Closing the Facebook

5 Jul

This summer I’m working on revising and updating my self-publishing ‘how to’: Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing. Edition #3 is scheduled for release September 5th. When I did the second edition back in 2012, only one year had passed since the first but still, so much had changed. This time around, the entire landscape has changed, and there’s so many new and exciting opportunities for self-publishers to take advantage of. I’ve completely changed my mind about some of my advice, and believe more than ever in the rest of it. One thing hasn’t changed at all though: I still think self-publishing is something every author should be involved in, whether it’s their main career or a sideline, and I still think that with great power comes great responsibility, so you should do it professionally. Over the coming weeks I’ll be writing posts about some issues that need a whole new section in Self-Printed: The 3rd Edition, starting today with the tumbleweeds-blowing-across-a-broken-road-cutting-through-barren-desert ex-social network we call Facebook…

[The Self-Printed 3.0 Splash needs YOU!]

I think I’m done with Facebook.

Once upon a time, I thought Facebook was a really good way to reach readers. If you had a book about a specific topic – say, Disney World – you could reach groups of Disney Word enthusiasts who were already assembled for you. By setting up an author page, you could get real life friends and family to help you build a fan base, as they could share content from your page on their own pages and news of their ‘liking’ you would show in their news feeds. With the help of things like Facebook offers and Rafflecopter, you could hold giveaways and draw attention to events, real world and virtual, like the release of your new book.

Then, it all went to pot.

Facebook has become its own worst enemy. I think in the future social media archeologists will study it for lessons in what not to do with your success. I think it was Steve Jobs who said, ‘People don’t know what they want until you give it to them.’ Mark Zuckerberg seems to be operating on some kind of ‘Take away everything people want’ principle, and it’s failing miserably. By constantly trying to second guess what users would like to see when they log into Facebook, Zuckerberg and friends have consistently moved further and further away from what users want. Privacy settings constantly change. The terms and conditions hide a multitude. In attempt to turn a profit,they’ve made many page owners, effectively, invisible. The kids are all signing up to Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat and other websites this grandma (32 as of today!) probably hasn’t heard of yet, and Facebook is a wasteland of neglected profiles, dusty photo albums and unrequited pokes.

Take, just as a simplistic example, the debacle that is your News Feed. Once upon a time you accepted a friend request, and then whatever that friend posted on Facebook, you saw in your News Feed whenever you logged in. If you didn’t want to see it you could unfriend them or hide them. Simples, right? Worked for everyone. You could see what your friends were up to and keep in contact with them – the point of Facebook – and you could also lurk and, ahem, stalk as well. Then Facebook decided that that was an inefficient method of operating and started hiding things from you. So if there was a “friend”, say, as opposed to a friend, and you never commented on any of her photos or clicked the ‘Like’ button or in fact interacted with her in any way (but you still wanted to see what she was up to, natch) well, forget it. Zuckerberg said no, and hid her from you entirely. He only wanted you to see the activity of people you regularly interacted with which, honestly, shows such a blatant misunderstanding of what people were using Facebook for (let’s be honest) that he doesn’t deserve his paper billions.

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 14.02.02

But the fact that you missed your old frenemy getting a horrendous fake tan job isn’t important. (Let’s hope!) But take Dead Good Books. Run by a team from Penguin Random House, this Facebook page is one of my faves and a must for any crime fiction fan. Even though they’re a corporate page their content is fun, interesting and worthwhile, and I loved checking in to see what giveaways, news, etc. they had on offer. They’ve worked hard to get to nearly 15,000 likes. But a few days ago I realized that I hadn’t seen anything about them in my News Feed for a while. Were they still operating? I wondered. Well, DUH. Of course they were. Facebook had just decided to hide them from me because even though I had clicked the ‘Like’ button and interacted with them in the past, I hadn’t for a while. FACEBOOK FAIL.

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 14.06.26

Take my own Facebook page for Mousetrapped, which – hands up – I have been neglecting. So my neglect might well play a part in what I’m about to share with you, but it’s definitely not the only underlying cause. When you are the admin of a Facebook page, you get to see the ‘reach’ stats for every post. Reach is pretty self-explanatory: it’s the number of people who saw your post, i.e. the number of people it reached.

My Mousetrapped Facebook page has 1,126 likes as of writing this post. Let’s take a look at the reach of some the posts I’ve published there lately…

FB.jpg

The post on the left is a link to the last blog post on here, which only reached 34 people. Yes, thirty-four. There were no shares or likes, which makes this a really good indicator of how many eyeballs land on content that’s just posted to your Facebook page without any subsequent interaction. 34 out of 1,126.

