What Indie Authors Could Learn from the Instagram + Facebook Outage

Today, October 4, 2021 Facebook and Instagram went down in the US.

This is nothing new. Facebook and Instagram have had outages before. I have no doubt everyone will be back online soon.

That linked article said this happened this morning, but I was on Instagram and Facebook, and it was working fine, so the outage is relatively recent. (I noticed it afternoon-ish.)

The interesting thing about all of this is it wasn’t until I sent my fourth quarter email out to my list that I noticed these platforms were down. I got an alert from the news app on my phone just as soon as I pressed send.

“Oh. Okay.”

Short story: I wasn’t panicked.

This message is simple:

It would be best to have other ways of engaging with your readers outside of these two major platforms. Instagram and Facebook might be the most popular, but they are not the only social networking sites available, nor are they the only places authors should look to when engaging an audience.

If anything permanent happened to these social media sites, I’d like people to know they can still visit me online at yecheilyahysrayl.com, contact me using my contact form and sign up to my email list and blog for updates.

Many Indie Authors depend solely on Instagram and Facebook for sharing content. This isn’t even just for Authors. Many new entrepreneurs operate solely by way of Facebook pages and Cash App. 

Not good. 

If Instagram and Facebook were to be down indefinitely, people would lose contact with most of their audience.

How so?

Well, my language is poetry so to quote Najwa Zebian: “The biggest mistake that we make is that we build our homes in other people.”

Indie Authors and new entrepreneurs make a mistake when they build their businesses solely on temporary social media platforms with no means of staying in contact with people beyond that social media site.

Consider:

You have 8,000 Instagram followers, but someone hacks you or Instagram dies. You have 12,000 Facebook followers, but FB’s dead too. Now thousands of potentially eager clients no longer exist. Well, they exist, but they have no idea how to contact you because:

  • You don’t have a website they can visit to support you. 
  • You don’t have an email marketing strategy for them to keep up with you. 
  • You don’t have a blog to continue to share your content. You know, the content you usually share on the Instagram that no longer exists.

Heartbreaking stuff.

Other Ways of Connecting / Interacting with Your Readers Outside of Facebook and Instagram

Every Author Should Have a Website

Not to beat a dead horse here, but you should really have an author website. We’ve talked about this guys. Your website is your home. It is where people can go to learn more about you, buy your books/services, and contact you. This is your main hub, a summary of all things you, the author. Websites demonstrate professionalism, and every professional business has one. Serious Indie Authors should have one too.

Blog

Your blog (which should be easily accessible from your website) is where you provide content. Blogs perform better traffic-wise than static websites because they are updated regularly with new material. I think having a blog and static website is a great balance.

Email

Your email list (which should be easily accessible from your website) is a way of nurturing relationships with new readers who aren’t following your blog but bought your book and providing updates to loyal readers who want to engage with you more deeply. 

Collecting emails to a list is important for Indie Authors because POD services like Amazon’s KDP do not tell you who the people are who bought your book. You see the sale, but not the name or anything else about the customer. This means if I buy your book from Amazon, you won’t know unless I tell you. This makes it challenging to keep track of me as a new reader and build a stronger relationship with me.

This is also why you should be pushing book sales from your author website too because you have a better connection to the people buying your books. Oh, wait, you don’t have a website. See how that works?

Some readers will do you the favor of posting about your book on Facebook and Instagram. But, wait, there is no FB and IG in this scenario.

Other Social Sites

Believe it or not, other social media sites exist. Places like Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube for video, and maybe even LinkedIn can be good alternatives to communicate with your audience if the others are gone.

The point is, there are other ways of being visible online outside of Facebook and Instagram.

I hope this outage helps us to rethink our social media strategy and develop ways of moving those loyal Insta-friends over to our own platforms.

Update: All those random emails ya’ll sent out the blue yesterday to people who probably forgot they signed up to your list is like rushing out to the grocery store to buy food during a shortage rather than just stocking up before the shortage happens.

Moral: Just having an email list is not enough if you don’t use it. It can hurt you more than help you.


Meet and Greet Book Signing 11/13

On 11/13, I am hosting my first book signing since Covid. My last signing was in 2019, so I am nervous and excited to be around people again.

Please be advised we are still fighting this virus, so there is very limited space and vaccinated or not, you must wear your mask. I am also not putting in a large order of books, so first come, first served. COME EARLY.

