“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
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’.
“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.
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.
“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.
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!
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.
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).
Then to Cyprus, Holland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and London working for shipping companies on their safety and management systems.
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:
Most remote place I’ve been: Pitcairn Island.
Longest trip on board: 9 months 6 days.
Favourite places: Singapore, Buenos Aires, Santos.
Coldest place: Disko Island, Greenland.
Most Northerly place: Kirkeness(Norway) / Murmansk.
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!
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 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
Suspense Thriller T.V.
& Film Young
Multiple books Dr
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
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.
A quick note. Do remember, if you are published with an
established conventional publisher, you will have (usually) some support from
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
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
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
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
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
Normally, only run 2 words together. (Your book title is an
There are lots of pages suggesting good hashtags for
writers. Here are some good ones, though.
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
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
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
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!
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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
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
Look at your existing friends, and at THEIR
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
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
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.
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.
When your cover comes out.
When you get a publishing date.
When you sign a contract with a publisher
When you are signed by an agent.
When your book appears in the best seller lists.
When your book is referenced in the press.
When you get a review.
When you work up a new advert for your book.
When you are having a launch party
When you are having a blog tour
When you are appearing in anyone else’s Blog, or
on their page.
When you are going to a writing event
When you have been to one (especially with
When you have a new entry on your own blog or
When you are meeting writing friends socially
When you are starting your edits
When you are finishing them.
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
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
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
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…
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.
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!
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
Some Groups ask you to answer
They can be split roughly into 2
a. Those where you can promote
or sell your books.
b. Those where no promotion is
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
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
236 in the
last 30 days
+25 in the
last 30 days
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)
Your “Peer Groups” Group. This includes the big
associations. They all have Facebook Groups. If you belong to one, then join
their Facebook Group.
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 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 groupDescription
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.