Welcome to the blog of author Tricia Goyer!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A What For? and How To...

take advantage of FACEBOOK as a writer!

Welcome guest blogger Jan Kern as she shares an interview with Jeanne Damoff about how to use social networking tools as a writer. (reposted from CAN)


It seems there's always something new to try or to learn with online promotion. We can't do it all, and we quickly discover that some of the offerings work better for our books than others. Generally I've found that blogging and networking profiles (MySpace, ShoutLife, Facebook) work very well and very naturally for promotion of the writing I do for teens and young adults. So I'm intrigued when I hear of others who are also using one of those modes--especially when they're doing something I haven't tried yet. Recently I interviewed Jeanne Damoff, and she shared how she uses Facebook as a part of her promotional repertoire. "Listen" in as she offers both an introduction and some advanced creative options . . .

Jeanne, you use Facebook as one of your preferred networking sites. What do you most like about using this site?

Facebook (FB) isn't the only social networking site online, but it's my personal favorite.

I first joined without a thought to professional connections, but rather to stalk my adult children. I knew their friends had posted hundreds of photos of them on FB, and--thanks to the tagging feature--I could access many of those shots from my kids’ profile pages (assuming they accepted my "friend" request, which of course they did.)

There must have been some brilliant minds behind the FB design, because I quickly (and almost effortlessly) reconnected with all sorts of people. A simple e-mail address search helped me find lots of acquaintances. Then, as I added friends, other people found me, because FB informed them I was there. You can also search for people by name or based on a city, high school, or college. I've caught up with folks from a variety of life categories—-some I’d lost contact with for years.

Better yet, I don't even have to stalk anyone. Facebook informs me when one of my "friends" uploads a new photo (or is tagged in one) or posts an update or has a birthday. And that's only the shallows of the FB ocean.

How does Facebook help you network as a writer?

Hundreds of Christian writers and quite a few editors and agents have FB profiles. When you add one writer friend, chances are you’ll run into some more. And FB even suggests “people you may know” based on mutual friendships. The Christian publishing industry network expands quickly and easily through FB’s user-friendly format.

FB is not a place to pitch your project, but--because of its ingenius design--it is a place where you can get a better “feel” for a person in some respects than you can on a websites or even a blog. And it’s a relaxed atmosphere where you can leave a friendly message on a favorite author or editor’s “wall” without feeling like a sycophant.

Do you use Facebook as a promotional and ministry tool? Tell us how you do that.

I have a cool story about that, and it just happened.

I'm about to release Parting the Waters, a book about how God brought beauty out of brokenness through our son Jacob’s near-drowning accident. I decided to create a public FB group announcing the release to all my "friends" and encouraging them to help spread the word by inviting others.

When someone joins my group, their "mini feed" announces it to all their friends. News spreads. As a result, some of Jacob's peers joined the group, and a young woman who was in his graduating class noticed it and checked out the page. She remembered how the whole community rallied around our family, and she also remembered praying for Jacob, even though she didn’t know him well.

As God would have it, this young woman just happens to be the producer of KSLA News 12, a major news network that reaches parts of Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana. She not only joined the FB group, last week she contacted me and is planning an extensive feature story including on-camera interviews with our family and others. She said the whole newsroom is excited about it, and she wants to do everything she can to help me promote the book.

Of course, I'm not guaranteeing if you start a FB group, a TV station is going to call and ask to do a show about you. But, hey. God can do whatever He wants with whatever is available. I didn't even know this contact existed until FB brought us together.

(to be continued next tomorrow)

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In the meantime, let's stir up a discussion. Feel free to share how you use Facebook or other networking sites for marketing (and ministry with your writing), or how you'd like to when you get your book published..

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