I’ll just go ahead and say it: I hate Facebook.
With that, I could imagine music scratching to a halt, loud gasps filling the air, and chairs dragging on the floor as everyone turns to see who is the weirdo that dared to make such a blasphemous statement.
But it’s true, and I say it without apology.
Just a couple of seconds on the damn site fills me with more pain than having to watch a marathon of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
Why Do I Hate Facebook So Much?
It’s too distracting.
Everyone’s poking everything, inviting you to play Candy Crush, checking out pictures, sending flirty messages. Basically doing nothing productive (and I already spend enough time doing nothing productive).
You would think that a place as text intensive as Facebook would be a writer’s dream, right?
But it’s not.
Reason being is that the audience is too broad.
No one’s there for any one specific reason. And if you manage to stumble into a reader (who is not your mother), the chances that they’re interested in your work is pretty slim.
Going on Facebook to look for readers is like walking down the streets of New York City saying “Buy my book! Buy my book! Buy my book!”
Not the most effective way to market and find buyers, and ultimately readers.
Sure, you can successfully use Facebook to build followers and market a product, but that’s what your blog is for, and it’s so much easier.
Instead of going where the entire world is and trying to conveniently bump into a reader, it’s better to go where your audience gathers.
For a fantasy writer like myself, this would involve actively participating on a social fantasy site like ElfWood, or getting a story posted on a short story site like Daily Science Fiction.
Yet recently, I’ve been on Facebook more than I’ve ever been in my entire life.
Introducing the real power of Facebook: groups
A group is where people of common interest come together. So using the New York City analogy, you would actually enter a building where like-minded people gather: your audience.
Here is where the marketing value of Facebook shines. So far, I was able to find (or was invited to) a group of fantasy writers.
We read each other’s stuff, and we have Skype meetings to share our critiques.
Eventually I want to join a fantasy readers group where I’ll start engaging with members, participating in activities, and sharing thoughts on books I’ve read.
Once I’ve got their attention, then I can introduce them to my writing.
Much better than asking everyone to buy my book, right?
So if you actually find me on Facebook, don’t worry, no one has hacked my account. It’s actually me participating in a group.
Just don’t expect me to poke you.
What do you think of Facebook? Are you a fan? Do you use it for something other than Candy Crush? Let me know in the comments.
I like to keep FB separate from my writing pursuits. I do follow a lot of groups that offer articles and stuff for writers, but I tend to rely on Twitter more for linking to other writers. The only bad thing about Twitter is we are all basically shouting at each other to buy our books, so my feed tends to come off as one long advertisement. Only a select few actually engage one another in conversation, which is what I’m really after. I prefer to discuss writing as a whole with others, then maybe it’d lead to exchanging ideas/critiques. Writing is a solitary profession, so it’s nice to be able to talk about the process with others.
I also started using twitter to engage with other writers and readers, but I don’t take it seriously anymore because I felt like other writers were just pushing their books on me, just like you said. And there’s also that 140 character limit thing.
It sounds like you know how to use it a lot better than I do.
I am in 100% accord with you, Knights.
I despise Facebook and yet have been on it more than ever. Thankfully it’s on account of a few Groups in which I’m enlisted. But that news feed is really bloody annoying.
As a fellow fantasy reader + writer, are there any particular groups you’d recommend I try to weasel my way into? It sounds like you’re doing exactly what I need to do. I’m part of the NaNoWriMo Group, which has proved to be most helpful, but like a lot of them it’s full of hobbyists and happens to be *too* big (20,000+ members, of all sorts of genres).
As for Twitter, here’s my two cents: I use Twitter sparingly. I swore to never use it for selling something, whether it’s a book when I have one ready, or my services as a freelance editor. That’s how I market myself online, but the only thing I do on Twitter, self-promotion-wise, is provide links to new blog posts. Writers I’ve followed who’ve done nothing but post tweets about “Hey, need a gift? My new book is out…” etc. are promptly unfollowed.
Kudos to promotion via blog. I agree that that’s the best way to do things. Use social media not to spread yourself thin, but to direct traffic from multiple outlets to your home base – your blog 😀
As for a Facebook fantasy group, I would definitely recommend Skywriters. They invited me to join and things have really been going well, complete with Skype meeting twice a month.
Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll tell the moderator to look out for your request.
And I didn’t know you are an editor. Maybe I can hire your services.