It’s Okay to Talk About Something Other Than Your Books

At its core, businesses are built on the foundation of relationships. This is especially true in the Self-Publishing world, where authors do not always have access to the exposure traditionally published authors receive.

When it comes to social media, it’s about being social and making connections with others, so it’s okay to talk about things outside of your books. It helps people get to know you on a deeper level and feel comfortable shopping with you.

Some basics to start with is sharing a little about you and maybe throwing in your thoughts on current events.

What are some things you like to do when you are not writing? What’s your favorite color? What are you passionate about in life? What do you think about the Covid-19 pandemic and the vax/non vax wars? What about what’s going on in Haiti? When is your birthday? What exciting things did you get into this weekend?

And so on…

I’m going to make this short because the message is pretty straightforward. No one wants to be inundated with “Buy My Book” messages all day, not on social media and not in their inboxes. I know it sounds kinda funny, but people only care about how what you are saying is relatable to their lives. You really do have to care about people, which sometimes means stepping outside your comfort zone and opening up a little about other things that may have nothing to do with your books. The great thing about this is you can still come back around and tie it into your brand.

Introducing The Grand Prize Winner of Yecheilyah’s 4th Annual Poetry Contest 2021

Introducing the Grand Prize Winner of Yecheilyah’s 4th Annual Poetry Contest 2021

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As soon as I read the first few lines of Love Is by Tiffany, I whispered, “Yes.” Determined not to play favoritism, I sat it aside, but every time I came back to it, I would whisper, “Yes.”

I knew from the start this was the poem we were looking for when we decided on this prompt.

When I said this year, our theme was love, I wanted to see how the poets would explore love beyond what we typically think of it. More than romantic love and even self-love. What other faces does love have?

“Love is food stamps, government cheese, grits with sugar, and collard greens. Love is the sand between my toes. Love is the prize at the bottom of crackerjack box. Love is hopscotch and Double Dutch. Love is Afro-puffs, two French braids, and your first French kiss.”

As someone who grew up in the Robert Taylor Projects on Chicago’s south side, I can relate to these words. I remember government cheese and powdered milk and how my mama used to french braid me and my sister’s hair. Sometimes we had one french braid to the back and sometimes two. While we didn’t have much, we had love.

These are the kinds of lines that set Tiffany’s poem apart. She went deeper and took us back to our roots. Her poem showed us other sides of love and it was relatable:

“Love is easy like Sunday morning. Love is Betty Wright, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and Patti LaBelle, a brilliant collaboration of lyrical hands fighting for the same devotion because love is Soul Train. Love is rich soil to the soul.”

As you can see from these excerpts, Tiffany understood the assignment. Let me introduce and congratulate our grand prize winner, who will, along with the other prizes, be taking home a full publishing package toward whatever book she writes in the future.

Congratulations Mrs. James!

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Tiffany James | The Personal Encourager, Founder of Encouraging Touch Enterprises Writer/Encouragement  Coach, Spoken Word Artist/StoryTeller, Author of “Living in the Land of I Am- Your Life Story Reveals your Purpose | IG: ncouragetouch

Tiffany James is an incredible motivator, speaker, and gifted storyteller. She is married and has three beautiful daughters, who are her world. Tiffany’s mission is to inspire everyone to own their voice, walk with their heads high when they walk in a room because they belong in the room, and rock their greatness while celebrating the greatness in others. 

Tiffany knows firsthand how hard it is to be the cheerleader behind your dreams, after deciding in 2007, when her corporate career came to an end due to the economy, to pursue her passion of using her voice and writings to impact change. It has been a beautiful, exciting, and sobering journey. There have been many times over the years she found herself struggling with uncertainty from the many disappointments and considered giving up and returning to Corporate America. Thankfully during that time, she had surrounded herself with a strong tribe who believed in her dreams as much as she did. 

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It is now her mission to be a voice of encouragement to people all over, regardless of their journey, to be bold enough to answer the call of the dream. IMG_6117

www.encouragingtouch.com

Tiffany passionately and consistently achieves this mission through her writings, workshops, storytelling, encouragement-coaching, speaking, and her new, inspiring book, Living in the Land of I Am- Your Life Journey Reveals Your PurposeShe teaches you success is not defined by how many figures you make but by the courage, it takes to stay true to yourself while pursuing your purpose. Her mentoring motto, “Greatness is about serving others with the gift that God has given you.”

