Day 4: Get it into the papers!

“Every year a fresh crop of marriageable maidens and scheming mamas came to Dublin for the Season. While they knew of his previous marriage, Robert found himself receiving more and more attention from those with daughters.

Among those whose attentions were becoming more and more enthusiastic was Lady Jane Molesworth. Mary, her sixteen-year-old step-daughter, was pretty, dark-haired, and vivacious. Her youth was no object for her step-mama, who had three daughters of her own to marry off. The sooner she could get Mary married and off her hands, the easier it would be to contrive good matches for her own children.

From the Westmeath Examiner, in 2018. Where do you do an interview in Ireland? In the pub, of course!

Wicked Earl’s author grandson visits seat of Rochfort ancestors

Eilís Ryan

When retired ship’s captain John Jackson decided to give his family tree a bit of a shake, he was stunned at what he found: castles, titles galore, soldiers, lords – and then the story of Robert Rochfort, the first Earl of Belvedere, nicknamed ‘The Wicked Earl’.

The portrait is actually Robert Rochfort’s father, George.

“Robert Rochfort was my five-times great grandfather,” says Manchester-born John, who was in Mullingar last week promoting his book, ‘Heart of Stone’, a fictionalised version of the tale of his evil ancestor, who locked away his wife, Mary Molesworth, over her alleged affair with his brother Arthur,

It is a tale well-known to anyone who has ever visited Belvedere House, built by Rochfort after consigning tragic Mary to confinement at the marital home – Gaulstown House – where she spent 31 years a prisoner.
Arthur, meanwhile, died later in a debtors prison after the court made a judgement for £20,000 against him after Robert sued him for “criminal conversation”.
Not generally given to colourful language – despite the maritime background – when speaking of Robert Rochfort, John Jackson finds himself resorting to epithets not generally used when we speak of our ancestors.
“He was a complete shit!” he admits, laughing.
“He was a vile human being – but that made him more interesting to write about.”

When John started his research, around 50 years ago, he was working off various handwritten manuscripts handed down in the family. Through these he came to know of Robert Rochfort, Earl of Belvedere, and of his roots in Westmeath – but nothing of the story for which Rochfort became famous locally.
Once the internet arrived, it made John’s researches easier, and stumbling across an online book about celebrated Irish beauties of the 18th century, he came across the name of Mary Molesworth, and realised she too was his ancestor, since she was Rochfort’s wife.
Rochfort and Mary Molesworth had four children.
“The line that comes down to me is through their daughter Jane,” says John.
Jane became the Countess of Lanesborough, and through her the line continues down through John’s mother.
It was the fact of his mother’s unusual surname (Dumaresq) that initially prompted John to start researching his family tree. Since it is a rare name, going back to the island of Jersey, it made researches relatively easy, even in those pre-internet days.
“[The Dumaresqs] were one of the two big families on the island, back in the day, though they’ve all died out now,” he says, going on to recount how they’d tended to marry well – the daughters of peers for example, and thus, it proved a not hugely-difficult task to follow his lineage, and thus discover the story which is the subject of ‘Heart of Stone’.
“What I like to say about their story is it’s fascinating – but nobody comes out of it looking well: nobody at all,” he says.
Rather than giving a faithful account of their story – something already done many times over by historians, John just based his account loosely on the true version: “What I like to say is I’ve perhaps given them the story they should have had,” he says.

John admits he was “fascinated” when he came across the tragedy, and even more so when he realised the leading protagonists were his direct ancestors.
“I hope that’s not too much of a recursive gene!” is the thought he sometimes has when he considers the nastiness of Robert Rochfort – but then he reminds himself that we each have 128 grandparents at the five-times-back level.
“So it’s a very small drop in the mix!” he jokes.

The book took John two years to write – but the Rochforts have proven such a rich source of material that John has another in the pipeline: “I’m 25,000 words into the next book, and the next book is about their daughter, Jane Rochfort, who married Brinsley Butler, 2nd Earl of Lanesborough,” he says.
Jane, the Countess of Lanesborough was herself a pretty colourful character, it turns out.
“They were married for about eighteen years or so; had kids; then the eldest three were married, and she said: ‘right: I’m off to London to live the high life!’”
The Earl, who was high up in the Irish Exchequer, stayed in Dublin; the Countess took off with their three youngest children and took herself a new lover, John King, a loan-broker to the aristocracy.
“And they were together for about forty years.”

John, who has lived and worked for periods in The Falkland Islands and in the Netherlands, had visited Ireland before, but until last week, never this area.
There are no family links in the area any more: “When the Rochforts died out – one of the things I mention in the book, it was in The Annals of Westmeath – when the second earl died in 1814, and having no issue the title became extinct,” says John.

