Category Archives: book promotion

Serious Problems With Facebook Promotion

Writers, if you are using Facebook to promote your work—especially paid promotion— invest 30 minutes of your time to watch these two videos, and read the article.  It will probably change the way you think about Facebook and save you some time, energy, and money.’s Last 3 Million Visitors

As a content publisher, marketing is part of the job.  As an independent publisher, with limited resources, it is critical I use my resources wisely.  My website’s analytics is an important tool for me. Below is a Google Analytics report which shows the source of’s last 3 million visitors.   last-3000000-visitors

Organic Search Brings 75% of Our Visitors

Ranking high on Google and Bing’s search engine results contributed to bringing more than 75% of our last 3 million visitors.

Creating high quality content, results in higher rankings in search engine results¹. The creation of high quality content is perfectly aligned with’s goal.  No writer or content producer could reasonably argue against a system where the creation of higher quality content results in more visitors.  Visitors, of course, are a primary driver of revenue for a website.

Direct Traffic is Not Too Shabby Either at 13%

The source of our direct traffic is trickier to nail down precisely, but it does result from visitors who come to, by clicking a link on my emailed newsletter, through a bookmarked page, typing an page directly into the browser, and any instance where referral data is not passed².

With all the hype surrounding social media, and Facebook in particular, many writers are ignoring time tested marketing techniques, like a solid mailing list.  Our mailing list has just under 11,000 subscribers, and 100% of them have opened an email within the last 6 months (we actively remove subscribers who haven’t).  Open rates for a typical mailing is at least 20%. This means every mailing will be opened by at least 2,000 readers.  In addition, many of our subscribers are generous enough to be paid subscribers. We also send a mailing, once a month, that is sponsored.  Not only is our eNewsletter an effective way to reach our audience, it is a revenue generator.

Approximately 90% of our traffic is generated directly and through organic search.  The remaining 10% comes from other websites including social media.

Facebook Brings 1% of Our Visitors

It is interesting to note that Wikipedia and Rottentomatoes (RT, a film review aggregator website) sends us just about as many visitors as Facebook.

Publishers have the ability to post links back to their websites on related Wikipedia articles. In general this practice is considered “promotion” and is purportedly against Wikipedia’s guidelines.  Despite that, I’ve followed the lead of major corporations and posted links back to related content.  As the report shows the tactic works as well as engaging on Facebook, but with a fraction of the effort.

Side Bar: I actually stopped posting on Wikipedia over a year ago; the last straw was a battle I had with one of Wikipedia’s editors who seemed hell bent on promoting Zane’s tax liabilities and marginalizing her numerous achievements.

I post interesting content on Facebook almost every day (I’ve shared this article on Facebook too). Again, Wikipedia, where I have not posted a thing in over a year and is free, drives as much traffic as Facebook where I post almost every day and have paid for promotion.

If I add Facebook mobile, Facebook made up just 1.3% of my overall traffic (40K of 3M+ visitors). Of course it is better to have those visitors than not, right?  Well that depends on the effort it takes to get those visitors, and what those visitors do when they visit

Facebook Zero: Considering Life After the Demise of Organic Reach³

Facebook Zero: Considering Life After the Demise of Organic Reach

One major problem with Facebook is that the quality of your content is of little significance. Facebook controls who sees your content. Search engines control who sees your content too, but search engines are motivated, and rewarded, by giving visitors quality search results.  Facebook, on the other hand, is motivated by maximizing their revenue and engagement on their website.

I have watched’s Facebook page “likes” quadruple over the last couple of years, while organic (free) post engagement has dropped substantially.  This is Facebook’s way to create an incentive for marketers to pay for post promotion.  I have experimented with paying for post promotion, but I have yet to reach the level of engagement I enjoyed organically, a few years ago, with far fewer fans.

facebook-boosted-post Last (and Final) Promoted Post Statistics

Despite having more than 20,000 fans and almost 5,000 friends, I reach less than 300 people organically with a typical post.  If I spend $7, I can increase this to 2,000.  But still, this is less than 10% of my fan base and I have to pay to reach them.

Keep in mind this is an audience that I built through my efforts of actively engaging with people on Facebook.

Again, I used to achieve this level of reach without having to pay for it. But those days are over as Facebook has made it clear that organic reach is a thing of the past³ .

