A Fool’s Errand on Facebook

Facebook is a powerful tool and potentially very useful, but it must be used correctly. Fools rush in where angels tread carefully and act only after carefully weighing the strategies. Facebook marketing is more than simply opening a Facebook account. Some authors get good publicity through Facebook campaigns while other authors waste a lot of time and energy with Facebook campaigns.

My first book was self published. The book they produced was excellent, but the marketing services they charged me for were inadequate. There is a significant difference between self publishing and being published by a small press. The small presses I have worked with since actually have a business interest in the success of my book. Small presses work in coordination with the author.

The company who helped me self publish my first book simply set me up on Facebook, Twitter and other social media services and built me a website. They did nothing more. The website was good, but after a year, that started charging a high maintenance fee, so I built my own website. At the time I knew nothing about social media. I spent a lot of time and energy blundering along on Facebook and other sites without selling many books or getting much publicity.

I was thrust onto Facebook with the promise that being on Facebook would help sell books. I soon found out that a fool on Facebook accomplishes little, and I was a fool.

The first problem is readership. At first, I had few friends on Facebook. Since it was a personal account, few people other than family and close personal friends saw my posts. One must expand one’s circle of friends for Facebook to have much effect. It is rumored that Facebook intends to limit posts on your Facebook page to 25 close friends. If this is true, this hamstrings efforts to use Facebook for publicity. Nevertheless, marketing requires you to greatly expand your circle of friends. After all, posts related to your book are not intended for your closest friends. They already know you have written a book. The people you want to reach are those people who do not know you well. The value of close friends is that some will repost the post about your book.

The second problem is dilution. Consider the number of friendly posts people put on Facebook. These include notices of what is happening in someone’s life, family occasions, greetings to friends. I think this is what Facebook initially expected people to post, and there are a lot of such posts. Then there are the opinion posts where someone is advancing his or her political views, religious views, a favorite band or some cause. These can be overwhelming. Then there are numerous “cute” posts of pictures, puzzles and, “You know you are a ___ if. . .” posts. With all these posts, the posts about your book will get lost on a page full of other posts. There is no harm in making posts about your book(s) and your promotional events on your personal Facebook page, but do not depend entirely on a personal page.

An alternative is to also have a page devoted to your book. Again you start with the number of people who actually see your page. Unless and until you build up your followers, few will see it. If you do not keep posting fresh material, few people will look for the page. I set up a page for my first book.

As I stared publishing more books, I set up more pages, each dedicated to another book. Now I was again faced by dilution. Currently I have let all of my pages dedicated to books lapse. I have just started a page, “Books by Reynold Conger” dedicated to my books and writing career. This will enable me to post material about me and all my books on a single page. I will be able to update and add posts more frequently with less work, but even this will have minimal effect until I build up followers. We will see how effective this approach is, but it promises more hits than either my personal page or a page for each book.

Using Facebook to promote your book is your task. You must do some work promoting your book, but it will be a waste of your time and energy unless you put some thought to strategy. Decide how much of your time and effort will go into your personal account and how much into dedicated. Put some thought to expanding your following. Set and maintain a schedule of fresh posts.

So far I have avoided discussing paid ads. That is a topic better left for another time. Even paid ads are of little value unless they are well written and used according to a well thought out plan.

~

Visit my webpage, ReynoldConger.com to learn more about the books I have written. If you order any of my physical books from my website, I will send you a signed copy.

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Love Your Political Enemies

Jim Crow laws have returned to New Jersey, but now it is not blacks who are refused service in restaurants, but rather Republicans. The president’s press secretary, Sarah Sanders, was asked to leave the dining room of the Red Hen Restaurant in rural Lexington, Virginia. To Sarah’s credit, she left quietly and without commotion after being asked to leave.

The world is aware that liberals in general and Democrat liberals in particular are so angry that Trump beat Hillary, they have been openly attacking Trump, and have been refusing to work with the Trump administration. In the 54 year I have been voting, I have seen a lot of voters disgruntled by election results. There is always close to half of the electorate who are unhappy at the results of any election. There are usually many who dislike the new president, but I have never seen so many people express blind hatred for a president. The hatred started before Trump even had the opportunity to take office, and many people I talk to can not say why they are angry.

Jesus tells us to love our enemies (Luke 6:27). This is good advice to all, even to those who reject Christianity, for hating someone harms the person who hates more than it harms the person who is hated. Psychologists and psychiatrists teach anger management as one way to reduce stress. I think it is fair to say that it is not good for your health to hate. The experts agree.

