What If You Hate Facebook? Are You DOOMED?

Image via Frank Selmo WANA Commons

Image via Frank Selmo WANA Commons

Guest Post by WANA International Facebook Expert Lisa Hall-Wilson

I’m not going to try and convince you of how awesome Facebook is – though Kristen is a happy convert. I’m not going to explain away all of the bad press about privacy issues or how addictive the site is. If you hate Facebook, that’s OK. But make sure you hate it for the right reasons.

I LOVE Facebook. I was a big fan of the platform before I thought about writing as a career. It just fit really well with my personality. I’m one of those people who isn’t afraid to share personal things, poke fun at myself, shake my fist at the sky, share my corner of the world with…the world.

But not everyone is like that. What if you’re a writer/author and every conference you attend, every blog post about building platform you read, tells you Facebook is one place you HAVE to be.

What then?

I met a woman at a conference recently where I was teaching about using Facebook to build platform. She didn’t want to use her real name, post pictures of her family, reveal where she lived, or share anything remotely personal at all. She just wanted to post links about her writing and her blog. Could I help her get more fans?

And I said – maybe Facebook isn’t the right platform for you.

She didn’t find that helpful. In fact, she was upset with me.

But here’s the hard truth – Facebook is personal. If you don’t want to be personal, maybe Facebook isn’t the right platform for you. That’s not an indictment on your writing or placing a glass ceiling on your writing career. Maybe Twitter or G+ or Tumblr or Instagram is a better place for you to be found.

Facebook is big, but it isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing by any means. Whenever we start building our author platform, we need to honestly look at our strengths and acknowledge what we are and aren’t willing to do.

Contrary to popular opinion, not EVERY big name author enjoys Facebook. The difference is many of them pay someone else to administrate their Page and post links to their blog. Nora Roberts, for instance, is up front about the fact that she doesn’t personally spend time on her Facebook Page, and all the posts are from an admin named Laura or Team Nora.

Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 9.13.23 AM

There are plenty of authors who have a placeholder Page on Facebook that points fans to a Twitter account, or a blog or a website. What they’re saying is – you can find out more about my writing here on Facebook, but you can connect with me on <insert other platform>. In other words – they don’t spend time on Facebook. Just be open.

Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 9.14.10 AM

And the author’s engagement is reflected in their community on Facebook. Nora Roberts has twice as many Facebook fans as Laurell Hamilton, but Laurell gets more than twice the engagement from her fans on each update.

Nora’s admin posts links to her blog, book covers, etc. Laurel posts pics of herself on vacation, at a friend’s wedding – asks for input on novels she’s writing. It’s different. It’s evident when someone doesn’t like Facebook, and fewer fans will show up for you than for someone who really enjoys Facebook.

What Readers Want

Readers are looking for three main things from authors on Facebook: behind-the-scenes glimpses into the writer’s life and writing process (your life behind the writing – they want to see Oz), advance scoops on new releases, sales and upcoming events, and they’re looking for insider access.

Readers are NOT going to Facebook to buy books.

Facebook’s search feature isn’t set up to do this well. I don’t know of any big author selling books directly from Facebook (using F-commerce) because they’d rather people bought books from Amazon (or another online retailer) for the sales rankings and reviews.

And don’t think I can’t hear the whining. I don’t understand why it’s like that!? Why can’t I post what I want to? I shouldn’t have to post about anything personal.

It’s not about us. Facebook is about offering value and building a community/tribe. Give stuff away (like free writing – your blog posts, a manifesto, etc.), be personal, be authentic.

When we are huge enough to have the fan base of Nora Roberts or Stephen King, and can pay someone else to manage our community on Facebook, then we can have them post whatever we like and people will still engage at some level. But it will never be the thriving community one will find on the Pages of authors like Laurell Hamilton or Ted Dekker.

We get out of it what we put in.

Decide what we are willing to share. If you don’t want to post pics of your kids? Don’t. Don’t want anyone to see pictures of your last vacation? Don’t share. There’s lots of other things to talk about to give readers/fans what they’re looking for. Snap a photo with your phone on your morning walk and share that—why did you think it was beautiful/thought-provoking/inspiring?

What are you working on? What are you researching? What does your writing space look like? What are you reading – why? Where are you going to be speaking? These are all things that you would probably share with a complete stranger at a writer’s conference – Facebook shouldn’t be any different.

