I feel like an idiot or a Luddite asking these questions, but I was never on Facebook until the other day. People have told me all authors should have Facebook pages. But when I signed up and started setting up my profile, and scooping it out -- it seems that there are profiles, which most authors have and which they reserve only for friends, but some authors seem to have pages, as opposed to just profiles, which are mostly open to anyone.

If anyone is more familiar with Facebook than I am -- that probably includes almost everyone -- and if you have any thoughts on which direction is best, I'd appreciate any remarks you have to share.

I started uploading photos and cover art -- haven't yet started the friend-thing -- but I think I need to know a bit more before continuing on.

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Kris---just load up your photos and other stuff and don't worry about it. Find me (B.r. Stateham) and request a 'friending.' You then can add friends a couple of different ways--the easiest just looking for a name. Every time you add a friend, you have the opportunity to add the friends they had. So the 'friending' thing can grow exponetially.

You'll find authors on there that for two, three thousand friends. You can also create a 'fan' site (don't know how to do that).

Just do it. It doesn't cost.
A page is something you can create for various reasons, most commonly to show something you're interested in. For example, take a singer like Elton John. People create a page on him, it's a fan page. Type his name into Facebook and you'll see some pages, like this one. If you like Elton John, you can click the "become a fan button" and it will show up on your profile. This one I linked to is the most popular, with over 8,000 fans. It's a way to connect to like-minded people. That may be the way to go for an author.

A group is similar, you can search for Elton John groups as well, like this one. Basically the same thing, except there is a discussion board as well. Look around on other people's groups and pages to see what they are like.

I do not suggest doing what B.R. advises. It is very easy to annoy people on these kinds of social network sites. Say you and 99 other writers become friends on Facebook. You all have a book coming out. You update that on your profile and so does everyone else. So now you have to look at 99 updates from other writers when all you really want is 99 writers to buy your book. And the 99 other "friends" you have feel the same way. So these updates are more of an annoyance than anything else.

Plus you have to see all the more inane updates that Facebook is flooded with, and which make up the bulk of content on Facebook. Things like "I saw ____movie today" or "Traffic really sucked today", etc. From 99 other people you don't really care about.

Now, if you make your own fan page, anyone who becomes a fan of that page you know is actually interested in your work. You can update that fan page and people will see that. For example, I am a fan of Chinese singer Wong Faye. The other day there was an update to that page showing a new commercial she had done.

So you can get updates about what that artist is doing and interact with other fans, without having to also be bothered with every stupid thought these people post on their status message.

I find that much better than just throwing information at it and hoping it will stick. If you're going to network, take the time to research a little and find the most effective way. Maybe my way isn't the best, but I hope this has been useful to you in finding your own way.
Kris,
Face Book is the more adult version of My Space. I just added you a friend on Crime Space, but I don't see people using that forum very much.
The benefits of Face Book, for me, is reconnecting with past friends, especially ones I worked with in law enforcement.
Think of it as a free website. I post updates of what's going on in my writing life, I keep much of my personal life out of it. The trick is not to get side-tracked by all the message notifications. I file them away in something called my "Sunday work." Once a week, I pull up the page and check messages, make replies.
However, for authors, there are some other sites I prefer to go on for promotion and to post blogs. I don't want to overwhelm you, but in the future I might invite you to look them over. For now, just get comfortable with Face Book and have fun with it!
Dear Kris
as an author you can't get much better than the site you are already using!
Best for now.
Sam
Sam Millar
www.millarcrime.com
I started using Facebook almost entirely as a social networking site, to keep in touch with old friends. I'm pleased, though, that a nice group of readers have "friended" me--also some Crimespace folks, of course.
Thanks for the feedback, guys. I have a better sense of what to do with it now.
I've been on Facebook for a few months and I haven't found it very useful. But I'm currently enrolled in Blog Book Tours, learning how to create my own virtual tour, and they strongly recommend it as part of developing your online persona. After all this time, just an hour ago I managed to add a Facebook "badge" to my blog on WordPress.

Some authors have different Facebook accounts for their personal and professional identities. As for me, I'm using the same for both. But I'm being more careful to avoid posting really annoying trivia or taking those quizzes like "What poet are you?" They just take up other peoples' time. But I confess I was pleased to come out as Jimi Hendrix on "What 60's rock star are you?" Jimi once bought me a screwdriver and asked for my phone number at a Greenwich Village nightclub, but he never called, although I stayed home in my loft for three days - this was before answering machines.

Don't feel like an "idiot or Luddite" - there are lots of us in the same predicament.

Julie Lomoe
Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders (2006)
Eldercide (2008)
Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso
Thanks for your input, Julie. I didn't even know about the quizzes, but it's what you're calling the "annoying trivia" that has put me off. What I'm taking to be annoying trivia anyway. I looked at the fan page of one quite popular author, and I couldn't believe the stuff she was posting. If I write that I struggled with chapter 6 of my WIP yesterday, but today I can't get back to it because I have to get my car's oil changed -- I'm bored just writing it. Maybe I don't have enough of an ego, but I can't imagine that writers believe readers desperately want to read those remarks.

Jimi Hendrix? Pretty impressive, even if he didn't call.
I agree with you, Kris. I'm thinking of starting a fan page for myself, but if I do, I wouldn't clutter it up with stuff like my oil change.

Re: jimi Hendrix, I'd done some paintings of him and was showing him photos of them; that's why he was interested in coming to my loft (I'll never knkow if there was an additional reason.)
Contrary to his public image, he was very polite, modest and soft-spoken - and not at all stoned. He was trying out a new band in a small venue. He died later that year.
I have a Facebook page. So far it has enabled me to find a few old school chums, a few Crimespace friends and more offensive apps than I like to wade through.
My son, a fellow who works for Red Hat and and sets up computer business models all over the world for people, tells me I am just not using it the right way.
No kidding son.
I think there is a learning curve for those of us over fourteen. I intend to spend more time on MySpace and Facebook in the future and learn how to better utilize them. Perhaps then it might become an effective marketing tool.
Twitter's supposed to be even more effective as a marketing tool, but I haven't figured it out yet. I agree about the learning curve - this stuff isn't easy!
Facebook should be used for those who have matching interests. I don't look at facebook as a blantant sales tool to strong-arm someone into buying books. On the other hand, sharing mutual interest surely does make me interested in what other writers have on the market. So it's a two-way street.

Just like Crimespace. Who in here doesn't have it in the back of their head that if they remain active in here that SOME in here are not going to become interested in your writing and at least research it on the net?

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