Guest Post: Anna Maria Shenton

I am delighted to welcome back into Kit Domino’s World author and artist Anna Shenton to talk about a subject many of us who use social media groups are probably familiar with, and perhaps even a member of one or two, but have you ever considered what goes on in the background of these groups and the joys and pains of running them?

Facebook Groups

Hey, thank you to the lovely Kit Domino for inviting me back to her wonderful blog today. Thank you so much, Kit, lovely to be here. It’s an open book thanks to Kit so I would love to talk about my journey as founder of a few Facebook groups.

You may ask why? 1 – sharing my experience how I built, over five years, and why I left my first group write/read/review, 2 – to help if you are thinking of starting your own group.

New to the writing world, I couldn’t find a place that suited me. I wanted a group where I could chat to likeminded people, make new friends, learn from each other, and help others too. Some groups I looked at were full of promo posts with no likes, comments, or chit-chat.

They weren’t for me. Hence, I took the plunge as a layman, and created write/read/review.

I invited a few author friends to start and as time went on, I gradually built up the group by posting links, information to my Facebook friends. This was a daily procedure and people were joining fast. I made sure everyone was made welcome with one-to-one greetings and encouragement. Yes, we needed to get to know each other, learn about our writing journey and novels, books being published. I absolutely loved meeting some wonderful authors and began to introduce bloggers, and as many of my reader friends as possible to help with sales, enjoyment, and the all-important reviews. It is an amazing experience and the satisfaction I gained from helping others was more than worth the effort.

Although like everything, it doesn’t go without its drawbacks. You can be the kindest person on earth and at the same time in order to create a safe haven for your members you have to be firm. Rules have to be made to protect the wonderful people that have put their trust in you. Your group has to stay your group and not be moulded into something you don’t desire.

Yes, a few members will try every trick in the book to slide their posts in, without connecting, just for advertising. You must be one step ahead all the time and it is inevitable you will be disliked by the few. The undesirable weekend direct messengers can be unwelcoming and upsetting too when your intention is purely to help others. It is a fulltime job to run an active, engaging group and sift out the few.

Five years down the line and a pandemic at our heels was the turning point for me.

It’s true, I began to struggle to keep fresh, interesting posts every day, my brain was drained of all creatives. My lovely admin team had their own issues, as we all did, and I couldn’t expect too much help. So, I announced with a saddened heart of my departure, much to many members’ pleas to stay. Then it took an unexpected turn and a member agreed to take the group. So thankful that someone eventually came to the rescue. My offer to stay for one week while things fell into place where soon diminished as some of the group rules were adjusted the next day. My swift exit was imminent to help the new team to take their course, sadly, I had to cut off all connections to the beautiful friends I had made and supported.

All in all, I’m proud as founder of write/read/review and happy that some of the lovely friends I made still support me outside the group as I do them. I now have more time to continue with my writing and artwork.

My new life in groups brings me to my new found, the wonderful Christmas Book Hub group October – December together with my lovely author friend co-founder, Patricia M Osborne, she is a darling, I couldn’t do it without her. 

Last year, during lockdown, we had three months of fun, laughter, many book sales, gifts, giveaways, and a Christmas Party during hard times. We can say it was a massive success. The group starts again 1st October and is open to all. Books/novels don’t have to be Christmas themed.

Also, Artists and Story Tellers ticks along nicely. A group for artists of any kind including photography who are also published authors.

Hope you have enjoyed reading about my experience in Facebook groups, I would recommend starting your own group if you are dedicated, committed, strong and supportive to others.

I continue to write my novels in a fun exciting way as well as drawing pet portraits, that’s what counts. I’m hoping Maggie’s Secret, a 1960s Family Saga, will be published next autumn. You can read my biography and check out my books on the link below. Don’t miss my scandalous, poignant, historical romance (sleep with one eye open) novella series.

Kit, you are a star, I couldn’t have thought of a nicer place to be today. Thank you so much for inviting me once more. I so enjoy visiting your wonderful blog, you do a fantastic job for us all xx Thank you x Novels/books Artwork – Christmas Book Hub – Artists and Story Tellers

Thank you so much, Anna, for joining me today to talk about your experience in running groups on Facebook, a topic I am sure will spark much debate.

If you have a topic you wish to write about, on any aspect of loving life or the writing world and would like to appear on Kit Domino’s World, do get it touch. I would love to hear from you.

4 thoughts

  1. What a wonderful article, Anna Maria, you certainly have a natural gift at setting up groups and making them successful. Thank you for your lovely comments re The Christmas Book Hub, I’m sure we’ll have a grand time again this season.

    Thank you, Kit, for sharing this fabulous article.


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