I know the title seems dramatic, but I’m feeling demonstrative today so stick with me.
It was ten years ago this summer that I stepped outside of my comfort zone and published my first novel. This led to a marketing baptism-by-fire. I did all the things new authors were supposed to do. I started a blog, which led to the creation of a website, I joined Goodreads, and I jumped into social media feet first.
The learning curve was vast and steep, but in those days, the time and sweat equity were well worth it because people actually saw what you posted.
And then came the algorithms, the scaling back of the organic reach, the pay-to-play boosts meant to nickel and dime the little guy.
Am I bitter? Just a little. I spent a lot of time building that audience. It’s not that I blame Facebook for wanting to get paid for advertising. If I’d built a hella site that had millions of businesses using it to connect with people I’d want my thumb in that pie too. But readers that have liked a page or joined a group expect to see it in their feed. And that’s the sticking point for me–hiding posts from the average joe feels manipulative. And wrong. Readers should get to view the content they’ve chosen to see. After all, they’re already swimming through ads they didn’t ask for. Surely, coming home from work and sifting through paid ads to find posts you want to see isn’t too much to ask, is it?
And according to Socialvert, it’s only going to get worse.
This article linked above is well worth the time, but here are my takeaways.
- As of June, your organic reach on the news you share will be 1%. One. Lousy. Percent.
- Stop boosting posts. They only go to people who are online at the time, not people who actually may be interested in your work.
- Creating one ad graphic with ten buy links will no longer work. You’ll need to make one for iBooks, one for Kindle, one for KOBO, etc. Tighter targeting, combined with more testing, is the key. It will no longer pay to create something and walk away. Analyze the data and the retest or revise to be effective for ROI success.
- Organic reach for giveaways or contest no longer exists. That means that all the fun stuff we used to do, takeovers and such, won’t work like it used to.
- Facebook has begun monitoring groups for content that violate their terms. If they remove something, they’ll notify you, but if it seems to be a recurring problem, they can shut down your group permanently. And once that’s done, there is no process to protest the decision to get the group reinstated.
- “Likes” are now the lowest form of engagement. Too many angry faces on a post can limit the post’s visibility. Shares are the number one way to show engagement, and GIF comments seem to be leading the charge as well.
Aaaaand, this is why I’m frustrated.
I am an army of one, and I only have twenty-four hours in a day. I choose to spend those hours writing, carving out time for the fam, running this blog and upkeep on the website, sifting through literally hundreds of emails, and maintaining the day job so I can continue doing all of the above. Any time I have left, I spend reading and trying to improve on self-care. I think I’ve turned on the television twice this year. I don’t have the time, love, luck, nor money to test, restest, recreate, and tweak Facebook ads, hoping to bring in new readers. Nor do I have the patience to spend an hour on a post and only have two people see it.
I’ve discovered my most significant investment in this crazy publishing adventure isn’t money–it’s time. And Facebook has been getting a ridiculous amount of it–with little to show for my investment. This past week I documented the time I spent on Facebook, scrolling through things to share, creating graphics to post, commenting, and interacting with others. The total time wasted was shameful, honestly, when compared to the few that actually saw the fruits of my labor come through their feed. And the engagement of those people–it wasn’t just dismal. It was a freaking joke.
I’ve had friends suggest hiring an assistant, but that won’t solve anything–unless I hire someone with a direct line to Facebook’s Algorithm God. Something has GOTSTA change. And it’s obvious Facebook could give a flying fig, so the change has to come from me.
I’ll still be posting weekly in The Isaacs Society, but I’m scaling way back on both my personal and the author page, and I’m playing with the idea of putting the Society videos on here instead. We’ll see.
Until then, we can meet up on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Goodreads, Bookbub, and, as always, here. And if you like the Amazon page, you’ll get the latest on new releases such as The Scythian Legacy Pre-sale (in 2020, so it won’t be for a while) and Edna’s novella, One Perfect Day, which should be out sometime this fall.
We may not get to interact in the same way we used to on Facebook, but at least with the newsletter, Amazon, and Bookbub, you get what you sign up for instead of some inordinate math program determining whether you see it or not.
After ten years, it’s disheartening to see what Facebook has become. But there’s no use in tilting at windmills. It is what it is. Now, the only thing left to do is figure out how best to move forward. And so, I’d love to know. Other than Facebook, what is your favorite way to interact with the authors that you love?
*sigh* I hear you, Elizabeth.
Another annoyance: My Facebook lists aren’t functioning either.
They’re a way to create tailor-made engagement directories. Mine haven’t worked for months, even after several reports to the FB gods. That means I can’t add or delete people/pages. So much for individuality.
Right? I gave up on lists sometime last year. I’ve decided I’m just going to keep doing my thing and hope that readers still talk to each other, face to face. Lol. I love my Mighty Society, and so I’m thinking of starting another site just for them. I don’t know. Still working on it. It goes back to that old marketing saying that says “adapt or become extinct.” I’ve come too far to only come this far, know what I mean?
I don’t like how Facebook has gotten away with so much invasion of privacy. The only reason why I use it is because authors wanted us readers to like their pages & join their groups.
I prefer emails, personally.
p.s. I’m following you on Bookbub & IG ^-^
It’s sad to see such an incredible platform become what it has. And I like email too! #greatmindsthinkalike
I wasn’t aware of all this. I’ve seen a few people write about it but I didn’t think it was this crazy.
I understand Facebook wants to create an environment that encourages engagement, but I think they are going about it the wrong way.
I don’t like Facebook, but if authors and businesses are not on it they have an unnecessary handicap.
This issue has gotten so bad, and I imagine it’s going to get worse! I’m in several reader groups, and this is something that comes up daily. The hiding of posts is so annoying and just wrong! To the point where I’ve starting seeing authors create posts that say “Comment if you can see this”. It’s just so ridiculous! Plus, I feel like I’m missing so much because of the way notifications are done now. You can change individual settings for each group/page, and yet you still don’t get to see everything. These days I pretty much use Facebook to support authors and that’s it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t use it at all. Great post! Thanks for sharing! ❤
Btw, I’m following you on Instagram, Bookbub, Twitter, Goodreads & Amazon!
*started seeing, not starting seeing…I got ahead of myself! Lol
I’m moving a lot of interactions off that platform, and I’ve been trying to be more present on Instagram, which isn’t much better. I am loving this new site, https://www.litsy.com, but I’m brand spanking new over there so I’m still on the learning curve, lol. I love that it centers around reading and books and it doesn’t allow algorithms or SEO to determine what you see. And thanks for following! It means more than you know. 🙂
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