But, in fairness, that content is me-related, not Disney-related, and that’s the main attraction – I presume – to fans of this Mousetrapped-specific page. The post on the right is indeed Disney-related: it’s a shot of balloons for sale on Main Street U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom. It had 33 likes and reached 485 people – great, but still a long way off 1,126. Less than half, as a matter of fact.

You’ll notice the handy ‘Boost post’ button, which is an invitation to spend money – because that’s what this is all about. Not reaching enough people? Pay Facebook to lift the invisibility cloak. (Remembering that if enough people organically saw your posts, they wouldn’t be an opportunity to make money this way.) A little over a year ago, I tried this just to see whether or not it was worth it.

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 14.08.00

I think we can agree the answer is no, right?

I ran a giveaway and I wanted people to see the actual giveaway post, so I set a budget of €4 and let Facebook go and do this boosting it was always on about. You can see that the paid reach was 1,083 people – fewer people than ‘like’ my page. (Although, in fairness, back then, it was probably slightly more or the same.) Out of them, a whopping 8 – EIGHT! – actually took action on the post, i.e. clicked ‘like’. (We don’t know if they entered the giveaway.) So essentially Facebook charged me €4 to reach the same number of people who had ‘liked’ my page. Stay classy, Facebook.

There was a time, back in the old days, when you could just post something on Facebook and most of the people who had ‘liked’ your page saw it. (Or an amount of people equal to them, anyway.) No money changed hands. Can you imagine such a thing?! This is the last example I could find of it on my page, a post published back in March 2013.

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As you can see, this post won activity: 12 likes, 8 comments and 2 shares. Not exactly viral, but yet it organically reached 713 people. Woo-hoo! In March 2013, this was probably less than 100 people off how many liked the page, so I’d consider it a win. A win, but a win back in March 2013.

Now, let’s slap ourselves across the face with a cold, dead fish called reality. Something that ANNOYS ME NO END when people start harping on about how terrible traditional publishing is because so many books don’t earn back their advance and why self-publishing is a waste of time because so many books don’t sell more than a copy is that no one ever says, ‘Maybe the book failed because no one wanted to read it.’ So maybe I’m crap on Facebook. (I’ve definitely been crap on it recently.) Maybe my contributions to the Facebooksphere are so boring that if you cared any less, you’d pass out. That is entirely possible – it’s entirely possible approaching almost likely.

But let’s go back to Dead Good Books. Nearly 15,000 likes and I’m one of them, yet Facebook has decided not to organically show me their posts anymore. (FYI: I’ve corrected this by going onto their page and randomly liking a few things they posted recently, but should that be necessary? I love to lurk, just like 95% or something of internet users. Let me lurk, Facebook. LET ME LURK!) They are definitely not crap on Facebook. They’re exceptionally good, and nearly 15,000 other people think so. But if it hadn’t occurred to me that I hadn’t seen them in a while, I’d be lost to them forever. Me and who knows how many others. So was all that work – the work that it took them to get to nearly 15,000 likes – worth it? I think the answer is no, and the reason is Facebook.

(There’s also this creepy business, which I won’t go into here. But, ewwww. Creepy McCreepyson.)

However nothing sums up the crapness that is Facebook like the image above. ‘Organic reach is dead’ the accompanying tweet declares and unlike those ‘No, really, THIS time, the novel really is dead. No, really’ articles that come out every six months or so, this could well be true. The image is comparing the response Snickers got when they posted the exact same picture to their Facebook and Twitter pages the night Luis Suarez got hungry for human flesh.

On Facebook, they have approximately 11,000,000 fans. The post got 895 shares and was ‘liked’ by 3,250 users.

On Twitter, they have approximately 50,000 followers. The exact same post was favourited 14,754 times and retweeted 34,994 times.

In the first and second editions of Self-Printed, I encouraged self-published authors to get on Facebook. But do I now? Well…

If you have an active page with a high, consistent level of engagement:

Get YOU! And well done. Somehow, some page-owners have managed to keep up a very high level of engagement (posts getting ‘liked’, commented on, shared, etc.) naturally, which means that you likely have great organic reach. If it’s working for you, hooray! Keep it up. But also keep in mind that as a social network, Facebook’s star is fading. Encourage your Facebook fans to double-up on their liking of you by subscribing to your mailing list, following you on Twitter or adding your blog feed to their Feedly list. Then you won’t have to worry about what shenanigans Facebook might get up to in the future.

