Control Your Newsfeed 2

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In THIS post last week I talked about gaining some control over your newsfeed by tweaking the “top end”. This was about the “see first” options where we are allowed to pick 30 Facebook users only, whom you can always see what they post, and “see all posts” for all groups and pages that you don’t want to miss anything from.

But Face8book still only shows us each about 10% of what we could see if all our friends popped up on our news feeds. That means that I could still miss some stuff I’d hate to miss for whatever reason.

So the last few days I’ve been experimenting and the results have been way better than I imagined. This is more of a long-term tweaking project, but I did quite a lot of it earlier and feel I’ve broken the back of the job. And unlike the more purposeful yet vital task of the “top end”, this is even easier and faster and you don’t have to count.

Basically, any posts that appear in my newsfeed that I don’t deem in the top 30%, I click on the top right corner of the post and down pops a bunch of options, and I click “Unfollow Xblah-blah”. And that’s it. They are still my friend, they can still see my stuff, I can go and find them to see what they’re up to any time I like, they will never know they don’t appear on my newsfeed, and I will still see their major events.

However, when they click on every single post about bacon, 47 times a day, those don’t appear on my news feed anymore. It isn’t a moral issue, it isn’t about cutting them off, and they will never know the difference.

The vital part here is to remember that I no longer have bacon funnies taking up 5 of the precious 10% of all my friend’s newsfeeds! While those posts are harmless, it is easy to forget those posts are there INSTEAD of Mary’s grad pictures, Bob’s new baby, and my best friend who is currently in hospital or on an overseas trip.

You may not want to see Bob’s baby pics and those bacon pics may be the highlight of your day. Again, I stress, this has nothing to do with right or wrong. But Face8ook is currently making these newsfeed choices for you and you have the option of taking back some of that control. Say no to Bacon so you have a bigger chance of seeing babies … or the other way around if that suits you better.

The result: I have been blown away by the posts which have appeared on my newsfeed which are way more interesting to me than those whom I’ve unfollowed. And the good thing is, unlike the top “see firsts” of which there are only 30, the quantity of bottom bits, which I have “unfollowed”, is unlimited, and each time I unfollow someone, someone else pops on! (and if they are also not top 30% worthy, then they get unfollowed too).

Here are some reasons why some of your favourite people may still qualify for unfollowing:

  • You see them every day anyway, or
  • They belong to a Face8ook group you are in and both of you are very active there, or
  • You are in the same circle of friends so you see them on other’s posts anyway, or
  • They never share any news, or photos so you don’t get anything from them Face8ook wise anyway, or
  • They share mostly what you see as rubbish, or
  • They perhaps should be employed by click farms, or
  • They have a chronic interest that bores you to tears,
  • Etc….

Please don’t judge them and please remember that they will never know, and you can still interact in all kinds of ways, including Face8ook where you look them up or see them on regular posts by mutual friends.

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To unfollow them you can go to their profile but the easiest way is to do it from your news feed. As each post pops up I ask myself, “is this worthy of the top 30% of posts I want on my newsfeed?” and if the answer is no, then I click on the 3 dots at the top right-hand corner of the post.

 

 

This box pops up when I do that: I click on the “Unfollow Xblah-blah” …. img_2469-2

You will get a confirmation that you’ve unfollowed them, which is great but also note the bottom line which I have circled in red. This is another way to check your preferences and “see firsts” at any point that you want to make sure you’re happy with your choices or tweak them 🙂

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Hope this helps! Please let me know, and set your Face8ook settings to help you!

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith
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Scale or Genre?

img_9243I’m sure I’m not the only one who agrees that not all Romance books are created equally. Neither are all crime novels, all memoirs, or all violence-themed thrillers. To me, there is a clear scale, and in our Writing Group we have been discussing this at length. It’s a hard discussion to have because we also all have filters that determine where we would like our books to fit. We then also add moral or “better/worse” scales to the equation and struggle to see things as being of equal value, just “different”.

