Blogging for Authors: How to Turn Hesitant Book Authors into Enthusiastic Bloggers [EP 31 The Blog Chronicles]
Even Stephen King has a blog.
That’s why this episode of The Blog Chronicles is all about blogging for authors.
If he blogs, perhaps every author should blog? Or at least consider it.
Many authors have found that blogging and book writing go well together, like peanut butter and jelly.
You just have to know how to spread them both onto the sandwich of your busy life.
If you are an author and are thinking about starting a blog or you want to get better at using your blog to build an audience, then stick around.
Today’s podcast guest is both an author and a blogger AND has a coaching consultancy that helps authors blog and helps bloggers become authors.
Let’s get our chronicle on with Barb Drozdowich.
Here are some specific things you will discover in this interview…
–How Barb helps authors become bloggers
–Why she has two separate blogs related to books
–How blogging has changed her life
–Her response to any author who says “I don’t have time to blog.”
–Why she is a big fan of WordPress
–The importance of your book being reviewed on other blogs
–Why Goodreads should be utilized
–The best social media platforms for authors
–What the future of the author/blogger marriage will look like
If you have any questions or comments for Barry, leave them in the comments! I’ll make sure he gets them.
Enjoy!How to Turn Hesitant Authors into Enthusiastic Bloggers
Barb Drozdowich Interview Transcript
( For those who like to read.)
Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught in colleges, universities and in the banking industry. More recently, she brings her 15+ years of teaching experience and a deep love of books to help authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world.
Barb owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books, where she talks about Romance – mostly Regency.
Barb is the author of 6 books and over 20 YouTube videos, all focused on helping authors and bloggers.
Barb lives in the mountains of British Columbia with her family.
Matthew Loomis: Hi Barb.
Welcome to the Show!
Barb Drozdowich: Hi Matt.
Matthew Loomis: It’s great to talk with you today.
First of all, you run a couple of blogs.
One is at Bakerview Consulting DotCom and the other is at Sugarbeat’s Books Dot Com.
Barb Drozdowich: That’s correct.
What Is the Purpose of Your Website Bakerview Consulting?
Matthew Loomis: I’d like to start with Bakerview Consulting.
Can you share with us what this website is all about?
Barb Drozdowich: Absolutely.
I started Bakerview consulting Dot Com as a way of trying to give a label to the work that I was doing mostly with authors.
Since when I look out of the window of my office, I see Mount Baker.
It seemed to be the obvious choice although in hindsight it really doesn’t have anything to do with what I do on the blog. It’s one of those examples of ”do as I say, not as I do.”
Often I hear people say ”well, the name of your blog doesn’t make any sense?” ”Yeah yeah, I know, I know.”
What I post on my blog, for the most part, are technical hints. I come from a background of teaching science and technology. What I do really well is that I take complicated things and I break them down into little bits and pieces.
Matthew Loomis: There’s something to be said for that.
Barb Drozdowich: I think there is a certain percentage of the population that is innately technical.
They can just look at something and figure it out.
A prime example of that these days is the kids. You hand them an iPad and they go and they figure it out.
A lot of the people who I work with are older. They didn’t grow up using technology. There’s a certain amount of apprehension involved and a certain amount of fear that they’re going to break something.
Often what I do is I either break things down in words or I create little YouTube videos that literally say ”see over here, click on the blue button.” And then we’re going to go down to the left on the bottom. We’re going to look for this word right here and I’m hovering over it.
That instruction seems to work really well with my audience. It takes the fear away and it takes the apprehension away.
I like totally removing the technical words if at all possible I’ll say ”look for the blue thingy.” It removes the barriers in some cases. Generally speaking what I post on my blog in response to questions that come individually or in some cases a body of concern.
I look at that in my day-to-day dealings with authors. It’s something that’s come up. For example, the latest concern seems to be whether or not to use pop ups on a blog?
There are all kinds of misinformation out there. People don’t understand what Google is trying to do, the rules that they are trying to put in place.
What I try to do is just take Google’s rules and put them into common language and say ”you can do this, you can’t do this.” And use these tips.
Does Bakerview Consulting Focus Mainly on Authors?
Matthew Loomis: Your website strictly targets authors is that right?
Barb Drozdowich: To a certain extent bloggers.
I started blogging as a book blogger.
I actually started blogging back when I had little kids in the house. They weren’t very intellectually stimulating. They were cute as heck but not very intellectually stimulating.
I was at home and somebody said to me ”you should start a blog you’re fairly technical it would be easy.”
Not so easy necessarily. Probably easier for me than for other people.
But I started ultimately as a book blogger.
