Thursday, April 5, 2012

ASK PZM: April 2012, Timeline

Q: What does the new format for Facebook Pages mean for authors?


The new format for Pages (formerly fan pages) offers new opportunities for authors.

First, though, let’s talk about an author using a Page to connect with her or his fans:

On Facebook everyone starts off with a profile in his or her own name. (It is in violation of Facebook’s terms to use a book title or company name as your profile name.)

Once you have a profile, you may create as many Facebook Pages as you want. And this is where considering your marketing strategy is important.

Why have both a personal profile and an author Page?


Good question. And the answer will be different for different people.

Some people, for example, may only post on their profile personal info intended only for family and close friends. These authors would then want an author Page on which to share news about their books and writing projects.

Some authors, including me, share info about their books and writing on their Facebook profile. These authors want to take advantage of opportunities a Page has that a profile does not. (Yes, these opportunities change frequently, but there always continues to be more functions on a Page.)

Second, let me walk you through my own decision process as an example of what you might want to consider:

I started on Facebook soon after I self-published my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT in April of 2008. When I understood enough about Facebook to create a Page, I had one for book marketing, another for my online marketing company Miller Mosaic, and another for my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT.



Later I added more Pages for other projects, including a Page for my ebook technothriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS.

Which brings me up to now.

At the same time that Facebook Page formatting was about to drastically change, my newest ebook, HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL AND PREP FOR COLLEGE, became available at Amazon’s Kindle store.


I had already decided that I did not want a new stand-alone website for this ebook series as I had for both MRS. LIEUTENANT and MOLLIE SANDERS. Thus my business partner Yael K. Miller created a WordPress website in my name – www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com – as a central point for all my writing.

I decided this strategic approach was also what I wanted for my upcoming Facebook Page activities, and thus I needed a centralized Page for all my writing.

By the merging of the MRS. LIEUTENANT Page and the MOLLIE SANDERS Page into this new author Page, I had enough “likes” to immediately get a customized URL at www.facebook.com/username

Ironically, as I already had www.facebook.com/phylliszimblermiller for my profile I could not get this for my Page and instead got www.facebook.com/phylliszimblermillerauthor

Third, let’s look at two new opportunities:

First, on your Page’s “timeline” (replaces the “wall”) you can create milestones (similar to “life event” on Facebook profiles).

I decided that the earliest milestone on the Phyllis Zimbler Miller Page timeline would be the date in 1992 when the Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION that I co-authored with Rabbi Karen L. Fox was published by Perigee, a division of Putnam.

Now I can fill in more milestones, including the date in 2008 when MRS. LIEUTENANT was self-published.

(For an example of a current milestone, see my announcement from March 29th that HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL AND PREP FOR COLLEGE is now on Kindle.)


Second, you can “pin” a Facebook update to the top of your Page timeline for seven days. (At this writing a profile does NOT have this option.) This is a great opportunity for any announcement you want to make about your book where the announcement does not merit a milestone.


For example, if you have a book signing a week from now, you might want to pin the book signing announcement at the top of Page. But you probably would not create a milestone entry for that signing.

Thus our updates to our Facebook Page now require strategic consideration. Is something worth being created as a milestone? Is an update worth pinning to the top of the Page? You get to decide.

Additional tip: Although I started on Google Plus when it was still in beta a few months ago, I know I am not yet using it effectively. I have just read Guy Kawasaki’s ebook “What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us” and I highly recommend it. Of course, I will probably have to read the book a couple more times to truly take in all the terrific advice. And then there is the implementation of his advice!


P.S. I am looking for people to read a review copy of my newest ebook, HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL AND PREP FOR COLLEGE, for a possible review on Amazon. Check out info about the ebook at www.HowToSucceedEbooks.com – and if you want a review copy, email me at pzmiller@millermosaicllc.com and let me know whether you want the mobi (Kindle), ePub (Nook, etc.) or pdf format.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter and Pinterest) is the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com, which is WBENC certified and also builds WordPress websites for clients. More information on her books and ebooks can be found at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com

 © 2012 Miller Mosaic, LLC

Visit Phyllis’ Google Plus profile.
Check out Phyllis’ books and other projects at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com





If you have a question you need Phyllis to answer, email me at cluculzwriter at yahoo dot ca, and I'll make sure she gets it. 