If you have a page with lots of ‘likes’ but inconsistent and/or low engagement:

This is me, right now. I’m thinking that just like not eating that cupcake now and ‘saving’ it for later, it’s just not worth it. I think what I might do is apply some jump-leads: really make the effort with FB for a month or so and seeing if stats improve. If they don’t though, I know my time is better spent on other things, like this blog, Twitter and writing more books. It’s time to relegate Facebook to the waste-of-my-time leagues, me thinks.

If you haven’t got around to doing Facebook yet:

Don’t even bother. The ship has sailed. In the current ‘pay to be seen’ climate I’m not even sure how you’d win likes or expose users to content in the first place. Put your time and energy into something else instead.

UPDATE: The very helpful Amy Keely shared this YouTube video in the comments. If you are considering paying Facebook to do anything, you NEED to watch this video first. Shocking stuff.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVfHeWTKjag

In other news, yesterday was America’s birthday and today is mine! (Yes, 21 again, thanks for asking…) To mark the occasion, Backpacked is free to download for Kindle from all Amazon stores today (Saturday 5th July) for 5 days. If you’ve read it already, you might be interested in the Backpacked photo or video galleries. Have a good weekend!

73 Responses to “Closing the Facebook”

  1. Joanne Clancy July 5, 2014 at 11:08 #

    Happy birthday, Catherine :) I can’t wait for the next edition of “Self-Printed” – your book has saved my sanity on several occasions!
    I have to admit that I still like Facebook…

  2. wisemonkeysabroad July 5, 2014 at 11:26 #

    Firstly, we would like to wish you a happy birthday!! Hope you had a lovely day and that you got fireworks for your birthday ;)
    Secondly, we would like to say “why didn’t you write this post a month ago or so before we decided to get a page onto Facebook?” – by this, we mean, that you have raised extremely valid points and has definitely got the cogwheels turning in our brains! It was a very insightful post that you have shared. And we appreciate you sharing your experiences! Maybe we won’t bother investing too much time in FB from now….
    And lastly, it is a shame that Facebook is not customer-centric at all! What you voice about the newsfeed is something we hear all the time yet for some reason, Facebook seems to keep doing their own thing & not listening to their customers. Sadly, as you point out, it was once good and now is all about $$$$
    Anyway, thanks again for sharing your thoughts in this piece!!

  3. Ali Isaac July 5, 2014 at 11:33 #

    Catherine you have hit the nail right on the head! That is exactly how I feel. I did the fb ad thing too… rubbish! They just wont show your posts to anyone because they want you to pay for it, and they control the results so you keep on paying for it. Shame, as I like the format, but its a waste of time and effort. I put a little in just to maintain a presence there for anyone who likes using it… otherwise I’d be gone too!

  4. bardotbarbiturate July 5, 2014 at 11:46 #

    I’ve yet to set up a Facebook account for my writing (I’m not at a stage which warrants it) and have been weighing up for some time whether it would be worth it. This post confirms what I was already thinking, that it isn’t. The Snickers ad is a brilliant example, you can’t argue with those numbers and I totally agree about Zuckerberg. I hate that he and his social network decide what posts I should and shouldn’t see and that I’m not allowed to choose for myself how sociable I do or don’t want to be. I chose my privacy settings for a reason as did millions of other people! I have set up a Twitter account although I’ve only made a few tweets so far, I need to become a far more frequent user.

  5. Natalie Murray July 5, 2014 at 12:00 #

    Happy birthday, Catherine! Great post! Facebook is definitely declining in popularity, and I spend much less time on it now. I’ll be downloading Backpacked! Thanks!!

  6. Michael Ranson July 5, 2014 at 12:17 #

    Argh! Took me ages to sort out the technical problems around getting FB to repost my blog and twitter updates (and it still doesn’t work right) and when it was done, I wondered why I’d bothered. I get no joy from FB at all. And I’ve noticed things disappearing, too. Some of those “things” have started showing up on my Youtube account, instead, which is starting to look more like a video + microblogging service than just a video sharing service.

    Google+ is actually quite busy, now. In fact, compared to FB, g+ is bouncing while the only interaction you get on FB is from the occasional piece of tumbleweed…

    But I think the final straw is these mind games FB are playing. I’m just not putting up with that!

  7. Mary J. McCoy-Dressel July 5, 2014 at 12:28 #

    Happy Birthday, Catherine! Great news about the 3rd Edition of Self-Printed. The Facebook thing– I’m active and close to the friend limit on my regular page and my fans are growing on my ‘page.’ Still, only a handful see what I post. I’ve tried the different strategies I’ve heard about… Don’t post a photo or link and more will see it. Put the link or photo in comments instead of the post. I’ve tried it all. It doesn’t matter. The bottom line is money. Yesterday I posted my G+ link in my status on my page saying if my followers want to see everything I post, follow me there. Of course, hardly anyone will see that post. Enjoy your birthday!