Here’s an example; At one end of the scale, Romance can be clean as a whistle. No sex scenes, no sex before marriage, no disrespect towards women (except from the bad guys) and so on. Some may scoff at this idea but this writing space is huge and the world is filled with mostly women readers who are tired of the sex thrown at them from every billboard, movie and TV advertisement. They want to enjoy and believe that there is still a place in the world for respect, true love, and deeply heroic, decent men and that women can still be swept off their feet for all the right reasons. (and I like to think that these people do still exist!)

At the other end of the scale, there is written pornography in all its forms. These ends of the scale clearly are not the same thing, and while they may well both fit into the Romance genre, they are unlikely to be enjoyed by a single reader, or written by a single author.

But the bigger questions are:

  • Where is the middle line?
  • Who fits on either side of it?
  • And is someone who reads the red end (explicit sex) more likely to also read and enjoy books with explicit violent scenes? And is someone who enjoys the pink end (squeaky clean) more likely to also read squeaky clean ends of other genres too?

The same then applies to crime/violence, social justice issues, religion, and other genres does it not?

In my subjective experience, pretty much no one I know only reads a single genre. There are a whole bunch of genre that they will not read, but of those that they do enjoy, all pretty much fit on the same place on the scale.

Let’s make an imaginary scale. 1-6 With an imaginary wall in the middle. That wall has a door in it, that can open or shut. Whether the scene is in a bedroom, police station, crime scene, hospital room, battlefield, history museum, or anywhere else on earth, in any genre imaginable, the scale is divided down the middle and the reader is either taken through into that room, …or they aren’t.

  • 1= Squeaky clean on all levels. In a nutshell, there is no room!
  • 2= There are some hints and innuendoes about private or gory details, but still everything is pretty much left to the imagination.
  • 3= Sex and/or violent scenes may be present, and big issues raised, however, they are implied and alluded to, but no details are given. You are not actively taken into the bedroom, the crime scene, the bar brawl or the morgue.
  • ————————————
  • 4= The imagination is still very much in play, but the author spells out a number of details about what is going on. The reader is taken through those doors, but briefly.
  • 6= A good deal of time and explanation is given to these rooms, issues are dealt with in depth and scenes are built quite fully. But there are still many details which are left to the imagination.
  • 8= No holds barred. A spade is a spade. Nothing is left to the imagination. Anything and everything goes and the more detail, the better.

In case you’re wondering, I don’t read about sex, zombies, horror or ghosts, but I’m a 6 kind of gal!! (writing and reading)

What are you?

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

Author Instagram!

Screen Shot 2017-11-03 at 1.43.11 PM.pngSo I’ve heard there’s no point in Instagram for authors. But here is how it works for me:

1: First and foremost, I think of it as my shop window. People who love Instagram (and LOADS of people do!) look people up authors and people they are interested in and if there’s nothing there, then they often lose interest. So it’s a good thing to have. By having it, and it being a good representation of who I am as an author is worthwhile.

But while that remains true, who wants to spend a whole bunch of time on something like this if it’s not your thing? But Instagram is owned by Facebook and so a photo I would otherwise post to Facebook, I post to IG instead, and it goes to both instantly. So I don’t think of my IG time as IG time at all, but as HQ (Facebook Author Page) time.

I don’t get hung up on IG results and here is why:

Yesterday I posted this photo to IG:

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The photo received very little attention, in fact, it was so pathetic it only acquired 3 likes and no comments!

 

But remember that as I posted it, it went directly to Facebook as well!

 

 

 

 

On Facebook, it received 9 likes and 21 comments (some of them are mine, of course, but I can only really comment in response to other things). So the singular act of uploading ONE photo (which is also WAY quicker to load to IG than to Fb by the way) in total got 12 likes and 21 comments!

I killed 2 birds with one stone, and to be fair, there are days where a photo falls through the cracks on Facebook, but gets loads of attention on IG.