What The Annals then stated was: “The Rochforts are cleared out of Westmeath, root and branch. They were a wicked race, and to this day the name is loathed and execrated in this county”.

• Heart of Stone is published by Crooked Cat books and available through Amazon.

Only £0.99 all week!

My publisher, Crooked Cat Books, have been transformed into Darkstroke! They are open to submissions, too, particularly if you write in any of the “Dark” genres or tropes.

Day 3. Heart of Stone – the Story behind the Story. 🦔🦔

“Matchmaking mamas seemed to regard Robert as dangerous, and they made a point of keeping their daughters well beyond his reach. This caused him no concern. Widowed for three years, he had no wish to marry again. It took him no time at all to set up another pretty young courtesan as his mistress in an apartment on Harley Street.

Every few weeks he would receive a summons from Mr Stafford. It soon became clear to Robert that someone was watching his daily habits.

“My colleagues tell me your instruction goes well,” he remarked on one of Robert’s calls. “Oh, and we see you have a new mistress.” “

I’ve always been interested in history and genealogy. Mother’s maiden name was Dumaresq, which is as unusual as it looks. Its from Jersey, and the Dumaresqs “married well”. No money, sadly, but lots of connections and LOTS of “rogues and vagabonds”.

Long before the days of the internet, if you were interested in your family tree, you started off searching in the old Births, Marriages and Deaths registers, then at Somerset House. You could then also find a lot of ancestral records in the offices of the various Mormon churches. Many of them had (or have) Genealogy Centres. No computers, but lots of microfiches to sort through. (remember them?)

But – sooner or later, you got drawn to the Society of Genealogists in London. They had a MASS of printed records, and an enormous Card Index with several million records. While poking around, I found a copy of this, with a couple of Dumaresqs in the index!! The Society office is still down a cul-de-sac behind an old building near the Barbican.

The “Plantagenet Roll”
FIVE Volumes!!

This is part of the same set of records that showed Danny Dyer to be descended from Edward III (as is a third of the population of the UK, so it really IS nothing special!)

A lot of the earlier links in these books are distinctly dodgy, so caution is needed, but here is a link to the first volume:

A quick search of the pdf shows lots of Fenwicks, Maynards, Osbornes and Harris’. If you want some fun, click on the link, than on Control F, and put your surname – or ANY name in, and search. You may well be surprised.

And – remember – you MAY find that you are Danny Dyer’s cousin!

My Great Grandfather, Henry William Dumaresq appears in the book (He was a Major in the Royal Engineers and married a peer’s youngest daughter) – so it was easy to trace things back and lo, and behold – what to I find but Robert Rochfort, Earl of Belvedere. For some years, nothing happened, but then I found this!

“Some Celebrated Irish Beauties of the Last Century”

Chapter 1 is about Mary Molesworth, and tells something of the tale of what a total bastard her husband was. Not for nothing was he called “The Wicked Earl”.

More research – and there it was. The story I wanted to write!!

Robert Rochfort’s home, Belvedere, is a national monument and is open to the public. Its an amazing place, and also contains the largest folly in Ireland “The Jealous Wall”. I recommend a visit if you are ever in Ireland.

When I went, the management gave me permission FREE  – to use this picture of Robert for the cover. “Ah, just give us a mention in the book. That’ll be grand!”

Only in Ireland!

Only £0.99 all week!

My publisher, Crooked Cat Books, have been transformed into Darkstroke! They are open to submissions, too, particularly if you write in any of the “Dark” genres or tropes.

Day 2: A bit about me! 🦔🦔

Although I’m now retired and living just north of York, its been a long and active path that has brought me here.

I went to sea as a Cadet in the Merchant Navy in the late 60s, and spent four years sailing between the UK and the east coast of South America. Back then, a ship might stay as long as three weeks in a port. Nowadays the same amount of cargo will be unloaded and fresh cargo reloaded on board in less than 24 hours.

I’ve always worked on the basis of trying to see as much as I could in the ports we went to, and after South America, work took me pretty well all over the world as I climbed the ladder to command. The only area I never made it to was the West coast of North America.

The Marine School, Honiara, Solomon Islands
The Northern tip of Rannongga in the Solomons

After coming ashore, I took the family off to the Solomon Islands for two years, where I was teaching at their little Marine School there, and then down to the Falklands where I ran the Fishery Protection Service for 2 years (great job).

Stanley in the Falklands
Polish Mother-ship, a reefer-vessel and a trawler, transshipping frozen fish in Berkeley Sound in the Falklands.
Surf Bay, in the Falklands.

Then to Cyprus, Holland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and London working for shipping companies on their safety and management systems.  

Disko Island, off Greenland.

These days, apart from writing, after we retired up here, we found we had hedgehogs in the garden. We still feed them, and they continue to prosper. We find them enchanting, and hedgehogs need all the help they can get.