  8. enthusiasticallydawn July 5, 2014 at 13:04 #

    I so agree, as a former Facebook Lover you are right, right, right. So right in fact that prior to reading this post, ironically, I had JUST deleted my account (temporarily?). I have a personal blog and did create an alternate account to just maintain my Page, but this post confirms exactly what I have seen and the question I struggled with about whether to bother. As for me, I plan on investing little time on FB at all, but will explore other avenues of SM- or not- I want to spend more time investing in my writing and submitting to offline writing opportunities. I find Tweeting less time consuming and distracting. Happy Birthday and thanks for the well timed post!

  9. Debbie Young July 5, 2014 at 13:17 #

    Happy birthday, Catherine!

    Great post that will give lots of people the confidence to move away from Facebook, or at least spend less time and effort on it, which I’m also sure the time is right for. The arrogance of Zuckerberg et al is unbelievable, and it’s a great shame for all concerned, and there’s only so long that they will get away with it before Facebook shrivels and dies, I’m sure.

    I’ve been spending more time on my Twitter account lately not only because it’s more effective but, ironically given its brevity, disciplined structure and more spartan layout, it feels much more personal, enjoyable and more stimulating.

    I’ll give a plug to your Backpacked freebie on the page I set up a while ago to draw attention to my friends’ freebie books on, er, Facebook! Oops!

    What I really need to do now is to get to grips with Google+….

    Will definitely be investing in Self-Printed edn 3, by the way – the current edition has is well-thumbed and much appreciated.

  10. mparel July 5, 2014 at 13:17 #

    Happy B’day to you. Can’t recall how many 21st birthdays I’ve had. LOL Somehow, I never got around to doing the Facebook thing. Didn’t really understand the value. Didn’t like it. But that’s just me. Find I’m using twitter & Google+ and enjoying both.

  11. Rebecca Nolen July 5, 2014 at 13:39 #

    Reblogged this on Rebecca Nolen and commented:
    I think you’ll appreciate what Catherine Howard says so I’m passing this on to you.

  12. Tim McGregor July 5, 2014 at 13:48 #

    You pretty much summed up everything that’s been bugging me about FB for a while. Now I don’t have to explain it to other FB’ers, I’ll just send them here to read the ugly truth.

    Oh, and happy birthday! Go eat the damn cupcake already. Cheers!

  13. Petit Manan July 5, 2014 at 13:49 #

    I couldn’t agree more on Facebook. I avoid it almost completely. I don’t even use Huffington Post anymore because the comment boards require a Facebook log in.

    Your blog posts come to my inbox weekly via a WordPress follow. I also use Twitter but must admit I’m not a consistent tweet reader – I prefer to read on the BIG SCREEN – email from WordPress is rather old school these days, but it’s the tried and true method that get’s me to read and follow through on a regular basis.

  14. Deb July 5, 2014 at 14:28 #

    Happy Birthday!

    Funny, I just did an interview and talked about my online presence. I have over 800 likes, but I basically told people not to bother going there; find me on Twitter or my blog. The (FB!) author groups I’m in started noticing about 6 months that engagement had fallen into the basement. There are ways to game it- videos are BIG!- but huh? I have to spend my time now coming up with ways to skew someone else’s algorithm? One Amazon is enough, thank you.

  15. Denise July 5, 2014 at 14:43 #

    Way back in the past when Facebook had changed The Wall on their site, they had lost me. Then on one of my online author groups, one of the girls said, if I’m not checking and/or updating my Faceback page, that I could be seen as ignoring people, which would be bad, and that I should just shut it down. Which I promptly did (although I seriously doubted there was anyone to “ignore”).

    Yet compare all that “have to do” activity that it seems Facebook generates for its own users to my Twitter and Pinterest accounts. I’m getting multiple followers on Twitter here lately without a tweet since … when? And with nary a repin or a new pin in months on Pinterest (my particular love), I’m still getting about fifty repins or likes a day from my “static” Pinterest boards. Now THAT is my kind of marketing. The self-generating type.

    And my personality could just not handle the pleading “Will you like me on Facebook?” mode of determining popularity.

    As you can tell, I’m not the marketing-guru genius. So I’m happy to read I was setting the curve long before the curve was even there. I’d long ago closed my FB account, maybe even two, three (four?) years before it was fashionable.