And of course all of this assumes you can trust the data the information being provided to you from Facebook.  As the videos above assert there is a lot of click fraud occurring on Facebook.  Are the 2,310 people I paid to see my ad real?  Are the 19 who clicked the link real?  If you ask me, I’d say, “no.”

Take a look at a report (below) which shows the “people” who clicked on my Facebook advertisement. The ad ran for 7 days, from October 1 to October 7, 2015. You will see that the Avg. Session Duration is 00:00:00—this is ZERO time spent on the website!  Whatever clicked the link on my Facebook advertisement didn’t even wait for the page to load.  Needless to say, my content could not have possibly been read, nor could a book purchase have taken place.

The average session time for my websites is measured, not in seconds, but minutes.  A zero second session time is absurd.  Even someone visiting a page by mistake, will take second or two before realizing it, and leaving the page.


Sadly, there is no shortage of social media marketing “experts” who promise to help you maximize the effectiveness your advertising campaigns on Facebook.

Few of us are sophisticated enough to evaluate the effectiveness of these experts or the effectiveness of a Facebook advertising, particularly when the data supplied by Facebook is suspect.  Indeed, many social media marketers would claim, “We got you 2,310 views for only $7.” When in reality, what I got, in this case, was ripped off.

Someone looking at this report may notice that all of the Facebook referrals came from mobile users ( and claim, well Troy your website,, is not optimized for mobile displays.  That is true, but the page I was advertising is optimized for mobile displays.  In fact the link is to a newly redesigned version of which will be officially rolled out in early 2016.

For writers and other content producers managing their own websites, with limited resources, adding the additional effort of maintaining a Facebook page comes at the expense of maintaining and publishing content on your own website.  A compromise that few of us can really afford to make.  That $7, I wasted with Facebook, could have gone toward paying a writer for content that a reader visiting my website would enjoy, and that another website link to.

Why would I continue to take precious resources away from the production of quality content on, which is responsible for 90% of our visitors, and generates revenue, and redirect those resources to Facebook, who we have to pay, to bring of 1% of our visitors, many of whom are probably fraudulent?

On top of that, by promoting posts (a form of advertising on Facebook), I’m literally paying Facebook to provide them with free content.  Continuing to do this defies all reason and logic, so I have stopped.

As mentioned in the first video above, the YouTube social network pays content producers for publishing videos on their platform.  This is the way it is supposed to work. Facebook should be paying us for publishing content on their websites.

Independent Websites Send More Visitors to Than All of Social Media

otherwebsites-linking-to-aalbcIf you were able to scan further down the list of the sources of last 3 million visitors, you would to see the impact of other websites.  If all of the visitors, from hundreds of others sites, that link to were added together they easily exceed all of social media referrals—not just Facebook!  Here is a google search showing other sites with links to, excluding Facebook and Twitter.

Individually, none of these sites (see a short sample listing on the right) are sending as much traffic to, as Facebook, but collectively they send much more—and therein lies our potential.  We just need to recognize the power we have and use it.

Often, the only effort on my part, to get another website to link to, is to publish content that the website’s owner feels is valuable enough to link to. links to thousands of other websites; rarely do we publish a document that does not link to another website.  Sites linking to each other naturally (organically) is the true nature of the World Wide Web.

Another strategy get referral traffic from other websites is to engage on their discussion forums or comment on their articles.  To be clear, I’m not saying spam the comments section of websites with unrelated promotional material. What I am saying is look for articles related to what you may have written and comment in a meaningful or helpful way. A properly curated and managed site, welcomes this type of interaction.

There are websites however that don’t recognize our collective strength and actively avoid linking to other websites. Once I ran into a problem with Ebony Magazine, posting in their comments, and got my feeling hurt 😉  But websites that react the way Ebony are exceptions and definitely not the rule. has operated a discussion forum for over 15 years. Authors are encouraged to post information about their books  and engage with readers. However, author have turned to my Facebook page instead of using my website.  I’m seriously considering removing the Facebook page as it is cannibalizing visitors to

Posting information about one’s books on related Facebook pages or another user’s wall is a strategy many use.  This has resulted in many groups degenerating into a places where writers make “drive by posts,” sharing content from their own pages without even visiting the groups that they are posting to.