I tried food blogging for a while and then ran out of content. It’s one of those examples of think in advance what you’re going to start blogging about before you start or you’ll run out of content because I did.
When I moved towards book blogging I never ran out of content because I’m a voracious reader.
Your Niche is to Help Authors Get Established Online While They Write Their Books. Right?
Matthew Loomis: We’ll get into your passion for books in a moment.
At Bakerview Consulting you’re a consultant for authors.
Meaning that you help authors create an online platform and then you also help them maintain it afterward. You do the technical work for them while they write their books and do their thing.
Is that how you would describe your service?
Barb Drozdowich: Absolutely.
I tend to work a lot with authors.
In some cases bloggers. In most cases, people who are either starting blogging aren’t quite technical or this is a hobby and they’re just going to YouTube it to death to figure out the things that they don’t understand.
Because they don’t have a big budget.
The authors can work in help as part of their business expenses on their taxes. It’s a little bit of a different situation with them.
I also like explaining things in a way that could be understood but also in a way that is directly applicable to a niche group of people. (I often tend to refer to authors as a niche group.)
Many people design websites and they design websites for a generalized audience. Perhaps an audience that purchased something online. Perhaps an audience that needs to be informed about various pieces of information.
Or an audience that you’re communicating with through blogging.
An author has a number of different needs for a website.
Hopefully, they need to blog. I’m sure that you will agree with that as well as I do. It’s a great way to communicate with an audience.
They also need things like by links and connections to Goodreads.
Connections to Bloglovin’perhaps.
Some of these things really don’t exist in the small business world.
So if you have someone who is creating websites for an average audience or a basic audience? They truly don’t understand the needs of authors.
I create some websites but sometimes what I often end up doing is taking what has been created and making it more applicable for readers that come to a site.
So I make it more applicable to the needs of authors.
The other thing that I found out really earlier on is that I really come from a background of teaching and I think that I can teach anybody anything especially in terms of the technology.
The reality is that authors get lost in writing and they get lost in editing and they forget that they have a website.
Then I’ll get this phone call ”Barb my website doesn’t seem to be working anymore.”
And then I find that it’s been hacked or it’s been left to go completely out of date and nothing has been updated in two years. You can fill in whatever scenario that I’m sure you’ve seen.
What I started doing is deciding to offer a fairly cheap rate for the fact that I would babysit the account.
I go in and I update the plugins and I monitor it and I make sure that to the best of my ability that nothing bad is happening and I make some minor changes.
What that allows me to do is not have to make that phone call that says, ”oh and by the way you’ve been hacked!” Because that is awful.
For What Reason Did You Create Sugarbeat’s Books’ Website?
Matthew Loomis: Right. Oh yeah definitely.
Let’s now talk about Sugarbeat’s Books.
How does this fit into the grand picture of your blogging strategy here what is the purpose of this website?
Barb Drozdowich: The purpose of this website is to share my love of romance novels with other readers.
It was probably my main starting point back let’s say, 2010 was when I was really busy starting that up.
I learned how to blog and I learned how to manage a website and to do a lot of the technical stuff that I do. I took courses certainly during the early part of the time and I also learned how to network a blog.
That’s one of the things that seems to be missing to a large degree. Bloggers that are starting out, now I hear a lot of complaints of ”oh there are a lot of blogs out there so there are not the same audience available to read my blog.”
A lot of the networking capabilities that I learned really earlier on things like doing group activities like Follow Fridays and like Wordless Wednesdays and joining Blog Hoff’s a lot of that served me in good stead. Honestly, it taught me a lot of things.
It taught me how to find other people on the internet that had similar interests. It taught me to increase the readership of a site.
Honestly, it helped me find friends from all over the world that read the same books that I do.
It’s quite exciting!
Is Sugarbeat’s Books Dot Com a Lucrative Online Business or Just a Pastime Thing?
Matthew Loomis: Definitely.
Sugarbeat’s Books, would you say that’s for fun or is there any monetization involved?
Barb Drozdowich: There are Amazon Affiliate links on that site.
But to that extent, it is a hobby.
How Has Your Blogging Story Impacted On Your Life?
Matthew Loomis: So it’s just a hobby?
You’ve seen both sides.
You’ve seen that business side of blogging and you’ve seen the fun side of blogging or the hobby side of blogging.
Barb, how has your blogging journey changed your life?
It has hugely changed my life!
When I started blogging as a book blogger or as a hobby blogger? Honestly, it never occurred to me that somebody would read what I was writing.
It’s sounds kind of odd that I would put something on the internet that I didn’t really think anyone would read.
I was sitting in a house full of young children, my husband doesn’t read romance novels and he tends to roll his eyes when I discuss something that’s right for me.
