UNDERSTANDING ALGORITHMS

One of the hardest parts of being in the publishing industry is keeping up with the technologies. Words like propagation, impressions, metrics, or click-throughs were never part of the writer’s working vocabulary until very recently. Now we’re all having to be amateur marketers and computer geeks.

An area many authors are not aware of is understanding the algorithms big social media sites and retailing sites use. How do they decide who gets advertisements about your book, or even who sees your posts? It’s technical, it’s dry, and it’s hard to digest. But it’s also vitally important to you as a writer.

With millions of writers attempting to sell books, everyone is desperately trying to find ways to rise up above the seething masses and achieve…wait for it…another new writer word…discoverability. Which is to say, how will you be found by potential readers?

One of the MOST important ways for you to be seen is to figure out how to work the various algorithms to your advantage. I can’t promise to turn this into a series of articles, but as I run across interesting and useful information in my own study of the algorithms, I’ll be sure to share it with you.

An algorithm I’m making a concerted effort to work with is on Facebook. And here’s how I’m going about doing it:

As all of you area no doubt aware, Facebook now does not share all of your posts with all of your friends and followers (unless you pay to boost your post!). So, for example, if I write an article here about a writing topic, only about a quarter of all my writing colleagues on this page will actually receive it on their FB feed.

This puts the onus on each of you to stop by here periodically to see if I’ve posted anything new. Most of you have already figured out that I tend to post around once a week. Which means, you may stop by here every couple of weeks. Realistically, you’ll catch some of my posts some of the time.

Not ideal.

So how can I fix this, and how can you fix it for your friends, followers, and rabid fans?

I now copy every article I write on FB to my website, here. Then, on my website I have installed a very nifty widget. (oooh, another one of those modern geek words) If you go to my website just once and click on the little, red “read more” link to ANY article there, you will jump to that post and see a prominent spot where you can sign up to receive a very short email notification any time I make a new post to my website. You should be seeing a big box at the top of the page right now with a space for your email address and a big, green subscribe button.

This means you’ll know any time I post a new article and won’t have to remember to come back here or go to my FB author page to check and see if I’ve posted a new article. I’ll tell you when it’s time to come here or hop over to FB page to catch new content.

Stuff like this may seem trivial to you. But it is SUCH a competitive marketplace for writers these days that every little thing you do to make it easier for your friends/fans/readers to find you matters. A lot.

Oh, and here’s another thing that pesky Facebook algorithm means. It’s valuable to train your friends and followers to like every post of yours that they’re willing to. The more likes an individual post gets, the more people it gets shared with.

Take note of my last three FB posts, for example. I wrote an article on getting your electronic house in order before you break out into author stardom. A REALLY important topic where I shared some good advice. 16 people liked the original post and 651 people saw it. My duplicate post fed over from my website has 5 likes and 194 people saw it. My most recent post (hilarious if I do say so myself) has been liked by 176 people and 2826 people have seen it.

Algorithms matter. Like it or not, you have to drill down and wrap your brain around them.

I guess this is the part where I get down on one knee and beg you to consider subscribing at the top of this page to get notifications whenever I make a new post, then. And while you’re at  it, feel free to drop by my FB page www.facebookcom/cindydeesauthor and like this post!

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