Even if many people engage with your content on Facebook, this serves to highlight Facebook’s site, not yours.  A very small fraction of people will actually leave Facebook—and why should they if you are constantly posting on Facebook.

Unfortunately, a Facebook page is becoming the ONLY web presence for many writers and even businesses—they don’t maintain a website at all.  Even a simple website is far more feature rich than a Facebook page can be.  If we factored in Facebook’s invasion of our privacy, selling our personal data, and controlling access to updates; the choice between a Facebook page and a website should be a no-brainer.

If this trend continues the world wide web will be a far less rich place as folks migrate from maintaining websites to creating Facebook pages. Profits generated on the web will be concentrated at the top, greatly reducing the potential for independent websites to grow and for new ones to get started.

For a content producer having a Facebook page as your only web presence is a mistake. Because you are limiting your audience, not just to Facebook users, but to the Facebook users (real or otherwise) you pay Facebook to show it to.

Many writers will tell readers to “follow me on Facebook” and fail to mention their own website, or blog.  Some writers even put the Facebook logo on their business card and marketing material.  Even has Facebook icons on virtually every page.  We give no other entity, save Twitter, as much free promotion as we give Facebook.

All of this attention paid to Facebook reduces attention paid to websites.  In fact many excellent writers, have just given up blogging, or their blogs languish in obscurity, because they not getting enough visitors to make it worth the effort to maintain.  Engaging more aggressively on Facebook, to increase blog readership, is not helping.

The Facebook Game is Rigged

Some might suggest that if you are only getting 1% of your traffic from Facebook, then you must be doing something wrong.  Well you are not.  The game is simply rigged against you as I hope my reports, these videos, and perhaps your personal experience has demonstrated.

Now if Facebook was sending thousands of visitors, who spent time on the website, this article would not have been written.  If there were countless stories of bloggers, magazines, newspapers and writers who realized tremendous success and an increase of readership through their efforts on Facebook, this article would not be necessary.

Instead what I’m experiencing, witnessing and learning in my research is a very different story. It is also a story that is not being told, especially in the Black community.

There is Hope’s time, energy and money will continue to be directed to two primary activities moving forward;

  1. Producing Quality Content
    I first started exactly 18 years ago today (October 10, 1997).  Providing a platform to connecting readers with books about Black culture is what attracts people to this website. Our planned website upgrade will allow us to share information on books in a way that no other website is currently doing.
  2. Advocating, Sharing , and Collaborating with Other Independent Websites
    Spread the word about websites you enjoy.  Figure out ways to collaborate with other websites.  Post comments in the comments section of those websites. If we don’t have an network of strong, independent websites working together, none of us will survive, and our only option will be a Facebook page (or a page on whatever platform has the most power at the time).

    Despite all the caution described about Facebook, we can, for now at least, make Facebook work for us, rather than the other way around, without spending a penny, by simply sharing content on the platform.

If you found this message helpful (or not), please comment below and share it with others.


¹ Of course this is a simplification.  There are other strategies one can employ to rank higher in organic search engine results, without producing high quality content.  Search engines are engaged in a constant effort to defeat those that “game” the system, to rank higher in search results, with lower quality content.  Search engines don’t always get it right, but it is a very difficult task.

² I really should take advantage of tagging URLs.  This will help me identify of the “Direct” traffic in my analytics reports. In fact, I’m also contemplating paying writers by the traffic they help generate to the website, through the use of tracked URLs.

³ In 2012, Facebook famously restricted organic reach of content published from brand pages to about 16 percent. In December 2013, another round of changes reduced it even more.  By February 2014, according to a Social@Ogilvy analysis of more than 100 brand pages, organic reach hovered at 6 percent, a decline of 49 percent from peak levels in October. (All of the detailed data, analysis and practical recommendations are in their white paper.)


Introducing Delaney Diamond, USA Today Bestselling Author

Introducing Delany Diamond

Delaney Diamond is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sweet, sensual, passionate romance novels and is the manager of Romance Novels in Color, a review site where diversity is celebrated.

Delaney has won several reader awards, including BRAB Bookclub’s 2013 Best Interracial Author Award for her novel, Second Chances. In 2015, she was a nominee of the AMB Ovation Award for Outstanding Author in Multicultural Romance for her novel, Unforgettable. She also received the AMB Ovation Visionary Award, which recognizes an African-American/Interracial/Multicultural romance author who, through foresight and unlimited effort, has helped add value to the profession by encouraging development, promotion, and networking of authors in their genre.