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be spotlighting each of these poets individually here on the blog and social media. We will start with #4 and countdown from there. Be sure you are subscribed to this blog as we dig deeper into what inspired the winning poems.

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Hugh C.N. Miller

Please help me extend a warm welcome to Hugh C.N. Miller.

Welcome to the PBS Blog!


What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Hugh C.N. Miller and I am from Johannesburg, South Africa

Okay. South Africa in the house.

My Uncle’s name was Hugh! What kind of music do you like?

Ava Max, Julia Michaels and loved Prince and the revolution.

Are you employed outside of writing?

Yes. I own my own design and web development studio for past ten years.

Cool!

Do you design your own book covers? What’s that like?

I design my own book covers, website and book typesetting, since I am a graphic designer and web developer. I have also designed book covers for other people over the years. Love the control of knowing what I have seen in my mind as the cover and being able to achieve that myself and not having to hope a designer gets the picture in his.

Very nice! Are you married? Kids?

Yes. I’ve been married for twenty-seven years. I have one daughter, Samantha, 20 years old.

Wow. 27 years? That’s awesome! Let’s talk about writing. How did you get into Science Fiction?

 

Always have had a passion for Sci-Fi and prefer futuristic novels to everyday life events, also a nicer escape from reality.

I feel you. Is this your first book? How was the process of publishing?

This is my first book to be published, have written various stories in the last 30years, but remained only in my drawer. Thought it was time to pursue this dream with more energy and accomplish something I always wanted to be, an Author.

What do you think of the world we live in?

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Think it needs love, tolerance between races. We need to understand that we all humans, on same sinful level in front of an almighty God to one day judge us on love.

Since you write about robots, I have to ask, religious or nah?

Yes, I believe in a creator and savior above all the superheroes, the real one who came to save humanity, Jesus Christ. There is so much evidence for design vs evolution, never mind the peace and joy that comes from believing in a God who is in control, and that includes covid19. My book is all about a case for the creator as seen by an Android robot.

What’s your favorite TV Show? Movie?

All time favorite move is The Matrix. TV Show: Lost

Okay, The Matrix is definitely a dope movie.

If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be?

A superpower to ensure every human has a little home and food every day.

I love that.

Thank you, Hugh, for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!


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Hugh Miller

 

Hugh C.N. Miller is a South African Science Fiction Author, with his latest novel published and available on Amazon: “Interview with Things” He is a Graphic Designer and Web Developer at his own agency: HM Studio since 2011. He has over 30 years of extensive design and advertising experience.

…and if you are a fan of Science Fiction, check out his book. It’s giving me iRobot vibes!

Click here to buy this book from Amazon

About the Book:

In the year 2047, artificial intelligence with Androids segregated in massive domes manages a seemingly perfect world. In an apparent glitch in the Dome software, an Android discovers the essence of who he is was set for termination, a dark hidden secret that would threaten the stability of the entire human race as his relentless mission to find life, purpose, and freedom begins, plummeting David, a human journalist’s life into turmoil. In his quest to understand creation, evolution, free will, death, and faith, an unexpected new threat to humanity greater than the Androids emerge as the Federal Robotic Bureau hunts down this rogue robot in a breakneck chase.


Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE. 

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Natasha Jeneen Thomas

Please help me extend a warm welcome to Natasha Thomas.

Welcome to the PBS Blog!


What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Natasha and I’m from Daytona Beach, Florida. I’ve been living in the metro Atlanta area for the past 11 years.

Cool beans. Are you employed outside of writing?

I am! I have worked as a psychiatrist for eleven years. I treat depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and psychotic disorders. But my specialty areas are posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and peripartum mood and anxiety disorders. Those are disturbances in mood that happen during pregnancy or in the postpartum period.

Over the course of doing this work, I’ve learned the postpartum period is much longer than the six weeks women are usually taught to consider postpartum. I walk with women through their entire pregnancies and at least the first year of their baby’s life to make sure they adjust well and their mental health is supported.

I start treating people at age 15 and have patients in their eighties!

Wow! You are doing such important work.