I could totally just add it to Facebook only, but instead, I may as well hedge my bets right. And not a second of my precious time is lost in the process.

So if you don’t have Instagram, or you do and you are concerned it’s a waste of time, I don’t think it is if you use it simply as an upload method … 🙂

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

How Do I Tell Them Their Writing Sucks?

IMG_2074How do we support fellow authors when we feel their writing is not of a standard that we would be proud to share?

Today’s question is a lot more sensitive than usual as none of us wants to hurt the feelings of fellow tribe members. But the reality is, we come up against this problem all the time, and we need to put it on the table fully and purposefully if it isn’t going to become the elephant in the room very quickly! Ultimately it will only going to get bigger, and we need to clean up all that poop! So let’s sort it out now before it settles in.

I am no expert on this subject and I find it extremely difficult to tackle. So I’m just going to throw out some thoughts on this one, and hopefully, you can all build on it?

First and foremost I want to stress that being given the opportunity to read and review and critique the work of another author is a huge honour and one that we need to be very very careful with. This is sacred space we are treading on, and no matter what we do, feel or say, we need to tread with a massive dose of humility and an even bigger dose of grace! Anything short of that is always going to go badly!

Here are some real-life examples:

I once read an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of a book which from page one was filled with errors. I would have put down the book immediately but I had offered to read it for a friend and didn’t want to let her down. So I read a few pages more to see what was going on and soon realized that there was a beautiful story underneath there and that without the errors, it could be a success. So I put on the most humble hat I could find, wrote her a carefully worded message which was the least accusatory or judgemental that I could possibly write, and apologized profusely for being the bearer of bad news.

But I told her straight out, that I saw great potential in her story, and that I also saw some quite bad mistakes. I shared with her that in my own personal, totally subjective opinion, the mistakes appeared to me to be simply a translation issue (the book had been written first in a European language) and I gave her some advice on how to fix them.

I went to bed worried, but needn’t have. I woke the next morning to a beautiful thank you message, and over the next few weeks we put our heads together to come up with a solution. She sacked her translator, postponed her launch by a few weeks, and we combed through that manuscript over and over again. She ran it through Grammarly time and again, and I cheered her on from the sidelines every step of the way.

It was a great honour for me to be a small part in that and loved watching her beautiful story emerge!

Here is another real-life story:

I bought a book that looked great, and while it was a much heavier story, with all the things that I am passionate about (abuse, survival, tribes and so on), there too was an amazing story in there. The author wrote in a way that I felt brilliantly walked that very fine line between laying bare the truth of unspeakable abuse without having to go overboard and become gory or voyeuristic. She somehow kept the integrity of the abused child and later adult, without shying away from the horror that she endured.

But I also found the story a little jarring. Instead of building through to crescendoes and solutions and resolutions which built slowly and unpacked over time, the story moved from beautifully written tragedy to beautifully written tragedy with very fast solutions in between which came out of nowhere. I wanted to know how those solutions evolved and came into being, how trust was built and I wanted to live with the main character through her fear of failure with so much on the line. I wanted to rejoice with her triumph but it was a triumph that I couldn’t connect to as the reader was not taken on that particular journey.

Again it was my personal perspective opinion on the story and it was very subjective, but I wanted to share my thoughts with the author in the hope that they could take her writing to the next level. I still believe that she has huge potential as a world-class author, but that this potential blind spot could hold her back for some readers.

Her response was not as welcomed as the other author and she told me I was wrong. I have no doubt that I am wrong, who am I anyway, and it was just my opinion. But it laid out for me the question of how do we navigate this space of sharing our opinions and helping? I was honest with both of them and had completely different results.

And in both cases I believed in the authors and would read ALL of their books and be a huge Brand Ambassadors for them for the rest of their careers if they would learn from what I see as their potential blind spots.. I am not the boss of how successful anyone is, but I do follow authors I can get behind totally, but don’t want to read books that leave me feeling as though it could have been so much more.