In her spare time, Delaney reads romance novels, mysteries, thrillers, and a fair amount of nonfiction. When she’s not busy reading or writing, she’s in the kitchen trying out new recipes, dining at one of her favorite restaurants, or traveling to an interesting locale. Free reads and the first chapter of all her novels are at

Book 1: UnforgettableBook 1: Unforgettable

The Johnson Family romance series chronicles the love lives of the Johnson siblings of Seattle, while they manage and expand their multi-billion dollar beer and restaurant empire.

She offered everything he never knew he needed…
Ivy Johnson is stunned when Lucas Baylor makes an appearance at her family’s event in Seattle. She hasn’t seen him in nine years and never expected to again. Avoiding him is a must. She can’t let him uncover her secret, but Lucas won’t be denied. When her deception is revealed, it throws his life into a tailspin and forces them to face the truth of their feelings for each other—feelings they’ve both tried in vain to forget.  Buy Now ▶ Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book 2: PerfectBook 2: Perfect

Does the end justify the means?

Cyrus Johnson is rich, powerful, and used to getting his way. When his estranged wife shows up at his office demanding a divorce once and for all, he not only refuses, he makes a demand of his own.

Daniella Barrett-Johnson has very little bargaining power where Cyrus is concerned, and he’s already used his vast financial resources to prolong their divorce and keep her tied to him. Her only hope is to give him what he wants, but if she does, how will she ever be able to leave him for good?  Buy Now ▶ Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book 3: Just FriendsBook 3: Just Friends

Should they risk their friendship for a chance at love?

Alannah Bailey is tired of being the boring best friend of Trenton Johnson and decides on a makeover. After the changes, she starts dating, but instead of being happy, Trenton acts like he wants to keep her under lock and key.

Trenton is used to partying and having his pick of women. Such an advantage comes with the Johnson name, their money, and his own good looks. When he needs downtime, he depends on his best buddy, Alannah. But he doesn’t like the changes he sees in her lately, and by the time he figures out why, it might be too late.

Note to Reader: This story takes place during the same timeframe as Perfect, Book 2 of the Johnson Family series.  Buy Now ▶ Amazon | Barnes & Noble's is pleased to share information about Ms. Diamond’s work via our Dedicated Sponsored Email, which are emails dedicated to a single individual or subject. Only one Dedicated Sponsored Email is mailed each month.’s monthly eNewsletter will be mailed April 28, 2015.

Troy Johnson
Founder and Webmaster,



National Conference of African American Librarians

Authors and Publishers: Exhibit at the National Conference of African American Librarians


The Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) invites authors, publishers, vendors, educational and not-for-profit organizations, and businesses to exhibit during the 9th National Conference of African American Librarians (NCAAL). This bi-annual conference will be held August 4-8, 2015, in St. Louis, MO at the Hyatt Regency at the St. Louis Arch.

The 9th National Conference of African American Librarians offers participating exhibitors an opportunity to meet decision makers from libraries from across the country. More than 500 attendees representing a variety of public and private libraries, including the New York Public Library, The Library of Congress, Hampton University, Chicago Public Library, St. Louis Public Library, and others will be in attendance.

Authors and publishers, this is an opportunity to get your books into libraries across the country. This is a selling event.

Save 25% on the Regular Exhibitor’s Rate

Get 25% of rateContact BCALA President, Kelvin Watson (, tell him you learned about the conference from, you and you’ll save 25% on the regular exhibitor rate!

For over 40 years the BCALA have been advocates for promoting and improving library services to diverse populations and communities of color, and providing leadership for the recruitment and development of African American education and information professionals. Your participation will also help the BCALA’s legacy of championing diversity and inclusion within libraries.

Conference Call for Proposals Extended

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) is also seeking proposals for innovative projects and programs. The deadline for proposal submissions has been extended to Friday, February 6, 2015. The committee welcomes proposals from everyone; membership in BCALA is not required. Visit the BCALA to learn more.

The winter and spring are the busiest time of the year for our website. We currently have available advertising inventory. Please visit our for more information.

Troy Johnson
Founder & Webmaster,

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