The use of Facebook can seriously harm the modern writer’s career – seriously! You spend way too much time reading other people’s updates and links. You only realise fifteen minutes in, that you’re going through family albums of people you’ve never even met. And why do you spend hours searching for the same old school friends? If you haven’t found them yet, they obviously want to remain lost – or they might even be dead (it’s possible). Besides, you were never that great friends anyway.
Poof, goes the time you could’ve spent finishing another chapter!
That said, Facebook isn’t all rubbish. It’s one of the best places in which a writer can take a serious foothold. Every company I know or have ever heard about has a Facebook page, and why not. Facebook has made it so easy for us to show the other 500 million active users what/who we like, during the 700 billion minutes we all spend on the site each month. After all, there are over 70 world translations on the site, so language is no longer a barrier. Step in writer, and use Facebook to its full advantage.
Keep an eye on agents/publishers/websites
Do a search for potential agents/publishers/websites you’re have a keen interest in. If you join or ‘like’ their pages, it gives you a foot-in to respond intelligently to their daily/weekly updates. Don’t be tempted to share your links unless you’re absolutely sure it won’t be taken as spam. If in the slightest doubt, don’t.
Every update of every page you’ve been added to, should show up on the left hand side of your Facebook home page. Click on the ones of interest every time you log in to see what’s new. Let them get to know you and accept you as someone who’s genuinely interested in their work. This also gives you a chance to see what they’re commissioning in real-time so you can target your work better. If they’re promoting a new release, buy it if you’re interested and leave feedback on their page. In a few months you will have softened them up enough to pitch your own work personally.
It’s a great idea to organise your Facebook friends in lists. For example, your relatives should be saved in a different list from your writer friends and associates. This is useful because when you’re sharing your articles, book links and book releases, you can choose to hide these from your relatives and school friends and only ‘show’ them to the writers added to your networking list.
Not only can authors share all their new creations on their own Facebook pages, they can also share them on other pages they’ve been added to. Of course, use the latter with care. Don’t spam.
Great for targeting
Facebook is probably the best site for enabling writers to target their work properly. All you have to do is look at your home page and you’ll see your friends sharing various links or talking about places they’ve visited or events to which they’ve been invited. Have you ever written about any of these things? Is someone expecting a baby? Have you written a book on baby care? Has someone just changed their profile from ‘engaged’ to ‘complicated’, and you’ve written a popular article about how to fall back in love on your relationship help blog. This gives you a perfect chance to share your stuff, and you don’t even have to pretend you’re not spamming, right?
Practise your networking
Authors today have to plan, write, execute, do the art work, publish and market their own work. All this takes a fantastic amount of networking. Facebook builds a perfect platform from which a writer can learn to network. If you’re going to sell your books to, or get your articles read by your Facebook friends you have to be networking with them. If you interact with their interests, they will return the compliment. Of course, it takes time away from writing, but it’s time well-spent – unless you’re hooked, in which case you need to get someone to execute your farmville animals and burn down your cowsheds. If you don’t know what farmville is, you’re probably safe where wasting time on the Internet is concerned.
The magic of the button
All major writing/author sites, like Amazon Lulu Smashwords, etc have now installed ‘share this’ Facebook buttons. Once your book is published, you can click the share button and it will take you straight to Facebook. You’ll be asked where you want to share this (on your own page or somewhere else). The choice is yours.
At the click of that button, you will be potentially sharing your creation with millions of people – in one second. That’s an amazing achievement, even for a small time author who has now learned to write, draw, edit, market, publish and network.