It was my way of expressing my thoughts about the books that I was reading.
When I got the first comment on my blog from somebody in the Philippines.
It just blew my mind. It was like ”WOW, how did they find me?”
Obviously, that question was answered over time with the better understanding of networking and interactivity and Google Searching and all of these various things.
It just amazed me that people from different parts of the world read the same books that I did.
With Amazon and the ability to buy books on phones through iTunes through all different sorts of sources. People from all over the world read the same books.
I have been chatting with and communicating on social media with people from many different countries that all read the same books that I do. But, there is really nobody in my immediate life that has any interest in that.
It provides… (I want to say an intellectual opportunity) and an intellectual opportunity is not necessarily discussing romance novels.
It’s discussing the interactivity of the world that’s what real.
I find it interesting how different people from different cultures will react to the same book.
Matthew Loomis: That is fascinating.
People out there all over the world are not just reading books in general.
They are also reading your books you are an author too.
Barb Drozdowich: Yes. I hope so 🙂
How Many Books Have You Written to Date?
Matthew Loomis: You have ten books, right or is there more?
Barb Drozdowich: Well, it all depends on how you count them.
I have created some box sets and I’ve got one that is being loaded up onto Amazon today.
Essentially what I have done is taken the work that I do with authors and honestly, the information that I learned from bloggers and from blogging for years and put it into book form.
Every time I write a book the comment is often ”I’m not doing this again.” ”This is it this is the last book!”
I’m not doing another one.” And then a topic will come up that a lot of people are puzzled about and I’m not happy with the material that’s in there for example, and so I decide that I can do a better job.
Or I can look at the topic differently perhaps and then another book is started.
So I’m liking to say that book that’s being uploaded today is the last one, but I don’t know if that’s a true statement I might just literally have to eat my words.
Matthew Loomis: Sounds like to me? Probably not 🙂
Barb Drozdowich: Yeah. Probably not 🙂
I find that a lot of the content that’s out there especially within the subject matter of blogging of an author’s online platform of marketing books.
Is either written for people who are very technical to start with or are looking at the subject matter from the point of view of a writer and not a technical point of view.
So often I’ll look at something and say ”okay, you missed the core point here.”
A prime example is the last book that went live which is on Goodreads. I have a lot of people who say ”Goodreads is full of trolls so I’m not going to pay any attention to it.”
There are 50 million accounts or 50 million readers on Goodreads and are there nasty people? Absolutely! But there are also nasty people on Boxing Day or Black Friday in Walmart but we still shop there.
Matthew Loomis: Right.
Barb Drozdowich: So if we have coping mechanisms we need to get beyond the ”somebody was mean to me so I’m walking away.”
That sort of painting with broad stripes.
Therefore I decided to write a book on Goodreads and try to explain why it’s really important to authors and why you just turn a blind eye to the nasty people.
Because nasty people are everywhere you just need to find a way of coping with them.
Not that that makes them any nicer but you do need to find a way of dealing with the rude people.
Matthew Loomis: Right. The mean people.
Barb Drozdowich: The mean girls in high school turn into mean girls in life.
Matthew Loomis: Exactly.
That’s so true, they’re everywhere.
They’re at the gas station and they’re on the street…
It sounds like that is part of your coaching process with authors is to help them get past that fear of TROLLS?
Barb Drozdowich: Yeah.
Get past that fear of trolls.
I like to say that I look at things in a big picture view as opposed to a narrow picture view or a small picture view.
I’ll take a subject and look at it in more of a holistic view as opposed to one individual item. As an example looking at somebody’s social media platform.
I’ll hear people say ”oh but you need a Twitter account and that’s all you need.” Well, that’s being rather narrow in your view.
Does Google index Twitter? Well, there are changes coming on that field. But if you’re looking to show up on a Google search and your only platform is Twitter?
You’re leaving out a whole section of the internet that Google can search and find information on you.
I try to look at things in more of a bigger picture.
What is an author platform? Well, it is a whole bunch of things. A lot of those are dependant on the genre that they write.
For example, I wouldn’t focus on Facebook if I was writing YA literature because as my thirteen-year-old tells me Facebook is for fuddy-duddies.
We don’t spend any time on it.
We want to communicate with our audiences, right?
Matthew Loomis: Right. I hear that’s the case.
You said you daughter is thirteen?
Barb Drozdowich: Yeah.
Matthew Loomis: Teenagers don’t spend my time on Facebook.
Barb Drozdowich: No.
What Was the Motivation Behind Helping Authors Find Their Passion for Writing and Blogging?
Matthew Loomis: Your daughter confirms that.
We’ll get into Goodreads and social media in a moment.
