"Do you prefer to follow an author's fan page to keep up with the latest, or would you rather become a "friend" and see what they're up to personally?"
Long time publishing veteran, Barbara Scott posted that question the other day on her Facebook profile and it immediately caught my attention. Since I have both a profile (Jim Rubart) and a page (James L. Rubart) I was curious how Barbara's friends would respond.
Before I tell you how readers answered, what would you say?
You'd rather be friends with a favorite author?
Same thing with 100% of Barbara's respondents. (There was a writer who said she'd rather share in what authors are doing in their careers, not their personal life, but I'm guessing that's one professional to another not the perspective of a fan to an author.)
This wasn't a big shock to me. Exactly what I expected. You probably feel the same.
Maybe that's why an extremely small percentage of friends will "like" an author's page when invited to do so.
People don't want to be a fan (which is why Facebook changed fans to likes) who is kept on the outside, they want to be a friend let into the inner circle.
So what does an author do if they want to have a profile where it's close friends and family only. Sorry, I don't have an answer, I'm truly asking the question.
What I Did
A couple years ago I transfered all my friends over to a Page (James L. Rubart) then created a new profile (Jim Rubart). For a long time I only accepted friend requests from family and very close friends. I made my profile as private as possible.
But you know what happened. Requests started coming in. I felt I had two choices:
1. Send a message to all those requests saying something I've seen other authors do: "Hey! Thanks for the friend request, but it's pretty quiet here on my profile, I'm not here much, the REAL action is happening over on my author page, so how 'bout you like it!" But people would have still seen me commenting on friends of friends profiles, and I'm not real big on the lying thing. So I looked at option # 2
2. Ignore the friend requests. Hmmmm. Not working for me either. Just doesn't sit right.
In the end, I had to answer the question that's the title of my post. Do I want friends or fans? I want friends. Having "fans" has always felt strange to me and probably always will. Frankly, I feel incredibly blessed that a few people are reading my novels and I want to be accessible if someone wants to be my friend.
Once I hit 5,000 friends, I'll have to re-think things again. But heck, maybe by that time Facebook will have done so much of their constantly changing the rules thing that all of us will dump them (my sons and their friends are already have) and jump to the next Social Media craze.
If you're an author, do you have both a profile and a page? Do you try to keep your profile lean and mean?
If you're a reader, would you rather be a friend or a fan? Are some of you both friends with an author and also part of their Page?
James L. Rubart is the best-selling and Christy award winning author of ROOMS, BOOK OF DAYS, THE CHAIR, SOUL’S GATE, and MEMORY’S DOOR. He’s also a professional speaker and owner of Barefoot Marketing which helps businesses and authors make more coin of the realm. In his free time he dirt bikes, hikes, golfs, takes photos, and occasionally does sleight of hand. No, he doesn’t sleep much. He lives with his amazing wife and two sons in the Pacific Northwest and still thinks he’s young enough to water ski like a madman. More at http://jameslrubart.com/