Tag Archives: Facebook

Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Police

I’m currently having my own crisis of conscience about doing business with an unscrupulous corporation, and this article on the Plagiarism Today website does little to reassure me:


In 2018, Jeff Bezos stated that his company would eventually fail:


His prediction struck me as wise in an Ozymandias way:

But, it neatly deflected attention from criticism that Amazon was expanding too fast and needed to be more tightly regulated owing to their absurd power over markets—it’s reckoned that 48% of all online sales in the USA in 2019 will be from Amazon.

If you’re crushing the opposition as a business, there may well be bargains for buyers, but there are detrimental knock-on effects. In Cornwall, where I live, I know of many high streets that are plagued with empty shop units, owing to a huge supermarket being built on the edge of town.

Amazon, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have been criticized for plagiarism and promoting extreme, offensive and illegal viewpoints. Attempting to police what’s uploaded to their sites is difficult. The Plagiarism Today article mentions a figure of 3,000 hours of content being uploaded to YouTube every hour. Who’s going to watch such vast amounts of footage on social media sites to decide if it contravenes regulations?

The answer is low-paid workers who wind up with PTSD:



Such hideousness makes any concerns I have pale into insignificance, but as writers, we should still be watchful.

Really, there’s not a lot we can do to prevent someone ripping us off by plagiarising our books, certainly if it happens in a foreign language. I’ve previously mentioned how an author acquaintance was told by friends travelling in India and China that her MG stories had been counterfeited. One of her friends had designed the book covers, which she noticed on a market stall, the heads changed to have Asian features. They were also available on Amazon.

Although I’ve had profiles on most social media sites for a long time, I’m currently delving into the intricacies of how they work. Facebook bewilders me in many ways, for it operates in a slow and obstructive way, yet as a parasite trading on the insecurities of users who post content for free adding to Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth it’s a brilliant con trick—as well as being an intelligence agency that rivals the FBI, CIA and MI5.


I’m also in the process of building a business page on Facebook for my crime novels, which I’ve put in maintenance mode, so it’s not searchable. This state is agitating Facebook, who keep on reminding me to make it go live, as well as pushing me to buy ad space. It’s fun baiting them!

Whatever you do on social media, don’t overshare. A friend was burgled last year, after revealing she was going away for two weeks holiday. She’d previously posted many photos showing her house, its windows, its door locks, no nearby neighbours and no burglar alarm. She had contents insurance, but her insurers checked her Facebook presence and only offered a partial payout.

How much do you use YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon?

Has it been to your benefit as a person and as a writer?

Eye-Catching or Tasteless?

I’ve chuntered on about designing book covers several times on this blog, including here and here.

I’ve recently been redesigning the covers of my crime novel series for launching them as eBooks this summer.

The importance of a book cover can’t be overstated, as it’s the first thing that a potential reader sees. Your story takes on an identity from the image on the cover, the colours used and the typography.


Recently, I’ve seen several articles about Facebook’s 3D Photos software being adapted to use for book covers. It’s discussed here:


I have mixed feelings about it. It would work well on Fantasy and Science Fiction stories, but less so for Crime tales. As for Erotica, I’m staying away from that area—after all, what ‘object’ would you choose to highlight in the foreground of the image…the mind boggles, as might the cover!

The movement of an image would certainly catch the eye, as it’s how we’re hardwired, but is it a bit naff, a gimmicky trick, a bit tasteless like black velvet paintings?

What do you think?


Social Media & Book Deals

This article in the Independent is worth a read:


Lots of differing opinions in the article, about how worthwhile having a strong social media presence is when it comes to getting published. Followers online aren’t necessarily going to buy your book.

It caught my eye, as I’m in the early stages of establishing my author platform, with a view to returning to self-publishing. My blog on writing is almost ready to go live, after which I’ll build a WordPress website devoted to my Cornish Detective novels.

(Me waiting for a train full of readers!)

I’ve long had a jaundiced view of Facebook, though I’ve had a personal page for 16 years and a business page for four years, which I’ve done nothing to. Facebook was once useful to promote sales by advertisements, but many writing gurus reckon it’s had its day:

Marketing experts are favouring mailing lists generated by subscribers to an author’s blog and website as the way to go to generate sales. I was mulling over how much time to devote to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, when the latest newsletter from James Oswald arrived. I’ve mentioned him several times before, and his success story continues to inspire me:

Image result for james oswald

He reveals his attitude to social media sites. He’s removed his presence from Facebook, owing to their stance on sharing users’ data. He doesn’t see the point of Pinterest (where I started 27 boards) and admits that he became addicted to Twitter—to no real purpose of serving his writing or book sales. I’m amazed at how many intelligent creative people have admitted to this addiction, so it’s something for me to be wary of…I’ve only made one introductory tweet when I joined three years ago. Oswald has suspended his Twitter account and relies on communicating with readers directly, by a CONTACT ME email link on his blog, but, as he runs a livestock farm, the animals take precedence. He says:

‘Above all else, though, Twitter is an enormous time sink. Struggling with deadlines, I often find myself nipping back to the site for a quick look ‘while I gather my thoughts’. It’s a kind of addiction, and one I can do without.

To that end, I’ve logged off the site, and am keeping my distance for the moment. I won’t delete it like I did Facebook. My publisher would have a heart attack if I abandoned social media entirely. My daily Blipfoto uploads automatically, as will notification of this newsletter going out. I will return to posting occasional Highland cow and sheep pictures, too, now that lambing is over. But until Inspector McLean book ten is delivered, my presence will be much diminished. Newsletters are the new thing, honest.’

Interesting, that he favours an image sharing site called Blipfoto, which I hadn’t heard of…where he posts pics of his sheep and cows. I may join:


The only tactic I believe in when it comes to social media, is to link everything that you do, driving readers towards your sales points. (Makes them sound like cattle!)

I’m going to be following James Oswald’s example by giving my first novel away for free, following up with the second in the series at a reasonable price. I’ve got three more written and edited, so feel like I’m in a strong position—but that’s only so if readers like them. I favour his reliance on newsletters. I’ll use Twitter to make contacts, network and to tweet the occasional witticism.

How do you handle your social media presence?

Instagram, anyone?

Moving on from the Social Media is Watching You! post, I wondered how many of you use Instagram? Either for fun or to promote themselves as writers.

Several writing gurus have observed that Facebook is losing young users, who are migrating to Instagram as the way to communicate with friends. This would certainly be relevant to you as a writer if your target audience is juvenile or YA. It’s less so for me, with crime fiction, as the genre attracts older readers, but I’m still intrigued by the possibilities of Instagram.

As I gird my loins to establish a social media and blogging presence, I’ve been checking out the advantages and drawbacks of different sites. Three years ago, I set up basic accounts with LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, Quora and Pinterest, a Facebook business page, separate to my personal profile, and started this WordPress blog.

I previously posted about my tactic of using Pinterest to get my name out there, by adding my blog address to pins. I could start other boards more to do with books, writing, publishers, famous crimes and Cornwall, where my novels are set, but it’s a time-consuming process.

I’ve been pondering how effective Instagram could be. Jane Friedman hosted a guest post by novelist Annie Sullivan on ways of using the site.

There’s a community of book lovers on Instagram called Bookstagram, which would be the ideal place to self-promote.

It’s impossible to predict how many of these book lovers actually buy books, but word of mouth promotion and viral marketing has to start somewhere.

What do you think?

Is Instagram a flippant waste of time?

Or, a useful marketing tool?