Friday, May 9, 2014

Social media for authors: Facebook

I’ve been working with Elissa Cruz, our local SCBWI chapter Assistant Regional Advisor, looking ahead to a potluck social this summer. (It is Friday, July 18 at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City, by the way.) As it is a “social,” we were thinking social media and how it impacts writers would be the theme for the evening.

Publishers are more interested in taking on authors who have a strong social media platform with which to help promote their books. It stands to reason that establishing an online presence is something writers would want to do. But how does one go about that?

In the next few weeks, this very question will be examined. Being woefully deficient in this phenomenon, others better qualified to lead such a discussion will be referenced. Of course, your comments and suggestions on the matter are appreciated.

Various internet articles discuss the specific social media sites best to use and the general consensus seems to be Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Google+, and Linkedin. Facebook is the granddaddy of them all and it would be prudent to ride along its coattails. I was surprised Goodreads came up on several sites as I subscribe to it just for the reading suggestions it makes. One site declares Goodreads and Facebook as mandatory in the writer’s social media inventory. 

Let’s start with Facebook. I’ve had an account for a while but rarely went there. Then people kept telling me my brother is a funny guy on FB. I started checking out his page and yes, he is. Who new? Now I’m lurking there more frequently, occasionally “liking” something or leaving a comment. 

So, what am I supposed to do now, start spouting writerly things on Facebook? Probably only my family would notice and they wouldn’t care. 

Nathan Bransford, whose blog I follow, has posted twice on the subject. He says it is possible to have multiple pages on FB so you can keep your personal connections separate from your author pages. One of his posts, Facebook for Authors - How to get Started was written in  2011, but is relevant today. Bransford suggests authors create two pages, one an author fan page to create now and a book page once you have a cover for it. Admittedly, the fan page is presumptuous if one isn’t a celebrity. But, he says, you should create a fan page now even if you aren’t yet a publish author.

Want to set up a fan page? You can follow his link and he gives directions on how to do that. I just created one and it was fairly simple. Scott Rhoades created one for this Utah Children’s Writes blog. You can access it here:

I still have few things I’m not sure about. Bransford says  if you want to “promote your book stuff,” you should turn on subscriptions, thus allowing people to subscribe to your public posts. Do I want to do that? Not sure. I tried to edit settings and got stymied by the instructions. Nathan Bransford’s post also has more information on optimizing your page with Like Buttons, something I need to look into.

Nonetheless, I now have an online writing presence. My page is here: If more of us create fan pages then share, we could “like” and help build each others’ platforms. 

Happy social media platform building.

And: WIFYR is still accepting writers wanting to improve their craft.

(This article also posted at

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