Stepping in it, OR Further adventures in Facebook

I was so optimistic after posting about My Big Fat Platform Mistake a few days ago. I was all set to change “Dance of Souls” to “Audrey Kalman-Author” on Facebook and fix my mistake. Look, it says right here I can do that:

I forgot one very important thing. I also have a Facebook URL for the page. And that cannot be changed:

“We’re sorry for the inconvenience,” Facebook says.

Me too. As a result of attempting to make sound decisions about marketing my book and myself as an author, I now feel:

1) Stupid. I made assumptions (and statements about what I would do) based on incomplete information. Worse, I did it on my blog for the whole world to see. Thankfully I have forgiving blog followers, but who enjoys feeling stupid?

2) Paralyzed. Given the latest information, I resigned myself to the fact that my Dance of Souls Facebook page will remain Dance of Souls. I will continue to feed my blog posts to it and gather Likes. I decided that when my work-in-progress is ready for public consumption in some form—but before it’s formally published, in order to begin the all-important platform building—I’ll start using an author page.

Then I thought: perhaps I should at least create my author page now, just to have it. Easy enough: a few clicks and I’ll be there.

I got as far as this:

and there I stopped. Look what it says: “Once this is set, it can’t be changed.”

Hence my paralysis.

What if I make a mistake again? What if I am missing some big marketing/branding/platform “aha,” which I discover only six months from now?

Split-second decisions with life-altering consequences!

It sounds so irrevocable. Really, in this age of casual typing and twittering, you’re telling me that I am about to do something that can’t be undone? How is this in keeping with the free creative spirit of the Internet? Worse, it’s presented with none of the gravity of the decisions of old. This is as monumental as setting type and starting the offset presses rolling. But at least in those days, we deliberated. We had cadres of proofreaders, designers to do press checks, and vice presidents to sign off on things. If someone did manage to make an irrevocable mistake it was an unlikely result of multiple checkpoint failures—or willful ignorance of the checkpoints. There was redundancy and accountability.

Now a single individual can make irrevocable, career-altering mistakes in mere seconds!

With all this running through my head, is it any wonder I backed out of the whole thing by clicking BACK on my browser.

Then I discovered that even though I hadn’t clicked on anything that said “confirm” or “Are you sure?” I had ALREADY created my Audrey Kalman author page. Or had I? I’m really not sure where it stands. It appears on my personal page… but who knows if anyone else can see it? In any event, I haven’t yet picked a URL (I don’t think…)

Before going further, I plan to get together a committee and have everyone sign off in triplicate.

Don’t step here

One of my loyal blog followers praised my last post as helpful for those following in my footsteps along the publishing journey. In response, I promised I would try not to step in anything along the way. Well, I have. But at least now you’ll now know where NOT to step.

To recap, if you are going to create a Facebook presence for yourself, think very, very carefully about

  • whether you want an Author page, a Book page, or both;
  • what you want the name of the page(s) to be;
  • what you want to use as a URL.

It bears repeating: think long and hard because these decisions are harder to undo than saying “I do.”

You can consult Novel Publicity’s post on building a Facebook author page for more helpful tips. Wish I had found it sooner.

Nathan Bransford’s blog also has helpful Facebook information for authors, which I DID read before creating my book page those many months ago. Somehow, I didn’t grasp the intricacies of the process.

ROW80 Wednesday Check-In

This week’s marketing experience is making me wish I could just stick to the fiction writing. I have written every day since Sunday. More importantly, I have a map in my mind of the final sections I need to write.

18 thoughts on “Stepping in it, OR Further adventures in Facebook

  1. This is so interesting! And it’s exactly what I needed to read today! I have currently branded myself around my other blog, Mommyhood NEXT RIGHT. But, now that my goals for blogging have changed, I’ve been reconsidering. I think I want to build more of a “brand” around my name, rather than a blog name that may or may capture all of my interests, skills, etc. I’m still in the deciding process, but I hope to figure something out soon!

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  2. Hmmm, I’m of two thoughts here (having done a similar amount of flim-flamming when I set up my own Facebook page….

    1) Nothing I’ve read says you have to have ONE Facebook “page”… Why not start the process (which, you clearly have) and announce to your Dance of Souls reader that you are moving your fan page to the Audrey Kalman page in a set period of time (I know a few photographers who did this and it actually GAINED them Likes.

    2) It’s just a Facebook Fan page… While you don’t want to be a one book author, Dance of Souls is a strong visual name that can easily rise above its title and serve for more than just it’s starting point.

    Best advice from someone who knows less than you do? 😉 Don’t panic. One thing that does come from all of this “one person can make all the decisions” world we live in… We see more of the person behind the decisions than when there is a line of professionals each checking each other. We accept their humanity, and we’re more forgiving and often glad to be “part of the process” of making things better.

    You’re doing just fine, Audrey.

