When I first realized I wanted to be an author, I found that I was easily overwhelmed by the extreme learning curve I had before me. And it wasn’t just stuff you had to learn, but also execute every day after that. To keep from getting ulcers (jury is still out on that) I told myself that if I could just learn one new thing a day, I would be okay and I wouldn’t get so stressed out that I wanted to quit.
Well, that kind of worked. Ha! But I thought I would share some of the things I learned along the way on this blog.
Sh!t I Learned Today: Facebook is Not Fun
If I can remember correctly-and it kills me to remember correctly-when I first started writing and marketing on Facebook…I enjoyed it.
Sweet chicken nuggets I am SO NOT even kidding.
Facebook, for authors, is not fun. It’s a flippin’ minefield. You’ve got bullies over there, trolls over here, and weird people hiding as normal people. You are navigating in bloody, murky waters with snapping alligators. So why do we do it? Is Facebook really for authors?
I wonder. I really wonder.
Like I said in the beginning, I started out enjoying Facebook. Because there are so many great things about Facebook. You get to meet and interact with people who share a love for reading. Their passion fuels yours. Maybe they are even a fan of your writing, and that’s even better. Because they support you and motivate you. You realize you’re writing for real people, and that’s what makes it fun.
But beyond that…well then it gets tricky.
A few days ago, I wanted to give up on Facebook completely. I wanted to delete my author page and head for the hills. But then I realized the other most important part about Facebook: it’s HUGE, free advertising. And for start-up authors like me, that’s something you just can’t pass up.
So maybe Facebook isn’t a safe place for authors, but it’s one of our only options. So what do you do?
Here are a few of the things I’ve learned so far to avoid bullying or trolls or whatever the hell else is out there.
- ALWAYS BE NICE. This means NEVER posting the yelly, all caps, ‘now we fight stuff’. Obviously, you can have opinions. Just maybe keep those to your personal page. But I think this is a hard part for some people to understand. They have this platform now and they want to use it. They get mad and they want to tell everyone about it. But remember, negativity on breeds more negativity.
- DO NOT address cheating. Now, I get some bloggers have to do this. They gift a lot of stuff, and it’s gets expensive. Of course, authors gift a lot of stuff too, and we have to eat those costs from our profits. But this is our careers on the line. I don’t think authors can afford (or at least smaller start-up authors, who don’t already have a HUGE following) to go head-to-head with these people that make cheating in giveaways look like a full-time lifestyle. They get creative. And they can turn those creative juices toward ruining your life.
- DON’T BE A BOITCH. This kind of goes along with always being nice. But it’s kind of different. I see some big-time authors being major bitches online, and it turns me off from their books. When people post bitchy things, it makes the fan reading it feel like they specifically are the ones being bitched at. Maybe it wasn’t directed about them, but there’s some twisty, narcissistic thing inside all of us that makes us think everything posted on Facebook is about us. So when that author points out one fan for being a twat, it makes every other fan feel like that author is talking about them. Not good.
- DON’T GET INVOLVED IN DRAMA. There are some people on Facebook that I just check out their page to see the latest drama. I have no desire to read their books nor will I. I just want to see what pot they’ve stirred lately. I don’t partake in the drama, but I like to know what’s going on. But some authors can’t help themselves. And it’s bad. Like I said: negativity breeds negativity. And you’re gonna bring it on yourself if you keep butting in on other people’s business.
- BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH BLOGGERS/OTHER AUTHORS. I don’t mean get them to promote your books. Although that helps too. But I mean, be present. Talk to them. Make friends. Because that’s the best part about Facebook, so you should at least enjoy it.
- ALWAYS SAY THANK YOU. I think this is the biggest thing maybe. Bloggers work hard-really, really hard. And when they post something you send them, always thank them and say how much you appreciate it. Because you do. They might’ve just sold a book for you. So shower them in thanks. They aren’t doing you a service. You don’t deserve their help. Thank them for whatever they can give you.
I’m not a Facebook pro by any means. But these are the rules I stick to. And so far, it’s worked pretty good. Somehow you have to keep a low enough profile to not make yourself a target, but also manage to maintain a decent marketing platform that gets your name out there. It’s a tough balance. Facebook is never going to stop sucking, so we just have to deal with it the best we can.
2 thoughts on “Sh!t I Learned Today: Facebook is NOT Fun”
Meg, that is such a well-spoken and heartfelt post, and I agree.
1. As a blogger, I’ve seen my share of the blog eat blog world and have managed to keep in my own little world and not participate in the world cup of blogging. I’ve managed to forgo seeing a lot of the author drama and publicity stunts; I only see where others talk about it. I guess that means I follow a pretty stellar group of authors and a select group of bloggers, so I pride myself in choosing wisely those I follow.
2. You are also correct in that a small thank you of appreciation goes a long way, especially when messages are overflowing with requests to post this or that promotion by street teams, assistants, or authors …..over and over again, many times a day and sometimes by the same person many times a day. I don’t mind posting, but friendliness goes a long way. I blog alone, so when I’m addressed as “Hello, ladies,” it tells me that I’m a billboard and nothing more, not worth the time to even look at my page and learn something about me to build a relationship. It’s right there in the “About” section and takes 2 seconds to click and read. Only a handful of authors have taken the time, and I’m not saying it shouldn’t or should be a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours world,” but a friendly gesture will certainly go a long way in preventing someone from feeling used and discarded.
3. The trolls aren’t limited to authors. Unfortunately, misery loves company, and there isn’t a birth control for the trolls breeding out there. The trolls are in full force across the social media platforms for authors, bloggers, and anyone they feel they can stick a claw into. I hope I’ve managed to avoid them. If anything, at least I can be happy that I haven’t seen those things creep into my newsfeed because let’s face it, Facebook doesn’t show me anything in my newsfeed anyway, but that’s a whole other can of worms.
The bottom line for this booklet-sized comment to your post — I agree. Facebook is not fun anymore, but it is a necessity for the time being. Perhaps things will change; that is unlikely given the exponential growth of the book world just of late, but one can hope.
Thank you so much for your comment! I couldn’t agree more. I think most of the “drama” on Facebook is easily avoided if the right measures are taken and if you actually want to avoid it! The blogger/author relationship is one that should be nurtured. We all work our tales off, and we all deserve appreciation and respect for it: not spam. I get messages all the time from other authors saying they liked my facebook page and will I please like theirs back? Um, no, I won’t. That’s not how this works. So frustrating! I think a lot of folks want to take the quick, easy route. And maybe I would want to take that one too if it didn’t mean I would have to act like a total d-bag.
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