It would appear that this great outpouring of hate is all aimed at influencing voters in the mid-term elections. I hope the voters are smart enough to ignore the hate for Trump and instead vote on issues and candidate qualifications.

I find it ironic that only a few weeks ago liberals were criticizing Starbucks for calling the police to remove two men who appeared to be taking up counter space without placing an order. Now the owner of the Red Hen Restaurant thinks she is acting wonderfully by ejecting a member of the Trump administration from her restaurant.  The actions of the Starbucks manager were wrong, but at least the Starbucks employees thought they were acting in the interest of the company. In this case, the owner of the restaurant is only trying to make a statement about her hatred for Trump. This looks like a double standard to me.  It is possible the owner may also have been trying to make publicity against Trump.

Everyone seems to be getting publicity. There are those crowing about Sarah Sanders being kicked out of the restaurant and those criticising the action. It is interesting that members of both parties have criticized the owner’s action. I wonder if the owner of the restaurant will have the effect she intended.

Were I the owner of the Red Hen, I think I would have handled it differently. I would have let Sarah Sanders and her family enjoy the meal and then approach the table personally with the bill. I would have informed Sarah that the meal was on the house, but would she please convey to President Trump the feelings of the owner and employees of the Red Hen Restaurant. I would then have handed Sarah a short letter expressing a few of the most important grievances. Perhaps I would have collected as many employee signatures as I could. I think that would have had more impact.

We will never have complete agreement in our country, but we could work together as we work to keep the United States strong and civilized. We need to be kind and respectful to our political enemies, for in doing so, we will facilitate the type of cooperation we need to govern well. We may even keep a vast number of Americans more healthy just by eliminating unnecessary anger.

 

Reynold Conger is a retired scientist and teacher who writes in his retirement. Please take a moment to visit his website, http://www.ReynoldConger.com, for information about his books.

 

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Should Your Hero be Perfect?

I wrote Stoned for His FaithA Christian thriller about an American pastor who is stoned because Muslims do not like the book he wrote teaching Christians to witness to Muslims. This book is fiction.

A reviewer wrote some kind words about the plot and how well I had crafted the story, but then wrote the were disappointed that the hero, a Christian, had flaws in his character. The reviewer lowered their rating on the book of these flaws. Apparently the reviewer expected a Christian hero to be perfect or near perfect.

My hero showed his humanity by being tempted and having been tempted in the past. Everyone is tempted. Should I be using a different standard for Christians than for anyone else? Obviously not. Literature should not contain double standards.

I would be hard pressed to create any character, Christian or non-Christian who is perfect the way the reviewer wants. Even if I did create such a character, it the book would be terrible. Even Superman has a weakness, kriptonite. Writing teachers instruct us to create conflict in our stories. Look how often Superman has to deal with exposure to kriponite. Flaws and weaknesses in characters, and in the hero in particular, help set up conflict. Plots are established, in part, by how or characters respond to conflict. In most stories, the hero overcomes the conflict. Perhaps they are strong enough to win the conflict, but more often, the hero changed during the story to be better prepared to meet the conflict. In tragedies, the hero goes down in flames. The reader mourns their demise but cheers at the limited successes they have achieved in striving for their nobel cause. Even the heroes of tragic stories generally show some change.

As it turns out, every good hero has weaknesses and character flaws.  What makes a book into a great book is how the characters each face life in spite of these weaknesses and flaws.

A flawed hero or heroine also gives the author the opportunity to let the hero grow or mature into a less flawed individual. Most readers are thrilled, at the end of the book, to see a hero or heroine who is even better than at first.

Do not be afraid to write a hero or heroine who has imperfections. That makes him or her better. In fact, I often try to build imperfections into my heroes and heroines.

In a week or two, I will write the post: Should Villains be Bad to the Bone?

 

 

Reynold Conger is the author of fiction written from a Christian point of view. Please visit his website, ReynoldConger.com.

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A Memorial Day Meditation

This weekend, people are honoring those men and women who gave their lives to protect the United States, and in doing so, they were giving their all to insure that our freedom will continue.

Among other things, people are marking graves with flags, laying wreaths, firing volleys, playing taps and giving speeches all in honor of these dead patriots.

Bugle calls and speeches are a lot of hot air. Volleys of gunfire are a form of honor, but they are simply loud noises. Flags and wreaths are more durable, but in comparison to what the veterans give, flags and wreaths are pretty cheap honor.

