I drafted this more than a year ago and never had the guts to post it. But an honest post is never a bad idea, so I’ve spruced it up, added a couple of links for back up, and here it is. First off, let me make this clear: I’m talking about Facebook author pages (henceforth to be known as APs), not personal profiles.
The primary reason I won’t like your AP is because I like you, and I don’t want to encourage you to fritter away your valuable writing hours. Unless you are already a best selling author with thousands upon thousands of followers, APs are a waste of both your time and mine. What little evidence exists to suggest otherwise is so anecdotal, it doesn’t even signify a mention.
WHY I’M AGAINST APs
For one thing, unless you pay or have thousands of likes, few followers will see your AP posts even IF they’ve liked your page. The only time I ever see a [non-boosted] AP post is when the author posts a link to their AP from their personal profile. What is the point of having AP marketing capabilities if no one sees your posts? Better to skip the AP and post directly to your profile page. Facebook won’t reprimand you for an occasional promotional post. Just don’t spam. By the way, the don’t spam rule goes for both profile and APs, but I digress.
True, I could tick “get notifications.” But if I were to do this with every AP, I would receive hundreds of notifications each day, be on Facebook around the clock, and end up missing posts from family and friends while wading through author self-promotion. Not a great option.
Another issue, one rarely discussed: arbitrarily liking every AP not only skews my Facebook feed, it screws the authors who DO pay for ads. Allow me to explain. Let’s say at your request, I like your AP despite the fact you write a genre I don’t read—let’s say cowboy romance. While Facebook has no qualms about hiding your AP content from me, neither do they have qualms about marketing to me based on the fact I liked your page. I am now bombarded with sidebar ads for books featuring cowboy romance, books in which I have zero interest and wouldn’t read on a bet. Keep in mind not all promotional ads are bankrolled by publishers. They’re often paid for by dollar-strapped writers believing their ads will reach their target audience. See the problem?
I understand many Facebook users post a lot of personal information on their profile page. If this is you, use Facebook’s Close Friends and Family features to choose who sees your posts. Or, if you feel comfortable openly flaunting Facebook rules, use a separate email to set up two distinct profiles, one private, geared solely toward friends and family, another aimed at writing and readers. Use your author-centric profile like any other Facebook profile—to interact with friends. Talk about whatever interests you while keeping readers abreast of your writing life.
Finally, if you do insist on having an AP, please be mindful. The mechanics of APs have become a major annoyance.
Every time a writer I’ve just met online says: “If you like my Facebook AP, I’ll like yours.”
I’m tempted to respond: “I don’t have an AP, but thanks for reminding me what a hollow waste of a time they are.”
Talk about an exercise in futility.
And for the love of all that’s holy, don’t ask someone to be your Facebook friend so you can send a private message requesting they like your AP. Even worse, this no-no: once they like your AP, you unfriend them. Who could possibly think this is a way to grow a reader base?
I do believe Facebook has value for writers in that it provides a means to connect to readers. But APs aren’t the way for the struggling author. While it may feel good to get those AP page likes, unless the like comes from someone who is or has the potential to become your reader, it’s meaningless.
Instead, use your Facebook profile to connect, communicate, and make friends. I may not read cowboy romance, but as your friend, I’m likely to recommend your book to another of my friends who does read your genre.
If you’ve got this far, thanks for sticking with me. It no doubt means we’re long-time blogging buddies, and of course I WILL like your AP if you ask me—but it won’t negate any of the above.
If you disagree with my stance on APs, now’s your chance. Comment button is ready and waiting. Let me hear it.