by James L. Rubart
"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?"
When a long time publishing veteran posted that question on Facebook it immediately caught my attention. Since I have both a profile (Jim Rubart) and a page (James L. Rubart) I was curious what the response would be.
Before I tell you how people answered, what would you say?
- Rather be a friend: ____
- Rather be a fan: ____
Same thing with 100% of the Facebook responses. (One author said she'd rather see 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) that 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? I don't have an answer, I'm truly asking the question because it was a dilemma I had to figure out for myself.
What I Did
About five years ago I transferred all my friends over to a Page (James L. Rubart).
Then created a new Profile (Jim Rubart).
But I bet you can guess what happened. Requests started coming in from acquaintances or folks I didn't know yet. 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 right there if someone wants to be my friend.
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 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man's body. He thinks he's still young enough to water ski like a madman and dirt bike with his two grown sons, and loves to send readers on journeys they'll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He's the best-selling, Christy, INSPY, and RT Book Reviews award winning author of eight novels as well as a professional speaker. During the day he runs his branding and marketing company which helps businesses, authors, and publishers make much more coin of the realm. He lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at www.jameslrubart.com