Barb, you’re a blogger and you’re also an author you have lots of books on Amazon.
Why are you so passionate about the importance of combining the two together? (I mean we have already gotten some of the answers to that.) You have this core business to help authors become bloggers and perhaps you also help bloggers become authors. (I’m not sure of that.)
But you’re definitely an evangelist for the gospel of book bloggers.
Did you get into this niche because you saw a need and simply wanted to fill the need or does your interest go beyond business?
Barb Drozdowich: I think the answer is twofold.
I think I honestly stumbled upon it.
I did a lot of helping of fellow bloggers earlier on and I was able to pick up on some things faster because of my background.
I spent seven years as a technical trainer in a corporate environment. I had to quickly break down using computer programs and various other technology that was needed so I could have applied that knowledge to blogging and make comparisons.
When people ran into problems often either I had an answer or I had the direction that they needed to go to find the answer.
So it did a whole bunch of this at the beginning when I was still having a hobby, right? It never really occurred to me that this would make any money or that I would make a living doing this.
This was fun and it was filling time giving me adult time away from kids. I was not working outside of the home when I had young kids.
It never occurred to me to move further.
The more I did the more I came into contact with people. Who asked me for help that I did various things for. Or I explained various things too. It just kind of moved in that direction.
I just kept on with it because the more I did that the more I realized that technology was often a stumbling point. To books being created. To books being found. To books being marketed properly.
As a reader, it was really important to me to help authors understand what they didn’t understand. Or help them do things so that they would write faster.
From a purely selfless point of view, is like ”well if I can do this for you then you can spend more time writing and I have more books to read.”
That, to a large degree is what started a lot of this… that I would hear authors say ”you know I spent the last three days how to figure out how to put a follow widget on the sidebar of my blog.” I’m like ”really, three days?” Well, I can do that for you let me do that for you and you go back to writing.” Or ”go back to editing you know whatever it is.”
That is my comfort zone but not necessarily many creative people’s comfort zone.
I can do something in five minutes or ten minutes that somebody else spends an hour trying to YouTube their way through or a day trying to figure it out.
That’s essentially how it started.
That is how it goes on now. I often have a phone call saying ”well, you used to help so and so and I need somebody that can just do things to my blog because I don’t have the inclination.” I don’t care, I don’t want to take the time…”
Whatever the reason is I have a whole bunch of authors that blog on a regular basis but they don’t actually touch their blog. I get a word document and I create a post and I optimise it and find a picture that works and I bill them for my time.
They are perfectly happy with that because all they want to do is write and so they get to write, right?
Do You Normally Create Content for Your Clients While Maintaining Their Blog?
Matthew Loomis: Did you say you create the content too?
Barb Drozdowich: No.
I try to avoid creating content.
I will create content for some things but I strongly believe that a blog post needs to be in an author’s voice. It needs to be a connection point between an author and their audience.
Just like a blogger and their audience.
That’s what it needs to be.
I can’t reproduce somebody’s voice.
I can create the content and what I have done in the past is create a certain amount of content and then send a document back and say ”okay, make it your voice, make it sound like you.”
And then I post that.
I am conscious of the fact that I am not ultimately a ghostwriter. I’m more of a technician than I am a writer, let’s say.
How Do You Deal with Authors That Don’t Have Time to Juggle Blogging and Writing Their Books?
Matthew Loomis: Well, Barb.
What do you say to authors that say they don’t have time to blog and do their book writing?
Barb Drozdowich: I say they have to find the time.
In today’s society publishing, be that big publishing houses or small publishing houses, simply don’t have the marketing budgets that they used to.
Authors starting out now have to have a way of communicating with their readers. That communication takes whatever form they are most comfortable with.
But if they’re looking to selling books to a worldwide audience they can’t be getting on a plane all the time.
They can’t literally do this in person. They need to find a way to communicate with their readers to share information about themselves to find interested people who will help them spread the word about their books.
The most efficient way is electronically is through a blog or social media.
These days if all you do is write a book and publish it? Nobody’s going to find you, I’m sure there is a small chance that you’re going to be found amongst the millions of books on Amazon.
Realistically speaking continuing to write books and publish them and not do anything to communicate with an audience is kind of like beating your head against a wall.
The thing is these days readers are very immediate so I certainly know that when I get to the end of a book that I’ve discovered through whatever methods. The very first thing that I want is what else did they write?
So I go looking for a website. I want to find a backlist. I want to find more hopefully enjoyable books like I’ve just finished reading.
And I want to read more.
The author that does not have a presence on the internet is losing out on a huge audience.
Because people will look for more of their work, let’s say.
Matthew Loomis: Right.
