Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Facebook Author Pages - Some Answers & Opinions to Your Questions--
It seems my last post--about Facebook pages and whether to have one--generated some talk and questions. So here's the follow-up with my answers and opinions for what they are worth-- probably worth about a decent cup of drip coffee and some Swiss chocolate.
1) Should I have a Facebook page for my book or just a general author page?
A: My opinion is have a general author page (with your name as the page name) so you don't have to reinvent the wheel each time you have a new project.
If you do a new page for each new project or book, you'll have a lot of pages where you have to start from scratch each time finding folks to "like" you.
I know if I've "Liked" an author's page, I'm interested in all his or her projects, books, etc.
2) There seems to be categories on how you can be listed for the pages, how do we decide exactly *what* we are?
A: Facebook makes you make some choices here. On my page, I chose "People" and then "Writer," but could have chosen "People/Author."
On the generic site someone (or Wikipedia) created for me, it says "Public Figure" (which felt a little random and not how I would describe myself).
You can also choose "Books/Magazine" which gives you the choice of "Writer" or "Author."
Don't worry too much, if you make the wrong choice, or you change in later years, you can change this. It's not permanent. It's your title in the sand, if you choose wrong, just choose again. No worries.
(Note: If you have a page created by someone else or Wikipedia--as it looks like some of these pages were--you cannot control the category or content...thus my Facebook life as a "Public Figure").
3) How much time does creating a page take?
A: Not very long. You can create it very quickly and if you want to add more later, you can do that. I'd say you can do it in 20 minutes or less. Probably less.
(I'm forgetting how long it took me, but it's actually very quick to do. I took longer because I'm overly detailed-oriented at such things.)
4) How long does it take "controlling" the page?
A: I think this question is asking "how much time do I spend on my page?" which isn't too much.
I go onto Facebook on Fridays & occasionally a Monday (I'm not sure why that is) and so I'll post a status on Facebook, but unless I have an upcoming reading, workshop, or news, I'm really not on FB as much as in the past.
Mostly, I just include links/info/statuses that I think readers of poetry would like to know about. Otherwise, I let it be.
5) When I joined your page, I came to a "Welcome page" - how did you do that?
A: www.pagemodo.com -It's free for one "Welcome page," which is what people see before they join my page.
Mine is just my image from my book, but smarter, more marketing-savvy people use it to do clever things like get email addresses, share things they offer, have links to purchase their books, and so on.
I just wanted to have a pretty starting place, sort of like seeing my garden and walkway before you step into my living room (aka my Wall).
6) What are the downsides to a Facebook page?
A: Getting over the idea that you have a Facebook Page and not feeling weird about it.
Someone can "unlike" you, but to be honest, I think more people defriend than "unlike" a page, (yes, I'm speaking in that weird FB language again).
Also, it's another thing that isn't writing. If you're not FB obsessed, it's just something to help you connect with people who are interested in your work. If you are FB obsessed, it can be a time stealer like anything related to Facebook.
7) Anything else we should know?
A: The only thing that confused me for a long time was that when you have a regular Facebook account and a FB page, under the "Account" tab in the upper right corner it will say "Use Facebook as a Page" - what this means is that you can *be* your page.
If you click on this, you can see who Liked your page, who commented on your wall or left you a note or Liked your photos.
You can also "Like" other pages as your own page. This is pretty cool because they you can leave comments on other pages as *your page* (instead of as your regular FB acct). And if someone clicks on your comment, they end up on your author page and not your personal FB page.
8) Once you have a FB page, how do you get people to Like your page?
A: I've seen some people write a status that says they are basically cleaning up their FB account and if you'd like to "Like" their page if you want to stay connected, but they are going to be deleting people they don't know.
I've also seen the "here's my page" status with the link.
I wrote a blog post and said you'd make me happy if you Liked me.
Other people have sent emails and messages to friends. I did this with some old friends saying that I felt really uncomfortable creating an author page for myself but I did and they were free to like it or not, but I wasn't being an egomaniac, just trying to cancel out that other Public Figure Facebook page. (My friends were sweet and told me I worry too much...)
Once you create a page, you can go to your page and "suggest" it to people. I have done this and it feels stupid and cheesy because it says "Kelli Russell Agodon suggests you like Kelli Russell Agodon," which honestly, made me feel like I have huge social issues, but because I have bigger insecurities that I wouldn't reach 100 people to like my page (my initial goal) I did it. (It's nice how one insecurity can override another insecurity.)
Now I suggest it with people who have asked to be my friend on FB, but whom I do not know. I wish I could add a personal message with it, but FB doesn't allow that, so they also get the cheesy KRA want you to like KRA. Weird. Weird. Weird.
9) Any other thoughts?
A: Facebook is a strange place. Honestly, I think as writers and artists we learn to make our way through the bizarre language of Likes & statuses & Friending/Defriending.
While I could go on about what drives me nuts about FB, I recently heard from someone on Facebook who is a writer who said how much she appreciates Facebook because she feels isolated and Facebook brings her closer to "her tribe."
And I understood. And I wrote her a note thanking her for her insight to my complaints about "too many friend requests..."
I live in the Northwest. We have a saying here: Throw a stick, hit a poet.
Seriously, we are everywhere. (Do you need a list? Poets from the Northwest: Linda Bierds, Tess Gallagher, David Wagoner, Susan Rich, Jeannine Hall Gailey, Peter Pereira, Martha Silano, Joannie Stangeland, Oliver de la Paz, Nancy Pagh, Allen Braden, Elizabeth Austen, Lana Hechtman Ayers, Kary Wayson, Erin Malone, Kevin Craft, Molly Tenenbaum, Kathleen Flenniken, Katharine Whitcomb, Annette Spaulding-Convy, Ronda Broatch, omg, the list goes on....)
But not everyone has poets and writers around them. Some of us are surviving day by day through our connections online, reminding us that others are on the same path, that we're okay.
So, while I can easily make jokes about Facebook, the bigger picture is that it brings our tribe together in ways that have never been. And that's important.
It breaks regional and national boundaries. We can connect with each other and share what we're up to and learn about new poets. All good things.
I do want to write another post about how I struggle with marketing/book promo vs. being a writer, because I do. But that's another day...
Hope this continues to help as you find your writerly way through the pages of stolen time that is the blue endless box of Facebook.
And thank you all who took the time to Like my page. I saw your names appearing and I sent out some good karma to each and everyone of you as I read down the list. Thanks so much, I really do appreciate the support.