Now, I just finished binge-watching this (I’m late to the party), so you know I gotta ask, with you being in Atlanta and in the medical space…

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…are you a fan of Married to Medicine, and have you met any of the women from the show?

So funny you asked about Married to Medicine! I’ve never met any of the ladies. But being a psychiatrist, I have met and share patients with Dr. Lunceford (Quad’s husband). He works at a local inpatient facility. So at times when patients aren’t doing well and have to be hospitalized, they’ve been under his care. During those times, he typically reaches out to me so we can collaborate on their outpatient treatment after their hospital discharge.

In addition, Dr. Damon Kimes (Dr. Heavenly’s husband) is an absolute joy to share patients with. He is extremely compassionate to the mental health needs of his patients that also have issues with pain management. Having the opportunity to collaborate with local docs is one of my favorite things about building a medical network here!

That is so cool! See, I knew I was watching that show for a reason, lol. And Chile, they fight like real sisters, and the shade!

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Any siblings Natasha?

I technically am an only child. I have a very close cousin and very close friend. They have been my “sister” and “brother” since I was two years old. They were both raised as only children, too. So, though I grew up without siblings at my home, I have never really felt alone.

That’s precious. Speaking of growing up, what was your childhood dream?

When I was six years old, I developed a strong interest in biology. And this came from reading the children’s encyclopedia series my parents ordered for me. The last book was a guide for parents to understand their children’s health. It was the most interesting part of the entire series to me. But interestingly, I decided in fourth grade that I would attend Yale Law School. I have no idea where that aspiration came from. That lasted a few years, but science just continued to interest me so much that I began to consider medicine around age twelve if memory serves me correctly. By the time I was getting ready to attend college, I started feeling the pull to write. My mother and father encouraged both – but medicine first!

I was a very daydreamy and quirky child. So, from that angle, I had dreamt of doing everything from finding Smurfs in the tree in my backyard to oddly wanting to become a maternity model in the JC Penney’s catalog. That’s the most bizarre realization I’ve ever had about my childhood dreams! Oh goodness.

Lol. That’s what we want to hear! We want you to dig deep. What’s your favorite color?

Green. Kelly green to be exact!

Nice! Favorite food?

I am a true seafood lover. Fish, shrimp, scallops, lobster, crab – I mean, I could just go on and on. My favorite meal, altogether, would be white rice, with fish and collard greens. Interestingly, I was told that was the exact favorite meal of my grandfather, who passed away before I had the chance to meet him.

I love that about genetics. How we could inherit a trait from family outside of our mothers and fathers.

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You mentioned the pull to write, so let’s go there. What genre do you write and why?

I write psychological suspense. I guess, with what I do for a living, it’s not all that mysterious why I have chosen that genre. I’m fascinated by the human mind. Absolutely. What happens to the psyche through one’s life story is incredible, and nothing intrigues me as much. Whether I’m reading, writing, or watching movies or TV, suspense and thrillers with a psychological component are always my favorites. I think we learn a lot about ourselves that we may not want to express when we consume thrillers and suspense. They give us an opportunity to look at our moral compasses and question what, if any, absolute truths we hold.

I love the education your are giving us right now. Do you blog? Does blogging help with writing?

I actually feel like it’s the reverse for me; writing helps me blog. I started a mental health blog called Hope Grove in 2018. It was inspired by the cool work I get to do with my patients, and many of the questions they ask me. I figured if they had these questions, others would as well. That’s especially true for those who, for whatever reason, do not have access to mental health care. And even though the questions drive my blog postings, sometimes I would feel it required a real push to finish a topic.

I have found that writing a post has flowed much easier since I’ve been working on my novel. I think that’s because I’ve been working with a different part of my brain, my imagination, and that tends to mobilize me in general. I also am an intermediate level Haitian Kreyol speaker. I have found my use of the language drastically improved since I’ve been writing my novel. It makes sense but I wasn’t expecting that to happen!

Why is writing important to you?

Oh, that’s a big question. Writing is my outlet. But it is also the way that I take all my life’s experiences and distill them down into bite-sized pieces that I can process and understand. Just like everyone else, I have pain, regrets, doubt, successes, joy – so many emotions to turn over and over in my head. Writing helps me do that in a healthy way. And to turn some of my life lessons into a story that benefits myself and my readers is a gift. The writing of others is also massively important to me. Through the work of greats like Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Edwidge Danticat, and Nikki Giovanni, I started to see writing as a window and a healer. Can you imagine a world without it? I’d certainly rather not!