A few odd facts:

  1. Most remote place I’ve been: Pitcairn Island.
  2. Longest trip on board: 9 months 6 days.
  3. Favourite places: Singapore, Buenos Aires, Santos.
  4. Coldest place: Disko Island, Greenland.
  5. Most Northerly place: Kirkeness(Norway) / Murmansk.
  6. Best place we’ve lived: Stanley in the Falklands.
  7. Worst place: Honiara, the Solomon Islands.
  8. Crew I’ve sailed with: British, West Indian, Maltese, Polish, Croatian, Somali, Filipino, Burmese, German, Russian, Solomon Islands, Chinese.
  9. Flags I have sailed under: British, Singapore, Cyprus, Austria, Bahamas, Antigua, Panama, Liberia, Solomon Islands.
  10. Number of Countries visited: 110

Only £0.99 all week!

And finally – my Publisher’s have a new imprint. Darkstroke Books. They are actively seeking authors, so if you write in ANY of the dark genres or tropes – feel free to submit to them!

Day 1: All Change! (Well, Not EVERYTHING)🦔🦔

My publisher, Crooked Cat Books, are running a week-long promo on their web-site for several of their authors – including ME! This seemed a heaven-sent opportunity to refresh everything, including a new Profile pic.

It’s not until you start that you realise exactly WHAT everything entails!

Updated Page on the Crooked Cat website:

Updated Profile on the RNA Website:

Updated Amazon Author Page:

Updated Goodreads Author Page:

Updated page on Promoting Yorkshire Authors: promoting yorkshire authors – john jackson

Updated Bookbub Page:

And, of course, changing all the profile pics on all my Social Media accounts! Tomorrow – much more interesting (hopefully0. A bit of info about me.

To close – seeing we are doing “Links” today – here are a few:

The Romantic Novelists Association: Celebrating 60 years of Romance right across the spectrum is ALL its forms!!

Facebook: Romantic.Novelists.Association

Twitter: RNAtweets

Only £0.99 all week!

And finally – my Publisher’s have a new imprint. Darkstroke Books. They are actively seeking authors, so if you write in ANY of the dark genres or tropes – feel free to submit to them!

Time Flies When You Are Having Fun!

I suddenly realised it was THREE MONTHS since my last update, during which I seem to have been massively busy. Since then, we’ve had Christmas with a two-year-old (!!) lots of writing bits, pieces and events all over Yorkshire, AND the RNA Winter Party. This was preceded by a truly excellent talk from Sophie Kinsella!

RNA PArties are a GREAT way of catching up with friends!

I’ve also been doing some bits and pieces for the RNA, including a Powerpoint presentation looking back over 60 years. This year is their 60th Birthday, and I’ll be joining in their celebrations with gusto. It has meant going back through their archives, back to 1960 – and long before the internet. It has been fun trying to find a picture of all of the various “Romance of the Year” award winners. Back then, the Association was set up by, among others, the redoubtable Denise Robins and Barbara Cartland. For many of the authors, their publishers never bothered with a “head shot” and its impossible to find a picture of them. The covers all had “a certain look” too.


The RNA Winter Party was at a new venue – the Leonardo Hotel at Tower Hill. Strangely, when I was working for NYK in London 13 years ago, we had our Xmas party there. I spent most of the evening talking and taking pics, as usual! A good venue – I can get on the tube there, and go all the way beck to my hotel in Ealing!! #districtline. We are back there again for the RoNAs – the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards, in 4 weeks time!

No sooner was I back from the Winter party than I was down again, this time with P, my other half, to see Bill Bailey performing in the atrium underneath the Cutty Sark. We see him every time he comes to York – and its always worth it!


We coupled THIS trip with one to the RHA Wisley for lunch, and seeing one of our oldest friends in SW London.

Apart from an excellent family Xmas, mostly spent watching our 2-year-old Granddaughter have fun with boxes, the public (so to speak) bit of Xmas included doing some readings from A Christmas Carol at a Promoting Yorkshire Authors event at Northallerton Library. A lot of fun dressing up!

My publisher, Crooked Cat Books, are doing a week-long promotion for me on their website, so I’ve recently been really busy getting everything ready for this. Watch this space from Saturday of next week, the 15th of February, when I’ll be updating this blog every day for a week!!


Children in Read – A Look-Back

Children in Read is an initiative that allows authors to donate a book (or books) to one of the best-known charities in the UK – Children in Need, through an on-line auction.

First and foremost, this is not just about books written for kids – it is very much about books written for all ages and tastes, and across pretty well EVERY genre.

