com
- As far as I’ve found, the artwork must already be on the web so that it has a url – iow, you can’t upload from your computer.
- A source for some basic code that will work on Facebook’s FBML: Click Here
- A more general HTML cheatsheet listing of codes — not all these will work on FBML. It’s trial and error to find out which do work: Click Here
Good luck! And come back and share your creations with the rest of us.
About Patricia McLinn
Patricia McLinn’s books have topped bestseller lists, been translated into 20-some languages and been honored with a number of awards, including the Golden Leaf, Rising Star, and RT Career Achievement, and RITA finalist. Patricia is a past-president of Novelists, Inc., as well as a long-time member of the Washington Romance Writers and Authors Guild. To learn more visit her Website.
Note from Julie:
I loved this suggestion from Pat and instantly applied it to my Facebook Page. To check it out CLICK HERE.
QUICK SHORTCUT: Rather than wade through all the coding, I went to the “My Books” page here on my blog, copied all the HTML coding, and simply pasted it into the box Pat mentioned. Boom. Done. I do need to tweak the paragraph breaks, but it was so easy!
Create your own FB tab, then come back and share it. We wanna see!