Facebook for Writers

This week on Hide and Create, Moses Siregar, Debbie Viguie, Jordan Ellinger and Joshua Essoe talk about how and why authors should use Facebook.

On this super-sized episode we have sad and happy news from two of our hosts. Another farewell will usher in a new host next week that we’re sure you will all enjoy. So listen on and say “so long for now” to a member of the team you’ve come to know and love, and congrats to another who got some pretty great news.

In addition to what we have to say in the episode here is a short list of faux pas to avoid when using Facebook:

— Do not post self-promotional messages or comments on other people’s walls or groups. Epitome of rude. I have an author in my feed who does this continually. In fact I rarely see a post from him, comment or otherwise, that doesn’t list his publications in a copy/paste list. It turns me off every time I see it, and I see comments from other people whom it has the same effect on. I don’t defriend him as a reminder to myself that I should never ever do that.

— Do not create Facebook groups, then add people to those groups without permission, for any reason — especially not to market and promote your work.

— Do not send private messages to your entire friends list, asking them to market and promote you—or to read your work. If you’re going to do something like that, the message should be personalized and directed toward a select few people.

— Finally, don’t send blanket invites to events!

3 thoughts on “Facebook for Writers

  1. Dear HnC, there was a lot that resonated in this podcast, concerns raised that resonate with me particularly. Like the majority of your listeners, I’m an aspiring author, and am approaching a place where I will be ready to put work on the market, and will need a public author platform for marketing and promotion.

    I’ve debated how much I want to make use of social media like FB as a tool in the marketing utility belt. Some of my concerns are the quotidian sort the curmudgeonly introverted creative sorts, such as myself (people? why do I have to talk to people?). I am not energized by socializing, but a certain amount of it is going to be necessary personally and on online. I’ll have to have a plan and a platform for authorial presence…my own parade stump as it were.

    Other of my concerns were broached by your podcast. Right now my FB page is for family and friends…rarely friends of friends or children of friends. Most of the people in my friends list are people who actually know me growing up, family, or from my limited social associations. I am not sure I would want a lot of crossover. There would be bound to be offense in a professional/market environment.

    Moreover, when it comes to religion and politics I’m a positive turducken: Socially conservative, religiously active in a faith that is ruled by actual Patriarchs, and largely though not completely Libertarian/constitutionalist in my politics. Thus I’m pro-life and pro patriarchy (It’s a good thing), and could probably even be described as a Southern Nationalist…I also loath big corporations (socialized property) and corporate welfare, hate socialism but find value in vounteerist cooperativist ventures…like the way Mondragon started. I’ve agrarianist strains that views the accumulation of excessive wealth in individuals and corporations as dangerous for a community. Since wealth tends to equal power. Yet, I am not an egalitarian. Some people are better than others, and some deserve more say than others. And I’m not offended by colonialism in principle though I take exception to certain excesses that have occurred under it. More confusingly, I highly value individual liberty, but believe the rights of family to supersede them. So I’m not a hyper individualist…but then again, I’ve a respect for the value of a good monarchy and it’s aristocrats. It’s a sort of rule very closely aligned with human nature…at its best an extension of fatherhood. The best reflection on this I’ve ever encountered was an exchange between an English diplomat and a newly freed elderly Russian serf in the mid 19th century. The Englishman asked what the serf thought of his new freedoms. To the Englishman’s surprise, the serf was not pleased with them. He said, “Now men may live however they wish, and that is not good for their souls.” I feel much the same way…at times.

    My personal FB page reflects these same, sometime contradictory currents in my life. I’ve friends and family who loath big government and our current president, and say so frequently. I’ve others who hate Israel who say so frequently, and others who hate the Palestinian muslims who say so frequently. And others who buy into every conspiracy theory out there. Their more reasoned concerns and comment lost in a sea of dire revelations about the illuminati and the Rothschields. Then I’ve got coreligionists posting updates about new atrocities by the Jihadis whole are killing and pillaging Christian and Christian communities over there. And other coreligionist post quotes from favorite saints and updates on this or that holy elder in this or that monastic community. In the midst of that are posts about sharing discovered artists and musicians, nostalgia and family updates.

