Sometimes I think the hardest part of my job is reaching out to readers. It's not the book writing -- I've finished 9 books and I'm sure that I've got plenty more in my future. It's not the editing -- I've learned a lot and I'm still excited to learn more. It's not the anxiety over releases, interviews, signings, coming up with new ideas, or anything else, which I feel it should be. It's reaching out to the readers and trying to keep everyone informed as to what is happening.
The best way to reach out to people used to be on Facebook. Everyone was on Facebook and if you could get people to "like" your page, then they were very likely to see your updates and click on links to blogs that had full details of your latest news. But then, Facebook went public and they ramped up their efforts squeeze out as much money as possible from people because they now answered to Wall Street. Trust me, I understand about bottom lines -- I'm running a business too by writing books. But I'm torn. If you sign up to "like" or "follow" a page, don't you expect to get the updates? That was why you liked them in the first place, right? But now, if you want your followers to actually see what you're posting, you have to pay.
The organic (or in other words Free) views are shrinking more and more. According to this article, it's going to shrink down to 1-2% of my followers are going to actually get my updates. So out of 2,300+ Likes on my Facebook page, only 23 - 46 people are going to actually see my post. That really seems to be unfair to the people who would like to know when I have a giveaway or a new book coming out.
Sure, I could pay for posts to reach followers, but as it stands, my marketing budget is tiny. At the moment, I'm spending 90% of my budget on mailing out books to winners of contests and I'm hoping to include more international contests this year, which means spending more money on international shipping. I was under the impression that readers like free books more than advertising.
If you can't tell, I'm frustrated. But what's worse, I'm not sure what to do next. By those numbers above, it looks like Facebook is a waste of time I could spend more productively elsewhere.
Until I come up with a better plan, I'm going to back off Facebook. If you'd like to reach me, I'm still going to be there, but if you really want updates on books, signings, and other such fun stuff, you can always find me here on my blog. I will attempt to increase my blogging habits, providing more snippets, news, sneak previews, and random stuff to keep you entertained.
And if you've got any suggestions.... I'm all ears.