Social Media, Writing

Why Your Facebook Page Might Not Be Working for You

Way back when having a published book was still a dream, I started a Facebook “fan” Page. I didn’t really know what to do with it, but a few of you LIKED it because I asked you to. Since then, I’ve been sharing my blog posts to my Page and even remembering to write witty and/or informative updates—occasionally. And my number of LIKES has grown, which means I’m interacting with a lot more “fans.” Right? I don’t think so.

After Facebook went public, changes were made to insure more profit for its shareholders. If you had a Page, you noticed that Facebook began showing you the number of people who saw each update in their feed. They also offered you the ability to “boost” your updates so more people would see them. You have to pay for these boosts, of course. So what happens if you don’t boost your updates? Only a small percentage of the people who’ve LIKED your Page will ever see what you share with them.

Think about all the Pages you’ve LIKED on Facebook. Remember how you saw updates from them—for a while? If you regularly visit those pages or interact with their updates, you’ll continue seeing those updates. But if you haven’t visited those Pages recently, you’ve probably forgotten you ever clicked that LIKE button—unless those Pages are “owned” by a company or person who can afford to boost their updates. (And even those boosted updates will reach only a percentage of the Facebook users who wanted to see them.)

In short, if you don’t pay to boost, you’ll become invisible to the majority of the people who wanted to see what you say on Facebook.

For example, 299 people have chosen to LIKE my Facebook Page. How many of them saw my last update? Only 23—and that took three days! In part, I believe, that was because it contained a link to my last blog post. I’ve noticed that when I publish a status update that doesn’t contain a link, the percentage of people who see it in their feed is larger—and they see it faster. My last update without a link appeared in 20 of my followers’ feeds within one hour.

My conclusion: Facebook doesn’t want our Pages to be a successful use of our time and effort unless we pay for that privilege. Great for the Facebook shareholders. Not good for poor writers like me trying to communicate through their Facebook Pages.

So, do yourselves and those you LIKE a favor. Go to your Facebook account today. Click on your Likes and visit the Pages of those you really want to keep up to date on. Better yet, interact by clicking Like or Share on a status update on that Page—and then continue doing that when you see their updates in your feed. That way you’ll never miss out on what’s happening on the Pages you so kindly LIKED.

Books, Family, Reading, Real Life, Social Media

I’m Back and Wishing You and Me a Happy New Year

I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am to start a new year. If you’re subscribed to this blog or follow me on Facebook or other social media, you may have noticed I disappeared about five weeks ago. Though I hadn’t planned such a break, it came as a relief. Let’s just say 2013 was not my most successful year and I’d had enough of it.

Ch-2013-sm

Please, accept my apology if I missed saying Congratulations or Happy Birthday on Facebook. And I’m sorry I wasn’t around to wish you a Merry Christmas. Today, I’m still under the influence of a beastly cold, but otherwise I’m mostly re-energized. And, since I also took a five-week break from writing, I’m anxious to get back to work, and I entered the WFWA Write-A-Thin Challenge to give me a boost.

What did I do while I wasn’t writing or blogging or socializing on Facebook? I read, of course. During the second week of December, I read two novels and a short story collection! Maybe that’s no big deal to you, but I think the last time I read books that quickly I was in third grade. I’d forgotten how fast the pages add up when you have few distractions. In all, I read five books, abandoned a couple of others after a chapter or two, and then started the one I’m still reading.

Then it was time to put normal life aside to prepare for family Christmas visits. Our out-of-state sons, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren came to town. We had our usual Christmas Eve Syrian feast and though one granddaughter came late due to work, as you can see from the image above, she made it into our annual family photo by magic. (Otherwise known as Photoshop.) We had a lovely holiday. I’m blessed to have such a wonderful family.

I have many hopes for this year, but my main goal is to achieve and maintain a healthy balance in my life. What’s your main goal for 2014?

My Books, Publish, Reflections, Social Media, Writing

My salad days, when I was green in judgment . . .

Research the origin of the phrase “salad days” and you’ll discover, especially in the U.S., it’s currently used to mean being at the peak of one’s abilities. That’s not how I’m using it. I use it as did William Shakespeare when he coined it in 1606. “My salad days, When I was green in judgment …” is from Anthony and Cleopatra: Act I, Scene 5 and Cleopatra speaks of her youthful naivete.

salad_mI’m a long way from my youth in life, but not in novel writing. In the fall of 2008, I was in the midst of writing the first draft of my novel The Brevity of Roses. Concerning the publishing business, I was not only hopeful that I’d be a success, I was confident. Ah, yes. I was “green in judgment.” I was naive. But I felt alive.

