I took a hiatus from writing back in 2015, and upon my return, I quickly realized that the landscape had evolved significantly. Eager to rekindle my passion for writing, I decided to immerse myself in various author and reader Facebook groups, hoping they would provide valuable support for writers and help us connect with new readers. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case.
In today's interconnected world, social media platforms like Facebook offer numerous opportunities for authors to promote their books and connect with potential readers. Thousands of Facebook pages are dedicated to authors and readers, providing a platform to share, recommend, and discuss literary works. However, if you've ever been a part of these groups, you might have noticed a peculiar trend: an overwhelming majority of the members are authors marketing their books. The genuine readers, it seems, are few and far between.
Upon entering one of these Facebook pages, you're immediately greeted with post after post promoting various books. The cover arts, blurbs, and limited-time discounts fill up the feed. But as you scroll down, a pattern emerges. There’s an overwhelming number of promotions and an underwhelming number of interactions. Posts have little to no comments, and if they do, they are often from other authors showing support or reciprocating promotional efforts. It's like walking into a marketplace where everyone is a vendor and no one's a buyer.
With tens of thousands of members in some of these groups, one would expect a vibrant community of readers eager to discover their next favorite read. Instead, it's primarily authors, all hoping to catch the eye of the elusive reader.
This phenomenon raises an important question: Where are the readers? It's not that readers don't exist or aren't on Facebook. In fact, there are countless dedicated readers out there. However, they might be dissuaded by the avalanche of promotions in these groups, making it hard to find genuine recommendations or discussions about books. Instead of being a space for literary discourse, it feels more like a billboard where everyone's shouting and no one's listening.
For new authors, or in my case, returning authors, this might seem like a discouraging scenario. But understanding the landscape is crucial. While these groups can offer some visibility, relying solely on them for book promotions might not yield significant results. Authors need to diversify their promotional strategies, seeking platforms where genuine reader communities thrive. This could be reader-focused forums, book clubs, or platforms like Goodreads.
Furthermore, this highlights the importance of building one's own audience. Having a dedicated blog can be more effective in the long run than banking on crowded marketplaces where only sellers visit.
Facebook pages for authors and readers hold great potential. They can be spaces where authors find their most loyal readers, and readers discover under-the-radar books that resonate with them. For this to happen, there needs to be a shift in the dynamics. Moderators could perhaps limit the shameless book promotion posts to certain days while reserving other times for discussions – to encourage genuine interaction.
The current state of many Facebook pages for authors and readers underscores a broader challenge in the digital age: the difficulty of cutting through the noise. While it is easy to self-promote off social media, it leads to crowded spaces. For authors, understanding this landscape and strategizing accordingly is key. For the readers and book lovers, maybe it's time to reclaim these spaces, turning them back into the vibrant literary communities they have the potential to be.
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Community Hub: https://www.branchingplotbooks.com/members
Amazon Author’s Profile: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Arthur-Mills/author/B0041DNH3E