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Monday, February 12, 2018

Indie Authors' Tremendous Facebook Problem

Indie authors like to network on Facebook. The concept is simple: Befriend everybody who likes you, post about your book and x percent will buy it. Notoriously strapped for cash, indie authors can’t or don’t want to buy ads, hence free networking seems like a great alternative.

To help each other, indie authors also form Facebook “like” ladders. The ladders’ basic concept is that authors “like” each others’ pages so all of them look as if they have hundreds or even thousands of fans.

Personally, I never believed in Facebook miracles. Still, in May 2017, I was astonished to discover a major flaw in the entire system.

At the time, I rewrote my book “NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Book Reviews” for the third time. Because Amazon had just made non-verified reviews not visible by default (which they did away with, again) I wanted to address the topic “getting reviews from Facebook friends” in this book.


As always I approached things as scientifically as I could and started following 50 Facebook fan pages from author friends I communicate with regularly.

Naturally, I expected that Facebook’s algorithm would identify these authors as my closer friends and therefore show me more of their author/fan-page activities.

Following best practices, I also reset all fan-pages to “default settings.” My plan was to record the number of author-fan-page-sightings in my news feed for ten days.


Surprisingly, though I logged in and “conversed” on Facebook at least twice per day, in ten days I saw only four postings of these 50 authors’ fan-pages.

However, while scanning my feed I saw postings from 5 different news organizations and former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; in fact, every day, I saw multiple postings from my local TV-station; many more than from any other fan page I had liked.

This was baffling. What had happened to the 50 author/fan-pages? 

I went on a search mission to find that Facebook had split their feed. Already in May 2017, every Facebook user had two feeds, a “news feed” and a “pages feed.” Only nobody I asked knew about the existence of two feeds; everybody thought there was only one.

(These days there are three feeds - a “news feed”, a “pages feed”, and an “explore feed.”)

Obviously, my findings warranted further research; eight months later, I published “The Little Blue Book for Authors: 101 Clues to Get More Out of Facebook.” Alas, even though I priced it at 99 cents not every author who learned about this book bought it.


Finally, in January 2018, thousands of indie authors began posting,
“I was wondering why my news feed felt so different lately… Just found out, Facebook has another new algorithm. It seems like I only see the same small handful of my friends on my newsfeed anymore ...
... If you’re seeing this, leave me a comment ...”

Yes, sharing this posting will lead to a momentary improvement which probably won't last longer than 72 hours. Because many friends and fans will comment, Facebook’s algorithm will push that specific posting in other friends’ feeds, hence the algorithm will “reconnect” some old friends.

However, sharing the posting won’t help with the overall problem.

Everybody’s “news feed” is comprised out of postings from friends, “pages feed”, AND “explore feed.” The “explore feed” cannot really be controlled or downsized BUT indie authors can streamline their “pages feed” and correct the mess which was created by building Facebook “like” ladders.


In an effort to help, I decided to step up and make this book free. Well-researched information was needed.

Beats me, why not every author shares the news with everybody - their friends and fans and other authors. (Obviously, small business owners are affected by the same problem.)


If not all author’s friends and fans don't streamline their “pages feed” they still might not be able to see their indie author friend’s postings which is what indie authors want to achieve.


For instance, if, on average, three of an indie author's friends share the above mentioned posting, the indie author lost three chances to see other postings that might be more important for their networking activities. Plus, they also lost 30 seconds of networking time, while they scrolled over these three postings.


Hence, what better solution than to tell the friends, “read this 40 page book and fix your news feed, it's free!” Giving away others’ free stuff is easy, the people who share these news don’t have any losses.

The book also explains how to stay "Facebook-Reach recession"-proof by setting up groups.

The Little Blue Book for Authors: 101 Clues to Get More Out of Facebook” will be free till Tuesday, February 13.


Gisela Hausmann is a 29 yr. self-publishing industry veteran, an email evangelist and a top reviewer. 

Her work has been featured in regional, national, and international publications 
including Success magazine (print) and Entrepreneur, on Bloomberg, The Innovation Show - a show for Square Pegs in Round Holes, "The Brutal Truth about Sales & Selling"-podcast, and Austria's Der Standard and Das Wirtschaftsblatt. 

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Gisela tweets @Naked_Determina

© 2018 by Gisela Hausmann  

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