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    • I tell, you this soul-baring has been the best thing–I’ve gotten so much positive feedback and helpful advice. And I’m doing exactly what they say you should do these days in social media: I’m being “authentic.” 🙂

      You’re so right “It’s just a Facebook Fan page…” I am less stressed already.

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      • You are being “authentic” and therefor you are reaching your audience, Facebook page or not. You’re doing just great. Really.

        Now… go work on those other books. 😉 *nudge nudge*

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  3. Oh, Audrey, I’m so glad you’re doing this. (Not making mistakes, obviously, but talking about it). All of this – the comments too – makes me realize how much I don’t know, and how easy it is to screw up. So scary: one little click, and BOOM! I’m wondering how many mistakes I’ve already made that I don’t even know about – and will only find out later…

    Please don’t feel stupid. You are NOT stupid!

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    • Thanks for the vote of confidence. Luckily I have entered the phase of my life when these things don’t get to me nearly as much as they used to. And I always keep perspective: I may have made some mistakes, but I wasn’t using a scalpel or administering a dose of medication or giving a pilot feedback about a flight path, for crying out loud! If the consequence is a little embarrassment, I’m fine with that.

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  4. Since I planned to write more than one book about chakras and yoga, I created my “Author Fan” page under my website name, theChakras.org… to offer info on my books as well as my topic. It really is mind-boggling to know how to best serve your friends and potential readers with your page. I look forward to more of your posts. And remember, life (and social media) is just practice. There’s no such thing as perfect.

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  5. I can’t tell you how helpful this information is to me as I will be setting up a Facebook page in the next couple months. Once again, I will refer back to your posts about this. You are paving the path for the rest of us, which as you know, is often the most difficult position to take.

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    • Okay, now I can pick up your paving metaphor for the next post :-). I wouldn’t want anyone bumping around on muddy, rutted, dirt roads as I have been. I’ll look forward to your SMOOTH entry into the FB world.

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  6. Very interesting post, Audrey.

    We too have stepped in it, but just like the real kind have managed to scrape it off, although the smell, anguish and frustration lingers a bit. I guess this is a no-brainer but the development crew at Facebook claim to read their feedback so why not forward them your salient points and see what happens. Maybe the squeaky wheel will get some grease.

    All said, we MUST forge ahead though we sometimes wander from what others consider the straight and true path. To quote Henry Miller, “Everyday that we fail to live out the maximum of our potentialities, we kill the Shakespeare, Dante, Homer, Christ which is in us…The age we live in is the age that suits us.”

    I know, easy for him to say…

    See ya.

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    • What a novel suggestion… to actually contact Facebook 🙂 I suppose I assumed that contacting a company with close to a billion users wouldn’t have much impact, but it’s certainly worth a try–and will make me feel better!.

      I love that Henry Miller quote.

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  7. I for one am glad you are sharing your mistake with the rest of us – we all make them but at least by sharing we can learn from one another. Being extremely non-techie, I rely on the info from others – so I say ‘thank you.’

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    • Thanks. It feels a bit confessional. But since I’m always telling my kids that we learn more from our mistakes than our successes, I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t embrace them (the mistakes and the kids).

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  8. I totally sympathize. I am constantly making mistakes. I’m come to realize, though, that it happens more often as a result of the companies I’m dealing with only providing the right info if I ask the right questions, which I’m of course unaware of. I suppose it’s all a learning process, but it doesn’t help the tears and frustration when I realize I’ve screwed up (again).

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    • I actually wrote a section of the blog post titled “Angry/Annoyed” and then took it out before publishing. When I read it over, it sounded a little to “ranty” but I certainly was feeling that it would be easier if Facebook’s interface/directions were a bit more customer-friendly 🙂

      And thanks for opening up about your own mistakes. It’s nice to have company in that department.

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  9. Hi Audrey,
    In Facebook’s case it’s probably less ‘Can’t be undone’ than ‘Can’t be bothered/haven’t got the inclination to let you change it’! You’re right that it’s difficult to accept that something like this can’t be changed, when presumably all it takes is a couple of clicks on a computer somewhere.
    Have you thought about registering the domain ‘audreykalman’ with 123-reg, say, and then pointing it to your Facebook page? I know it works with other websites, and as the Dance of Souls page has it’s own url I can’t see why it wouldn’t work here. That way your page could become your main platform, and people could reach it through either the Facebook url or your own. And if you can still change the title to something more general, that might work? It’s not expensive to register a domain for a few years, see how it goes.
    Good luck with everything,
    Jo

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    • I have registered “audreykalman.com” but haven’t done anything with it yet. What an interesting idea to redirect to my Facebook page. I will think about that. My initial thought was to create a real, honest-to-goodness web site (probably using WordPress, though!) and redirect to that. Hmmm… all of this is such a darn distraction from writing. I’ll bet Melville and Tolstoi never spent much time thinking about their “platforms.”

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