The Monday Moan – Facebook

facebooklogoAh, poor old Facebook. It seems like everyone’s putting the boot into Facebook at the moment, and here I am adding my voice to the sound of the crowd. Why don’t I give poor old Facebook a break, eh? Poor, unloved social networking site that it is…

Hold it right there! Facebook isn’t particularly unloved, is it? According to Wikipedia (so it must be true!), as of September 2012 Facebook had over a billion active users, and I am still one of those users. The pros do outweigh the cons: I enjoy reconnecting with friends from the past, and sharing news and photos with friends and family all over the world. However, I have issues: issues shared by fellow Facebook users, bloggers and administrators of Facebook pages I like – the pages whose updates Facebook still allows me to view, that is…

I realise the people behind Facebook want to make money (who doesn’t?), but $10 a day to advertise a Facebook page is a tad beyond the means of most small businesses. It’s certainly beyond the means of the Alison Jack – Author brand! Even if a business can spare that sort of money, there’s still no guarantee its page’s followers will see its updates, so the words ‘waste of money’ spring to mind. As one of my Facebook friends pointed out, if he likes a page it’s because he’s interested in the subject matter. If it transpires that the page’s updates aren’t as interesting as he’d hoped, he has the option to unlike the page. This decision should be made by the Facebook user, a human being capable of independent thought, and not by Facebook, which is a bloomin’ social networking site for heaven’s sake! Am I ranting? Damn right I am!!!

So how do I make sure I can see updates from all the pages I like? Well, to start with Facebook seemed to make its censorial decision based on how much a person interacted with a particular page. If I were to regularly like or comment on the posts on page A but not page B, it would be page A’s updates I’d see on my news feed. However, no more. Being a tad weird, I count snakes among my favourite animals. I used to regularly click ’like’ under the stunning photos on the Facebook page dedicated to these amazing creatures, but it struck me recently that I hadn’t seen any such photos for a while. Had the snakes’ page administrator stopped posting?

No! Facebook had decided that I didn’t want to see pictures of snakes any more, and the only way to rectify this would be to receive notifications every time there’s an update. Er, tedious! I like quite a number of pages, and I really don’t want to have to set up notifications for each one when it would be so much easier simply to view the updates on my news feed.

Oh, and talking of my news feed, don’t get me started on the ‘top stories’ rubbish…ah, too late! Pretty much every time I log in I discover that Facebook has selected the posts I should be reading. It calls them my top stories. Most of these (ahem) ‘top’ stories are a: at least a day old, and b: things I’ve already read. Every day, I ask Facebook to stop doing this and show my friends’ most recent posts instead, usually while muttering expletives through gritted teeth, only to find by next morning that my news feed has defaulted back to top stories.

It’s…so…ANNOYING!!!

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Please forgive the overuse of the exclamation mark in this blog post.

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On a lighter note, do visit Cathy Brockman’s and Debbie Young’s blogs to see what they’ve added to the Susie Orman Schnall.

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And finally, on a sad note I’ve just found out that British comedian Rik Mayall has died at the age of 56. Rik was, and always will be, one of my all time favourite comedians. Thank you for decades of laughs, Rik.

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Alison’s Advent Calendar Day Ten – Positivity

I’ll admit it, I’ve been unusually down in the dumps for the last couple of days. Normal service is now resumed thanks to a dose of cheerful songs and a ‘count my blessings’ session. Supportive partner who can make me laugh however grumpy I may be, close family, a wonderful group of friends, my health, my freedom – I have them all. Next year I’m going to take the advice of a Facebook friend and write down every good thing that happens to me on a post-it note. I’ll keep the notes in a jar, and come New Year’s Eve I can read them all and reflect on how fabulous life is.

Isn’t that a lovely idea?

One song always lifts me up, and I’m going to share it with you today.

Here is a sunrise, Ain’t that enough?

Teenage Fanclub – Ain’t That Enough.

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Advent Calendar 004Today’s advent calendar picture: A house in the moonlight.

Best Day Ever – Part Two

29 August 2013 – The Dory’s Avengers Book Launch.

And so it began.

My guests started arriving early, which took me a little by surprise as I was still in my casual clothes – and a few of my helpers had disappeared to the pub! After exchanging hugs and greetings with the earlybirds, I made a quick visit to the ladies toilets/baby changing room on Waterstones’ first floor to put on my posh frock. Such is the glamorous life of the newly published author – it did cross my mind to wonder whether JK Rowling ever dressed for Harry Potter launches while reading ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ on the walls of a book shop toilet cubicle…

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By the time I’d returned all glammed up; or rather, hoping I was all glammed up as the toilet/baby changing room was lacking a mirror of any kind, the stream of arriving guests had turned into a flood. As good friends, old and new, poured in to Waterstones for the launch of Dory’s Avengers, I started to feel a little overwhelmed by the magnitude of the support this unknown author was receiving.

