Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What I Learned from Reading Your Facebook Updates...

After ACFW, I joined Facebook after multiple recommendations to do so. Thanks to Karen's wonderful post I have great ideas for how to use my time on media wisely. I've downloaded HootSuite and love it, although I haven't completely figured it out. 

Next I began following Edie Melson's fantastic blog, The Write Conversation. Every Monday, Edie has special features on Social Media and let me tell you she is a master on this subject. 

I will admit I am so media savvy (er, not so much) that I asked her how to use hashtags. 

In order to learn more, I have been observing others Facebook updates. I get anxious to read updates from certain authors, other times I find myself bored with reading the same old.

1) "Its all about me, baby. Me and my book. Which by the way, is only $5.00 on Amazon for the next 24 hours." 

Don't get me wrong. I have had occasion in the last several days to rejoice over a writer's first publication in an anthology, another who has their first agent, and an author who just signed a new three book contract. I'm  THRILLED to see these updates!!! 

And I get EVEN MORE EXCITED if I knew more about the author than just about their book. You don't have to share everything in your personal life, but I think forming some sort of connection makes me feel like I'm more than a vehicle to sell your book.

2) Talk about your writing, but not always. 

Tie it back to your writing, we want to know how you're doing. We get excited about other writer's ideas and we love to know that your heroine looks like the gal you just ran into at Wal-Mart. Others might not care about it, but as writers we get a strange excitement about others ideas.

Just don't make every post about your ideas.

3) Promote other authors writing more than you promote your own writing.

Edie Melson recently gave some great advice. She only allows one out of every 5 of her posts to be about her. Promote other's good news. Advertise your favorite blogs, just because. Renee Ann Smith, Jessica R. Patch and Cheryl Wyatt do a fantastic job of promoting others above themselves. 

4) Make us laugh.

I'll be honest, my favorite by far are posts that make me laugh. I always delight to see updates from Roseanna White because I love the wonderful and witty tone she adds to everything she writes. Pepper Basham and Janice Thompson also have fantastic updates that often make me smile. Like Pepper's recent update about writing Bible verses in Elvish.

5) Let us respond. Ask questions.

What are you cooking in your crockpot? Ask us what we're cooking. It might seem mundane, but it is refreshing to see posts that ask a question to the readers instead of just sharing about the author. 

And anything about your book is automatically more interesting if I can give feedback on it. Such as Pepper's recent question about her kiss scene.

6) What makes you tick? What is your heart cry? 

What are the reasons behind why you write what you write? Do you have a heart for women in crisis situations? Want to minister to cancer survivors? When something is your passion, your heartbeat comes out on the page and I feel that passion for your subject of interest, too.

For instance, Kathi Macias has been posting about a homeless man who is tied in to her recent release. My heart cries for him as he looks for his family.

7) Put up great photographs

A friend of mine puts up great pictures of God's creation. My brother regularly posts pictures of his dinner. This might not be very interesting, except he is a chef and so his plates are very artistically arranged. Laura Frantz posts great pictures of historical costumes. This is a great way to promote your book if you think carefully about your pictures.

Laura has found a great historical niche. I love historicals and love glimpsing at pictures of beautiful dresses, imagining what your heroine might wear. We WANT to see the first glimpse of your cover. Especially if you are holding it and eating a sandwich like a certain Writer's Alley debut author. 

8) You don't have to be our best friend, but let us into your world for a minute. 

Whatever is unique to you, whatever only you can share...that's what we want to hear about. 

Do you sculpt bonsai? Are you a Disney vacation planner? Have you planned weddings in real life as well as in your books? Do your heroines ride horses and you own some? We WANT to know more...

I love those that can teach me something new about something I'm interested in...

How about you? What types of updates do you love reading? Any tips you use in composing your updates?

Julia enjoys writing women's fiction whenever she can find a chair free of smushed peanut butter sandwiches and lego blocks. She is a wife and homeschooling mama of two littles. She also is a reviewer for Library Journal, Title Trakk and Christian Library Journal.


Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Julia, this was a BRILLIANT post! Wow...what great advice for using FB/Twitter. I especially loved your point about promoting others more than yourself. I get so tired of seeing posts that are always self-promotion.

Thanks for all the tips...you rocked it!

Jill Weatherholt said...

Great tips, Julia! Facebook is a terrific place to spread the word about the accomplishments of others. Humility is a beautiful virtue.

Lindsay Harrel said...

Love this! I agree...it's all about balance. If I just think someone sees me as another number, another buyer, I'm not that interested in interacting with him/her. BUT, if they see me as a person, a reader, someone who has a brain and can interact and communicate, someone they want to have a relationship with (even if it's just acquaintance level), THAT makes me interested in that person. And THAT makes me want to read their book.

Case in point. I haven't read any of Laura Frantz's books yet, but I keep hearing wonderful things about her latest release. But I hear a lot of wonderful things about a lot of authors. But when Laura responded to my friend request on Facebook with the utmost warmth, and I knew she was genuine, I couldn't wait to support her and read her book.

Julia M. Reffner said...


Yeah, I get tired of those, too, but I think its good for me because it helps me to think about what I post.


Yes, it is. Humility is definitely something the Lord is working on in me, I need a lot of help in that area.

Julia M. Reffner said...


Yes! That's exactly what I want, too. To interact AND you do fantastic at this. You're actually someone I thought about when I wrote this post because I think you do a fantastic job of promoting others.

And oh, Laura Frantz is simply wonderful online. When I won her book she wrote the sweetest email to me and I've been an avid follower of her ever since. I haven't read every book she's written but I hope to.

Joanne Sher said...

Great post, Julia! I love the funny and personal posts - and folks who are so me-centered drive me crazy! LOVE promoting other writers and stuff - hope I follow most of this advice already - and will try to follow the rest ;)

Julia M. Reffner said...


Me, too. I totally think you do a great job of promoting others and I've seen a fair share of funny posts with your tag on them.

Stacey said...

Great post!! I loved your suggestions. Thanks, Julia!

Gabrielle Meyer said...

Love it, Julia!!! I'm sharing this one on Facebook. :) There is some really great advice in this post. When I stepped into Facebook I had no idea what I was getting into and I never imagined I would use it to help build my "tribe." You're coming into it with a great perspective and helpful information - way to go for joining!

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Love it, Jules!!