Of course share your blog posts. Everything you post must offer value to fans (and people OTHER than writers), and answer one of the above needs.

If fans don’t care about you, they’re less likely to buy your book.

Do you find it difficult to share personal things on Facebook? Do you think writers/authors are too personal? I’d love to hear what you think.

I’m teaching a 1.5hr interactive webinar on September 19 on using your Profile to Build Platform. Find out more here. Use the code Lisa20 for 20% off. You can also find me teaching about Facebook at WANACon, a digital writers conference through WANA International.

WANA Facebook Maven Lisa-Hall Wilson

WANA Facebook Maven Lisa-Hall Wilson

Kristen here! Thanks, Lisa for the post, but I’d like make two important points here to close out Lisa’s article. First, there is A LOT to this job that involves doing stuff we don’t like. Successful people suck it up and do what it takes to succeed. If our goal is to write full-time and be paid to do what we LOVE, we’re going to have to make the tough choices.

I don’t like doing taxes, which you will DO A LOT OF once you start selling books. But, since I don’t want to write from federal prison where I am doing time for tax evasion? I do the taxes. I hate taxes, but hate prison MORE.

Just know that Facebook is NOT that hard. A little goes a LONG way.

The second point I’ll make is often we don’t “like” a thing or “enjoy” a platform because we don’t understand it. I was the same with Twitter AND Facebook.

Me

Me: Facebook’s a witch!!!! Burn it!

Lisa: Why do you think Facebook’s a witch?

Me: Because it looks like one! Shiny buttons? “Friends”? “Boost post?” BURNNNNN IT!

Facebook: Um, THE PROGRAMMERS put these buttons on me. I can’t help it. I’m not a witch.

I can't help they keep changing my layout.

I can’t help they keep changing my layout.

Me: Burn it ANYWAY! Toss it in a pond and see if it floats! 

Lisa: Kristen, calm down. Facebook isn’t a witch and you might want to cut back on the Monty Python.

And I am not saying y’all must participate on Facebook, but I AM saying there isn’t a single job in the world that only requires us to do all the glittery stuff we love. We need to do the cost-benefit analysis. If ten-twenty minutes a day on Facebook could increase your fan base and build relationships that translated into book sales, could you get past your distaste?

Consider that you might not like Facebook simply because you don’t understand it. I know Lisa changed my entire outlook on Facebook once I understood what my main goals needed to be…and all the buttons I could happily ignore.

Thank you, Lisa for another great post!

And I love hearing your comments! Comments on guest posts get double points.

To prove it and show my love, for the month of September, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

Announcements:

As y’all know, WANACon is coming soon. I’ve recruited the BEST of the BEST. Learn from the likes of Les Edgerton, NYTBSA Allison Brennan, Best-Selling Author Candace Havens, Award-Winning Author David Corbett and more. Twenty-seven sessions to help you grow in craft and social media from home and recordings are provided for free, which is essentially $5.50 a class. Check out the line-upHERE.

My Antagonist class is in days (Sept. 20th) and this one is a early class, which is ideal for those who need a daytime class or for any of our overseas peeps.

I’m also offering an evening version on October 16th. These classes starts at a basic level $49 (webinar, recording and detailed notes) and go up to $249 (on the phone/in the digital classroom helping you plot a series or trilogy). Use WANA15 to get 15% off.

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  1. #1 by vozey on September 18, 2013 - 10:09 am

    She’s a witch! Burn her!

    Facebook, for me, has uses namely in keeping up with friends and family. It isn’t as flexible, maintainable, or personal enough for me. I could see where it might be useful for keeping a readership updated, but otherwise, Bookface, Facepunch.

    Ye old MySpace was more flexible, honestly.

    • #2 by Lisa Hall-Wilson on September 18, 2013 - 12:04 pm

      MySpace? lol I don’t think I’ve even visited that site. Facebook is very personal, I think – once you understand how/why things work.😀

  2. #3 by cynthiagrstacey on September 18, 2013 - 10:12 am

    I must say Lisa/Kristen that I love both of your posts. My problem is that I don’t know what to post on facebook/twitter etc. I am willing to try and I do put a lot of effort into it, but sometimes I sit there and go…what do I say? I end up liking/commenting and sharing pictures or posts but have a hard time with the other stuff. I have no qualms about the personal nature…my brain just shuts down when it comes time to write a post. Any ideas?

