I was not prepared for the barrage Tuesday Morning, when a Facebook Frenzy arrived on my phone.
After joining on Monday night (I know…you’re not on Facebook yet?), I woke up to more requests than ants crawling after picnic leftovers. The work seemed endless; the decisions, answering questions, looking at pictures, reading comments, writing comments, making invitations, digesting profiles, adding pictures, when to share, what to like, how to ignore, and learning to stop! Before I looked away it was Wednesday.
The genius of Facebook is overwhelming to comprehend. Just the initial algorithm to this thing must be like the beginning of the universe. And how did they get a friend of mine from the 20th century (that means no contact for at least 18 years), appear immediately after I joined, looking better in the 21st century. It must be all spectacular magic.
I think this Mark Zuckerberg guy is on to something! Is he really going to run for President? He will just turn 35 years old (age of eligibility & half the current President’s age) during primary season in 2020 and I hear he is not an atheist anymore.
Being an independent writer, I had to figure out the self-publishing thing, which took some uploading, downloading, cover designing, editing, fonts, ISBN’s, prologues, epilogues, dedications, disclaimers, and a progressive family tree.
I am not complaining, but writing hundreds of pages and keeping track of characters & time-lines are hard enough tasks, and didn’t most authors in the 20th century drink all the time, party and just write? Yes… I know, they were immensely talented and had publishers kissing their ass most the time, not to mention die young or commit suicide. Well this is the 21st century and over the past five years I have been, along with a million other independent authors, trying to figure out this marketing thing.
I have been involved with marketing in three prior small business careers: finding clients for a private practice, expanding a supply business, and buying or selling real estate. The change in talent needed and the tasks involved in marketing, in just the last five years, is staggering.
The reality in selling books is that very few men read fiction anymore. Men that do read books, really like non-fiction – especially history. Women authors dominate the world of fiction with 7 of the 10 spots on this week’s New York Times Best Seller List and none of them are writing stories with sports as a driving theme. Novels like ‘The Natural’, ‘Field of Dreams’, ‘The Art of Fielding’, ‘The Swinger’, ‘Bleachers’ and ‘Playing for Pizza come around every few years as a popular summer read on the beach.
In August 2012, when I finished ‘Big Train’s Backyard’ after 6 months, here was the check list for becoming a self-published author: Build a Website, Network through LinkedIn, Start a Blog, Join Twitter, Expand your E-Mail List, Print up Cards, Write Notes, Make Calls, Give Book Readings and Parties. I thought I had it all covered, but then I read an article on Monday that basically said, “you’re an idiot if you don’t market through Facebook.”
For years Facebook seemed like a kid thing, and I was right. But then of course the business world noticed and it has expanded like the Martian creatures in the movie “War of the Worlds”; they started coming out of the ground – all over the world!
This year as my story grew for my 3rd novel, I hit a marketing groove, I rebuilt my website, re-started my Blog, increased my Twitter feeds, and updated my LinkedIn profile. In February, I wrote 22K words for my story and published 8 Blog posts. My miniscule audience has increased, a few more interested souls. Small steps of growth.
The difference with Facebook it appears, is the energy level. It is a party without bringing beer or wine. I remember how I lived on very little sleep for three semesters of college when I lived in a Fraternity house. Instead of connecting with a ‘Friend on Facebook’, I would just travel a few feet down the hall looking for the next gathering, usually listening for the laughter or a sweet smell emanating from under the door. With no cell phones, the upstairs had one phone in the hallway that rang incessantly and was rarely answered. ‘Roger’, whose room was the closest, would say famously after a toke as the phone rang, “Dammit, I never answer that phone, but I still answer it ten times as much as anyone else!”
This is the Frenzy of Facebook that I am Finally Facing. Learning new things as I approach 64 is tough but exciting. It appears Facebook was built for college kids, but brilliantly it has tapped into the ‘Party Generation’ of the ‘Baby Boomers’ as well. My intent was to promote my writing and even sell some books, but it appears that my ‘party animal’ has awoken, as I go from room to room looking for the next gathering. Maybe this is what 21st century authors do all day instead of drinking and partying – friending and commenting.