I think even Stephen King has a blog. Right?
Barb Drozdowich: Yeah. Exactly
Why Do You Propose That WordPress Be the Best Platform For a Blog?
Matthew Loomis: Barb, you’re a big fan of WordPress.
You teach people how to use WordPress.
Why do you recommend WordPress as the blog of choice?
Barb Drozdowich: There are a number of reasons why I recommend WordPress.
The first thing is I always tend to do research.
And find out where the people who are way smarter than I go. When I first started out honestly, I was on Typepad. Typepad was very quickly moved to WordPress Dot Com then very quickly to WordPress Dot Org as I started my research.
I started looking into what platform the big businesses use for their platform. I found out that the vast majority of them have some form of WordPress Dot Org or self-hosted WordPress as their basis.
It may be highly customised, but that’s what they use as their basis. So if people with a lot more education than me and a lot more money than me choose that, there are reasons that they choose that.
And so I’m not going to re-invent the wheel and try to find something that is equal because likely there isn’t. Right? They’ve already done the work for me.
The second reason is that I don’t react all that well to rules. So if somebody tells me that I can’t do something then I immediately start to try to find a way to do it.
So the rules on other platforms I find restrictive.
I don’t like the fact for example on Blogger you’re dependent on blogger for your hosting. So if Blogger goes down, your blog goes dark and there is nothing you can do about it.
I guess you can get angry but there is nothing you can do about it. You can’t move to somewhere else that has better service.
With WordPress Dot Org. You can simply pack your suitcase and move to a different hosting company and I have when I have not been happy with service. There are quite a few different choices out there that allow me the freedom to have a choice.
I’m not dependent on somebody else’s choices or somebody else’s company providing me with a product that I have to be happy with where I can get a better response, let’say.
Does that make sense?
Where Can the Audience Find Your Online Training for WordPress Dot Org?
Matthew Loomis: Absolutely.
You Can Move Your Blog From Blogger to WordPress Dot Org
(The links are in The Show Notes)
And You Can Move Your WordPress Dot Org to a New Domain.
You offer online training for WordPress. Where can people find that?
Barb Drozdowich: There is a whole bunch of training that I offer at various different levels.
What I try to do is deal with people with different budgets.
I originally started out by putting together a YouTube Video. They are short videos that I uploaded to YouTube that have no cost associated with them.
Anybody can access them.
Then I put together a WordPress online course. What I was trying to do with that course was to go from the beginning to the end and do things in chunks so that you could stop and start. Or you could avoid sections that you weren’t interested in learning about.
I link to that course on my website Bakerview Consulting Dot Com.
It’s actually hosted on Udemy Dot Com so you can go to Udemy and search for WordPress course. I think it’s titled WordPress for Beginners 2016. (I need to clearly update that date on there.)
That allowed me to create something directed at authors which didn’t exist more directed at bloggers too and something of a basic level.
I then created an online Goodreads course that was on the Teachable platform that’s sort of the direction that I’m going from this direction on. If I redo the WordPress course I’ll probably use the Teachable platform. It’s a little bit easy to manipulate. Anyways that’s what it is now.
The Goodreads course is also free and the link to that is on my website as well.
Matthew Loomis: Okay.
I will be linking to all of these things in The Show Notes as well.
Barb, you are also a social media consultant and I want to pivot to that a little bit. I want to spend a little more time on social media.
Let’s Talk About Goodreads.
Matthew Loomis: I started using Goodreads last year just as a place to set my reading goals.
I love books myself so the community was attractive to me and I find it to be a fun place.
How important is the Goodreads platform for a published author?
Barb Drozdowich: I think it’s really important.
There are all sorts of different social medias that authors can create a platform for and communicate on a network in their network via.
What makes Goodreads different is the sheer number of account holders or readers. We were making the assumption that everyone on Goodreads is a reader even authors you don’t have ”others.”
So on Facebook, I’m sure that there are a lot of people who read. But there are a lot of people who don’t read also. So I think that we make the assumption that everybody reads or everybody’s interested in books.
They are from every country theoretically in the world. They read every genre that is out there and they all love books. They all want to communicate about books.
Good reads allow you to create an account as a reader and then when you publish a book they give you special powers. So you have the ability to add all kinds of information about your book.
They also allow you to accrue friends and followers as well as. As an author, you get to add followers to the mix. Those are ways or people that you can network from. That you can communicate to and share an interest with.
They have groups that you can join of every topic known to mankind almost. Not every topic is book-related some of them are societal concerns there. There are geographical groups there. There are book clubs.
There are thousands of thousands of book clubs on Goodreads, It’s kind of the place for everybody that reads.