    • #4 by Lisa Hall-Wilson on September 18, 2013 - 12:05 pm

      Make sure you visit the post I linked to above – Let Them See Oz. I talk about what to post a bunch there. Hope it helps.

  3. #5 by cynthiagrstacey on September 18, 2013 - 10:14 am

    Reblogged this on Cynthia Stacey and commented:
    Great post by Author Kristen Lamb.

  4. #6 by RJ Crayton on September 18, 2013 - 10:14 am

    Great post. I enjoy Facebook and getting somewhat personal there, so no problem interacting there. My problem is Google+. I have no idea how to use it and how to even friend people (should I make people my “friends”, “acquaintances”, or “people I say hi to but avoid long conversations with at all costs”?–there are too many options on Google+; OK, I made up the last option, but it could be there). Facebook is awesome, as you said, and writers would do well to use it,

  5. #7 by Runningfromthebooze on September 18, 2013 - 10:16 am

    Facebook was fun at first. To me, it now feels like one big LOOP.

  6. #8 by Mary C Wilson Andrews on September 18, 2013 - 10:38 am

    I loved this article because it touches on a topic that is close to my heart.

    I have tranisitoned my “Personal Facebook” page and essentially merged it with my writing, blog posts, teaching, etc. while I work on getting my book published. I also added a Facebook Blog Fan page, too! Within just a couple of weeks of doing that, I almost tripled my “Facebook” Friends. It can be quite challenging to manage the information flow, but I can choose my filters, etc.

    FYI: Kristen you are one of those new FB friends so thank you! I love how when I go onto FB I can not only get the personal updates from close friends, but I can also see inspirational and helpful advice from those in the writing field. It really does blend everything together, but I am okay with that!

    I am pretty much an “Open Book” anyway, so if people want to see me at the Powderpuff High School game with the kids from our Church Youth Group or on a Family Vacation, I say go for it!

    Blessings,
    Mary
    http://eccentricallynormal.wordpress.com/

    • #9 by Lisa Hall-Wilson on September 18, 2013 - 1:22 pm

      Using Friend Lists can be very helpful in targeting groups of friends, and changing the privacy on individual posts and photos is important. A lot of people think that using their Profile to build platform means that everything is public all the time, but it doesn’t have to be that way. That said – everything online should be considered ‘public’ because glitches happen and sometimes the people you should be able to trust are the very ones you have problems with.

      • #10 by Mary C Wilson Andrews on September 18, 2013 - 2:42 pm

        Very well said. Thanks again for all of the great information in this post!

  7. #11 by tedhenkle on September 18, 2013 - 10:47 am

    Thanks for the post Kristen & Lisa! I like Facebook, but I’m not a fan of the other social media sites that keep popping up. I agree with RJ’s assessment of Google+, but I didn’t find MySpace all that easier like Vozey did. (Probably because I wasn’t on it very long, before I jumped ship to Facebook). I can see the appeal to Twitter, but as of now, I won’t get a Twitter account. It’s too much connectivity for me at this point. Maybe later I’ll change my neo-Luddite ways.🙂

    • #12 by Lisa Hall-Wilson on September 18, 2013 - 1:23 pm

      I think it’s a good idea to do well on one platform before expanding. Do one really well, then several poorly.

  8. #13 by Jueseppi B. on September 18, 2013 - 10:54 am

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.

  9. #14 by Rebecca Enzor on September 18, 2013 - 11:16 am

    I just can’t get into FB. I love sharing things about my personal life and writing life with people, but a) I can’t get on FB at work, and b) I just don’t like the platform. Luckily I love G+ and Twitter and have been building a good tribe there, so I don’t really mind if I get no interaction on FB (other than my family). Works for me🙂

  10. #15 by Dr. Rex on September 18, 2013 - 11:26 am

  11. #16 by Dr. Rex on September 18, 2013 - 11:26 am

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    I LOVE Facebook …. I’m addicted to it, must ‘fessup!! Wouldn’t know what to do without it!!!!🙂

  12. #17 by Lauren Craig on September 18, 2013 - 11:43 am

    Thanks! I think my problem is the opposite. Live the Monty Python references.

