The Facebook Author Conundrum

GraphSearchPrivacyFriendsIt’s a thing I’ve seen dozens of author friends go through.  We (especially indie/small publisher) authors are just average every day folk.  We write a book that people like, put our names on it, and slowly start building a base of loyal readers (mine are called “The Maxists”).   Then those loyal readers find our fan page(s) (Like mine for What Zombies Fear and my author page) and the readers start interacting with us there.  We talk, because that’s what normal people do.  Soon enough, we (Authors) start getting friend requests on our normal, personal page.

We don’t want to hurt their feelings, in my case I genuinely like many of them.  These days, on my “Regular Guy” facebook account, I have more readers than actual friends.  About a month ago, The Conundrum hit.  Are you ready for it?  Here it comes.

We all make a post that goes something like this.  “My facebook account is out of control, I’m going to be pruning my list.  If I know you, or interact with you on a regular basis, you’re fine, but please check out my fanpage.  This page is pretty much just pictures of my kid and me talking about politics.” (that’s the post I made, almost verbatim.)

I know why it happens.  We realize our wall scrolls at 85 status updates per second.  We (due to facebook’s annoying algorithmic figuring of what’s important to us) miss things that we wish we’d seen.  We declare facebook bankruptcy in an attempt to start over.

I think this is the WORST idea.

The fact is, if we’re making a living at this whole writing gig, we have readers who want to know what we’re like as people.  They want to know more about what we write, how we write, our struggles, our motivations.  It helps them connect to our writing, even if we write about zombies.  What we DO as writers is attempt to make a connection with people, and Facebook is everyone’s go-to place for connections.

So my advice is to grow your friends list until it won’t let you make any more friends, because THOSE fans, the ones that seek out not only your fan page, but friend your personal page, those fans are your bread and butter.  They’re the ones that share every FB post.  They like every comment.  They get the word out, they’re the basis of your viral marketing.

But Kirk, they don’t need to see pictures of my kid in the bath tub!

Start a secondary FB ProfileThen start a new “personal” fb page under a different name.  Use your middle name, or your maiden name.  Use your middle initial, and message all your friends and family that you’re entirely too famous to have just one facebook profile.  /grin

I say, declare “personal facebook” bankruptcy, and just start a new profile with a different email address.  Invite your family and close friends to that one.  KEEP posting personal stuff to your original, but maybe not the MOST personal stuff.  Then use internet explorer (or whatever browser you don’t use regularly) to access your new “family facebook.”

As a general aside, I am a facebook addict, just like the rest of you.  I think it’s probably one of the worst things that has ever happened to us as a species, as a society, and as people, Facebook lowers our productivity, it lessens our relationships, and further shortens our attention spans.  And I now hate cats.


2 thoughts on “The Facebook Author Conundrum

  1. I’m sure it’s not the way everyone will handle it, and probably not life changing. But I spoke with several ‘famous’ people who have teams that handle their public “facebooking”, and that’s what they do.

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