    And I reply and hold conversation with all of it, generally irenically. But I know that sort of presence spilling over into an authorial page would be just toxic…certainly counterproductive to selling books. I don’t want certain of my family and friends inviting themselves to opine in their full glory on postings by those of differing politics and religion who might happen to visit my social platform meant to help me sell books.

    All that said, even as the more public presence as an “author” (God willing one day), I want to be true to myself (pro life, pro 2nd amendment, pro houses made of mud and sticks, pro cooperative, pro faith, pro patriarchy, and pro 90 percent libertarian). That will be hard to avoid since the premiere fantasy series that I hope to sell is set largely in the Civil War and Reconstruction era ,and it presupposes a decidedly pro-Confederate sensibility (Lee is a Hero, Grant is not)…sort of Harry Potter’s universe meets Gone with the Wind meets the Brothers Karamasov.

    Anyway, this is getting long and probably a little too involved for a topic reply…maybe even cringe inducing for others in more liberal/progressive quarters of the world. Even so, thank you for a candid conversation about the difficulties/concerns in developing and sorting out one’s public brand on social media.


  2. You had a good comment and I’m sorry if we didn’t address this more directly during the podcast. Many authors, myself included, have a private Facebook page where they interact with friends and family and then a second, public one where anyone can like and follow them. On my public Facebook page I don’t permit discussion of politics. Religion comes up some, but that’s unavoidable because half the books I write are religious in some way. You can police the comments made by others on your public page and delete as necessary. You can set a strict rule of no politics or religion on that page and let those who are friends on your private page know that if they post those types of things on your public page they will be deleted just as strangers’ posts will. When you point out to them that you are doing this for business reasons and not to lose sales they will understand. (If not, you might need to find some better friends!)

    I myself am very religious and probably the most conservative person most people will ever meet. Unless I tell you that, though, you wouldn’t necessarily know it. I have readers/fans/friends that range the religious gamut from Christian to Wiccan to Atheist. I also have readers/fans/friends from every political group you can possibly imagine. I’ve found that the Golden Rule when it comes to social interaction online is respect others as you would have them respect you.

    Some authors court controversy. If that’s not what you want to do then shut down fights before they get heated up on your public page and delete comments that you think will be inflammatory. There are plenty of other things you and your readers can talk about. Given the book that you described above, it will be hard to keep people from throwing their hat into the political arena. Urge everyone to be respectful, delete where appropriate, and guide people into positive conversations by asking about their favorite characters in your particular story or something else less designed to raise controversy.

    1. Thank you. I do suspect my project’s setting and perspective with prove a bit over stimulating for some…it’s outlook and language will certainly be suggestive of it’s era. That said, I’m not aiming at controversy for controversy’s sake. The larger idea I want to explore is the value of Tradition as answers to questions we’ve forgotten to ask, and the troubles that arise when trying to pass that tradition down in changing times, the struggle/conflict in preserving self-restraint in the face of monstrous passion/appetite. In my story the austere magic users (if one wishes to call it magic) have a religious narrative that informs who they are, and their place/responsibilities in the word. It restrains them. But as the world transitions from religious narratives to scientific ones the old certainties crumble brick by brick. What new type of society tries to form and reform in the place of the traditional one…and what do both the old and the new do when confronted by one of their own who has become a monster of “biblical” proportions, one who is the very image of the social upheaval in their midst. What restrains a monster at war with himself? He is appetite incarnate…kept from unleashing apocalyptic ruin…just barely, and maybe not much longer by a frayed and knotted string…or rather what that string once meant, and still means. It is (or aims to be) a story of unrequited hunger in the abattoir of time. So assuming I do my job right writing, those who get entangled with the Dixie crepe and streamers will miss the parade for the starving leviathan.

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