  13. #18 by Carl D'Agostino on September 18, 2013 - 11:56 am

    FB probably least effective for artists/authors/merchandizers .I use for family/friend sharing only.

    • #19 by Lisa Hall-Wilson on September 18, 2013 - 1:32 pm

      80% of my blog traffic is from Facebook. Not everyone’s cup of tea though.

  14. #20 by Pat Fory on September 18, 2013 - 12:06 pm

    Put more hair on the guy in the chair and that’s me. I’m the poster child for Chronic Facebook Derangement Syndrome. Signed up for Lisa’s upcoming Building Facebook Tribe on 19th. I just want to learn to be comfortable with this sucker🙂

  15. #21 by notjustablonde on September 18, 2013 - 12:37 pm

    I’m a little unsure of the FB friending thing…. Isn’t it weird to think total strangers could look at my wedding pics, children pics, etc? I’m an open book IF I KNOW YOU… But other than that? I feel a bit vulnerable and unsafe.

    Here’s the thing… I’ve been writing on a blog now for the past several months… Started on blogger but switched over to WordPress this Summer due to the increase community feel of this blog site. My blog AND my Facebook page are both Not Just A Blonde…. in the About Me section I don’t even say my name, but of course with a little smart research on-line or even within my blog you can find out who I am.

    I am just building my Not Just A Blonde platform, Ive even purchased the http://www.notjustablonde.com url but I’ve no books to sell just yet… How important is it that I “come all out”? I’ve gotten some friend requests on FB and a few followers too… I’ve declined some potential friends as they just looked like creepy men (I’m just being honest, told you I felt a little scared) but I’m not sure if I’m handling this whole thing right or not.

    My intention is to be a blogger who eventually puts out books… And I want to lay my foundation so that later on I’m not working twice as hard and bemoan the missed opportunities to connect with my audience. These post REALLY help me figure out what I am doing and what I want to do to properly prepare for a future as a Spiritual writer. Thank you!!!

    • #22 by Lisa Hall-Wilson on September 18, 2013 - 1:34 pm

      That’s why it’s important to utilize Friend Lists with customized privacy on each list, and then set the privacy on photo albums and individual posts. Not everything I post is public, and there are a lot of photos that aren’t public on my Profile. I get my share of emails from creepy guys – but you ignore them – most of them are essentially spam anyway.

  16. #23 by rxena77 on September 18, 2013 - 12:43 pm

    It’s called the WORLDwideWeb for a reason. There are some crazies out there. I don’t want an open door to my life for them. And I don’t want to bore my friends. I have a friend at work who spends hours of his work day on FB, Hours. I don’t want to see a cute picture of a muffin an acquaintance just baked. FB seems a too-easy hunting ground for predators as recent tragedies have pointed out.

    • #24 by Lisa Hall-Wilson on September 18, 2013 - 1:36 pm

      That’s why it’s important to understand the privacy settings FB offers – which are very good if you’re willing to learn them. And don’t post anything you wouldn’t tell people face to face – but that policy should apply to everything online not just Facebook IMO.

  17. #25 by Michelle on September 18, 2013 - 12:44 pm

    As a reader I really enjoy the interaction I’m able to have the authors I am friends with. They engage with us about upcoming releases and tease us with sections of their WIPs which builds interest in getting the book when it comes out.

    The upside of e-books is that I have 10 or 20 books at my fingertips to read depending what I am in the mood for. The downside is that I can’t trade them in at my local used book dealer if I don’t like a book and use the credit to try a new author I might not have.

    Once I buy it, I am stuck with it and that makes me much more careful with my book budget dollars. I’ve friended a couple of authors who were mutual friends with another author and lately that is how I am deciding which authors make it onto my Amazon wish list as my budget allows.

  18. #26 by Michelle on September 18, 2013 - 12:56 pm

    Notjustablonde, this is where lists come in very handy on Facebook. I play a couple of games on Facebook and I have game only friends. I don’t want my real life friends to see my game posts and I don’t want my game friends to see my real life posts so my default is “Friends Only except for list x, list y…”

    You can make a “Readers” list as you accept friend requests and add them there. When you make real life posts you can exclude everyone in the “Readers” list from seeing that post or photo album. Create the list and before you start adding people to that list go into your photo albums and change the privacy setting on each album to exclude the Readers list and they will never see any of your personal photos that you don’t want to share.