21 comments :

  1. Thanks for all of these tips. I'm never sure of the best way to use Facebook, and this will help.

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    1. I'm so glad it helped, Stacy. I feel the same way you do. So much change sometimes feels overwhelming. Right now, Blogger is causing me grief. I'm glad you were able to leave a comment. That's not always the case.

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  2. Timely advice from PZM.
    It really is difficult to keep up with the plethora of changes on all these different platforms.
    I sympathise with you and your Blogger problems Joylene. I actually got so exasperated with my own blog I finally deleted it and started again from scratch.
    Enjoy your Easter weekend.

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    1. I'm glad you mentioned that, Paul, because I tried visiting your blog and it said it no longer existed. I'll try and find your new one now. Thanks for stopping by. Happy Easter.

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  3. There are days when I ignore my Twitter, FB and Google+ accounts, which isn't something I could or would do if I were promoting a book. For staying in touch with my family and writing friends, the personal FB Timeline works well enough, but I can see the need to separate the two for a more professional approach to any fans. Thanks, Phyllis and Joylene.

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    1. Carol, the world of marketing one's book is a wonderful place to be, and yet, shame on me, I miss those peaceful, uneventful days. I'm off to wash my mouth out now. Seriously, I'm grateful for Facebook for allowing me to keep up with my family and for reaching my readers. Happy Easter.

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  4. I'll have to re-read this post to try and take it in. I get overwhelmed at times with all this social media stuff. Thanks for sharing all this information.

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    1. Don't feel bad, Susanne. I've been doing this for almost 4 years, and I'm still overwhelmed. That's why I rely on Phyllis so much. Without her take on all this, I'd be lost.

      Happy Easter.

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  5. I love reading about things like this. Great post! :D

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    1. Thanks, Carrie. I appreciate that. It makes all this blogging worthwhile. Happy Easter.

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  6. I'm such a dinosaur when it comes to this stuff. But I bookmarked your post for a teachable moment (it does happen occasionally) and thank you for the info. I'd offer to be a reader but haven't gotten past the Challenge lately. Having said that, if no one offers, I'll make time for you.

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    1. Thanks so much for your offer, Kittie. Phyllis would comment herself, but Blogger won't let her. Hasn't for 2 months, and I've no idea why. But she thanks you.

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  7. Great advice, as usual! Thanks, Phyllis and Joylene! :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Adriana. Glad it made sense and I hope it comes in handy. Happy Easter.

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  8. So much information. Definitely bookmarking it in Evernote. Google Plus is new to me, so thanks for the book title and FB pages...new to me too. I love the new timeline format. Very catchy. Looking forward to trying out these new ideas! Thanks!!

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    1. Janet, let us know how this works for you. It's so inspiring to see other authors' sales boom. Happy safe Easter and Passover.

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  9. I finally began my Timeline on FB, and have enjoyed it.

    But an Author's Page. I'm terrified of that, but need to think about it, though---as it seems to have so many advantages I wasn't aware of.

    Thank you for the advice and information!

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    1. Oh, Vastine, don't worry. It'll all come together in time. Thanks for stopping by. Best of luck with your book.

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  10. And once again, this is good, sound and informative advice by Phyllis. I suppose my only gripe is that 'Farcebook' didn't give me the option of having "Timeline". It has had a number of problems and I would of liked to have had a choice. Suddenly, it was there and stuff goes all over the place. Never mind. I guess, with time, even I shall get used to it.
    Take care Joylene and Phyllis.
    With respect and hoping this comment publishes, Gary...

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    1. Thanks for dropping in, Gary. I'm still trying to figure out Facebook. Somedays I think I should just cut my losses, but then one of my family will post a pic. I probably wouldn't get to see it otherwise. Marketing takes a lot of stamina. Having a nasty cold lessens my resolve. Off to find my vits. Have a great day.

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    2. BTW, thanks for inspiring me to add the REPLY boxes to my blog. Hugs to Penny.

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