Or perhaps we could call this: Lessons I Learned after Facebook Deleted My Author Page.

Warning: this is a long post.I’ve had my author page on Facebook since 2011/2012. I have spent a lot of time growing that page, finding readers, interacting, creating a solid connection with those who read my books. I have spent thousands on ads and boosted posts (over the years…I’m not going to share how many thousands, but I felt gut punched when I realized how much money I’d spent).

Last I looked, I had close to 12k followers on my page. Not huge when compared to other authors, but a good number all things considered. Those 12k followers were MY followers though. MY readers who were interested in my books. MY readers who commented, messaged, shared and liked my posts over the past 9 years. My readers who….wait.

Technically, they weren’t MY anything.

(I’ll explain below)

January 6th @ 3:52am I was sent am email stating I’d been removed as admin from my page Steena Holmes. My first initial reaction was…yeah, right…like that would happen. Except, once I’d drank a few cups of coffee and realized what that email had said…I went to check my page and sure enough, it wasn’t listed anymore under my profile on Facebook.

Rather than panic, I did the one thing I knew to do, the one thing I’ve known for years would solve this if, in case, I accidentally deleted my page. I asked someone who was also listed as ADMIN to re-add me (fyi…if you have a Facebook page, it’s always a good idea not to be the ONLY admin on there…for just this reason).

They couldn’t. In fact, not only could they not re-add me, but they couldn’t even find my page.

Yep. Gone. My facebook page, my author page that is listed in all my books, on my website, the place I tell readers to come find me…is gone. You can’t even find it in a search.

Now I panic.

Do you know how difficult it is to contact Facebook? Sure, they have a help page, but to actually get in touch with someone? Not that easy. I sent multiple emails, the more I sent, the more I panic. Reminding myself to breathe…not an easy task. But…as a FYI, if you ever need to contact someone at FB and actually want a response, go to your ads manager and do a live chat. Need a link with steps? Here’s a great resource…don’t do what I did and waste time googling/reading pages/googling some more. Here’s the link (note, I get nothing from them for sharing this…I’m just doing you a solid).

After a lovely conversation with someone who couldn’t give me answers, what’s happening is this: Yes, it looks like I was hacked. Yes, it looks like whomever hacked me created ads for something that had NOTHING to do with books (which helps to prove it wasn’t me). There’s no guarantee I’ll get my site back and it’s going to take 3-5 business days for an answer (once I get one, I’ll be sure to update this post). Here’s what I figure. I was hacked. The hacker used my account in ways Facebook didn’t like, so they deleted the page. (who knows if this is true, but that’s what I’m putting my money on for now).

Their advice for me: In the meantime…don’t do anything and just wait.

Just wait?

If I were dependant on FB for my business, being told to JUST WAIT would have me day drinking/chocolate inhaling (who am I kidding, I’m doing that anyways) and stressed to the max.

Thankfully…while this is stressful and angers me a little, I’m not panicking. Why? Easy. I’ve known since the beginning MY FOLLOWERS on Facebook were never really mine.

MY FOLLOWERS on Facebook
were never really mine.

Earlier I said I should have called this post Lessons I Learned after Facebook Deleted My Author Page, so here come the lessons or main points I hope you take away from this:

  1. This is why we have mailing lists (aka…newsletters). If you’ve ever sat in one of my branding/author talks, you’ll remember that my number one piece of advice for new authors is to HAVE A MAILING LIST. This is the ONLY guaranteed way to remain connected to readers.
  2. You don’t OWN your followers on Facebook (or Twitter or Instagram or any other social media site you currently use to connect with readers.
  3. You are not entitled to a reason as to why your page gets deleted. You won’t get contacted, they don’t need to give you an explanation and it doesn’t matter how much $$ you’ve spent or how many people follow you.
  4. PROTECT your account. Change your passwords. Create a 2 step process for getting access to your page/ads manager. You can do this through the business manager or settings on your profile.
  5. Have a plan in place in case something like this does happen. How will you get word out? How will you remain in contact with readers?
  6. Don’t rely on just ONE platform. Have an Amazon page where your blog (and yes, I do think it’s good to have a blog…obviously) is linked. Have a BookBub profile so readers can like/follow/share your books on there. Have a Goodreads page. Be on Instagram and share your life and your love of books. BE where your readers are. BE accessible for them to find you and find out about your book sales/deals.

What’s my takeaway with this?

FIRST: I’m rethinking the necessity for my page, for sure. Here’s why: Readers have to COME TO ME when it comes to my page. They have to search me out, follow me, then make sure they continue to like my posts in order for my posts to remain on their timelines.

I really hate the whole ‘play to pay’ concept. I do it and I get it – creating and buying ads to help spread the word about your books – that’s important. But I hate the concept of having to pay for only a small portion of my followers to see my posts.

What I think is more important…especially if I’m wanting to expand my readership…is to go where my readers are (specifically when it comes to Facebook). Right now, that’s with Groups. You have more freedom, as an author, to connect with readers when it comes to groups. You don’t have to pay for everyone to see your posts, for one thing. Plus, there are so many amazing groups out there where readers go and talk about books…and since I’m a book lover at heart, what could be more perfect?

I’m one of the founding authors for Readers Coffeehouse, an amazing reader group on Facebook with over 14k followers. I also have my own reader group for those who want to stay in touch, help me plot/name characters etc.

SECOND: I’m reminded that I am still able to connect with my readers via my blog/website/newsletter/twitter/instagram which is why I have them in the first place. Just because I can’t share about my book sales (and my publisher has ALL my books with them on sale this month…talk about crummy timing for all this to happen) on Facebook, doesn’t mean I can’t get the word out.

So what happens next?

I’ll end this very long post with this: I have NO idea. I’m not sure I’ll get my page back. Apparently I’m not the first this has happened to. Nor will I be the last. If this post does anything, I hope it makes you aware that it could happen to you. IF my page doesn’t come back, I’m honestly NOT going to stress about it. I have another FB page started so that I can at least do some ads etc. But I’m not going to stress about growing it back up to the 12,000 followers that I had before.

Instead, my focus will be elsewhere. Writing (which should be our main focus anyways as writers). I’ll be in groups, connecting with readers – new and old. I’ll be here, utilizing my blog better (for all those naysayers who believes blogs are going extinct…you’re reading this, aren’t you?).

My career, my social reach, isn’t destroyed because Facebook closed my Author Page with no warning. So I guess…I’ll make another cup of coffee, enjoy the Baileys that’s in it…and do what I’ve been doing ever since I started that page to begin with: write. After all, that’s why the page was created, to share about my books and meet readers. Why should I let Facebook dictate how I do that?