    Mashable has a really good article about managing your privacy settings – http://mashable.com/2013/07/09/facebook-privacy-how-to/

    Hope this helps.

  19. #27 by Shea Ford on September 18, 2013 - 1:01 pm

    I have a love/hate relationship with FB. Sometimes, I find lot of things to post about, but then I feel like I’m being annoying so I go through dry spells, where most of what I do is “like” things and click links.

  20. #28 by Charlotte Hoather on September 18, 2013 - 2:01 pm

    I’ve just set up my Facebook page this July, I found your article and comments very useful🙂
    Charlotte

  21. #29 by Darke Conteur on September 18, 2013 - 2:44 pm

    I LOVE Facebook. I like the interaction I have with other writers and while I don’t post a lot of personal things (e.g pictures of family–big no-no for me), I do get into things that are going on in my life and that I have in common with my online friends.

    Oh yeah, and I love the games. My apologies if I’ve accidentally sent you a request for Candy Crush. I really shouldn’t play that game before morning coffee…

  22. #30 by saralitchfield on September 18, 2013 - 3:02 pm

    Luckily, I’ve always been a big fan of Facebook! I was at Cambridge when it first crept over to the UK and it’s been amazing to witness the explosion. A few things that have made me *love* Facebook:

    1. I lost my wallet with my life inside. Someone found it and looked me up on Facebook from my ID to make contact. They returned it to me for free (not just without ransom but without postage costs).

    2. I was robbed. I had just moved house, so my hard drive with every digital photo I’d ever taken backed up from my laptop was in the same case as my laptop. The case left with the robbers (who didn’t just pick my lock but kicked my door off it’s hinges). Thankfully, I’m a keen photo-album sharer and, while I lost a lot of pics and oh yes, a lot of work I’d done too, I didn’t lose one snap I valued that dated after the start of Facebook.

    3. I’ve never done a ‘Facebook cull.’ And it is incredible and delightful to discover who is interested in what I’m doing, now that I’ve revealed my writer/editor alter-ego on Facebook. It’s not necessarily the people you’d expect that have been in touch with encouragement and comment since I’ve launched on social media. And through friends and friends of friends, I’ve found a wealth of valuable advice, connection and support.

    It is super easy to focus on the negative aspects of Facebook and of any social media. For me and for many, the positives far outweigh the crimes. Kirsten – as you talk about in your book, it’s easy for people to train themselves to ignore the white noise around the edges. Like many people, I just don’t acknowledge or engage with the ads and automated promo that’s there, however in your face it is – I don’t even see it. What I do see is the value of being able to communicate publicly and privately through words / pictures / videos / song / dance with the world – with a community. I’m not one of those people who thinks it’s not worth being ‘friends’ with people you’ve lost touch with in ‘real life’ just because you don’t see them any more. You have the gift of still being in touch with so many people *because* of Facebook. It’s amazing what these people are doing. I’m so happy there is a forum that tells me stuff about them – both that which I seek to know and that which I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

    Long live Facebook!

    Sara

  23. #31 by saralitchfield on September 18, 2013 - 3:06 pm

    Reblogged this on Right Ink On The Wall and commented:
    A post that has caught my attention and my opinion today!

    Luckily, I’ve always been a big fan of Facebook! I was at Cambridge when it first crept over to the UK and it’s been amazing to witness the explosion. A few things that have made me *love* Facebook:

    1. I lost my wallet with my life inside. Someone found it and looked me up on Facebook from my ID to make contact. They returned it to me for free (not just without ransom but without postage costs).

    2. I was robbed. I had just moved house, so my hard drive with every digital photo I’d ever taken backed up from my laptop was in the same case as my laptop. The case left with the robbers (who didn’t just pick my lock but kicked my door off it’s hinges). Thankfully, I’m a keen photo-album sharer and, while I lost a lot of pics and oh yes, a lot of work I’d done too, I didn’t lose one snap I valued that dated after the start of Facebook.

    3. I’ve never done a ‘Facebook cull.’ And it is incredible and delightful to discover who is interested in what I’m doing, now that I’ve revealed my writer/editor alter-ego on Facebook. It’s not necessarily the people you’d expect that have been in touch with encouragement and comment since I’ve launched on social media. And through friends and friends of friends, I’ve found a wealth of valuable advice, connection and support.

