Facebook Did it Again and You’re Not Gonna Like It!

Thumbs DownNo, I am not losing my mind. I DID post a message on my personal Facebook account for friends and family, only to have the content mysteriously disappear two hours later. What happened? Facebook did it again, and you’re not gonna like it. They decided the content I posted was too promotional.

So they deleted it.

Bottom line, Facebook decides what we see from our personal contacts. Period.

How do I know this?

Joan Stewart, the Publicity Hound, told me. And Joan knows this kind of stuff. In her latest Ezine, Joan writes that “starting in January, Facebook will crack down on status updates that look like ads. Those include updates that parrot copy that appears in Facebook ads you’ve already bought.”

Newsflash!

Facebook isn’t waiting until January; it is already happening! Here’s the post I made on my personal account (not my author page) the morning on 17 November.

Okay friends, on 24 November the “Wells Worthy” trilogy comes out on Kindle! And it’s already up for pre-order — yay!

For anyone who orders, gives an honest rating, and writes a line or two about what they most enjoyed, I’ll throw your name in the hat for a free paperback copy mailed to your front door! I’ll be giving away five copies, so a good chance you can win! 

http://www.amazon.com/Wells-Worthy-Books-Adventure-ebook/dp/B00P6QZJSG/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1416241408&sr=1-1&keywords=wells+worthy

Two hours later the post was gone, and I seriously thought I was losing my mind. Not only can I credit Joan, the Publicity Hound, for her tips, tricks, and tools for free publicity, I can also thank her for saving my sanity since I read her Ezine (and Facebook’s dirty trick) just a few hours later.

It seems Facebook prefers insists that any “promotional” content only appear in your feed as official Facebook ads.

Aint happening.

Several times I’ve bought Facebook ads; each time I found it to be a waste of money. There was no return on investment for me.

Of course, being the savvy publicity hound that Joan is, she provided a recommendation for getting around the new restriction. Just reference what you want your friends to know and direct them to your website where you can say whatever the #*&! you want.

Take THAT, Mark Zuckerberg.

Here’s what angers me most… Facebook controls what we see, even content shared between family and personal friends. I can see how they might restrict big brands, but HEY! this is my personal account, not even my author account!

What does this latest Facebook trick mean for me? Here are three things you can bet on:

  1. I won’t invest time into growing my Facebook author account. Fortunately I’ve got an awesome Twitter account with more than 14,000 followers. Twitter is the place to be, and you can always find me hanging out there.
  2. Next time I want to make a special offering on my personal account, I’ll carefully craft a headline sending my family and special friends to a special link on my webpage for the real scoop.
  3. My next social media expansion will be with YouTube and Pinterest.

What do you think of Facebook limiting what your family and friends can share with you?

Finally, if you don’t already know Publicity Hound Joan Stewart and haven’t had the opportunity to benefit from her promotional tricks, be sure to sign up for her Ezine. I’ve been following Joan for several years, and I always look forward to receiving her bi-weekly tips. She is an amazing resource for marketing and promotions, and I highly recommend her.

Indies! Free Online University Course = Free Marketing

I’ve long been a proponent of free online courses offered through various universities around the world. I’m particularly fond of the offerings on coursera.org. I first blogged about Coursera in May, 2013 after I had enrolled in a 10-week chemistry course offered by Rice University (Free University Courses: Somebody Stop Me!). Coursera offerings have continued to expand and now you can find classes on everything from law to social media. Most recently I was excited to enroll in the University of Houston’s offering, Digital Storytelling: Powerful Tools for Teaching and Learning. Why? Because I would have a finished video to inform viewers about the educational component of my young adult fiction series, after only five weeks. As I saw it, this indie writer was going to learn how to create a marketing tool, for free!

Sweet!

Taught by Bernard Robin, the course covered script writing, creating a story board, recording audio narration, and using WeVideo technology. In the end, my biggest takeaway (aside from a completed marketing tool) was all the free resources for images and music, particularly Pixabay and Bensound. Being a weekly blogger, having a reliable source for fresh, creative commons media is incredibly helpful.

As an independent author, having the skill and ability to create my promotional material is critical. And having this piece of media allows me to connect with teachers and parents — major influencers in what kids are reading.

Like what you see in the video? Each of the three books (The Desert Sands, The Hidden City, and The Buried Pyramid) are all available exclusively on Amazon. However, the Wells Worthy series (the collection of Books 1 – 3) will be released as an eBook later this month.

Sign up to receive my newsletter to the right, and you will receive notification about FREE book giveaways, including eBooks and print!

If you are an indie or entrepreneur, I encourage you to have a look at coursera.org to see how these free offerings might support your business development. As for me, I’m on the waiting list for the next class on forensics science. I begin writing a new work of crime fiction in January and, even though my book Forensics for Dummies is a great resource, I want to deepen my understanding. Taking a course on forensics is perfect! After all, understanding molecular spectroscopy and chromatography are essential when looking at narcotics and toxicology… or so the course description reads. Free schooling on the nitty-gritty of crime is what every crime writer wants, right?!

Are you an indie or entrepreneur? What free resources do you recommend?

Sheila Callaham is the author of six books. She writes both fiction and non-fiction from her home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, three of their seven children, and five dogs. 

Long To-do List? Power Nap Provides Refreshing Perspective

Power Nap

PowerNap Now by Tony Bowden. Flickr, CC2.0

I have three books launching over the next three weeks, so I’m feeling a little over the top right now. Not to mention, I’m attending two conferences during the same time. Important conferences where I need to be fully participative and open to learning. Oh, and I’m teaching several classes, too. Not to mention, this is the time of year I decorate my house for the holidays. And (believe it or not) I’ve been summoned for jury duty. Knowing I needed a break, my dog Joe Joe and I went to the backyard for a walk and a breath of fresh air. I didn’t get very far because I found myself pulled to the swing. I sat down on the seat, planted my feet firmly on the ground, and gave myself a gentle push. The swaying motion soothed me, and I thought how nice it would be to lay down just for a minute. Perhaps, I contemplated, a power  nap would do me good.

I reclined on the cushioned seat and reached my hands behind my head to give myself a push off the frame. Laying on my back, I felt the gentle sway, the slight centrifugal force with each passing across center, and a sense of being cradled and soothed with a lullaby from long past. I looked through the countless beech leaves above my head, still green against a backdrop of yellow, orange, and browns from the hickory tree. In my mind, every leaf represented a “thing” I wanted to get done yesterday. Through the leaves, I could barely see the blue Carolina sky.

Let it go, I heard my mind say. Relax into the sway of the swing. Breathe the autumn air. Everything is as it should be.

I closed my eyes and listened to the world around me. A few crickets chirped steadily from different directions. A neighbor dog barked. Birds sang from nearby trees. I heard the leaves rustling as Joe Joe patrolled the chicken coop. And then it came — a peaceful sleep. The power nap I needed to provide a refreshing perspective.

At some point during my nature-induced power nap, Joe Joe nudged me with his nose. His body pushed the swing enough to start the sway once more, and I drifted back into a blissful state of rest.

It’s true that I have a lot to get done in just a few weeks. But despite my long to-do list, a power nap was just what I needed. When I woke from my slumber and my eyes gazed once more at the leaves above my head, they no longer reminded me of my daunting to-do list. Rather, I heard a wise voice within whisper,

The leaves don’t represent what you must do; rather, they represent the abundance of choices you have in front of you.

Now that is a refreshing perspective.