These are the genres they currently divide books into:

Children’s Laureates                     Autobiography/Biography                       Children

Christmas                                          Contemporary                                                 Cookery

Crime Thriller                                   Educational                                                      Fantasy

History                                               History Fiction                                                Horror / Paranormal

Humour                                             Mystery Thriller                                              Poetry

Romance                                           Science Fiction                                                Sport

Suspense Thriller                             T.V. & Film                                                       Young Adult

Multiple books                                Dr Who

For authors, I think it’s a superb cause. You get YOUR book into the hands of someone who really wants it. It costs you 1. A book, 2, A Jiffy-bag, and 3. Postage.  AND you raise funds for a very highly regarded charity.

All you need to do to donate is to let Paddy know the title and give him an Amazon link to your book. He will put up a page for your book. This was mine for Heart of Stone

As you can see, you get links to your Web page and your Twitter handle, plus your bio, cover, headshot and, of course, the blurb for your book.

The Auction closed at 11 pm on the Friday of Children in Need, and I was advised by a DM on Twitter from Paddy of the address of the winning bidder on the following Tuesday.

Children in Read itself gets excellent sponsorship from a company called Construction Impact Framework; they sponsor the website and system architecture – and well done them.

Paddy Heron, who runs the event, tells me that some people start sending him books early in the year; their bid drive really starts in July, though. Next year I will put an alarm call out in late June that its all kicking off soon!

And finally, congratulations to ALL my fellow authors who donated or bid for books. In the words of Young Mr Grace, “You’ve All Done Very Well!” and raised over £8500.

Social Media 103 – For You!

Here is Part 3 of the series I started some time ago.

Like it or not, Social Media increases in importance with every passing day, for all authors, both conventionally and independently published.

Social Media 103 – Life On Line

A quick note. Do remember, if you are published with an established conventional publisher, you will have (usually) some support from them.

However, if you are an Indie, or with one of the smaller publishers where you have to do all the work yourselves, then this is aimed towards you.

Good Manners!

I hardly have to teach you good manners – but there are times when people do forget their manners when on-line.

Facebook Friend Requests. Set your Settings to Accept Friends. This is your Author Personal Page we are talking about. Accept their requests and expand your Friends network. This is not just good manners, this is BUSINESS!

To borrow a quote, SELLING IS TELLING!!!!

If you go to a Group page, and click on Members, you can see who else is in the group. You can also see if they are open to Friend Requests. If they are NOT open to Friend Requests, this looks at best, unsure of how Social Media works, and at worst, downright unfriendly.

The above is a screenshot of the Friends List of a Promo group I belong to. It’s an open group, so you don’t have to be members of its parent organisation to post here, or to share.

Looking at these members.  I’m already Friends with Sue, Robin and Jeanette, and several others are Accepting friend Requests.

But some are not! If I click on their Profile, I get their Authors Page, which I can then Like, but I can’t see if we have any Friends-in-Common. This is a VERY good way of deciding whether to “Friend” someone, or how to respond to a Friend request.

How many friends in common do you have? If its at least 60, then there is a very good chance you will at least have something to chat about.

Are they writers? Bloggers? Agents?

One gives a little more info. She has Author in her Page Title. Some others? Not even that. What are they hoping to get out of the group? What might they contribute?

With Kenneth and Jane, I can see a bit more about them, so can click on Add Friend.

Anyone who describes themselves as an “Entrepreneur” or “Content creator” will not be Friended or Followed. Anyone who trades in Bitcoins or other dodgy Investors, ditto.

So YOU have control of your Friends. You can always “Unfriend” someone or Unfollow them on Twitter.

If in doubt as to someone, check out their Timeline. However, if its just a page, all you can see are their own posts. Do they post any original content, or do they just repost pictures of cats? You do want SOME original content. I find our hedgehogs helpful in this regard.

Looking at Twitter:

Do NOT Lock your account! Imagine what your readers think when they click on your Twitter page and see “This account’s Tweets are protected. “ Again, remember, this is BUSINESS

And Now on to something else Important! #Hashtags.

Hashtags are everywhere. Particularly in the vernacular of the young. The do have a use apart from making people sound either cool or pretentious. Sooner or later, they won’t be cool and trendy, but they WILL still be important.

So What Are Hashtags?

Let’s start with the simple definition:

hash·tag: A word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#), used to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for it.

Whenever you add a hashtag, it can be indexed by the social network and is then searchable by other users. When you click on a hashtag, you’ll go to a page that shows all of the posts with the same hashtags.

Use them but use them well. The easiest #hashtag is #thetitleofyourbook. i.e. #heartofstone in my case.

On Twitter or Facebook, do NOT use too many (3 tops)!

On Instagram, you can use as many as you like, up to about 10.

Normally, only run 2 words together. (Your book title is an exception).

There are lots of pages suggesting good hashtags for writers. Here are some good ones, though.