That’s why I think it’s important.
Would You Recommend Publicising Your Self-Published Work on Goodreads?
Matthew Loomis: If somebody is self-published?
They’ve just come out with their own self-published book. Would you recommend putting it on Goodreads?
Barb Drozdowich: Likely, if they put it on Amazon it’s already on Goodreads.
Matthew Loomis: So it automatically goes on Goodreads as well?
Barb Drozdowich: Yeah. It should.
There are some examples where I’ve seen that you literally have to add the book.
But if a book has been published on an Amazon platform and it’s been at least a couple of weeks? Usually, if you search for the book you will find it it’s already there. So they’re pulling macros across from Amazon.
If you on the other hand, publish through Smashwords and that’s how you end up on Amazon.
Sometimes it doesn’t seem to migrate over but almost in all cases, the book is already there.
Matthew Loomis: Interesting.
Are the reviews on Amazon separate from the Goodreads reviews or do they overlap?
Barb Drozdowich: They don’t overlap.
Some people will review books on both platforms.
But they have to post them individually. Often people say that the reviews on Goodreads are more honest than on Amazon. The translation for that is at times more brutal.
What Other Social Media Platforms Work Well For Authors?
Matthew Loomis: Yeah. Right.
Normally, I tend to want to brush by the first few reviews because you know that those are friends or colleagues.
Aside from Goodreads, what are three other social media platforms that are great for authors?
Barb Drozdowich: Well, it depends on what genre you write.
Broadstripes. Twitter. Facebook and currently I’d say either Instagram or Pinterest.
The exceptions would be if you write YA. YA I would emphasize Snapchat and Instagram as opposed to Facebook. If you’re writing a non-fiction that’s more of a business event I would say Linkedin in that group. Even an academic non-fiction.
Linkedin is often a primary platform for non-fiction authors.
A lot of non-fiction authors that I work with write a sort of one-off book. Or what start off as a one-off book based on their expertise. What they do in the business world or a summation of their life as an investment banker or something like that.
Their audience to a large degree is on LinkedIn because they are fellow professionals.
Twitter I like because it is really varied and worldwide.
So the audience is found almost anywhere other than really teens, let’s say, the audience can exist on Twitter. What I like about Twitter is the shortness and the unfiltered-ness of it.
Whereas when you look at Facebook it is controlled by the algorithms of Facebook.
So you were doing certain things for certain reasons to make things show up in the way that you want them to. You were taking advantage of what’s in the algorithms. Although I’m sure we don’t know everything, right?
Should an Author Have a Business Page on Facebook?
Matthew Loomis: Do you recommend for Facebook that an author has a business page?
Barb Drozdowich: I’m a big proponent of following rules.
One of my pet peeves is people who teach breaking rules.
I accredit it to learning to drive a car. When you teach someone to drive a car you teach them the proper way to drive a car. To follow the rules. To not speed. To stop fully at stop lights and stop signs and that sort of thing.
When they get their license they can learn to break the rules or they can choose which rules to follow and which one’s they choose not to.
But when you’re teaching you need to teach the rules.
As a result, Facebook, I think it’s rule number four, is you can’t make money from a personal page. They determine that even promoting a blog that has no money-making capabilities.
If we take my book blog before I put affiliate links on it wasn’t making any money whatsoever. That is still seen as potentially making money on Facebook so I can still make the odd reference on my personal page. But all the communication for my blogs my books my author cites my business sites. Has to be done through Facebook pages according to the rules.
The other thing to take into account is on a personal profile you’re only allowed, five thousand friends.
So as an author if you limit yourself to five thousand friends. You’re basically saying ”I’m never going to be famous.”
It’s kind of defeatist!
If you immediately open a Facebook page or a business page or an author page or whatever title you want to give it. You are allowed unlimited communications or unlimited contacts. You are also allowed to connect all of the rest of the world with your Facebook page.
So you’re allowed to connect your Twitter account. You’re allowed to connect your Goodreads account. Your Amazon author age. Your Pinterest page, the list goes on…
You can show people on Facebook all the other places that you are. You can’t do that on a personal profile.
Matthew Loomis: Wow!
Honestly, I have not heard this before.
If you easily know where that rule page is from Facebook on this…
Barb Drozdowich: I’ll send it to you.
Matthew Loomis: I would really appreciate it.
Barb Drozdowich: I quote it in a couple of my books.
Every time I go to a talk or I attend a webinar or something and people are saying ”oh it’s just so much easier if you just use your personal profile.” I just cringe. I’m like ”no don’t.”
Do I think it’s easier? Yeah, probably on some levels. However what I start seeing especially younger authors is a movement of almost high school behavior. Right?
