I’m a relative newcomer to the social media world. In fact, I wouldn’t have “Liked” or “Retweeted” anything if my first publisher hadn’t dragged me there and shoved my nose in this big smelly pile called Facebook. And you had to “Like” people.
Fresh out of prison (so to speak – retired, not paroled) liking people was way down on my list. You see, working in any form of law enforcement, your circle of trust is about as small as a crazy straw. If you worked with them, or knew someone they worked with, you could be fairly certain they’d have your back when the shit hit the fan.
The whole idea of opening up to a larger community was difficult at first. Gradually, I got over the trust issue because, for God’s sake, it’s only Facebook. That, and I’m willing to go nuclear and block, unfriend and salt the earth, when over the line crap (racist, hate speech, extreme politics) shows up on my newsfeed. Then there’s the fact that all friend requests are not created equal. If we don’t have at least a few mutual friends, similar interests in writing, dogs, music, or crime, or show a remedial ability to carry on a civil conversation — get off my lawn. The fact that your profile consists solely of a photo of a twenty-something you in a sports bra and yoga pants doesn’t cut it. But thank you for trying.
Then there is the Facebook Author page — a confusing element of the social media experience. You’re supposed to have one. But, it’s like Fight Club. The first rule of Author Pages is to not talk about your Author Page.
There seems to be a great deal of angst over a new friend request immediately following up with a Facebook Message, asking for a like on the person’s Author Page. It’s universally considered spammy and shares familial DNA with the buy my book tweet. Please don’t beg.
The Author Page is where you can sell your gizmos, widgets and whatever pipe cleaner and popsicle stick art you’ve made in your basement workshop. You can create events (book signings, or a blood sacrifice to the publishing gods) on the Author Page — and you can invite anyone from your friends list.
I’ll admit I’m still struggling with the content split between the Profile Page and the Author Page. I’ve told people that if they want to know about what I’m writing, my Corgis and what I’m up to, send me a friend request. If they want to know about my writing, what I’m doing with the dogs and stuff –like my Author Page. The point being there can be a lot of overlap between pages.
To help the feral side of my brain deal with the Author Page I have a few self-imposed guidelines:
The book related content is largely on the Author Page. I say largely because when I get a really great blurb, or review I’m going to post that on my Author Page and then share that on my Profile Page. There seems to be a general rule of 80/20 on the Profile Page. 20 Percent can be pushing your book and getting the word out there. More than that and you start to sound like the Sham Wow guy on the infomercial.
Rather than sending direct messages to every new friend and connection, maybe a simple post on your timeline that says, “Hey, over here you can find more info on XYZ, if you’re interested.”
What’s the reason for someone to “like” your Author Page? Is it recycled material from somewhere else, or is it new content available only on that Page? I post my Blog, like this one, to my Author Page. Sometimes, if it’s a topic that has a broader interest, I’ll share that to my Profile Page, but not immediately, maybe a week later. The Author Page gets the newest and freshest content – a digital best by date.
Book reviews of other authors and Goodreads giveaways might drive some traffic to your Author Page. I’m pitifully behind on reviews of some great books I’ve picked up in the last few months.
A feature of the Author Page is your ability to “boost” the post for wider circulation. In other words Facebook will unkink the hose, for a price. I’ve tried it and I’m not sure if the effort is worth it. It is very cheap advertising, but how many of us scroll past that “Suggested Post” in our timeline?
I’m still working my way through the social media maze when it comes to the Author Page. If you’ve had any strategies that have worked for you, please feel free to share them. Oh, and don’t forget, you can like my Author Page, if you’d care to…