By Genre

#Romance #Erotica #Paranormal #RomanticSuspense #UrbanFantasy #WomensFiction

Books and Reading

#Books #BookWorm #GreatReads #IndieThursday #MustRead #WhatToRead


#Amazon #eBook
#BookBuzz #eReaders
#ePubChat  #Kindle #KindleBargain
#Kobo #KDP (Kindle Publishing Direct) #Nook


#Giveaway #BookMarketing #FollowFriday #FreeReads
#Novelines (to quote your own work) #FreeBook
#FridayReads #TeaserTues


#AskAgent #AskAuthor #AskEditor #Publishing #SelfPub
#MSWL – manuscript wish list. (This is where agents post what they are looking for)

Writing Process

#AmWriting #AmEditing #CopyWriting #Creativity #Editing #IndieAuthor #RomanceWriter
#WIP #WordCount #WriteMotivation #WritersLife

How do you use them? Just add them onto the end of all your messages or posts.

Finally, do remember, this is not about “Making Friends”, although that can happen in real life, it’s about SELLING BOOKS!

Goodreads, once you have your Book and Author pages set up, only requires an occasional visit.

Do encourage your readers / followers / friends to LEAVE A REVIEW when they have read your book, and to leave it on Amazon AND on Goodreads. They can “cut and paste” between the sites.

Goodreads reviews have the advantage that – to date – your review won’t disappear because you are a “Friend” of the Author / Reader. 

To find your LATEST Review,

Go to your Book page, then Scroll Down till you see COMMUNITY REVIEWS, then Click on SORT ORDER, and then on “Newest”

Click on See Review and you’ll see your chosen review on its own, and also a button on the right-hand side for Share on Facebook. Click this to share your review to your own Facebook page, and then again to your Author page, or to any Group you want to past it to.

You can “copy and paste” the link for the review from the Address Bar at the top of the page, and then post this into a Tweet, or into a Blog or any other post.

You do want to have a “Brand” and part of your Brand is making sure your Info is up to date on all your platforms. So your own website, your Facebook page, your Amazon and Goodreads page, and your own page on Promoting Yorkshire Authors or any other group page is giving the same message.

Goodreads is actually owned by Amazon, but there doesn’t seem to be any connection between the two.

Pinterest is very low maintenance. Just post or save pics you like or want to save. Check out boards that interest you. I do find it useful, but not “demanding”


You will build up a group of followers, and people you follow, as time goes by on Instagram.

Go to your Instagram page and click on Followers. Hou can see who wants to follow you. This was a recent one of mine. I didn’t follow her back! Use common sense when following back.

I couldn’t help feeling her interests didn’t obviously lie in Romantic Fiction.

So I Blocked her! Click on the 3 little dots to the right of her name.

You will see something like this.

So you’ve Blocked them, and click on Dismiss. Note that this person has NEVER posted!!

Finally, do remember, again, this is not about “Making Friends”, although that can happen in real life, it’s about SELLING BOOKS!

A Long Overdue Blog Post

I’ve been having WordPress problems. For reasons yet-to-be explained I have been having terrible logging-on problems

News-wise, it has been a year (so far) of doing a lot of “stuff” both for the Romantic Novelists Association and my local authors group, Promoting Yorkshire Authors.

With PYA we are still arranging, very successfully, author talks and panel discussions at various libraries. We were absolutely delighted to see Harrogate Library who have been amazingly supportive from day 1, be awarded “The Nibbie” as the Booksellers Library of the Year! Well done everyone there, but especially Jane Trigoso, who is our main contact there.

The “Nibbie” being presented. Pic courtesy the Harrogate Informer

The next item in the plans is to carry out some author training to help members make good choices if going down the Indie road.

I am back writing, too – which is good. I just wish they made more hours in each day though.

I’m also doing a lot of back-office stuff for the RNA. The author profiles continue to come in in drips and drabs, the York Tea and the Joan Hessayon Awards are (hopefully) all prepared (September 14th, at the Merchant Taylor’s Hall). At the time of writing we have exactly ONE ticket left out of 110.

The Merchant Taylor’s Hall

Next year, the RNA is celebrating its 60th birthday. It is certainly a different world to 1960. At dinners and events back then, furs, jewellery and long white gloves would be worn. A toastmaster would announce the guests and members as they arrived, and Denise Robbins and Barbara Cartland would stand to “receive” each arrival! I have had the privilege of access to the RNA archives, in search of suitable items to make up a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate 60 years of the RNA. There’s not a lot so far – because early editions of RNA News were typed and duplicated. What photos there were are not suitable for scanning and putting into a presentation.

One new venture this year has been attending a number of “signing events”. I went to a couple last year just as a visitor. This year I had “half tables” at four, in Leeds, Sheffield, Blackpool and Bradford.