A more fitting honor would be to live our lives in ways that bring greatness and honor to the United States of America:

Respect all religions. In this way, we strengthen our religious freedom.

Allow everyone to speak even when we do not agree. In this way we strengthen our freedom of speech.

Vote intelligently. Educate yourself and vote for the candidates who you think will best serve the country. In this way we strengthen our country.

Respect our elected officers even when we disagree with them and even if we did not vote for them. Even if you do not like a government official, respect the office he or she holds, for in doing so you help the government to run smoothly.

Obey laws, even if you think they are stupid for we are a country with laws enacted by representatives of the people who serve their constituents by enacting laws that are intended to bring peace and tranquility to all.

Use you skills and intelligence to build and strengthen your life, your community, your state and your nation.

A college classmate, 2nd Lt. George Stivers (Army) lies in a grave, and the remains of a high school classmate, Captain Paul Gee (Marine pilot) are scattered on the ocean floor off of Danang. Neither is aware of what we are doing, but I know that they would be pleased if they could know that all Americans made good use of the rights and privileges they died to preserve.

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Happy Birthday to Me

I know it is a little weird to wish oneself a happy birthday, but I have some readers who desire to know more about me. I will use this as an excuse to inform you.

Today, I am 75. I was born in 1943, at the height of World War II. My folks lived in the Rogers Park neighborhood on the north edge of Chicago. Thus St. Frances Hospital in Evanston, Illinois was the closest hospital. When my father returned home from the hospital after my arrival, he found a letter in the mail box from the president. It was his draft notice. GI’s joked about their draft notices being letters from the president because each letter started, “Greetings from the President of the United States: You are hereby requested and required to report to. . .”

My mother liked men in uniform so she made a uniform for me. There is a photo dated late in 1945 of me in my uniform holding my father’s hand. We both are wearing identical uniforms with sergeant’s stripes on our sleeves.

I grew up in Wisconsin in the post war years of the 1950s and graduated from high school in 1961. College and graduate school followed that qualified me to work as a scientist and engineer in the paper industry. I ended my career as a consultant to the paper industry. Then I taught high school math and science in New Mexico.

Our two children have left home for careers of their own, but my wife of 51 years and I live on a one acre lot on the edge of the high desert. At an altitude of 5000 feet, the climate is comfortable. It doesn’t get too cold in the winter nor unbearably hot in the summer. The humidity in the summer seldom exceeds 10% increasing the comfort. We maintain our health through gym work and aerobic exercise. My wife walks. My exercise passion is running. We maintain flower and vegetable gardens, keep bees, and are active in our church.

While I was traveling the world on consulting assignments, I began writing fiction to entertain myself. This became a hobby that turned into a retirement career.

I hope to stay physically active for a good long time, and I hope to continue my writing both for my enjoyment and for your entertainment.

Look at my website, http://www.ReynoldConger.com, to learn about the books I have published. There is a page called,”In the Works” on which I make comments about the stories I am working on. I also have a “Bee Page” with pictures of bees and short paragraphs about my bees. Again, this is for my enjoyment and for your entertainment.

Visit the website soon. If you have questions or comments, there is a “Contact Page” you may use to contact me.

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Meet Biker Mike

I would like to introduce you to Mike Barlow, also known as Biker Mike. He is a new character in the Richard Tracy series. Mike is known as Biker Mike because he fits the stereotype of a biker. He stands 6’8” tall and is all muscle. He used to be the leader of a motorcycle gang.

Slightly more than twenty years ago, Richard Tracy was a detective. He is now retired, but he carries a Glock in case he meets one of many criminals who he put behind bars. Mike is one of those men. Richard found the evidence to take him to trial. Mike tried to threaten Richard to keep him from testifying. After his conviction, Mike yelled threats at Richard. Richard would rather never see Mike Barlow again.

Richard Tracy lives with his second wife in New Mexico retirement house. They would like to spend their golden years gardening together, but trouble keep finding them. The first three books in the series tell the reader about the problems they encounter.

Richard doesn’t know it, but he is about to come face to face with Biker Mike Barlow in book 4 of the Richard Tracy series, Biker Mike’s Crochet Shop. Can you imagine a man Biker Mike’s size teaching crochet classes?

The first draft of Biker Mike’s Crochet Shop is in the hands of my editor. It will take some time to revise the document to take into consideration her suggestions. I expect to have Biker Mike’s Crochet Shop released as an e-book in June.