    Love your blog posts. I’m a lurker finally speaking out. Ha!

  16. jon July 5, 2014 at 14:54 #

    Wow Catherine, what a great post. I love getting your emails.

    I totally agree, Facebook has gone all crazy and made facebook pages pretty much obsolete, unless your willing to pay. And here is the real cracker! Even if you pay, apparently your post is not getting seen by REAL people. There is a guy on youtube who actually did a study on it, i must find it again. He proved that facebook is paying people to click, when facebook users pay to boost.

    Also, regarding regular facebook accounts. I agree. I only have a few folks that I interact with ( friends ) but have a lot of others and I hardly ever see there posts in the news feed, which tells me Facebook is up to their old tricks again.

    I pulled out of Facebook last year for about 7 months and then came back to give it another shot. But after a month, I’m already sick of the place. It’s like the narcissistic capital of the world. Plus I keep getting poked by strangers and folks keep wanting me to play their bubble games, strange. ;)

    • Amy Keeley July 5, 2014 at 21:39 #

      It’s called “Facebook Fraud” and it was posted to YouTube by Veritasium. Here’s the link:

      • Sieglinde McGee July 6, 2014 at 03:00 #

        Wow, that is really interesting. I was going to set up a writer page but I am rethinking that now. I have just passed it on to a friend too.

      • Fragrant Liar July 13, 2014 at 18:36 #

        Well, that was fascinating. And disturbing.

    • Amy Keeley July 5, 2014 at 21:42 #

      Wow. Apparently, my comment isn’t getting through. :/

      It’s called “Facebook Fraud” and it was posted to YouTube by Veritasium. Leaving out the link because I’m wondering if that’s what’s keeping my comments from appearing. It’s an important video, though, so I highly recommend watching it, especially if you’re still hoping FB will get you the engagement you want with your fans.

      • catherineryanhoward July 5, 2014 at 22:38 #

        Hi Amy,
        All comments are held for moderation, regardless of content, so there’s always a delay in them appearing.
        Thanks
        Catherine

        • Amy Keeley July 5, 2014 at 22:45 #

          Ah, makes sense. Thank you. :)

          • catherineryanhoward July 5, 2014 at 22:49 #

            Thank you so much for sharing that video. I haven’t even finished watching it and I am floored. (And angry!) I was going to abandon my FB author pages but now I’m thinking of deleting them. Will try and embed it in the original post when I’m at home so everyone else reading the post watches it too. Facebook, I’m beginning to think, are evil. :-D

            THANK YOU!

            • Amy Keeley July 7, 2014 at 14:46 #

              I’m glad it helped. Between that video and the lack of posts from pages I know I’ve liked but can’t seem to see unless I go to the page itself, I’ve decided I’m sticking with my profile…for now.(Not pleased at all with the changes they’ve made. Announcements by friends, ones I want to see, haven’t been showing up. *grr*)

  17. Melissa Stacy July 5, 2014 at 14:55 #

    Happy Birthday, Catherine!!! You are so fabulous!!! I hope you have a wonderful day!!!

  18. Marianne Knowles July 5, 2014 at 15:34 #

    Happy birthday, Catherine! Have some extra caffeine. And thanks for your post. I’m going to share it on the Writers’ Rumpus facebook page and see what happens. Posts are typically “served” to fewer than 10 people each.

    • Marianne Knowles July 5, 2014 at 15:37 #

      OK well this is interesting. The link to your blog shows up on the FB page, but there is no preview of this specific post. Hmmm.

  19. ernestortizwritesnow001 July 5, 2014 at 15:38 #

    I had a Facebook account and ended up deleting it a couple of years ago because of the privacy issues and constant changes. I stick with Twitter now.

  20. mitziflyte July 5, 2014 at 15:45 #

    Happy Birthday, Catherine. And thanks for the great information. Wait. What? No, it’s really not so great…I’ve been trying to build up my FB author page and was so thrilled to get 571 likes and you’ve just blown that out of the old water. But, you’ve given me some more ideas on how to go for marketing my book which will be out soon. I guess I’ll stick with my blog and try to rework that. I’ll keep the FB author page, too, just in case they switch in midstream again.
    I’m too old to keep up with all of this…<<>
    Mitzi

  21. Stephen Tiano July 5, 2014 at 18:14 #

    It’s just worked out for me that Twitter’s been the best for professional contacts. LinkedIn’s been a bust for finding actual paying projects, tho’ it’s gotten good for discussion of publishing, graphic design, freelancing, and making books. Facebook I’ve kept pretty much just for social contact, tho’ I have a page for my freelance i.d. But I am pretty disgusted with all the ham-handed “improvements” (not) Facebook’s foisted on us.