Leeds Literary Lovelies, at the Marriott.
The Cutler’s Hall in Sheffield, w friend, neighbour and fellow RNA Member, Ava Manellol
Friend and fellow-PYA member, Darren Walker

They do seem to be the way the Romance market is going. Taking Leeds as an example, there were 70 authors, and of those 90% described themselves as Romance Authors. They are VERY productive, bringing out at LEAST a book a year, they have a loyal readership and fanbase, and they work very hard selling themselves and their books on live and via social media. Of the 70 authors there, they included another 5 RNA members, and the attending authors are the natural recruiting ground for the RNA. Their age demographic extends from early 20s up to around 60s.

Friend and fellow PYA member, Julia Bell.
and me, at the IndieLitFest in Bradford. Pushing the boat out for PYO, the RNA and for hedgehogs!!

Some of them had well in excess of 50 pre-orders! Some attending readers were going home with trolley boxes FULL of books and “swag”. Having a “half-table” was worth it just for the ability to sit down. My back and my leg just don’t like prolonged standing. 

The daddy of them all is the “Romance Authors and Readers Event” at London’s Olympia. This sells out every year, and will have over 200 indie authors, a lot of them American. Attending is no light matter, either – with tickets going for £45. I’ll stick with Leeds – £10. (£35 for my half table). I sold a few copies. Not enough to make it a paying proposition, but like an RNA party, it is ALL about the people!

All about the people is, of course, a really good description of the RNA Conference. I’ve already posted all the photos. Basically, for me, its three days of fun, chat and learning with 270 very good friends.

The next blog post will be after the York Tea! The best of luck to all the contenders for the Joan Hessayon Award. In my book, you are all already winners!

Social Media 102

This is a follow-on from the last session. In this one, we should all have (at least) basic accounts, profiles or pages in:

  1. Facebook
  2. A Facebook Personal page
  3. A Facebook Authors page.
  4. Goodreads
    1. A Goodreads Readers page
    1. A Goodreads Authors page
  5. A Twitter page
  6. An Instagram page
  7. A Pinterest page.

You should also know how to find the PYA Youtube page.

You should also have decided what name you want to use. You might want to pick a name that sounds more like an “Authors Name”. Your publisher, when and if you get taken up, may tell you to change your name. An advantage of using a nom-de-plume is that you can keep your “real name personal page” for actual friends and family.

In Facebook, we are going to look at “Friending people” and responding to Friend Requests. We will also look briefly at Following, and at Liking pages.

I’m also going to include something on Facebook Groups

Remember, Facebook Friends – especially Friends with your “Nom-de-Plume” profile are not just personal friends (at least some of them) but BUSINESS CONTACTS. I recommend that you add as many Friends as you can. Not random strangers, but fellow-authors, fellow peer-group members, book bloggers, reviewers, readers, etc.

 You may find – as I have done – that many of these will become personal friends over the course of time.

Finding Friends.

  1. If you know someone, ask if they have a Facebook page, and send them a Friend Request. This is the most basic way of “making friends”
  2. Look at your existing friends, and at THEIR friends.

This is my Facebook page, showing my Friends. As it happens, these profiles are of “new friends” who have just joined the Romantic Novelists Assoc.

  • You can scroll down my page to see if you recognise anyone and send a Friend request if you so desire.
  • You can also go down and see HOW MANY FRIENDS YOU HAVE IN COMMON!
  • If you have at least 60 Friends in common, then you will certainly have a range of common interests, or “something to talk about”
  • If they are also members of Promoting Yorkshire Authors, or any other relevant group you belong to, such asm in my case, the Romantic Novelists Association, you should send them ALL friend requests.
  • You can also click on someone’s profile and see their location and occupation, depending on the level of security they have set. This is another reason for using a nom-de-plume. This is business, and you want to give MAXIMUM info to potential readers and buyers of your book. You WANT people to see what you do (an Author) where you live (York, for me) and who are YOUR friends.
  • There is, officially, no limit on the number of friend requests you can make in a day. Facebook will suddenly change its rules though, so a certain amount of discretion is advised. Do not send more than 50 Friend Requests per day. It just seems needy! 😉
  • Also, do NOT send a lot of Friend Requests, have them accepted, and then unfriend them all. This is known as “churning” and Facebook DO NOT like it!
  • You have a limit of 5000 Friends on Facebook. You are not likely to come too close for a long time.
  1. It is also essential that you set your profile to ACCEPT FRIEND REQUESTS!

Click on Settings (the little down arrow in the top margin, then Settings, near the bottom)

Click on Privacy.