My brother Ian and sister Sue came to the launch. Wanda, Angie and another Sue, friends from way back when we were at school, were there too. Friends from my former workplace, friends from Fen Ditton, friends from football, friends from my favourite pubs The Kings Head and The Brook, friends from book club; they were all there. People from pretty much every era of my life turned out to support me on that one wonderful night; and, much as I love words, I can’t find any that adequately describes how much it meant to me to see them there.

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The evening threw up a couple of lovely surprises too. Fellow Book Guild author, Janet Hopton, had previously hinted she may be able to come along – and so she did! It was lovely to meet her and spend a few minutes swapping published author anecdotes.

I may have mentioned the fabulous Everything Books & Authors website, created by super supportive Twitter and Facebook friend Toni Carter, in earlier blogs. To my delight, Toni attended the Dory’s Avengers launch, and she is as lovely in person as she is in the cyber world.

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The two hours of my book launch flew by in a joyful haze of meeting, greeting, smiling a big happy smile, and, of course, signing copies of Dory’s Avengers. Try as I might, it was impossible to take it all in, and I’m eternally grateful to my brother and the Evil Scribe for capturing a photographic record of the evening. It was nearly an hour and a half into the book signing before I got a chance to make my speech, and I never did get the opportunity to read the passage from Dory’s Avengers I’d intended to share that night.

Having spent the two days prior to the book launch practising my speech in order to speak confidently on the night, my mind completely blanked for a second or two as I stood, grinning inanely, in front of a sea of friendly faces. So much for the Evil Scribe’s insistence that I must not refer to my speech notes – the cardinal sin of public speaking, apparently.

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Speech!

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Mad author

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Er, what was I saying?

It did raise a laugh when I completely forgot the wording of the most important dedication of all, the one to my partner Andy, and had to peer desperately at the paper in my hand. The evening was so emotionally charged for me – especially when I spoke about how I wish my parents could have seen their daughter became a published author – and if I could do it all again, my speech notes would be to hand once more.

After the speech, the piles of books in front of me continued to dwindle as eager readers continued to purchase. My guests mingled and got to know each other; people I care about meeting for the first time, or in some cases for the first time in decades, and getting on famously. Behind the scenes, my wonderful friends Wanda, Charles, Doug, Karl and Andy flitted about replenishing refreshments and restocking copies of Dory’s Avengers – which disappeared to be purchased almost as soon as they’d been set down. Wow! To think I was worried about not achieving the 40 – 50 sales I’d tentatively promised events manager Rosie when we first discussed holding the book launch in Waterstones.

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We sold 59 copies. Fifty-nine! I hardly saw Rosie all evening as she was so busy selling my book, and when I confirmed the sales total to Book Guild the following day apparently there were huge cheers all around the office.

All in all, I think it’s safe to say: ‘My book launch? Yes, it went well!’

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Best Day Ever Part Three – The After Show Party – Coming Soon

Cloud Nine!

Well, I’m starting to come down from cloud nine following the wonderful Dory’s Avengers book launch last Thursday. Wow! Even my vivid imagination was unable to come up with anything as fabulous as the reality. I am intending to write a proper blog soon, but at the moment it’s all I can do to stop beaming long enough to write anything at all.

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Thank you to everyone who made Thursday 29 August 2013 the best day of my life so far. Thank you to everyone who came along, bought a copy of Dory’s and shared the evening with me. Thank you to everyone who took photos and helped out supplying my guests with refreshments and copies of Dory’s Avengers to purchase. Thank you for all the support from followers on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and, of course, right here on An Author’s View.

Thank you all a million times. You’re the best!

DORY’S AVENGERS is available for purchase in hardback and on e-readers.

Amazon UK   Amazon USA   Amazon Canada   Nook UK   Nook USA

Dory’s Soundtrack Day Four Follow You, Follow Me – Genesis

Monday 26 August

A large proportion of this year has been spent marketing Dory’s Avengers. Looking back I often long for the freedom of last year; freedom to write whenever I wanted without a care in the World. It never dawned on me that things would be different when the time came to write my second novel. ‘New Book’ is a work in progress, but it has to take its place among the daily blogging, networking and promoting essential for introducing Dory’s Avengers to as wide an audience as possible.

Marketing can be quite good fun too, especially when it involves hours of socialising on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter. Twitter in particular has been an invaluable tool in the marketing process, connecting me to a multitude of other bookworms and authors. Of course everyone else is doing the same as me: trying to market their product, but it’s always possible that people will read my tweets and investigate my work. I live in hope of a retweet from JK Rowling or Stephen King, which of course will bring all their fans rushing to me door…

Today’s track is in honour of Twitter. @AlisonJack66.

Follow You, Follow Me – Genesis