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.


About Reynold Conger

Reynold Conger is a retired scientist, engineer and teacher. Now writing fiction. His books are CHASED ACROSS AUSTRALIA, MY KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR and REDUCING MEDICAL COSTS (AT THE COST OF HEALTH). He has also started a series of novelas called THE RICHARD TRACY SERIES. Residence: New Mexico, USA Hobbies: gardening, animals and running. website www.ReynoldConger.com
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