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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Facebook (again) - Be a Gracious Guest, by @JacquieRogers



More About Facebook
by Jacquie Rogers

Kathleen Rice Adams gave us a good start on Facebook a few weeks ago (Facebook Knows All, Sees All, Confuses All) so I thought I’d get on the bull and ride for another eight seconds.

She wrote about Facebook basics—what you post and how it’s interpreted, and she explained the various platforms Facebook has to offer. I’m going to write about Facebook etiquette. There are some nuances that aren’t apparent at first, but once you think about it, you’ll slap your forehead and yell, “Of course!”

I think the most important thing to remember as authors is to respect other authors’ spaces. Think of an author page or a group as their home, and think of your author page or your group as your home. Because it is—it’s your own spot to decorate however you like. It’s your personal space to invite whoever you want to visit... and to keep whoever you want out.

When you visit someone’s house—someone who’s a friend of a friend and you don’t know personally—would you hammer a yard sign advertising your book on their front lawn? Would you sweep their decorations off the coffee table and replace them with promo materials featuring your book? Of course not. It’s the same at Facebook.

I have a group called Jacquie Rogers’ Pickle Barrel Bar & Books. The reason I started this group is because Facebook has throttled down the author pages so much that of my 1,112 likes, my posts go to maybe 40 or 50. Mind you, 1,112 people have said they want to see my posts, but Facebook thinks that I should pay for that privilege. This annoys me. So when, during a Facebook launch party, readers made a point of telling me that I should form a group, I did.



The Pickle Barrel is specifically for my readers, but I also include my friends. Most of my friends just happen to be authors (imagine that). I don’t allow anyone in whose timeline doesn’t indicate that they enjoy the type of books I write. My hope is that the Pickle Barrel will be a fun place for my readers to visit anytime they want to. My posts are specific to my author brand—humorous items, animal pictures and videos, hot cowboys, and geek writer cartoons. Occasionally, but not every day or even every week, I also post my books.

The constant barrage of advertising is a real deterrent and I want my readers to always have fun on my page and not have to endure the hard-sell. And readers become blind to these ads anyway. Do you want people to skip your posts because they know you’re just trying to sell them something? No. You want them to read all your posts, whether on your timeline, your group, or your author page.

I’m including blog posts in the “ads” category. I’ve polled my readers several times and you know what? Very few of them read blog articles—posts advertising your blog article are just more ads to them. Writers read blogs. Readers don’t, for the most part. A few will if they have a chance to win a book, but even then, probably not. Your blog post ad is just more noise to them.

So let’s go back to your “house.” You’re having a party. I get out of my car, pound a billboard with my book cover in your front lawn, then I come into your house and give all your guests brochures featuring my books, and no matter what you’re talking about, I steer the conversation back to my books. I might even turn on your TV and play my book trailer at full tilt boogie. Are you going to invite me to your next party? I highly doubt it.

Most of us would never, ever dream of being so rude—yet on Facebook, we do exactly the same thing, except it’s in cyberland and not the real world. But the results are the same.

So, you have a new release and you’re just dying to post it at the Pickle Barrel because you know every single person there reads western historical romance. How do you go about that? Easy—you don’t post it. You message me and say you have a new release, give me the buy link, and ask if I would post it for you. This accomplishes two things—first, you don’t look like a party crasher. Yes, my readers know a party crasher when they see one, and yes, they’ll message me about it. Second, your book will get a lot more attention if another person endorses it rather than you advertising it.

Now, back to what you should post on your own timeline, author page, and various groups. Do you write humor? Don’t post holocaust pictures. Post items that demonstrate the tone of your books such as cartoons and what not. Make your status updates fun. For the most part, don’t post bad news, and of course stay away from anything controversial. Unless controversy is part of your brand. Then go to it.

You’re a fiction writer. Fiction, fiction, fiction. It’s not real. Your author image is not real. If you’re fat and bossy, no one on Facebook needs to know it. Create your own fictional author image and stick with it. My image is (I hope) a fun, rural, animal-lover. Actually all three of those things are part of me, but I leave out the cantankerous, bossy, and stubborn parts. Or try. I’ve lived in the city half my life (yikes!) but I de-emphasize that.

See? Fiction. Your public persona. Figure out what you want to project and post accordingly.

And always be a gracious guest.
♥ ♥ ♥

Jacquie's latest release is the second book Mail-Order Tangle.  Caroline Clemmons wrote the first book, Mail-Order Promise, and Jacquie wrote the second, Mail-Order Ruckus.

Matt Johanssen returned to the ranch he and Kage started in Owyhee County, not knowing he took Laura's heart with him.  Now that Ellie's happily married with a baby on the way, Laura wants a home of her own, and a husband and family to put in it.  She signs a contract with a marriage broker and ends up in Silver City, near Matt's ranch.  Only thing is, he isn't on the roster of eligible grooms.

Her next release is Have Wand - Will Travel in Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico, Volume 2.

A handsome young mage, Tremaine Ramsey, has a wand and knows how to use it…sometimes. Will his magic be strong enough to pull off a daring rescue of his father from the evil Gharth? Or will he need the warrior Nora’s love to help him see his Fate through?

20 comments:

  1. I have one thing to say about this, Trail Boss: THANK YOU. (Yes, I just yelled. Y'all can take your fingers out of your ears now. I'm finished. ;-) )

    The thing about relentless promotion is that has the opposite of the intended effect. People begin to tune out the promoter. They roll their eyes or run the other direction when they see the promoter coming. Some get so annoyed by the relentless promo that they vow never to buy a book with that author's name on it, no matter how good the story might be.

    This is not a good thing.

    The other thing that makes me crazy is "drive-by" promo. We've all seen that, too: Folks join groups, and no one ever sees them unless they've got a new (or old) book out. They show up, post a plea and a buy link, and then disappear. Now if I, as a fellow author who understands the imperative for self-promotion, get irritated about that sort of behavior, imagine how readers feel.

    I couldn't agree more with everything you said. You're one of the best I've seen at low-key promotion. Folks should stalk you. ;-)

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    1. Amen, sister! Drive-by promo makes me grind my teeth because they're taking advantage of the hard work others put into building the group, and all they want is the gravy. That is so unfair.

      Thing of it is, Facebook is a "social" network, not a billboard. To be successful on FB, you have to be social. Simple as that. Exactly how we're social is where it gets dicey.

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  2. Excellent advice on etiquette, Jacquie. I think I missed Kathleen's first column about Facebook; I'll have to track it down!

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    1. Judith, the link is in the first paragraph. Kathleen wrote a terrific article that covers the basics, and I especially like her grid where she lists a status update item and the actual message it conveys. She is so spot on!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. This was interesting and makes sense to me. I think it's why I haven't used Facebook much for book promotion because I have no idea how to use it or what the rules would be. I don't have a lot of time to spend reading all the various group entries which would probably help me to figure out what is okay and what is not. Anyway-- simple etiquette as you said works for me ;)

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    1. Rain, you do a good job because the most important thing on FB is to be friendly and engage with others. If you go on the Prairie Rose Publications FB group page, you'll see that Kathleen posted about the impending release of the Halloween anthologies. This post has 30 comments and half a dozen unique commenters. If this is a public group, my FB friends will see when I make a comment, even if that person isn't a member of the group. So chit-chat. I didn't post my story's blurb or anything like that--just responding to the conversation. So did everyone else. And remember, all their FB friends will see that post, too. And we didn't try to sell anyone anything. Just having a good time. That's how FB works best.

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    1. Thanks, Kristy! BTW, you're really good at Facebook, too. And Instagram. I think you should write up something on that. I'm just fumbling around over there.

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  5. Interesting post, Jacquie, and good advice. As one who is still new at all this and still trying to figure out lots of things, such a post does help. And I think I have missed Kathleen's post about Facebook - have to dig that one out.

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    1. Glad I could help, Liette. And you know what? You're doing a fantastic job for being in the "figuring it out" stage. Kudos!

