Do You Want Friends? Or Fans?

by James L. Rubart

“Do you prefer to follow an author’s fan page to keep up with the latest, or would you rather become a “friend” and see what they’re up to personally?”

When a long time publishing veteran posted that question on Facebook it immediately caught my attention. Since I have both a profile (Jim Rubart) and a page (James L. Rubart) I was curious what the response would be. 

Before I tell you how people answered, what would you say?

  • Rather be a friend: ____
  • Rather be a fan: ____

You’d rather be friends with a favorite author than a fan?

Me too. 

Same thing with 100% of the Facebook responses. (One author said she’d rather see what authors are doing in their careers, not their personal life, but I’m guessing that’s one professional to another, not the perspective of a fan to an author.)

This wasn’t a big shock to me. Exactly what I expected. You probably feel the same.

Maybe that’s why an extremely small percentage of friends will “like” an author’s page when invited to do so.

People don’t want to be a fan (which is why Facebook changed fans to likes) that is kept on the outside, they want to be a friend let into the inner circle.

So what does an author do if they want to have a profile where it’s close friends and family only? I don’t have an answer, I’m truly asking the question because it was a dilemma I had to figure out for myself.
What I Did

About five years ago I transferred all my friends over to a Page (James L. Rubart).

Then created a new Profile (Jim Rubart).

For a long time I only accepted friend requests from family and very close friends. I made my profile as private as possible.

But I bet you can guess what happened. Requests started coming in from acquaintances or folks I didn’t know yet. I felt I had two choices:

1. Send a message to all those requests saying something I’ve seen other authors do: “Hey! Thanks for the friend request, but it’s pretty quiet here on my profile, I’m not here much, the REAL action is happening over on my author page, so how ’bout you like it!”

But people would have still seen me commenting on friends of friends profiles, and I’m not real big on the lying thing. So I looked at option # 2

2. Ignore the friend requests. Hmmmm. Not working for me either. Just doesn’t sit right.

In the end, I had to answer the question that’s the title of my post. Do I want friends or fans? I want friends. Having “fans” has always felt strange to me and probably always will. Frankly, I feel incredibly blessed that a few people are reading my novels and I want to be right there if someone wants to be my friend.

Once I hit 5,000 friends, I’ll have to re-think things again. But heck, maybe by that time Facebook will have done so much of their constantly changing the rules thing that all of us will dump them (my sons and their friends are already have) and jump to the next Social Media craze.

If you’re an author, do you have both a profile and a page? Do you try to keep your profile lean and mean?

If you’re a reader, would you rather be a friend or a fan? Are some of you both friends with an author and also part of their Page?

The Long Journey to Jake Palmer 
– Publishers Weekly starred review
– Library Journal starred review
– RT Book Reviews- 4 1/2 stars and a TOP PICK!
What if there was a place where
everything wrong in your life could be fixed?

Corporate trainer Jake Palmer coaches
people to see deeper into themselves—yet he barely knows himself anymore.
Recently divorced and weary of the business life, Jake reluctantly agrees to a
lake-house vacation with friends, hoping to escape for ten days. When he arrives, Jake hears the legend of
Willow Lake—about a lost corridor that leads to a place where one’s deepest
longings will be fulfilled. Jake scoffs at the idea, but can’t shake a
sliver of hope that the corridor is real. And when he meets a man who mutters
cryptic speculations about the corridor, Jake is determined to find the path,
find himself, and fix his crumbling life. But the
journey will become more treacherous with each step Jake takes.

James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man’s body. He thinks he’s still young enough to water ski like a madman and dirt bike with his two grown sons, and loves to send readers on journeys they’ll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He’s the best-selling, Christy, INSPY, and RT Book Reviews award winning author of eight novels as well as a professional speaker. During the day he runs his branding and marketing company which helps businesses, authors, and publishers make much more coin of the realm. He lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at