I love it.

In your own words, what is love?

Love is honesty – honesty that allows you to see yourself and grow into your highest potential.

Thank you, Natasha, for spending this time with us.We enjoyed you!


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Natasha Thomas, 2021

Natasha Jeneen Thomas is a Florida-born psychiatrist and psychological suspense writer. She has spent the past eleven years in private psychiatric practice exploring the individual and collective story and the power of perception. Witnessing life from the vantage point of the human psyche’s inner workings, Natasha sees the state of the world as a reflection of the stories we tell ourselves – and allow ourselves to believe.

Natasha earned a Bachelor of Science from Spelman College, studied medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and completed residency training in psychiatry at the University of Maryland and Sheppard & Enoch Pratt hospitals. In 2010, she moved to Metro Atlanta to work as an outpatient psychiatrist and has the continued honor of providing clinical care as owner & CEO of Hope Grove Psychiatry, PC. When she is not doctoring or writing, she enjoys her family, home, or corner of the couch.

Be Sure to Follow Natasha on Social Media!

Social Media Handles:
Facebook  – @natashajeneenthomasauthor
Instagram – @natashajeneenthomasauthor
Twitter – @JeneenAuthor
 

…and preorder her Psychological Suspense Thriller coming this fall!

 
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About the Book:

Therese Hughes-Baldwin arrives in Boca Raton with hopes of joining the most prestigious dance company in South Florida. But instead of finding ballet success, she suffers an embarrassing heartbreak and takes a boring barista job. She also inadvertently gains the attention of the woman who stalks her on every train ride she takes.

When Therese’s favorite café customer, Dr. Dara Clemens, offers an escape to her beachside mansion, Therese can hardly say “yes” quickly enough. With her suitcase in hand and best friend Phoebe by her side, she heads to the Clemens’ oceanfront getaway. The home is gorgeous. The beach is, too. So is the stranger Therese gives her number to at the bar.

But there are voices in the vents. And there are people who stare. And Therese faces a sinking feeling that something is hauntingly off about Phoebe’s behavior. As Therese questions the motivations of those around her, she opens the door to a reality she never thought she’d find.


Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE. 

You Don’t Have to Do What Everyone Else is Doing

I like following authors on Social Media who post about things other than their books. I wanna know that you are human and alive, that you laugh and experience pain and joy and all those other emotions.

I don’t care for how neat your Instagram page is or how color coordinated you can make it. I don’t care about every post being your book cover or matching your book cover. Yayy for your book, but after a while, that gets boring without a balance.

What’s your favorite food? What was the last movie that made you cry? How did you get into writing? What books are you in love with? How ya mama doing?

If you like to joke, joke. If you a nerd, be a nerd. Do what works for you, not what the self-proclaimed guru says is important. (Personally, I can’t stand the fun police 😒.)

This post came randomly as I am supposed to be taking a break, but ya’ll know I can’t sit still. The point of it all is you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.

Now, let me go back to watching Soul Food. I’ll have an update post for you soon. It’s been a while since we’ve had a coffee date anyway.


BTW, the last day to enter this year’s poetry contest is tomorrow! Click Here for details on entering.

Unless you live in Chicago, it can be nice one day and then cold and rainy. In this case, stay warm smh lol.

Preorder: The Women with Blue Eyes: Rise of the Fallen

Without further ado, I hope you will enjoy my introduction to Urban / Contemporary / Black AFAM Fantasy Fiction.

About.

When Tina’s nephew, Ronnie is killed, she is left to care for his siblings and to solve a series of mysterious murders involving only black men. Investigating each murder thrusts her and her team into a world of deities, demons, and fallen angels, leading Tina to battle a serial killer beyond this realm.

Title: The Women with Blue Eyes: Rise of the Fallen

Author: Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Editor: Dr. KE Garland

Publisher: Literary Korner Publishing/Yecheilyah Books LLC

Genre: Urban Fantasy / Contemporary Fantasy / Black & African American Fantasy Fiction

Release Date: June, 8, 2021

TWWBE: PreOrder a Signed Paperback

TWWBE: PreOrder Ebook From Amazon

Mark as Want to Read on Goodreads