  22. Thom Reece July 5, 2014 at 18:44 #

    Happy Birthday, Catherine… and BRAVO for your expose, and accurate reporting, on Facebook. I have multiple Facebook Pages and spend an insane amount of time doing daily curated posts to all of them in the attempt to add to my platform.

    The biggest trap I have fallen in to with Facebook is to pay them to build “Likes” to my FB pages. They play a very clever game with this process… they entice you to build your “Likes” so that you can ‘increase your reach’. Then they reduce your reach to a small fraction of the very people you paid them to generate for you. In any other business this ‘bait & switch” would draw some very unwelcome attention by the FTC and other agencies which investigate consumer fraud. Not so with Facebook. I wonder how many Senators and Congressman Zuckerberg’s billions have allowed him to buy to run cover for this {not so} little scam?

    Add in- the outrageous practice of blocking posts about certain political subjects i.e. Monsanto, War, GMO’s, Corruption, Graft, Ethics Violations, etc. and you have the perfect “Pay-To-Play” con game based on lies, falsehoods, propaganda, mafia-style con games.

    I am fully prepared to see all my “reach” go in the tank now the moment this post is published… but I stand by every word and, like you, am close to pulling the plug on Mr. Zuckerberg and his 1%’er mentality.

  23. Jim Self July 5, 2014 at 21:02 #

    Happy Birthday!

    I hear a lot of people saying how tired they are of FB. The layout keeps changing! It used to be that your Wall was the main part of the layout, but that got replaced by the Feed, which was/is crammed with noise.

    I’m no longer a FB fan, I have to admit, but I think its future is very limited. As a business, they seem to have stumbled on success without a clue what to do with it. Pretty much everything they do these days makes their users unhappy, and it’s no longer the only game in town for socializing.

  24. scott hunter books July 5, 2014 at 21:50 #

    For me, time’s up. Absolutely agree, Catherine. Awaiting the deletion of my FB account anytime now! Woooo hoooo!

    • silver's threads July 5, 2014 at 23:33 #

      A belated Happy Birthday Catherine!

      I haven’t seen this video but I’m certainly aware of how my ‘hits’ on FB have diminished. I have three pages and used to get as many as 300 hits a day just on my poetry page …over the last week they’ve dwindled away to five or six but the ‘Promote Post/Page’ flag is very much in evidence. I’ve also noticed I’m seeing people and faces I hardly (or don’t) know and all my regulars have disappeared …they say they are no longer seeing my posts.
      Recently I’ve had more coverage for my books on twitter and even Pintrest! Do you know what’s happening on Tumblr?

  25. Barbara Forte Abate July 5, 2014 at 22:53 #

    Jeezaloo, what a relief! I thought it was just me and everyone else was over there having a social network party. FB has become increasingly miserable, and yet I’ve only ever been patient and kind despite one @#$% assault after another. I’m pretty sure I won’t be missing it once I’m going, going, gone….

  26. Adam Henig July 5, 2014 at 23:02 #

    Right on. FB has lots the buzz–especially since it became a PTC. I wouldn’t be surprise if it goes the way of MySpace.

    • antarespress July 6, 2014 at 04:52 #

      @Adam Henig, Prophetic.

  27. Lene July 6, 2014 at 01:42 #

    Happy birthday!

    And… this is why they say Facebook is like Twitter, but with homework. Or that’s what they said a year ago. Now? A waste of time. I have a fan page, post on it several times a day every day and my numbers have tanked. No new likes in weeks. I’ve linked it to my Twitter account and get more action from that than organic engagement from FB. And I’m not going to pay for boosting my posts when all that gets me is engagement from a clickfarm in Egypt. Yup. Facebook is dead.

  28. Sieglinde McGee July 6, 2014 at 03:13 #

    Happy birthday Catherine!

    Thanks for that information and advice! I have a joke page up on Facebook, for a popular mascot I own, and the point of making it was largely to learn how to set up and use such pages, so I could organise one for myself later this year. The likes of Zig’s Monkey are all genuine, so far. If that monkey does get around to writing his joke ebooks it will be his Twitter account I use for their promotion. Most likely I will also use Twitter for my own work too, especially after reading your post, and having watched the video that was linked above.

    Congrats on the imminent arrival of the third edition of your wonderful book! I used the instructions in 2.0 when formatting several short ebooks that I have on Amazon (all under pseudonyms), and your clear step-by-step instructions made the process simple.

