Saturday, September 08, 2018

Facebook: Not just another pretty (social media) face

Vicki Delany here to introduce my friend and fellow author Judy Penz Sheluk, who has a brand new book coming out at the end of the month.  

 Facebook has been in the news a lot in recent days, and not necessarily in a good way. I’ll also admit to having been a Facebook holdout before I became a published mystery author. The thought of sharing what I’d had for dinner, where I went for lunch, and how I spent my summer vacation didn’t appeal. But my publisher insisted on a Facebook presence, and so I reluctantly started a Facebook Author Page and posted generic content about books, writing, comics, and the like. Then, a couple of years ago, Facebook changed the rules, insisting that in order to have a Page, I also needed a “Friends” profile.  I complied, never dreaming that my “friends” would soon outnumber my Page Likes by a wide margin—many of those friends unknown to me on a personal level. But hey, I’m all in when it comes to shameless self-promotion. After all, I’m here, aren’t I?

That takes me to how Facebook first surprised me. I started posting pictures of my (now almost three-year-old) Golden Retriever, Gibbs (and yes, for fans of NCIS, he’s named after Leroy Jethro Gibbs). Lo and behold, the friends just kept on coming—and some of them actually started buying my books. In fact, Gibbs became so popular that he now has his own dedicated WEDNESDAY WAGGLES post on my author page, where he reports in (an NCIS Marine reference) and shares a photo or two and some doggie wisdom. It’s a bit humbling to admit that his posts typically get far more Likes and Comments than mine. If only he could write…but I digress. The point of this post was to tell you the way Facebook has worked for “Author Judy” beyond Gibbs. And it has.

Case in point is my most recent novel, Past & Present, the second book in my Marketville Mystery series, and the sequel to Skeletons in the Attic. The premise is that protagonist Callie Barnstable has started a new business, Past & Present Investigations, and her first client is looking for information about a woman who came to a “bad end” in 1956—a woman who immigrated to Canada from England in 1952 on the T.S.S. Canberra, and subsequently made the journey from Quebec City to Toronto by train to meet her fianc√©.

Now, I know nothing about train travel but I suspected some of my Facebook friends might. I posted a photo of an old train on Facebook and included a message asking for any information on train travel from Quebec City to Toronto in 1952. The post met with multiple responses, some of which ended up in the book, including a detailed response from R. L. Kennedy, the man behind It’s not a huge part of the book, but I’m a stickler for accurate research, likely because I spent the better part of 15 years as a freelance journalist.

I went on to post a couple more “research” questions, which also had the added benefit of creating some early buzz for Past & Present. The bottom line: this Facebook holdout is now a convert. I still don’t post what I’ve had for dinner or lunch, but I’ve learned that for authors, Facebook can be more than a marketing tool—it can be a source of information, some of which may actually find its way into your story.

It’s also a great forum to post pix of your furry friends. Trust me, they’ll be a lot more popular than photos of what you had for lunch. Semper Fi!

Judy Penz Sheluk’s latest book, Past & Present, will be released on September 21, 2018 in trade paperback and Kindle. Find out more about Judy and her books at


Judy Penz Sheluk, author said...

Thanks for hosting me today, Vicki. Much appreciated. And if anyone is interested, the book is available on pre-order for the special introductory rate of $2.99 (Kindle, reg. $5.99) and in trade paperback at Chapters.Indigo, Amazon and B&N.

Vicki Delany said...

It was a pleasure having you,Judy.