Read the advice articles for indie and self-published authors on how to promote your books and one of the things they scream at you is: SET UP A FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGE! OK; as an indie author who’s written books for children and young adults I keep grumbling that promoting my books is like having a tooth pulled while you’re in the middle of having a Brazilian wax: it’s really painful! (Actually, I’ve never had a tooth pulled 😉). It often feels like a waste of time when no one’s biting and buying, but as fed up as you get, still you persist, still you heed the advice. You set up your website and blog, your Twitter account, and your Facebook webpage, you add your titles and book cover to those and every free internet book promo site going; you splash your book news all over the place, sharing snippets of this and that about your latest writing adventures, not to mention publicising your latest blog post on your Facebook page and sharing that post on your personal timeline to get more coverage; so why bother? Why put yourself through all of that for only a few sales here and there?
Especially when on my Facebook page I amassed over 500 Likes (522 last week) only to lose 13 Likes in one night last Thursday, so now I’m back down to 510 (having gained one more recently; actually, today I’m back down to 509 as someone else has done one now!) I found out it was because Facebook is removing inactive accounts from business page Like counts, which means that those people who have liked a page but hardly use Facebook will have those Likes taken down. Twitter already works in a similar way: if it detects that accounts are inactive or not much interaction happens those followers will drop off. The thing is you don’t notice it as much when you have over 3000 followers, but you do notice when you have only 500 likes!
There’s nothing wrong with what Facebook have done, but you can imagine my language when I realised what had happened. It took months – years! – to get those Likes. I reciprocate when asked to do so and like back. To say I’m gutted is the understatement of the century. OK, so I’m not Ebay or other large organisations; they’ve lost thousands, but it’s still annoying. It’s embarrassing and disheartening; it makes my page look sad when other authors have got over 1000 Likes on their pages!
For me, the main advantage of having a Facebook business page is that it’s good exposure for my writing. Facebook has a large worldwide membership and anybody who likes what I post can share with their followers and friends who may not follow or know about me, therefore potentially widening my audience, and I share my book news on my own personal timeline. I try to post on it at least once a week. I have pictures of my book covers on my page and the Read My Book author app with details of the prices. You never know who may be looking at your page, other authors or, even better, potential readers. Most authors use their pages almost like a blog. I don’t do that, I have my own blog – which I publicise on my Facebook page. I also have my posts linked to Twitter, which can also be a bonus, as not everyone on Twitter uses Facebook, and a link to my Facebook page on my website and blog.
Is all that enough? Well, maybe not, but because I use other sources of social media, it has to be for now. Forget the extras like promote your page and boost your post: that costs a minimum of £3.00 a day for the privilege, ta very much. Fat chance! Who does it think I am: Rockefeller? The other annoying thing I’ve noticed is that sometimes posts from my page don’t always appear on the Home feeds. Cheers. In fact, sometimes posts on my personal FB don’t always appear, either. That’s not what I call exposure at all.
The other bonus of Facebook is all the author groups you can join, which may give you even more of a following. I joined quite a few to start off with – then I left quite a few as well. Call me a cynic if you like, but the jealousy and bitchiness of some indie authors in these groups can be quite marked. Not only that, if you spend half your time ‘engaging’ and ‘interacting’ are you leaving enough time for your writing?
I’m sticking with it for now, but although it has its advantages it’s not without its flaws; and if it keeps stripping me of my Likes I’ll be almost tempted to tell it to stick it where a monkey sticks its nuts.