Privacy Settings and Tools Your activity

Who can see your future posts? Public

Review all your posts and things you’re tagged in. Use Activity Log

Limit the audience for posts you’ve shared with friends of friends or Public? Limit Past Posts

How people can find and contact you

Who can send you friend requests? Friends of friends

Who can see your friends list? Friends

Who can look you up using the email address you provided? Friends of friends

Who can look you up using the phone number you provided? Friends of friends

Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your Profile? Yes

You have a degree of protection from idiots and oddballs by restricting visibility to “Friends of friends”.  I’ve found this works pretty well.

So you are now dipping your toe into social media. Putting bits of your daily life on Facebook, pictures of cats (or hedgehogs), etc.

You are also putting EVERY reasonable picture relating to your books that you can. Don’t forget to tell your friends about any 5* reviews you get, on Amazon OR Goodreads.

If in any doubt, have a look at a potential Friend’s timeline, especially people who are sending YOU Friends requests. Do they post anything interesting? Do they post hate-speech, or extreme politics? Is it likely to be a fake profile? (a retired US General, a pneumatic lady of negotiable affections, an Arab sheik, a Prince?)  When you Decline a Friend request, you can also mark it as Spam.

The sort of news to post.

  1. When your cover comes out.
  2. When you get a publishing date.
  3. When you sign a contract with a publisher
  4. When you are signed by an agent.
  5. When your book appears in the best seller lists.
  6. When your book is referenced in the press.
  7. When you get a review.
  8. When you work up a new advert for your book.
  9. When you are having a launch party
  10. When you are having a blog tour
  11. When you are appearing in anyone else’s Blog, or on their page.
  12. When you are going to a writing event
  13. When you have been to one (especially with photos)
  14. When you have a new entry on your own blog or page.
  15. When you are meeting writing friends socially
  16. When you are starting your edits
  17. When you are finishing them.
  18. When you see your book on a shelf for sale.

Always – with any of the above – include a link to the event / page, etc.

Once you have been using Facebook for a while, when you click on “Friends” on your profile, it will show you those Friends who you “talk” to most.

Also, always try to include a photo or two. They don’t have to be taken by you but do ask if you are using other peoples.

If you are taking pictures on your phone, you can post them straight to your Instagram page, and at the same time, share the post to Facebook and Twitter.

Liking Pages, and Asking for your own author Page to be Liked (on Facebook)

People may well ask you to “Like” their Facebook page. Some people do not like doing this. However, “Page Likes” are considered important as a measure of success. You are being asked to indicate support, not pledging your lifelong devotion to a page. I will always Like my Friends pages. All it takes is a mouse-click.

I do, naturally, check on the page and make sure its not a porn page or promoting extremist views. Also, I won’t like your page if it’s written in a foreign script. Common sense rules.

Facebook will also suggest pages you may like. These will be based on your Friends and your Location. Their recommendations can be quite useful.

You can see what you have Liked. On your page, Click on More, and then on Likes.

There is no restriction on the number of Pages you can like, but there is on “the number of Pages you can like in a day”.

There is a degree of “tit-for-tat! In that if you like someone’s Page, they should like yours.

One big difference between Facebook and Twitter is that, with Facebook, someone has to send you a Friend Request. So you have control over whether they become your friend. Its “Ask First”

Twitter is “Do it Anyway”; i.e. Anyone can Follow you on Twitter.  This means that it is worth checking over your recent followers to see if there are any “undesirables” there; i.e. People who want to sell you Followers, People with no Profile Picture, or with a name where the spelling of the name is TOTALLY different from the name itself.

If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Just Block the person. VERY easy. Click on the 3 vertical dots next to the persons name. You will see something like this.

Tweet to @Twittername

Send a Direct Message

Add or remove from lists…

Mute @Twittername

Block @Twittername

Report @Twittername

Embed this Profile

Then Click on Block @Twittername

As I was writing this chapter, I had a Follow, followed by a DM (Direct Message) This was it.

FazzaHa05646288 Fazza Hamdan

Greetings my dear friend, hope all is well with you? I write you in peace and it will be my pleasure to make a good acquaintance with you if you wouldn’t mind. My name is Prince Hamdan the Crown Prince of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. You are probably very informed about me or not but that means less when you meet new friends because all you will need is a proper introduction and time. And I know you still wonder why am contacting you through this medium, lots of questions in your mind I know.. Will be glad to answer if you give me the chance. Well everything I can tell you about myself is already online … Hope you can let me know a little about you for the time being ?

So Blocked immediately. Crown Princes don’t go following random foreign nationals!

Facebook Groups.

There are HUNDREDS of Facebook Groups devoted to Writing or Selling books.

There are WELL over 300 Facebook Groups available to join – and these are just the ones concerned with Writers/Authors. Some Groups let you join immediately; others require you to be approved by a Moderator.

Some Groups ask you to answer some questions.

