I originally got an account on Facebook four years ago because my publisher insisted. Social media was the new way for authors to "connect" with their readers. Now readers and fans had immediate access to their favorite authors and could get to know them by following them on their profiles or author pages. It was the great new way to sell books! So I did what I was told and joined several social media sites including LinkedIn, Google +, Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.
Now, after 4 or 5 years of social media, I can honestly say I'm burnt to a crisp. I simply cannot connect with every reader out there. It's a lovely idea and I love my readers but I'm just one person. I'm a mom of six children, a housewife, a cook, a wife and soon to be a grandma. And I work full time as a writer. Who has time to correspond with thousands of readers? It's nuts! You see, I'm the type of person who truly wants to get to know my readers. I like hearing what's going on in their lives and praying for them. I love getting comments about how my books impacted them. I want to answer every post, every question, and every message. But lately, I'm finding that I spend two or more hours a day on Facebook and I neglect my family and my writing. I honestly don't know how people who work full time and have families manage to post on facebook all the time.
In addition I spend so much time just answering posts and messages that I don't have time to really get to know anyone at all. I don't have time to scroll through nearly 3000 people's posts for the day so I can see what they are doing and make a comment. Facebook is all about connecting. It's about getting to know people and keeping in touch with friends and family.
Facebook is not about selling books!
That's the tragic error most publishers are making. People don't get on facebook to be bombarded with advertisements about this product or that product. And they especially don't connect with an author so that author can constantly try and sell them his or her latest release. They connect with authors to get to know them on a personal level. The only problem is, that puts a huge time burden on the author. I know some authors are really good at this. They spend hours on Facebook and love it. For me, I never felt like I could truly get to know any of my readers. There were just too many of them. And I don't even have that many followers! What about the authors who have 10,000 followers? Some of them hire people to post on Facebook, because let's face it, there's no way they would have time to connect with that many people.
Another reason I'm leaving Facebook is for privacy. My family is a very private family. My kids and my husband do not want me posting pictures of them. They don't want me sharing details of family events and vacations. Yet this is what some readers have expressed they want to know and see. I don't blame them. They like my books and want to know more about my personal life. Some authors have no problem with this. They share all sorts of personal information... baby pictures, pets, etc. But this is not me. I like to keep family things within my family, and that is hard to do when I have nearly 3000 people following my posts. So, what can I post about? My books! But that makes me fell cheap and unfriendly because once again, Facebook is NOT about selling books.
Don't you hate it when every post some author makes is trying to get you to buy their book?? I've actually thought about unfriending some people for that very reason. Plus, it makes me never want to buy their book. Why? Because Facebook is about connecting to people, not about selling things.
I guess I got a really sour taste in my mouth one year when my agent told me that publishers wanted to know how many "Likes" I had on my facebook page and how many twitter followers before they would even consider publishing one of my books. I couldn't believe that such a ridiculous thing had now become the standard for who got published and who didn't. I honestly think publishers are grasping at straws.. trying every new fad that comes along. It's sad and has the effect of excluding some fabulous new authors simply because they don't have a Facebook following.
So, I'm leaving Facebook. I'm closing down my account and my author page and breathing a huge sigh of relief! I will miss some people, and I sincerely hope those of you who followed me there will come visit me here on my blog from time to time. I intend to continue posting here and promise to answer comments to the best of my ability. I suggest you sign up to follow by email on the right side of this blog. That way you'll be notified whenever I post something. Even better, sign up for my newsletter (also on the right side of this blog) I also love to get emails from readers so feel free to contact me through my website.
Most authors, publishers, and media specialist will tell me I'm crazy to do this. I don't care. I have to do this for my own peace of mind and also because I'd much rather spend those 2 hours a day writing my next novel than fighting a losing battle on Facebook trying to connect with people that I'll never have the time to connect with properly. I've prayed about this and know this is the direction God wants for me. I trust Him with the results.