    It is super easy to focus on the negative aspects of Facebook and of any social media. For me and for many, the positives far outweigh the crimes. Kirsten – as you talk about in your book, it’s easy for people to train themselves to ignore the white noise around the edges. Like many people, I just don’t acknowledge or engage with the ads and automated promo that’s there, however in your face it is – I don’t even see it. What I do see is the value of being able to communicate publicly and privately through words / pictures / videos / song / dance with the world – with a community. I’m not one of those people who thinks it’s not worth being ‘friends’ with people you’ve lost touch with in ‘real life’ just because you don’t see them any more. You have the gift of still being in touch with so many people *because* of Facebook. It’s amazing what these people are doing. I’m so happy there is a forum that tells me stuff about them – both that which I seek to know and that which I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

    Long live Facebook!

  24. #32 by Sarah Aisling on September 18, 2013 - 3:08 pm

    Hi ladies! Firstly, Kristen, I read your blog all the time and love it. I don’t think I’ve commented before, but no matter how crunched I am for time, I tend to read your posts. They’re so full of awesome!

    Lisa, thanks for the tips on Facebook and your other article about Oz. I have a personal FB page and another under my author name. I didn’t know about those privacy settings. In the past, the privacy settings didn’t work for me, but I’m sure things have changed over the years.

    • #33 by Lisa Hall-Wilson on September 18, 2013 - 6:40 pm

      In the last year, FB has made a concerted effort to make what were existing privacy controls easier to access and understand.

  25. #34 by AshleeW on September 18, 2013 - 3:18 pm

    Thanks so much! Some awesome insight here about FB psychology that I never considered before. Very helpful🙂

  26. #35 by Raani York on September 18, 2013 - 4:06 pm

    Dear Kristen, I love your blog – there are always helpful things, links, tips, tricks and advices. But this is not the only reason why I have posted about your blog in mine and have linked them. Maybe you’d like to read it :

    http://raaniyork.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/a-little-big-success/

    Have fun. And thanks for everything!

  27. #36 by Daniel Escurel Occeno on September 18, 2013 - 4:12 pm

    I cannot access my Gmail and Google+ and Blogger for more than ten days. (This webpage is not available) I have a Windows 7. Does anybody know what is going on? You need their “log in” page for tech support (This webpage is not available) and they do not reply to messages on FACEBOOK.

  28. #37 by Tamara LeBlanc on September 18, 2013 - 4:15 pm

    Love this!! And I happen to love Facebook. I post personal stuff, my husband’s upcoming MRIs, his results, upcoming surgeries. I do this because I have a lot of true friends on FB and they support us with prayers and well wishes. Dusty likes to read them, I do, too. It makes us feel better about what we’re going through. But I don’t post uber detailed messages about what’s going on in his life. I walk a fine line between too much and not enough info. I want my friends and potential fans to get a taste of what’s going on in Tamara’s world, without depressing them or insulting them or over doing it.
    Most of what I post about, however, is inspirational quotes, fun stuff I’ve done or eaten or seen, cute family pics and updates on my writing.
    I think FB is a valuable platform.
    Hopefully I’m doing it right.
    Thanks for the post!!!
    Have a great evening,
    Tamara

  29. #38 by shad0wrav3n2014 on September 18, 2013 - 4:48 pm

    Lol, dont feel bad. Before i became an author i used to believe facebook was a witch too! However now that i am published and building my following and image, I’ve found it actually very helpful and useful. I still hate game requests though. I have no use for them cause I never play them and they just take up space on my page. I do, however, make my thoughts and feelings on a number of things known. If i regularly took pictures i’d post them up as well. I also have a seperate page for just my book and one just for me.

  30. #39 by Gretchen on September 18, 2013 - 5:34 pm

    I love Facebook. I had just graduated from college when Facebook opened to anyone with a .edu email address. In those very early days (2005), you really could put just about anything on your page and not worry about it coming back to bite you (yes drunken party pics, I’m talking to you). Not the case anymore. Even so, it’s been really fascinating to see how much Facebook has evolved and changed over the last 8 (wow!) years. It went from this obscure, exclusive little thing, to a platform that EVERYONE and their mother (or my mother, at least) seem to be on, which is awesome! It’s such a great way to make connections and find people with common interests and create communities. Sure, it has it’s share of creepers, but what community (physical or online) doesn’t? It isn’t a perfect platform, but once you familiarize yourself with it and make it work for you, it really can be a great tool that’s also fun to use.