So the ”I’m going to beat you, I’m going to be better than you.” A really easy way to mess somebody up on their platform is to rat on them to Facebook and get their Facebook account shut down.
Matthew Loomis: For sharing their blog posts?
Barb Drozdowich: Yeah.
Matthew Loomis: On their personal page? Interesting.
Barb Drozdowich: Yeah.
Then you have to start again.
If you have somebody that’s worked really hard on a personal profile and has three thousand friends, let’s say? (to throw a number out there) and you are doing things that are against Facebook’s rules and somebody rats on you, you could potentially have Facebook shut you down.
They could give you a warning sometimes. Generally speaking, they tend to be rather draconian and shut you down. So then you go from three thousand to zero and you start again.
Well, that’s just kind of a waste of time. Right?
Sadly I have seen it happen a number of different times. I’ve got one author that I’m working with right now that was determined that she was not going to have a page. ”Too much work. Not doing the work. Facebook profile is fine.”
Facebook shut her down last week.
I have a certain amount of sympathy. It is upsetting because you suddenly realize that your Facebook profile is gone and you have to start again.
But it’s the rules thing! Follow the rules.
If you choose not to follow the rules then you choose to accept the consequences.
The problem is that many people don’t realize that there are rules. As you said you had not heard of that rule before. I am sure that many people have never heard that rule and they unknowingly break it.
Matthew Loomis: I see it all the time.
Barb Drozdowich: Absolutely.
I do too.
Matthew Loomis: Honestly, I’m doing some sharing too.
Barb Drozdowich: I don’t think that there is anything wrong with the odd sharing.
It’s a part of your life. It’s part of your personal persona.
But when that’s your only platform? That’s when you get into trouble.
Matthew Loomis: Do you mean if you only have one website?
Barb Drozdowich: No.
If you only have a personal page and you don’t have an author page or a business page set up on Facebook.
So the only place that you talk on Facebook about your blog or your book or your business or whatever your method of making money is according to Facebook is and all of the information is shared on a personal profile.
That’s when you’re in danger.
The odd passing a comment is not.
Matthew Loomis: I do have a business page.
So then I should be fine.
Barb Drozdowich: You should be fine.
Matthew Loomis: Okay. It’s only if you don’t have a business page.
Barb Drozdowich: If you don’t have a business page and all of your content in terms of Facebook folks sharing goes on your personal page.
Your personal page according to Facebook is for communicating with family and friends.
I think that’s the reason honestly that they… (well who knows exactly what Facebook is thinking?) But the reason why they insist on the pages. People say that it’s so that they can make money. Well, you can give them money from various things but you can also choose not to.
You can do things that work within Facebook’s algorithms.
For example, if you just post a picture without any links whatsoever it gets a higher reach than something with a link in it. That’s considered a promotion.
If we use the example of books if you post a graphic on your Facebook page with a cover graphic from your book and a quote from the book and you say on the graphic ”available from Amazon.” Most people understand how to buy a book from Amazon.
So what you’re doing is creating a post that has way larger reach than putting a graphic that’s the cover of your book and literally creating a link to the buy page on Amazon.
Matthew Loomis: Right.
Barb Drozdowich: So you’re manipulating essentially.
Will the Relationship Between Blogging and Books Flourish in the Near Future?
Matthew Loomis: That’s good to know.
I feel a little bit of relief now.
But I still wouldn’t mind checking that out. I think that is something to look at a little closer and maybe share with some people.
So Barb, to wrap up.
Where do you see this going in the future this partnership between books and blogging?
Barb Drozdowich: I really hope that I can continue what I am doing.
I mean, honestly, I enjoy what I’m doing.
I feel that as publishing goes forward. As the world goes forward and becomes more online or more internet friendly, let’s say. Those authors need to find a way to communicate with a worldwide audience.
I honestly feel that blogging is a really powerful way to do that.
And maintaining an active online presence is a really important part of that whole persona. At the same time, I think that authors need to go into their choices with an open mind and with an educated mind.
I certainly have run into authors that their ultimate goal is to have their book in their cities bookstore. On the shelves of Barnes & Noble or in Canada the shelves of Chapters.
And if that’s their goal? Then fine.
But they need to realize what the choices are before they can make a realistic goal.
Do You Have Any of Your Books in Print?
Matthew Loomis: Are your books also in print?
Barb Drozdowich: Most of them are in print.
The ones that are smaller are not in print.
I have one book called The Author’s Platform that’s only something like eighty-seven pages. And a book that is smaller that doesn’t have a spine, it’s one of these things that I learned over time. What I ended up doing was creating box sets.