They can be split roughly into 2 sorts.

a. Those where you can promote or sell your books.

b. Those where no promotion is allowed.

There is a small amount of “Crossover” where a Group will allow a very limited amount of promotion, on, say, Publication Day.

Groups also vary in size, with some of the new groups having as few as, say, 50 members, while at the other end of the scale one or two groups have over 50,000 members. Some of the “non-promotion” groups have over 200,000 members.

Within these divisions, Groups also divide by Genre.

While the obvious reaction might be to post to ALL the groups, Facebook will NOT like this, and may regard your post as Spam. In the worst case, you could find yourself sent to the Facebook “Naughty Step” and prohibited from posting to Groups, or possibly from posting altogether.

Facebook has very definite Rules as to what constitutes Spam, however:-

a. They are NOT telling you what these Rules are,

b. They change the rules at the drop of a hat, and again, won’t tell you.

Broadly speaking, avoid sending, sharing or re-posting the SAME message more than, say, 20 times in a day.

DO NOT post too fast. If you try and be systematic and efficient, then Facebook interprets this a Spamming, EVEN if there is no commercial link in your posts.

Facebook doesn’t look at your posts – it just checks to see if they are identical.

Facebook now want you to avoid commercial promotion from your own Personal Page. Keep yourself on-side by setting up and using an Author Page, and preferably an Author Page Group. Invite all your friends and likers-of-your page to join the Group, and then use the Group page as the base page for your Advertising shots, fliers, etc.

If you join a LOT of groups, you can find your Facebook feed swamped by Notifications. So, when you join a Group, click on the Notifications tab and switch the Notifications to Off, or to Friends Only.

Even where a Group is listed as “Promos OK” they may have some limitations. It is up to you to check and make sure that you follow their requirements.

As a general rule:

a. Do not post more than once a day in a Group

b. Do not post anything NOT related to books.

c. Do NOT post porn links / pics etc.

As a specific rule: Make sure you are posting in the right Genre.

When you join a group, you need to consider its size, and its popularity. If a group has 50k members, and they all post every day, YOUR post is going to flick through the feed and disappear in seconds. If you post in a group with 100 members, and only 20 are posting every day, then you will be seen for much longer, but only by 100 people.

So pick a selection of groups that will give you the best exposure you want.

Click on “About” on a Group page you don’t belong to and you will see something like this.


2 New posts today

236 in the last 30 days

2,641 Members

+25 in the last 30 days

Created: about 10 years ago

This helps you decide if you want to join a Group.

Do remember that Facebook has certain limits. You cannot have more than 5000 Friends (but you can have more members of your Author Page Group).

Some Groups worth joining (for Writers)

  1. Your “Peer Groups” Group. This includes the big associations. They all have Facebook Groups. If you belong to one, then join their Facebook Group.
    1. These include:
      1. The Romantic Novelists Association
      1. The Crime Writers Association
      1. The Historical Novel Society
      1. The Horror Writers Association
  • Groups that DON’T allow you to promote your books (i.e. Writing, rather than Marketing Groups)
  • Groups that allow you to promote your book.
    • These include:
      • Historical Fiction Book Club
      • Marketing for Romance Writers
      • Promote Your Books
      • Authors
      • Book Club
      • Book Pimp
      • The Bookshop Café
      • The Writers Message Board
      • Aroma Books & More
      • Book promotions
      • Book Viral
      • Creative Writers
      • Euphrates Bookstore
      • Great Books to read!
      • Independent Authors eBooks and reviews please!
      • Kindle Amazon Book Club – Authors Promote Here!
      • Julies Book Review- Reviewers for Authors
      • Kindle, Kindle, and Kindle.
  • Don’t try and join EVERY group. Join Groups that are appropriate for you.

You can search on your Genre in the Facebook Searchbox, and then click on Groups.

For Poetry:

For Children’s Books

Whatever Groups you do join, make sure you follow THEIR Rules. These will be in the “About” section of the group

Here is an example of a Group’s Rules.

About this group Description A group to discuss Fantasy books, post articles and reviews, and for authors to promote their work Free-For-All Fridays for any sales promotions. Self promotion is welcome on this day on the designated posts provided, and we’ll be giving out free e-books to celebrate every 200 new members! Bullying or vicious attacking of any author or their work is not permitted and members participating in these activities will be removed promptly. Let’s make Fantasy Focus an inclusive and positive haven for readers of the best in Fantasy fiction and the authors that create it.

Lastly, about Facebook Groups. When you join a Group, you will start to receive Notifications when someone posts. You can restrict the number of notifications that you see by clicking on Notifications (on the Group page) and then selecting Friends Posts, or Off.  This will stop you being overwhelmed.

That’s definitely enough for this week!

Next week – Hashtags, and more Tips and Tricks.