    Great post, Lisa! I completely agree, Facebook isn’t the site for everyone, but there are so many other options (Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, G+, etc.) it doesn’t have to be. I encourage people to give it a try, become familiar with the in and outs, and if they truly legitimately don’t like it (or if it stresses them so much it takes time away from writing/platform building/family/offline life), try one of the other options. There is no social media Highlander; there does not have to be only one😉

  31. #40 by Amber Dane on September 18, 2013 - 5:39 pm

    Not a FB fan and have a hard time being personal on it. I prefer my blog. Glad to read about the user differences on that. Not at Nora Roberts level yet to acquire an admin team, but I think most of my readers/fans have figured out I respond/engage more on my blog. I like it much better and my shy self is starting to become comfy with that avenue. Something different works for us all. Great post!

  32. #41 by Kessie Carroll on September 18, 2013 - 5:53 pm

    I use Facebook to keep in touch with extended family and writing friends, and I keep them on different lists. Most things I post I don’t mind if the whole world knows, but the family-only things go to the family-only list. It’s not a big deal. I use Twitter for getting into irrelevant conversations with people I revere (James Scott Bell, ho!) And also for tracking Mywana. Sometimes people actually talk on there and don’t just retweet 15 iterations of the same post!

  33. #42 by Leah St. James on September 18, 2013 - 6:00 pm

    I use a pen name (yes, I know, I know…but it’s too late to undo at this point) and ended up with a real-me profile and an author page. (Again, I know! And this is too late to undo as well.) FB won’t let me add my pen name as the alternate name on the “real me” page because I have an author page by that name…or some garbage like that. It’s really difficult to try to maintain two pages without just parroting one from/to the other which is BORING. Frankly, I’m ready to give up. (Thank goodness I signed up for the upcoming WANA conference and will be sure to sit in on the FB session!)

  34. #43 by Sadie Carrieri on September 18, 2013 - 7:44 pm

    I can’t seem to understand why I need FB and a blog. Right now I use both, tending more to put personal stuff on FB and ideas on my blog. I have not set up an author page on FB with my pen name yet. but I think that would end up being the same as my blog. Then what about a website? What goes there?

    • #44 by shad0wrav3n2014 on September 18, 2013 - 8:02 pm

      I tend to use my book website as a POS (point of sales, not what you were thinking! lol), for my book. It is easy to navigate and i use it as my major advertising point and place of information. Facebook and my blog i use to allow my audience to see “ME” for who “I” am rather than just the girl behind the book.

  35. #45 by Vampire Syndrome on September 18, 2013 - 8:25 pm

    I only joined FB because my book was signed. I did have my book blog for two years before that point. FB has been fun. I’m glad I relented, but I must admit that the most useful thing about me as an author being on FB is the ease of communicating with my publisher and fellow authors.

  36. #46 by Vampire Syndrome on September 18, 2013 - 8:26 pm

    Reblogged this on Vampire Syndrome Blog.

  37. #47 by ontyrepassages on September 18, 2013 - 8:47 pm

    Looks like I was doing things right in the first place and then followed bad advice (I read Kristen’s book AFTER I made the change) and then expanded to two FB pages, which has been a huge pain. I was operating with my private page and posting some things as private and others as public. Now I have two pages where I either ignore one or I end up repeating myself regularly. I’d go back to one, but I have followers on both and many aren’t the same. This dilemma has existed for awhile and I’ve gotten to the point where I ignore it because I don’t know the best way to handle it, but I know that it’s hurting me. In exactly the same span of time my FB author page has 110 followers (67 on my private FB page), but my WP blog has passed 515. For the record, I enjoy interacting with people on FB (too much), but this page division is hurting that.

  38. #48 by caroline on September 18, 2013 - 8:57 pm

    I don’t spend a lot of time on facebook but I find that it allows me to post about other things that I find interesting. Perhaps not personal info but just bits and pieces that help make me who I am. It’s also a great way to connect to others who are spending a lot of time posting.