Then again what would have happened in each of these 2 cases if behind their meagre blind spots, there wasn’t an amazing author there? What if those stories were boring or badly written, or mechanical or going nowhere no matter what efforts and “fixes” were thrown at them?

I invested in those stories and those authors because I LOVE their work. But there have been others where I simply don’t. Is it me? Is it them? Who am I to say. But I simply don’t have the time, energy, or know how to help them in any way that I can see will make a difference, and it’s best to walk away. Isn’t it?

So my only thoughts and experiences come to these conclusions:

  1. If I have the honour of reading anything for review or critique, then I do so remembering that this is sacred ground I have been given the honour of walking on. I need to treat it as such.
  2. If I LOVE it and it is perfect (how often does that ever happen LOL), then fabulous for me and fabulous for them! Woohoo!! I become their number one fan, write a great review, and become a brand ambassador for them FOREVER!  ….YAY!
  3. More likely, however, is that especially for a relatively new author (less than 5 full books under their belt) there will be a few blind spots that they would hopefully want to be aware of. Most authors want to be better and to know how to improve. But again, we are on sacred group here, so all feedback should be given with as much grace and humility as possible.
  4. How the author responds is about them not me. If I have been constructive, humble and gracious, that is all I can do. If they don’t want anything more then that’s fine and I honestly do feel for them as no one likes “constructive feedback” so they are entitled to feel a bit yuck. But whether they use that feedback as a stepping stone or not is up to them.
  5. If I can’t find the fluent, flowing author and his or her magic in there anywhere, regardless of mistakes big or small, then this is where I struggle the most. It doesn’t mean a fabulous, incredible author isn’t in there, or that their work is not magnificent, but some writing styles don’t speak to me, some stories I cannot relate to, some language grates on me rather than sings to me, and sometimes I can’t even unpack it that succinctly that I can put my finger on the “problem”. It’s just for me and that’s the end of that.

What are your experiences and solutions to this dilemma?

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

 

 

Take Control of Your NewsFeed!

Today’s questions are all about how to follow your favourite PAGES and GROUPS on Facebook. This is super important for a few of reasons:

1: If you run a page or group yourself, you want to be able to tell your followers and supporters that unless they take a few steps to make it happen, they will not see the vast majority (if any) of your page posts.

2: If you want to be a valuable tribe or village member, then it can become extremely frustrating trying to find the posts of the pages and groups you want to support unless you follow these steps.

3: If you want to post fabulous things to your page without constantly going on about yourself, then following the steps below will ensure that you always have a newsfeed filled with the PAGES that you love. Then all you have to do is share a few of them, and your own page becomes full and active quite quickly.

FIRST STEP:

Let’s say you belong to the group ONE STOP FICTION LAUNCH TEAMS. It is a private group, so it isn’t a space for “sharing” but it is where your tribe resides, and where you get fabulous tips most days. It is also a space where you can ask questions about your book launch or street team.

If you open this group on your computer and hover over the word “Notifications” under the starfish, you need to click All Posts. This means that all posts will appear in your notifications and your newsfeed.

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STEP TWO:

Just say you’ve been away for a few days and your notifications are so full it’s hard to work through them. It can be easier to click on the 3 dots to the right of the “Share” button and click on “Pin to shorcuts.

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When you do this, One Stop Fiction Launch Teams will appear on the left of your homepage and newsfeed, and it even appears on the left when you are on any other profile, page, or group, under the word Shortcuts. You can see I added it here so instead of Chronic Readers being on the top, OSFLTs is now on top.

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 8.38.35 AMYou may even prefer this method and to simply check in on what is happening in the group whenever you feel like it!

These two steps can be applied to any group or page you belong to… The first step isn’t totally foolproof so I highly recommend the second step over and above the first.

I apply these steps to ALL the pages and groups that I need to see all the time!