    I have shared a link to Backpacked’s page via my Facebook page as I know that some of those who do interact with my page would very much enjoy your book. I read it over a year ago, and I absolutely loved it! I have also posted the link via Twitter.

  29. ChristineR July 6, 2014 at 05:02 #

    Thank you so much, happy belated birthday, and thanks to Amy for posting that informative video. My public FB page is going right after I leave here. :D

  30. Susan July 6, 2014 at 09:07 #

    Wow, Catherine – you’ve opened my eyes! I was starting to wonder about Facebook and why I hadn’t seen certain old friends of mine on it for ages. I also watched the video that one of the commenters above posted and that’s pretty frightening, isn’t it? I recently started using Twitter – which is going well – and a friend also suggested I get into Google+ because it’s better than Facebook. Think I’ll definitely do that now!

  31. Chris Backe July 6, 2014 at 14:23 #

    The sad thing is that most business are adjusting to the ‘pay for play’ mindset. On some level, it makes sense – it’s still where the people are (1+ billion?), and the places that have the advertising budget are allocating more to the social media networks.

    In some of the tech circles, the basic mindset has basically been A: ‘organic reach can still work if the post is awesome’ and B: we knew organic reach was going to go down because there was no incentive to promote stuff when everyone was reading your posts’…

    There’s something to be said, however, about Facebook’s Edgerank Algorithm. For one, my friends post a TON of stuff sometimes – like on Twitter, it’s like trying to sip from a firehose. It’s even recommended that you share something on Twitter several times over the course of a day (or week), because if you published it even an hour ago, it’s pushed down the page that most people won’t get to it…

  32. Sherry Marshall July 6, 2014 at 14:35 #

    Yes, yes, yes indeed and to all the comments as well. What a pity FB. has thrown it all away. Hope you had a wonderful birthday.

  33. Suzi Love July 6, 2014 at 23:15 #

    Reblogged this on Suzi Love's Weblog and commented:
    This certainly makes sense to me.

  34. Aidan Reid July 6, 2014 at 23:44 #

    Happy Birthday Catherine! I personally would have thought a complimentary facebook page that synchs with your wordpress blog posts would have been a fairly low calories approach to spreading the word. Nevertheless, eager to read your future posts – they are always enlightening. Keep up the good work!

    • catherineryanhoward July 7, 2014 at 10:56 #

      That is a good idea: I could just set my FB/WP up to cross post, but I have two FB pages, one for me and one for Mousetrapped, and only the one for me could really take that – and that’s the lower engagement one. I just wonder at the end of the day if it’s worth it. Time is money! (Or sales, or productivity, etc.!)

  35. June July 7, 2014 at 07:35 #

    Very interesting post and comments, Catherine. I have only a small number of FB followers and work hard to keep them engaged but get so frustrated by the lack of likes. This all makes sense. I might have to rethink my strategy.
    Thanks for the book – I have downloaded and am looking forward to reading it. Hope you had a great birthday!

  36. Harliqueen July 7, 2014 at 13:04 #

    Happy (belated) birthday! :D

    I didn’t actually know all of this about facebook, so thanks for sharing. I have to admit, I really don’t like facebook. I have an account for me as an author, but I really don’t like to use it unless I have to!

  37. rebeccaridgway July 7, 2014 at 20:49 #

    Reblogged this on The Missing E and commented:
    The death of Facebook?

  38. G.P Williamson July 7, 2014 at 23:02 #

    Hi Catherine. My friend shared your blog on Facebook and it caught my eye. Great post and I can totally relate. Hope to see your pages engaged in the millions!

  39. Stuart Barton July 8, 2014 at 09:32 #

    A really interesting and honest post. It is a little depressing too, as Facebook seemed like such a good (free) tool for authors just starting out. I recently set up a Facebook page for my writing, and am still getting to grips with it. I wondered about the value-for-money of ‘boosting’ posts on Facebook, but will not be bothering after reading this. I have been working through your posts about self-publishing since finding your blog last week, and there is tonnes of really useful info, presented in an honest and refreshing manner. Thanks for all your hard work, I’m off to download ‘Backpacked’ for my kindle, to read on my summer holiday! Thanks for all your hard work, and sharing your experiences.

  40. yolandaramos July 9, 2014 at 06:19 #

    Great post, recently set up my fb author page and my last post reached 8 people(okay, my ‘fans’ don’t number in the hundreds), Everytime I post it seems I’m reaching fewer and fewer people, and that Boost button keeps begging! Was considering clicking it, but after reading your post, I won’t bother. For now, am trying to whip up my blog and be more active on Twitter. So, thanks for an insightful post.