  39. #49 by seakiev on September 18, 2013 - 9:10 pm

    My Facebook Author Page is the high school cafeteria table of popular kids who choose to ignore me. (https://www.facebook.com/SuzanneElizabethAndersonAuthorPage). I post 3 – 4 X / day, I post personal stuff, inspirational stuff, stuff about my books, giveaways, you name it…and still zero engagement. In fact, on a weekly basis I lose 1 – 2 ‘Likes’. Truly, it is disheartening and more than once I’ve considered shutting the page down and telling anyone interested to just head over to my personal FB page, where I post lots of pics of my 3 Newfies, just so I wouldn’t have to keep watching the dwindling numbers which make me feel like a loser. It’s like high school all over again. Bleh.

    • #50 by Lisa Hall-Wilson on September 18, 2013 - 9:27 pm

      I wrote a guest post over at Jane Friedman’s blog today. You might consider popping over and reading that. Might help ease your frustration a little. Trying to build platform with a Page when you have a small blog, small readership, and no book (yet) is very slow, made worse if you’re interested in running ads. http://janefriedman.com/2013/09/18/5-reasons-use-facebook-profiles/

      • #51 by seakiev on September 18, 2013 - 10:26 pm

        I have four books out, and a blog that I post on 3X a week. But after reading your article at Jane Friedman’s I’m wondering if I should close down my Author Page and invite people to head over to my personal page?

  40. #52 by John Muccillo on September 20, 2013 - 5:50 am

    You’re absolutely correct Kristin. I don’t understand it. But this post convinced me to get to know Facebook. Besides, I’m not going to post my social security number, or the combination to my locker. What’s the worst that can happen?

  41. #53 by Janet on September 20, 2013 - 7:56 am

    I agonised for ages on how to get Facebook to work for me as an author (of Kindle-published non-fiction aimed at UK psychology students aged 16-18 – not too niche there). Then I discovered tumblr – the answer to my all my problems. The whole tagging/reblogging thing means I’m easy to find and I don’t always have to create my own content. In fact, reblogging is a way to connect to other tumblrs. Don’t know if it’s generated any sales yet but early days.

  42. #54 by Anne Tirey on September 21, 2013 - 12:55 pm

    AHHHHHHHHHhhhhh. Am I ever relieved to hear a negative comment about Facebook. I have absolutely nothing against Facebook except that I am so tired of hearing about Facebook. I tire easily. I am tired right now. Facebook brings out the narcissism in folks, I think. And I have nothing against narcissism. Has its place. Just on my nerves with the Facebook, that’s all. I keep up with family by calling and hanging out with them. Of course, your family is surely way awesome compared to mine. Love em, but you know….. My answer is that we should do what we enjoy and leave it at that! Money-making can be another story, but it doesn’t have to be. I’m an artist and do it all the way I want to. I love it and have a career from it. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend you coming to live with me. You’d have to use 20-watt bulbs in your lamps and food might be left-over-something-I-bought-in-bulk-at-Costco style. But we’d be hangin out, doin what we do.

  43. #55 by Anne Tirey on September 21, 2013 - 1:00 pm

    My Land! All that blah-blah-blahing and my name is linked to an old blog spot. Same blog. Long story by a short girl. Actual link from that stellar response #54 is http://dearestblog.com/.

  44. #56 by Anne Tirey on September 21, 2013 - 1:03 pm

    I am sorry. Truly. The #55 comment goes to my correct blog. I don’t get it, I’m just saying.

  45. #57 by Her Grace on September 25, 2013 - 10:49 pm

    I’ve got a handle on the FB thing. What bemuses me is Twitter.

  46. #58 by melissamaygrove on September 26, 2013 - 11:05 am

    “There are plenty of authors who have a placeholder Page on Facebook that points fans to a Twitter account, or a blog or a website.”

    Now THAT is a good idea.

    My problem is that I write using a pen name, but my main FB account is under my real name. Using FB and keeping my identities straight is a major pain.

  47. #59 by angel7090695001 on September 26, 2013 - 1:53 pm

    I use publicise/buffer to post to LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter but twitter is my favourite social network.

  1. Kristen Lamb – Can you survive as a writer without Facebook? | Thomas Rydder
  2. Thirsty Thursday Blog Round-Up | Writing, Reading, and Life

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