I’m sure it seems as if I’m obsessed with Facebook, considering all the posts I’ve been writing about the site lately, but the truth is, it confuses me. What’s the point of having thousands of friends if only a few of those “friends” show up in our news feeds, and our posts show up in only a few of theirs? Why do we have to post silly sayings and quotes by other people to attract attention to our own writing? Why are we supposed to upload colorful images and share cute pet photos? What does any of that have to do with our books? Shouldn’t the books be enough to attract attention?
I do know the answer to that last question. If you are James Patterson, mention of a book is news, but if you are Pat Bertram, it’s blatant self-promo.
There is so much noise on Facebook, with everyone screaming “Looka me, looka me,” like kids on a playground, that it’s almost impossible to hear the quiet writers who just want people to check out their books.
I thought if I posted intelligent questions, I’d attract intelligent friends, and the ones I interact with are exceedingly intelligent. The trouble is, they are in the same position I am in — looking for quiet readers in a noisy world.
I’m a writer, right? I should be able to think of witty things to say that will make people want to get to know me and my books, but my wit deserts me when it’s most needed. When I do think of something witty, it’s at three o’clock in the morning. I’m not about to wake fully, turn on the light, write down my witticism, and then lie there for hours, waiting in vain for sleep to return. (My wit centers more on puns, anyway, such as: Waiting in vein. Is that what vampires do? Well, maybe “wit” is a bit of an exaggeration.) So what passes for wit, passes with the night, and in the morning I don’t remember. (Probably just as well if “waiting in vein” is the best I can do.)
One of my favorite people on Facebook, who manages to be intelligent and witty and post cute pet photos, is Malcolm R. Campbell. (He also happens to be a darn good writer.) Malcolm once said that he’s written more to promote his books than he did to write them. (See? I told you he was witty. Or at least truthful.)
It’s kind of pathetic when you think about it — you rip out your heart and throw it into your book, and then you have to take what’s left of you and spent it on sites like Facebook. Is it worth it? I’m not sure. For a long time, I thought it was. I was having fun, and there was always the hope of hitting some sort of friending jackpot. But now? It seems like . . . noise. Something to block out.
Still, wit aside, I do have a modicum of intelligence, a bit of computer savvy, a tinge of knowledge about the workings of the human psyche, so I should be able to make my voice heard above the noise, right? But in the back of my mind is the small question, what then? My books aren’t the next erotic vampire bondage serial killer novelty, so will my being heard make any difference?