Please feel free to visit my website, www.ReynoldConger.com to learn more about my books. I am the author of four novels written from a Christian point of view. I have also written a series of detective novels called the Richard Tracy Series. Biker Mike’s Crochet Shop will be number 4 in the series. Copies of my books are sold at a discount at my website book store. All books sold by me are autographed.

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4 Star Review

Pardon me for being delinquent, but I have been very  busy. I should have let everyone know when my latest novel came out. Stoned for His Faith has been published by Covenant books is now out on the market. Of course you can order a copy from my website, ReynoldConger.com, or from any on-line marketer. If you happen to be a brick and mortar bookstore, the book is distributed by Ingram.

Stoned for His Faith is a Christian thriller with danger, action, courage, faith and forgiveness. The plot is about a US pastor who writes a book that teaches Christians how to witness to Muslims. Of course a mullah is offend and leads a team to stone the pastor. His church members respond to the attack with love and forgiveness. Probably you need read what is said in the news media or read about the book on my website.

Perhaps what is most exciting is that I submitted my book to On Line Book Club. One of their reviewers read the book and gave it a 4 star review (4 out of 4 stars). I will paste that in below.

Official Review: Stoned for His Faith by Reynold Conger

by Rosemary Wright

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of “Stoned for His Faith” by Reynold Conger.]

Book Cover


4 out of 4 stars


Stoned for His Faith by Reynold Conger is a fiction with a tale about Randy Koenig, a pastor and an author. Pastor Koenig just retired from being the minister of Good News Baptist Church in New Mexico. Recently, he released a book that unveils how a Christian can witness for Christ to a Muslim effectively. Due to his compassion toward people, he relocates to Wounded Buffalo Indian Reservation in North Dakota to ride the circuit in order to revive six Baptist churches in the area. Before now, the followers of Jesus Christ in the land were like sheep without a shepherd.

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, Janet, a college student, has been reading Koenig’s book, and she is using the methods she got from the text to preach the Gospel to her friend, Amna, a Pakistani Muslim girl. Unfortunately, one day, Janet forgets the book in her friend’s car, and Amna’s father sees it, gets furious, and strikes her. With fear, Amna runs away from home. Her father reports the incident to a mullah, who considers the book as blasphemous and therefore employs an Islamic team consisting of a former intelligence officer to track down Koenig so that they can suppress the publication. Can Koenig elude this seeming righteous indignation of these overzealous men?

Written from a Christian perspective, this crime thriller is captivating and entertaining. The plot is simple, easy to read, and fast paced. As I started reading, I got caught up in the tale right off. The makeup gets a reader hypnotized and wondering how it will end. At one time, I thought I was reading a nonfiction because the author’s description of places and events seemed so real. The characters are well developed and relatable. Actually, they depict strength and courage. In a fascinating manner, Reynold provided enough details for each persona to balance the story. Pastor Koenig the focal character is calm, interesting, and has a very pleasant personality.

In a concise way, this work explains the nature of Christianity. Exploring the themes of the outcomes of faith, bravery, love, true and chaste friendships, it provides adequate lessons to keep someone on the right path all his life. Interestingly, it teaches how to see things from a moral perspective without being judgmental. A reader can easily grasp some simple and reliable methods to win more souls into the Christendom from it. Being a believer, this narration has strengthened my faith, and I have learned some new things that will be useful to me for the rest of my life. Surely, I’ll read it again. It’s important for me to add that some non-believers may not like to read this narrative. Furthermore, this novel proves that God answers prayers and protects those who call upon Him. Likewise, it encourages the followers of Jesus Christ to learn to forgive and lend a helping hand to others even non-Christians.

Although the narrative comprises several characters, the author was able to connect them efficaciously. Really, the only challenge I faced was having to concentrate more at the beginning to ensure I followed every character accordingly. Frankly, I’ve not read a novel like this one for a long while. Unexpectedly, I let out a cheer when I was reading a scene exhibiting a rescue operation by some Sioux teenagers. It made me concur that “no Sioux is a coward.” That’s a slogan from the book. I’m delighted that Reynold based the story on the Native American culture and setting.

Lastly, this fiction is intriguing, engaging, informative, and inspiring. In addition, it’s professionally edited and thus I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. With much pleasure, I recommend it for lovers of crime thrillers, Christians, and non-Christians.

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