Thursday, March 14, 2013

Nine Reasons I Might Fire Facebook

Nine Reasons I Might Fire Facebook

"Just sitting here waiting for Facebook to go away."
This cartoon by Bruce Eric Kaplan ran in the New Yorker long before I even knew what Facebook was.  I wasn’t part of the Facebook nation.  I’d heard of it, much like I’ve heard of Twitter.  I joined FB to promote my book, which had reached the quarterfinals of Amazon’s BreakthroughNovel Award.  I stayed because I enjoy catching up with old friends through their brief moments in time postings and pictures. 

But I'm getting sick of Facebook
Especially after reading Nick Bilton's New York Times article about FB sending “sponsored” posts to the top of my newsfeed.  Hiding posts I chose to follow is just another in a long line of bad choices by a company that seems bent on driving its users away.  
Not to mention all the noise from my FBFs (Facebook friends).  So while you mull over the way FB keeps raiding your privacy and choice, here is my list of pet peeves, not from Mark Zuckerberg, but from my newsfeed buddies.   

My Facebook Newsfeed Pet Peeves
  1. People who play video games on FB.  Do you realize we all know when you play?  Get back to work!  
  2. Spouses who make nitpicky comments on my friends’ postings.  I always wonder if they’re sitting in the same room with their wife as they type?
  3. People who “like” products to get freebies.  I’m fine with an occasional plug for a computer or something, but is it really worth clogging up your friends’ newsfeeds to win a meatball sandwich?
  4. Lurkers.  I’m fine with you never posting.  But couldn’t you do an occasional “like”?  Never giving feedback on FB (but mentioning to me later that you saw such-and-such a post) is the equivalent of never giving me a smile or other friendly facial expressions when we talk to each other.  
  5. Cat pictures.  Sunset picture.  Excessive kid pictures.  Actually, I like seeing these, but in small quantities.  When you post ten pictures of your kid (instead of putting them in an album), I get irritated.  
  6. People who post the minutia of their own life, but never “like” anything that other people say.  Give us a little love, too for goodness sakes.  
  7. Trolls.  I thought we were friends, but when you write snotty comments under my posts you seem more like a belligerant drunk who's about to urinate on my yard.  I don't mind that you don't agree with me, but remember the line about how if you can't say something nice...?
  8. Cryptic posts.  “Not good.”  “Whoops.”  “Next time it’s blue.”  You can be interesting without being annoying.  We want to hear about you, so help us by communicating clearly.  
  9. Posts like this: “Mothers are the best people in the world.  Share this if you love your mother.”    Or this: “Children with cancer are the bravest people in the world.  Put this in your newsfeed if you agree.”  Or this: “Puppies are cute.  Most of you won’t be brave enough to do this, because you have no soul, but if you believe that puppies truly are cute, repost this for the rest of the day.”
  10. People who thank their trainers for a killer work out.  Really?  Do they give you a discount for doing that?  If not, get your masochistic muscular butt off my feed
What are your pet peeves?  Comment below and I'll add the best ones to my list. 



Monday, March 4, 2013

How To ePublish Your Book

In 2007, Amazon did something that was arguably more innovative than putting books in electronic form.  They made it possible for writers to sell their unpublished books in Amazon’s bookstore.  By 2010 630,000 ebooks were for sale on Amazon, and that number doesn’t include public domain works, like Jane Eyre or Beowulf. 
For writers like me, who’d been rejected by literary agents, a new door to book publishing had opened.  I knew I wasn’t the only writer in my town with a great book that no literary agent wanted to publish, so I began teaching an epublishing class at my local community college. 
I've added a permanent tab about ePublishing to my blog.   You can see it on the upper left hand side of the page: How To ePublish Your Book.  I think of my class as a community service.  Eighty-one percent of Americans want to write a book.   If you have a great story, a good sense of design, excellent editing skills, and a computer, you can epublish your book without spending a cent, and there's an audience waiting.  After years of rejections by the traditional publishing world, I let the readers decide.  Last year, they bought 25,000 copies of my books.