I have a bombshell to drop. Jessica Stone is not my real name. Like many writers, I use a pen name. In order to keep my alter ego separate from my real self, I originally set up two different Facebook accounts. My personal account, which I’ve had for years, and my account as Jessica Stone with a separate fan page for my novels. I’ll admit I set it up, then ignored it for months. When things settled down recently, I logged back in to update the page and to start using that account for real.
Facebook found this suspicious. They locked me out in the middle of my changes because they decided my account was hacked. Want to get back in? No problem. Either log back in from an IP address I used months ago, which was impossible because I moved to another country. Or, send a government issued ID with my pen name on it. Anyone else have a passport for their pen name? No? Me neither.
With a story coming out in an anthology in a couple weeks, time was of the essence to get this fixed. Knowing that this could be a problem in the future, I panicked and started a new fan page tied to my real life personal Facebook profile. I didn’t want to do this, but I didn’t see another option. I figured that after I reported the problem, Facebook would get rid of the old accounts, since I couldn’t do it myself.
I have reported it and reported it, but they refuse to take down the old fan page. I had friends report the old page several times. It’s still there. I’ve sent them multiple emails with my passport and my publishing contract which clearly states that Jessica Stone is my pen name and asking how else I can prove my identity, but all I get in reply is form emails stating I haven’t shown a proper passport. In the meantime the old fan page is still up and has gotten over 200 new followers since the release of the anthology. My real fan page has been getting likes, too, but it’s confusing to people who want to follow me, only half of whom actually are.
So what’s an author to do? I’d like to tell you all to leave Facebook. Hell, I’d like to leave Facebook, but I think we all know that’s no realistic. So what can you actually do? Well, first I can tell you how to avoid this problem.
Option 1: Do what I did after the fact and create a fan page tied to your real-life profile. Want to keep that privacy wall up? Good luck with that on Facebook, but if you want to try you could do…
Option 2: Create a separate Author profile and fan page. Now add a couple of people you trust as admins as well, so someone can log in if you get locked out.
Want to keep your identity secret and separate and not have anyone else have access to your account? Good luck. Since I’ve been trying to figure out how to fix this, I’ve found out that I am far from the only author who has had this problem. It’s increasingly common.
What else can you do? Share this message. I don’t want other writers to have the same problem that I’m having right now. Complain. Pass this around. Tell other writers. Tell your friends. Tell your mom. Tell Facebook.
Oh, and if you’d like to follow me, like my Facebook page if you liked this post. My REAL Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jessicastoneromance