  41. bluntbelief July 11, 2014 at 18:09 #

    Good article. And I totally agree with the creepy factor. So for someone that doesn’t have a Facebook account for their writing, blog, website, and so on, what would you recommend instead? Clearly Twitter seems to be working well in the Snickers ad above, but that’s Snickers, an already super well known brand. Thoughts?

  42. Bernadette July 12, 2014 at 12:21 #

    Hi Catherine :) Wow, I never knew Facebook had gotten this bad. Thanks for the great article. I haven’t started a Facebook (or Google+) page for my blog. Do you think it’s worth it to start one? And what’s your take on a Google + page?

    • catherineryanhoward July 17, 2014 at 14:25 #

      I don’t use Google+. If you find it fun, go for it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t bother. For me Twitter is the thing…

      • Deb July 17, 2014 at 15:32 #

        I tried for about a year and a half to get into Google Plus, and it just wasn’t worth it. My blogspot blog automatically feeds to it and that’s fine, but I’m not making any extra effort there. There have been rumors since it started up that it’s going to be folded into something else, and given Google’s track record that’s entirely possible. In other words, why invest in something that’s not going to be sustainable?

  43. Fragrant Liar July 13, 2014 at 18:19 #

    I have recently been exploring the benefits of Facebook, and have pretty much come to the same conclusion. So much work, limited feeds based on some random LIKES, and I’m not happy with the whole thing. When I launch my book in a couple months, I think a lot of the groundwork I’ve laid for its “coming out” will be for naught.

  44. yolandaramos July 14, 2014 at 06:29 #

    I recently started a facebook author page and I have to agree with you, the reach is poor. I think I’m going to concentrate more on Twitter and my blog. Great article.

  45. Kitty French July 17, 2014 at 21:22 #

    Happy Birthday!

    I’m excited that there’s going to be a new version of your Self-Publishing guide – I have the original but will buy the new one too, because it’s been my bible!

    Whenever anyone asks me for a tip on self publishing, I tell them to go buy your book. I had it in digital version first and then in paperback so I could have it open next to the laptop. :)

    Facebook. Gah, I hear you, but I’m kind of stuck on it. It seems to work well for the erotic romance genre, but that’s great advice about trying to get people to migrate to twitter and blogs too because you never know what’s around the corner.

    Kitty x

    • catherineryanhoward July 18, 2014 at 15:59 #

      Thank you SO MUCH! I may have to quote you on that for the new edition! :-D

      I do think it works well for erotica actually, come to think of it. The Evie Hunter FB page gets lots of interaction. But I would worry that eventually FB will change so much that nobody will be bothered putting up with it anymore, and then where will all your ‘likes’/fans be? Same can be said of Twitter, I suppose, and I know lots of writers – myself included – who don’t blog as much as we used to, and struggle to find the time to read as many blogs as we used to. I suppose the moral of the story is to diversify – and collect e-mail addresses!

  46. Zach Brown (@ZBWrites) July 24, 2014 at 00:33 #

    Thank you for posting this. As an aspiring author attempting to build my platform while I work on my books I am already frustrated with Facebook. The vast majority of my interaction from from Twitter these days. I am toying with the ideas of ditching FB as well.

  47. lhall06 July 29, 2014 at 13:55 #

    I really liked this piece simply because it is so true about Facebook. They want things ‘done’ on their terms and give people what they want them to want (if that at all makes sense)
    I’m reading my way through your self printed guide book and stopped just after the blogging section. This is because the book you have written has inspired me to put together a page and sail off into the unknown land of blogging (not literally I don’t have a boat)

    The site you have set up here is pretty damn awesome and the work you have put in is extensive. I just want to say thanks for writing such an awesome book and hopefully one day soon my book will get out there.

  48. thistlecovefarm August 12, 2014 at 15:25 #

    Love Belfast, and Ireland, was there for a while last November where I met, and stayed with, blog land friends. Congrats on your next publication. If you think you’re overwhelmed with options, it’s nothing compared to how I feel. I’m old enough to be your Mother and, a lot of time, feel like the old gray mare when attempting to comprehend social media.
    So I don’t but I do wish you well in all your endeavors.

  49. Leigh W. Stuart (Surviving Switzerland) August 26, 2014 at 20:13 #

    Um, I actually found your blog through FB. Loved the article, though! Looking forward to stopping by and reading some more.

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