 

 

 

STEP THREE: “See first”

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If you click on the very right-hand side of the top blue bar of your screen, there is a down arrow. The third from the bottom option says “News Feed Preferences”. If you click on that, this large box will pop up:

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The first option, with the blue star/circle, allows you to prioritise your newsfeed. So click on it, and another box will pop up showing everything and everyone you follow.

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This option not only assures that every post from that site/profile/group/page will pop up in your newsfeed, but it will appear first, at the top of your newsfeed every time you open it! You can see that I follow all these great pages, but I want to make sure that I don’t miss posts from Beyond Your Past Coaching. This is a business that I am passionate about and believe in, so I am a brand ambassador for Matt Pappas and everything he is doing. So I have given him a blue star, which means his page will appear first on my newsfeed every time I open it!

The catch here is you only have a maximum of about 20 “see first” places (that number can and does change). So I have chosen the 6 brands for whom I am an ambassador, 10 pages which post things that I love to share because they are fun, interesting, a good representation of my own brand, and 4 others.

If you want to be the best Brand Ambassador you can be, and want your own followers and fans to do the same, then these easy steps are a great place to start and to organise your online experience 🙂

PS: On my phone, it looked like this:

The first screenshot I have opened to the author Page Jennifer Peacock-Smith, then I clicked on the “Following” button in blue next to the Liked button. It opened to the second screenshot where I had 3 options, “unfollow” “default” and “see first”. I turned the “get notifications” on, then I made “see first” turn blue, and then I clicked on “edit notifications” which opened me to the third screenshot which has a whole bunch of options. I clicked yes to the first three, and no to the last 2 which would pretty much undo all the good work if they were on :p

Hope this helps! Please let me know, and set your Face8ook settings to help you!

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

 

 

Nov Author Blitz!

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 8.32.05 PMIt’s November!! That means that the October #ArtBlitz is over, and it’s time for #NaNoWriMo (woohoo!!) and November #AuthorBlitz ! Thank you to last month’s winners and I look forward to seeing who wins this month!

The competitions are back on, and again I will be awarding three prizes at the end of the month.

1: The Purple Heart Award will be up for grabs again, for the steady and constant support of one of Faithfuls (you know who you all are!! I love you!).

2: To make it easy for everyone here, my first book will be FREE every Saturday of the month, so that anyone can read and review! (see links below).

So obviously, one of the prizes this month will be the Review Prize!

To those who have Amazon accounts, honest reviews will gain mega points, but getting friends to do the same will gain even more! Also, here is another easy way for more points if you have already left me a review:

I LOVE that I have such an international audience, but sadly, it has shot me in the foot. I need 50 reviews on my book on Amazon.com. in order to be allowed into all kinds of writing spaces, and while I do have more than 50 reviews, they are spread among the different regions of the world instead of just on .com

So while new reviews through November will be greatly appreciated and points given with glee, points will also be given to those who have already reviewed (thank you thank you!!) but only on one of the three biggest sites.

Below are the links to the others too, you are welcome to copy/paste your original reviews to the others, so it should be very quick. But if my UK and Aus reviews could be duplicated to .com … it will open big doors for me!

3: The Facebook Prize this month will be called the Writery Prize, and will focus on this, my Author Facebook page, as well as my blog ( https://jenniferpeacocksmith.wordpress.com ) and my articles on The Mighty ( https://themighty.com/author/jennifer-peacock-smith/ ).

Points towards this prize pool pick will go to those who share and comment lots. Sadly “likes” don’t count much for anything anymore as far as Facebook is concerned, as they have worked out that some people just “like” everything on their newsfeed without even looking. I know none of you do, LOL, but I need traffic, and only comments and shares create traffic.

Thanks SO much for being a part of my team, I hope you have some fun this month!

Here is my book on .com
http://ow.ly/DjNc30fXSoy

Here it is on .co.uk
http://ow.ly/TkXV30fXTg4

Here it is on .com.au
http://ow.ly/YLP730fXSWX

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith