How do I know you? An author’s Facebook dilemma

MinionAdmit it… we’ve ALL been there! We log into Facebook, ready to waste – I mean, spend – some time trawling through our newsfeed and there it is… The “Friend Request”. Mostly, this is something which doesn’t even cause us to pause… we see, evaluate and either accept or ignore, but every now and again, something happens which makes us develop a twitch.

Every now and again we will get that weird friend request… and I don’t mean a request from a weird friend (been there though)… The friend request to which I’m referring is of course the total stranger.

The person who has selected us – apparently at random – from amongst the millions of potential profiles on Facebook. There is not only not a single friend in common, but they invariably live in another country and may even have a totally unpronounceable name. It’s like the Facebook equivelant of winning one of those great email lotteries… millions of Dollars from some dead dictator… you know the ones I mean.

What is it about your profile picture that made them decide that YOU were the lucky person they would pick? The truth is that you’ll never know… unless you decide to accept the request and ask them *grin*.  At this point, most of us hit the decline button and possibly even the block button (depending on how creepy this person seems).  But what do you do if you’re an author?

This is where things get slightly trickier. Naturally, even authors would like to hit “decline”, but is that the best course of action? These days, social media has enabled us to connect with our readers in a way that wasn’t possible before. Yes, this also leads to a degree of loss of privacy, but is the trade-off worth it?  Many authors circumvent this problem by setting up a professional profile (not page) and adding friends to that profile.  This allows them to keep friends and family on their private profile and still connect with readers, but it isn’t always practical for an author to manage more than one profile.

So what to do? Naturally, every author must decide for themselves, but the advice I would offer is this…

See if you can see more about the person. Do they appear interested in your genre? Accept the friend request If you aren’t sure and take a few minutes to “check them out”. You can always unfriend or block them if they turn into internet trolls or become a bit creepy.

The truth of the matter is that if you are building your author brand and you have set up a Facebook in the name that you use for publishing, then it is reasonable to assume that new fans who are discovering your work or who have perhaps heard about you would add you as a friend. They aren’t necessarily going to be friends with any of your other friends and that is ok. After all, you want to be reaching new readers all the time and if you only reach friends of friends, then you’re paddling in a very small pond really.

What do you think?

Until next time…

BM xx

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Amazon vs Reviewers

indieIf you move in author / publishing circles, then there’s a good chance that you’ve seen the blog post from Imy Santiago that I’m about to share a link to here. Her post deals with the fact that Amazon removed her review, claiming that she “knows” the author.  As she rightly points out, in Indie publishing circles, there’s a chance that many authors have met online or been in touch even in passing at some point. That’s one of the things that makes being an indie author so attractive… the sense of community. Let’s be honest, if we examine our social media lists, most of us are “friends” with or follow authors, especially authors we enjoy reading.  If you’re in any book groups on Facebook, you may even have had a chance to speak to these authors.  Does this make your review any less valid?  No.

So… reading this blog post of hers and thinking about her experience made me wonder what our community of authors can do in the face of ever changing policies, payment options and “big brothering” from retailers? It’s not only Amazon that is changing the face of publishing though.  The other day there was rumbling about another outlet removing romance titles from their listings because of how it was influencing their experimental payment options.

As an author and reviewer, this is a very interesting (and by interesting, I mean quite unstable) time.  As an author, I am in danger of being underpaid for my hard work depending on if I opted in to a certain option or not and as a reviewer, if Amazon has even a slight suspicion that I might “know” the author of the book I’m reviewing, they can just decide not to post my review.

Right now, as an author I am waiting to see how those new options work out.  My circle of awesome colleagues and I are sharing, researching and keeping each other abreast of any news and as soon as I have enough factual information, I can make an informed decision. As a reviewer, I can review under either of my author profiles, my “real world” profile or as The Book Mistress.  This should help me to stay ahead of the strange Amazon spynet.

One thing I will not do, is stop reviewing.  Reviews help to sell books, they help to promote authors & they help to find loving homes for great books!

I’d love to hear what you think.

Until next time…

BM xx

Finding Inspiration

inspire

One of the things I tell all new authors is that at the very least they should have a blog or a website in addition to a Facebook page or profile.  Having a blog provides you with a place where you can talk about your books, connect with readers, share your passion for gardening, whatever takes your fancy.  It’s a place where relationships are forged and your “brand” is going to be built.  Granted, it’s not the only place where this will happen, especially if you really enjoy interacting on social media, but it is an important place.

This is the same advice I gave myself when I decided to formalise my freelance services and form The Book Mistress.  I knew I’d need a blog and I had every intention of posting daily.  I hear you chuckling.  To be honest, it was a lofty ambition because there are times when doing the work takes up the time or when life just throws things your way that will stop you from blogging.  The truth is though that you should try to blog as often as you can or at the very least, commit to blogging on some sort of schedule that your followers and fans can rely on.  For example, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesdays and Saturdays.  Figure out what works best for you and stick to it.

The other tip is to find things that inspire you.  Blogging as an author needn’t be only about your book or your characters.  You can share tips, behind the scenes snippets, and deleted scenes with readers.  You can talk about your notebook collection, your passion for porcelain or share your favourite recipes.  Remember that you’re trying to build a connection with your readers, because if they’re going to spend their money on your work, it helps if they like you *grin*

So I’m going to be making the time to blog more often too.  I’ll be sharing books I love, reviews, the occasional interview and some tips and advice. Possibly even recipes for cookies and other treats from time to time.

I’ll take my inspiration where I find it.  I hope you will too.

Until next time…

BM xx