Janalyn Voigt continues her series on Platform Building.
Interactions within Facebook take on an informal timbre and can provide a writer access to high-ranking members of the literary community, many of whom will accept a friend request without having first met you.
Facebook also provides an opportunity to connect with those on a similar plain in their literary careers. A writer can find, through social networking, a cohesive support group. If you post about a particular challenge or confess to feelings of discouragement, you’ll often be met with prayer and comfort. That’s a huge bonus.
You can also develop online relationships with those a little behind you in the writing journey. Nurturing an aspiring author of promise can be your way of giving back for those who helped you along the way.
If you blog, you can set your blog feed to post automatically to your Facebook profile through the Networked Blogs application. You can also feed your Facebook updates to your Twitter account. This is harder than it needs to be, but an easy workaround is through Twitter Feed. When you post to your blog, it will feed through automatically to both Facebook and Twitter.
There’s usually a slight delay before your blog post will update your Facebook account, and again before your feed will update Twitter, so it’s possible to send blog post notifications automatically to Twitter through FeedBurner.com, which posts right away, and another time through Twitter Feed, which has a delay.
Some writers keep their profile pages for friends and family and use a Facebook Page for all others. An advantage to this is that a Page doesn’t include an email account whereas a profile page does. People who want to contact you can still post to your wall on a Facebook Page (unless you block them), but it’s harder for spammers to reach you on a Page. Your profile page has a limit of 5,000 friends, but that limit doesn’t apply for a Facebook Page. (I’ll discuss the use of a Facebook Page in a later post.)
A disadvantage I find on Facebook Pages is that it’s harder to interact because you can’t see personal wall posts. This is Facebook’s protection from spamming, but does make it harder for you to connect with potential readers. For this reason, I interact with readers on my profile page and network with writers and reading groups through my Facebook Page.
Problems with Facebook include excessive invitations to join groups (and lately the ability for administrators to add you to groups without permission), pages and causes or to use Facebook applications. You can turn some of these off in your Facebook settings. I suggest you take a little time to familiarize yourself with the privacy settings account tab.
Despite its flaws, Facebook is a growing influence online and provides an author with many opportunities.
Whether you already have an account or want to start one, familiarize yourself with Facebook.
Do you have anything to add to my thoughts? How do you use Facebook?
Janalyn Voigt writes novel books.
DAWNSINGER, book one of her TALES OF FAERAVEN trilogy, will release with Port Yonder press in Autumn 2011.
Other publication credits include Focus on the Family, Scripture Press and Pentecostal Evangel. Janalyn is affiliated with ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and has been a NCWA member since 2008. Visit her website.