In my last post, I chronicled my efforts to "find my audience" on social media and ultimately concluded they were probably on Facebook, like me. I've been doing some research since then and, thanks to Leah, have connected with social media maven Chris Syme. I've watched a couple of her podcasts and subscribed to her newsletter and blog. What I've learned so far has confirmed my instincts: as romance writers, our primary social media presence should be on Facebook.
After our discussion last month, I've also dived a bit deeper into her recommendations about how to find your audience. Apparently, you can get a lot of demographic statistics from Facebook IF you have an author page. You can then take that information to data available from Pew Research and dig deeper. My problem: I don't have a Facebook author page.
Over the six years I've been published, I've watched many friends open and later abandon their author pages due to lack of engagement. I know successful authors who don't have professional pages and simply interact with their readers on their personal pages. Obviously, they manage not to exceed FB's 5K limit on "friends". That's not a problem I'm ever likely to face.
In trying to decide whether it's worth the effort to set up an author page, I looked at the pages of a number of authors I follow. Most post daily, some multiple times a day. Some post the fun, personal sort of things I post on my own FB page. Others keep their posts strictly writing and career related. I know one author who posts only inspirational memes. Some of my friends maintain very lively, yet completely separate, personal and professional pages with no overlap. This strikes me as a huge amount of work, and I wonder how many followers one needs to make it worthwhile.
I need to be realistic about my own situation. I don't know that I have any actual fans beyond family and friends. Random readers come across my books and occasionally buy them, but would any of them "like" my author page if I had one? I don't know. I do know I need a professional page to advertise or access data, and it seems to be an important step toward growing my readership, but I feel like I'm faced with a chicken-and-egg dilemma. With few fans, who would I be trying to engage? Most of my FB friends are fellow writers, and while I know we try to like each other's pages, that isn't really the point, is it?
Most of the time I feel I'm too small-time to bother worrying about any of this, but if I do decide to spend some money and try to expand my readership, those new readers need a place to find me. That raises the question of content for a new page. Writers are advised to be authentic and accessible to their readers, to share their true selves. I already do that on my personal page. Anyone who reads my posts knows the real me. I can't figure out a way to do that differently in two separate places. What a pickle.
I'm happy with my website and feel it looks very professional, but few readers end up there. If I want to engage with them, I need to go where they are. I'm looking for advice here. How many of you have separate author pages on Facebook? What type of content do you post there? Do you think it's worth the effort?
P.S. - as a retreat from the mid-summer heat or an antidote to political hoopla, my short story collection Small Town Christmas Tales is on sale for $0.99 all month!