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  6. Great advice Jacquie. I've printed it out to reference in the future. I try not to 'over promote' my writings. I am a historian and love history and just happen to also write fiction. Most of my blog post are about just that, history and I am targeting those readers who want to know more. But not at the expense of alienating friends, both online and off. It is a balancing act. You have added to the knowledge to make that happen. If I do post something on a friends page I work to make sure it fits what is important to them. Common courtesy, it seems to me. (I'm not perfect, but I try as I think many others do also.) Doris

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    1. Don't worry about over-promoting... just how you can most effectively promote. It's important to go where your readers are, and then begin to build your own tribe. Meantime, as you engage in repartee with other authors, your own fanbase will grow, but remember that you do have to mention your books now and again, or they won't know to buy them!

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  7. Well, I (as you know) have been GUILTY of putting my promo at the Pickle Barrel--but I have to say, I was totally stupid and didn't realize the difference in groups, etc. at FB when I did that. I appreciate you telling me! I was just going along fat, dumb and happy, copying and pasting my promo stuff to different groups, and not even realizing that wasn't OK! DUH...DUH...DUH...(Yes, I get three DUH's for that one!)

    I love these posts about FB etiquette, because I truly had no idea, and I suspect a lot of other people don't either. Not many people set out to be rude--I do think a lot of it is just not knowing the protocol. And I appreciate the chance to learn what and what NOT to do!

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    1. That's just it--social media isn't intuitive in that it looks like a place where we can post our books all over, but in fact, it works more like a cocktail party. Just so you know, I learned the same way you did. LOL.

      And I agree that most authors, especially PRP authors, are very considerate and would certainly never go over the line if they had any idea where the heck the line was. Then again, there are always a few who do know but just don't care, as in the real world. We have to keep our guard up so they don't tromp all over us. Being considerate is one thing, being a doormat is a whole 'nother story.

      Maybe we should have an article about FB events, where people come in and try to hijack the party and promote their own works. Grrrr. We've both been a recipient of that. Then again, I doubt those folks would read the article.

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  8. Thanks for writing about this, Jacquie. I made notes. I am clueless when it comes to what is acceptable and not acceptable for promotion on the internet. I'm still trying to learn how FB works and I don't think I'll ever understand Twitter. I sometimes think my computer has a mind of its own and it laughs at me every time I sign on. But I keep trying to sneak in without it knowing I'm there.

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    1. Honestly, you're best off just being your friendly self. That'll get you more for your money than anything else. Word of mouth is still by far the best advertising. What you ultimately want is to build a fanbase who will post all your promotion for you. Obviously, the first step is for people to enjoy your posts. And they do not enjoy advertisements.

      But let's just say you've posted all along about fun little things, shared a few cartoons, etc. Then when you're all excited about your new release, the main thing to sell is your excitement. That's what attracts attention. They'll want to help you out, and besides, they'll be curious about your book.

      I understand Twitter but just don't have time for it. The only posting I do is through Triberr (a whole other topic) and Instagram (Kristy is the expert there).

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  9. Great post, Jacqui! Now I gotta go wipe off my boots before I come in your house. :)

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    1. LOL! You don't have to dress up in your Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes, though.

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  10. Thanks for this Jacquie! I think I'm frightened of promoting anything. I do try, (a little bit! Sometimes!) But I am by nature quite a retiring person and I hope I would never hijack anyone else's posts or pages or blogs etc with ant promo 'stuff'! It's all such a minefield, for bears of little brains, like me! I also hate adverts, I even turn down the sound on the tv when the ads come on! I know a lot of what you say should be simple common sense eg not posting unsuitable items,it just seems that some people are unable to realise what a pest they are making of themselves by thrusting their new production in everyone's face. Guaranteed not to make ME buy anyway! Thank you.

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    1. Jill, I think you're doing quite well. Facebook works best for people who aren't pushy, actually, because you tend to be more social rather than in-your-face. Once your online presence is strong enough that your personality shines through, that's most important thing. I look forward to your fun posts!

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