When I finished writing that novel, I queried it to the big name agents, none of whom broke the sound barrier in their haste to send me a contract. I revised my query letter and sent it to other agents. I received some, but not a lot of response. My confidence took a big hit. My hope waned.

Then, a major change in my life circumstances made the idea of self-publishing attractive. In hindsight, I see how “green in judgment” I remained. I am not naturally suited to indie publishing by personality. But I was even less suited to it after  the agent querying process eroded my confidence. Since publication, some lovely positive reviews have helped restore a bit of that, but I fear I’ll never regain it completely.

I know I can’t fully return to those salad days. It’s unrealistic to think I can retain naivete and gain experience at the same time. But my Muse, jaded by reality, misses the exuberance of her “youth.” I’m having a devil of a time shutting off that publishing/marketing voice that questions every aspect of what I’m trying to write now.

To say I’m stressed is putting it mildly—and stress, for me, always takes a physical toll. Before I published my first novel, I was a few pounds overweight, but otherwise mostly healthy. Now, I’m more pounds overweight than I can bear to say, and I’m beaten down with health problems. In some sense, I have to find a way back to those “salad days” of writing.

I really don’t want to make the decision not to publish anything more, but I do want to write without distraction from publishing/marketing concerns. I need to recapture some of the innocence that made my fingers fly over the keyboard, thrilled at the story unfolding before me. I need to throw off these chains of stress and depression by believing once again that the story I’m writing is wonderful and the words flowing from my imagination will speak to readers in the way I’ve always dreamed.

So, I rescind my statement in a previous post that I hoped to have two books ready for publishing by the end of 2014. I don’t know if I’ll have even one ready. Right now, publishing is off my radar. I want to write. Further marketing of what I’ve already written is not something I can deal with, either. I want to interact in social media simply for the fun of it, like I did in my salad days … but maybe with a little less greeness.

It’s time to quit frowning and start smiling again. It’s time to feel alive again.

Linda

Inspiration, Social Media, Writing

Am I the only pinless writer out there?

I heard about Pinterest a couple of months ago. Just as I got ready to create an account, I read some discussion about the Pinterest terms of service—specifically, the part that says it’s your responsibility to pin only content that you own the copyright to or have obtained permission to use. I decided not to sign-up.

So, yeah. Have you been to Pinterest? Is anyone abiding by that copyright rule? Practically everyone I know is pinning like crazy and I’m not. Does it matter? I don’t think droves of people would flock to my board and go into a repin frenzy, but is it something I’d like to have for myself? Could I create boards for my writing projects and pin inspirational photos like so many other writers do?

What do you think? Do you Pin?

Publish, Reader, Social Media, Writing

Dear Author, You’re a Slacker

Attention writers: if you publish one book a year, you’re a slacker! So says this article in The New York Times. It says, in this age of eBooks, readers require more, more, more. Publishers advise their authors to produce short stories and novellas between full-length novels if they want to remain competitive.

Also, the article says, readers now expect to connect with their favorite authors on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and more. Long gone is the reclusive author of times past. It seems authors today need to be writing, writing, writing as well as socializing 24/7.

How is that possible?

I know writers who’ve dropped out of the social media circus to concentrate solely on writing. I don’t believe I know a writer who hasn’t considered doing that. So, if these drop-out writers feel their work suffers when they don’t give it their full attention, what does that mean for the work of writers who are trying to do it all?

My reading has slowed quite a bit since I started writing seriously. I now consider it a good month if I read two novels, so I’m not tapping my foot waiting for a few favorite authors to crank out two or more books a year. I suppose, if you’re a voracious reader and limit your reading to the works of only three or four authors, you might often be at a loss for something new to read. Then again, you could give some new authors a chance and possibly discover additional favorites.

Your turn: Do you demand more than one book a year from your favorite authors? If you’re a writer, have you stepped up production? Do you think, in this era of “impatient readers”, writing quality will suffer—or already has? Could these “impatient readers” be mythical creations born of publishers’ desperation for increased profits?