I spend a lot of time on Facebook. Not touting my novels all the time, I hasten to add, although I may post a link occasionally, especially when I can show a ‘connection’ to something topical. St. Andrew’s Day was a good time to post a link to ‘His Leading Lady’ because of the musical based on a Scottish legend that featured in the novel. A report about possible new discoveries in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt was a perfect opportunity to deny any psychic ability on my part, but to highlight my archaeologist’s discovery in the valley in ‘Her Only Option’. Maybe now I need a volcanic eruption to promote ‘Changing the Future’ – and, of course, St Patrick’s Day will be a good time to advertise my new novel, ‘Irish Inheritance.’
However, I don’t consider Facebook simply as a platform for promoting my novels (or my blogs either), even though I have seen others use it solely for that purpose. After all, it is a social network, not a marketing or promotion network (which, sadly, so many yahoo loops have now become).
Facebook, for me, is the means to get to know people, and I enjoy the interaction with the many friends I have made there.
Does it lead to more book sales? Maybe a few, but probably not many (as my sales figures show!). It may mean ‘my name’ is becoming known, since I often comment on others’ posts, share links or fun items that have interested or amused me, add my own status posts that may or may not be connected with writing, and generally ‘network’ with other people.
Not with a ‘chosen few’ either – which I have seen happen with some ‘cliques’ on Facebook and Twitter, whose members only seem to comment on or share each others’ posts (or advertise their books), and ignore everyone else because they are not part of the ‘in’ crowd!
I’m happy to cast my net much wider than they do, and I enjoy the many and varied links I have made with so many people on FB. So much so that I now consider this to be far more important than selling books or making my name known.
Recently, I have met several Facebook friends in ‘real life’ and, without exception, have felt that they were already ‘old friends’ even though we were meeting face-to-face for the first time. Two or more hours of non-stop chat (about anything and everything, not just about writing) is evidence enough of how online friendships can become real life friendships.
The value of Facebook was brought home to me last week, when I didn't see or speak to anyone in 'real life' for six days. This invariably happens during a holiday period. I live alone, my family were doing 'their own thing', and my friends were all involved with their own families etc. It wasn't until the sixth day, however, that I actually realised I hadn't actually seen or spoken to anyone. Why? Because I had been 'chatting' to my friends on Facebook, having a laugh with them, and thoroughly enjoying the social aspect of networking.
So thank you, Facebook!