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Arielle Ford

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Facebook: What An Author's Friend Wants

Posted: 07/19/10 05:42 PM ET

I love connecting with people on Facebook. I enjoy the community that it builds around topics that are important to me and my friends. I have my own informal method of reaching out, supporting others and adding value whenever I can. It was not until I recently connected with a friend and fellow author, Robin Rice did I realize how I can improve upon my efforts as an author. Robin generously agreed to share her knowledge with us here.

There is an important truth about readers that not all authors grasp: They aren't only reading to discover an author's ideas. They are also reading to discover their own ideas. We authors provide the spark, but as each page turns, the wheels inside the brains of our readers also turn, assimilating our thoughts with their own and making something entirely new. There is a deep and rich conversation going on in our reader's mind, even if we authors never get to hear it.

Scratch that. We never used to get to hear it. Facebook has changed the game.

As a smart author, you need to realize the truly extraordinary opportunity Facebook has handed you, allowing you to join in that formerly one-sided conversation. You can capitalize on the connection that has largely gone missing with your reader. It is important that you understand the value of the time invested, knowing that this connection is what pre-sells the next book, and the next.

To really understand why this works so well, you should know the two primary reasons people are on Facebook in the first place: to connect to like-minded others and self-expression. You see, your reader has been missing that genuine conversation with you, too.

Just as your reader does not read solely to discover your thoughts, so your reader is not on Facebook to hear more of what she has already been reading. Sure, she wants to be inspired. But even more, she wants to be heard. She also wants to discover other readers--her true peers--and have conversations with them.

Make sure you are not being short-sighted by setting your page to show only your posts first, thinking your own thoughts are all the readers are interested in. Posts by fans should not be hidden behind the main wall as if they were second-class citizens, or not allowed at all (Facebook suicide, I promise you).

It is important to honor the thoughts of your audience and connecting readers with each other. You will have staying power if you ask people if they agree with this point or that idea, which will create a real conversation with and between your Facebook fans. Your fan page will live and breathe--and most importantly, grow--when you participate as the wheels inside your reader's head turn.

In short, your efforts will be successful when you self-promote by making your Facebook presence about your audience more than your ideas. How novel is that?

Robin Rice is an internationally published author and the founder of www.UpTribeMedia,com. Her facebook page, the Awesome Women Hub, grew by 5,000 members in 15 weeks. Find her on facebook at Be Who You Are with Robin Rice and Awesome Women Hub.

Arielle Ford has launched the careers of many NY Times bestselling authors including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Neale Donald Walsch & Debbie Ford. She is a former book publicist, literary agent and the author of seven books. To learn how to get started writing a book please visit: www.HowToWriteMyBook.com