There has been a fairly forthright debate among some of the writers I know on Facebook about the etiquette of inviting other writers to join your fan page. I should point out at this point that I do not have a fan page. I'm too scared that I would set one up and no one would join. But the rules of this new form of social interaction are still in a state of flux.
I saw Mark Walden at the Bloomsbury party just before Christmas and he was making the very good point that he has friends (real friends) and family as friends on his Facebook page and he has a fan page for, well, fans.
Some of the writers today were making the point that they need to promote themselves. Publishers and agents expect it of us. Ironically, the more in need of publicity and marketing you are, the less budget will usually be allocated to you. New writers and those yet to make a name for themselves need to find ways of building a following. It's hard. There are a lot of books out there and few are reviewed.
But I wonder whether Facebook really works in that way. I think it is a very good tool for networking (something I am not very good at). I've 'met' some interesting people there and I've been able to contact some people I admire. It has been very useful in my attempts to gather together authors and illustrators for my Cumbria appeal.
But I can't see it as much use - for me - anyway, as a tool for gaining publicity or readers.