Thursday, 6 June 2013

A Plea to Fellow Authors: The Dangers of Relying on Facebook

Not long ago I wrote an admittedly ranty post about Facebook. I was annoyed at lack of visibility for my fanpage and really peeved at all the sponsored stories cropping up in my newsfeed. And being an author who is friends with other authors, I see a lot of author fanpages coming up.

Now since getting angry - which, ok, I still am really - I did a bit more research into the worrying changes and how it was affecting bigger companies. It's like giving you something, letting you enjoy it and then breaking it, and then forcing you to pay for it to be fixed. Ok so it's a free service so we can't complain much there but PLEASE look at the costs before you frivolously pay for promoted/sponsored posts. One company quoted that to reach their entire audience for a year it would cost them $360,000. That is NOT good value for money. It's easy to pay to promote a post for a couple of quid/dollars but it is NOT a sound investment. You are flushing money down the toilet.

Why? Mostly because you are relying on a free service. If/when Facebook decide to change things and if/when everyone else gets annoyed with it and abandons it for Facebook mark 2 (Google+ we're still waiting...), you will be stuck with a fanpage that you potentially invested a lot of money into that you can't take with you.

I've always said social media is not all its cracked up to be. That said I use Facebook for some fun and it proved to be an adequate marketing tool. Certainly not worth investing a lot of time or money in though. The very best thing you can do as an author, or a small business, is work on your homebase. Garner email addresses for your newsletter - no one can steal those from you. Use ads to send people directly to your books. Spread yourself wide. A fantastic tool for garnering followers all over the place is Rafflecopter giveaways. They are used by most people now and competition lovers enjoy the ease in which they can enter. You can have people follow you on Twitter, your blog and Facebook all in one go and that way you are not relying on any one thing.

And most of all - if you're an author - just write. Write short stories, long stories, blog posts, whatever. The written word for you is still the most powerful thing you can do to get your name out there.


  1. I have to admit that I haven't really exploited the written word which I have started to rectify.

    Thanks for this Samantha. It's very insightful and helpful. A good wake up call.

  2. Thanks Isobelle! I'm grateful in a way for the recent changes as it's forced me really look at where I was spending my money and the effectiveness of it. With our artistic temperaments, it's very easy to be a bit blase about where we spend marketing money but at the end of the day, if you're going to market, you do need to thinking of that side of thing as a business and be sure to ascertain the potential effectiveness of it and also the result.