So that the books look better in paperback they’re packaged better and they’re also a better deal because I can put two or three books together in a paperback form and offer a lesser price than buying them individually.
But yes, most of them are available in paperback in one form or another.
Matthew Loomis: Interesting.
What you were just saying about the future of publishing.
I think what you’re saying is that an author needs to have a realistic view of which way to go and looking at their goals and understand what they are getting into?
Barb Drozdowich: What they’re getting into and realizing that what existed in publishing ten or twenty years ago doesn’t exist anymore.
So have a realistic understanding of what is required to market a book. What if you get a publishing contract that gets you? What the perceptions are.
I see a lot of people who say ”well if I get a traditional publishing contract then I don’t have to do anything but write.” And that’s not true.
Matthew Loomis: One other quick question as we’re talking here.
What do you think about these half and half contracts?
Barb Drozdowich: I think anything can be good if the author understands what they’re getting into.
My pet peeve is that authors are a cottage industry.
People are popping up all over the place to take advantage of and take the money of authors. Because they don’t really understand what they need to do.
Let’s say, on the steps involved in self-publishing, for example, they feel that there’s this mystique and only somebody that they pay seven thousand dollars will do the job properly. (I’m just throwing in a number there.)
A lot of authors once they understand the actual process they have a better handle on what’s going on.
There are a lot of different hybrid companies that will publish a book and what that does is it allows the author to essentially pay the costs. The publisher will then be able to take advantage of their distribution powers or distribution contacts and perhaps do a better job at getting books into bookstores than an author could on their own.
However, books and bookstores are a local idea or geographical idea. Then it goes back to what the goals are of the author. If their goal is to get their books in their local Barnes & Noble or Chapters? Then they’ll probably have better luck with the traditional publisher. Or a hybrid publisher will pay some of the costs.
If what they want to do is sell books in every country of the world then they are better to focus on eBooks as their primary vehicle for selling and look at Amazon and Kobo and iTunes, the various online retailers.
But it’s a choice. Unfortunately, a lot of the various hybrid-ish organizations give you books. And so the one thing that you don’t want to end up with a garage full of books.
People think that this is this big deal. ”Look I’ve got five thousand copies of my books!” Well, what do you do with them?
Do you stand on the corner and sell your books? Most bookstores won’t take a book except perhaps on consignment.
Matthew Loomis: Don’t you usually end up piecemeal handing them out for the next ten years?
Barb Drozdowich: Exactly.
That’s a piece of the puzzle that is missed out on. People don’t realize that if they end up with five thousand copies of their book.
They can’t in all cases take them to a bookstore and say ”here you can sell these.” Bookstores don’t necessarily want them in some case they want to feature local authors, yes. But not five thousand.
Matthew Loomis: I guess in some cases that would work well with a speaker who takes the books along.
Barb Drozdowich: Yes. Absolutely and it goes back to goals.
I have one author who has a massive speaking platform.
I guess he’s talking live almost every week. Everywhere he goes he has a suitcase of books and he sells hundreds at his live events.
Absolutely. If that is what you want and this is your goal then that’s the direction you need to go but these books that are in his suitcase are not in bookstores. Right? He is hand selling these.
Matthew Loomis: Sometimes they are as well.
Barb Drozdowich: Sometimes, but often the books that are on bookshop shelves are coming from distributors or their consignments.
They are somebody going into their local bookstore and the bookstore agreeing to feature local author based on some sort of arrangement in terms of payment.
You’re not going to have the same sort of reaction trying to walk into every Barnes & Noble or Stator or in Canada Chapters and have them accept copies of your book.
Matthew Loomis: Right.
Barb Drozdowich: It’s much more difficult.
And yes, it can be done.
But typically where your focus is as a self-published author is online through every country in the world. Hopefully 🙂
Matthew Loomis: Barb Drozdowich.
The blogging authors best friend. It’s been great having you today on The Blog Chronicles!
Thank you for coming on.
Barb Drozdowich: It’s been a delight talking with you.
Thank you so much for inviting me.
Connect With Barb Drozdowich Online!
Matthew Loomis: Give us one more shout out where people can follow you online.
And get in touch with you.
Barb Drozdowich: I can be found on all of the usual suspects.
Sadly LINKEDIN to a certain extent.
My blogs are BAKERVIEW CONSULTING DOT COM and SUGARBEAT’S BOOKS DOT COM
I have contact points on both of those blogs. I am responsive to email and I’m also looking for time to demystify on my blog. So if you just want to send me a hint of ”I can’t figure out how to do this.”
Then go right ahead and I’ll see what I can do with the subject.
Matthew Loomis: FANTASTIC!
Here’s how you can be both an author and a blogger!