The Search-Engine Race

We’ve been discussing the vagaries of marketing a lot lately, mostly behind the scenes. It’s something that becomes more necessary all the time. It doesn’t hurt that we’ve got a couple of publicity and marketing people on staff!

On Monday, Steve spent the day in marketing seminars connected to his day job. One of the main topics was FB, and their new search engine.

Yeah, you heard that right. Yet another ‘wonderful new service’ offered by Facebook, and one that raises even more privacy concerns. Because we didn’t have enough from Facebook…

Unfortunately, it also means that there’s another thing you need to start paying attention to, in the social arena. The discussion about whether a writer/publisher/editor/book/anthology/etc. should build a Facebook page dedicated to their work is OVER. Facebook is getting into the search game and going head-to-head with Google and Microsoft. Each of those big engines hates all the others and nobody is going to play nice. What this means for everybody within the sound of our collective voices is that they need to take their work to Facebook and get set up with their own page. Authors need a dedicated Facebook page. Publishing houses (big or small) need a dedicated Facebook page. Even individual books (or series of books) may need a dedicated Facebook page. Without going into lengthy detail, it can be easily said that Facebook is going to give rank to whatever comes first in their social scene. If you’re an author or a publisher or whatever, you want to “beat” the unofficial fan pages to Facebook in order to secure brand protection. The good news here, of course, is that Facebook costs nothing to set up and run. It’s just time and trouble.

By the way – the same goes for Google+ in all respects. Google is already making plans to follow what Facebook is setting in motion.

Some examples of who might best benefit from setting up their own Facebook pages (before the rise of the fan pages) would be as follows:

Any author of any type – from Stephen King and Neil Gaiman all the way down to any writer just getting started.
Any book series (Harry Potter series, Dresden series by Jim Butcher, Cthulhurotica 1, 2, etc.).
Any anthology series (Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 1, 2, 3, etc. by Ellen Datlow, anything that John Joseph Adams is doing).
Any publishing house big or small or any imprint (Macmillan should have one, so should their imprint TOR).
Anyone working in a supporting role in the industry (an artist like Galen Dara or John Picacio).
Any writing workshop (Clarion, whatever).
Any genre fiction magazine in print or online.
There’s also good reason for Editors, Agents, Critics, etc. to get their own Facebook pages set up.

Want an excellent example of an author kicking ass on Facebook, look at Joe Lansdale. That guy uses the SHIT out of Facebook – not only to communicate and educate, but to promote the hell out of his work and sell his books.
And if I didn’t say it strongly enough before, “Brand Protection” is one of the main focuses. Imagine if everyone who searched “Galen Dara” was shown results that naturally led to a top-ranking Facebook “fan page” with a bunch of goofy art commentary all over it. This could happen – simply because Galen didn’t take the time to get her “official” page up and running and was waaaaay behind in the “likes” and “friends” department.

Yes, working Facebook and Google+ (and whatever comes next) will take time and effort. But even the Big 6 Houses are dumping marketing and social networking on their writers, so this should come as no surprise. As always, if you want to succeed, you’ll have to work for it.

One thought on “The Search-Engine Race

  1. This makes a lot of sense to me but I'm really concerned about over-extension of my time/effort, and updating both my personal FB profile and a professional FB page — on top of G+, three twitters, tumblr, pinterest…ugh…SEND WINE.

    So I guess my question would be: what is a good way to differentiate between your profile ("KimBoo York") and your page ("KimBoo York, Writer!!!1!1!"). I suppose this is true of G+ as well. I don't want to simply duplicate content all over the place with a spray hose but I don't have enough hours in the day to make each feed special and unique.

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