Are you blogging? How often? Once a week, 3 times a week, every day?
Are you on social media? What ones? Are you posting every hour? Once a day? Are you talking about about what you ate for lunch? Or a link to your latest book?
How about answering emails? Are you answering them, or ignoring them? Do you read through all the email you get from newsletters and blog subscriptions or do you find yourself deleting them?
Now that you’ve answered some of those questions and I’m sure asked some of your own, here’s another: When do you get the time to write? Are you writing regularly?
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’d bet money that most of you are busy people with a day job or two, family, kids, and/or other commitments to take up your valuable time–like food, friends, and sleep. So fitting writing and book marketing into an already full schedule isn’t so easy. But it can be done. I’m going to share with you one way to help you.
The 80/20 Rule
First, I want to mention the 80/20 rule. If you haven’t heard about it, it’s basically 80% of your time should be on Marketing and 20% writing and other business related work. I’ve also heard some people say that the 80% is all business related work that is not writing including marketing and the 20% is writing only.
Now some of the writing/publishing gurus tell you that you have to do this to succeed as an author, if you read authors like Dean Wesley Smith you’ll find his approach is very different. I’m going to suggest that you spend 80% of your time writing new fiction for your backlist, 10% of your time researching and book setup such as editing, rewriting, and setting it up for publishing, and 10% of your time on business related work like marketing, blogging, and emails. Before anyone protests, yes, it’s a slower process to making money, but if you aren’t writing, editing, and publishing new work then social media and blogging are doing you no good.
Hey, this is Ruth here. Stephannie’s letting me add my two cents to the post, so here it is. The important thing to remember is that you want to build a solid foundation. Once you build a fanbase (even a small one), you want to get more books to that fanbase. Why will someone keep coming to your site if you don’t have something new coming soon? While it’s good to reach new readers, you shouldn’t neglect offering something new to your current ones.
People get so hung up on authors who made it big like Amanda Hocking, but what they don’t remember is that she had a backlist already out there when she went into the social networking part of her career as a writer. She didn’t just write one book and keep marketing it. There are some authors who hit it big on one book, but if they can’t get the next one out there, then how will they satisfy their current fanbase? Will you sell like Amanda Hocking if you have a backlist and social network like crazy? The odds are against you. We’re not promising that. I have a little over 40 books total published, and I’m nowhere near making Amanda Hocking sales. But I do know I wouldn’t have gotten to where I did if I never wrote the next book. Plus, I started writing because I loved creating stories. Little writing and all social media would ruin my joy.
This leads us to the second point…
Don’t Neglect your Writing
Writing is the most important aspect of business, your book is the life blood of your career. It should be your main focus. It’s why I suggest focusing 80% of the time you have on writing.
Now I’m not the most productive writer or as self-disciplined as I would like to be. I love researching and reading stuff on the Internet. I’ve also gotten in the habit of opening my emails in the morning when I start the day. Once I finished checking emails, reading blogs and newsletters, sending or answering requests for guest posts and book reviews, answering emails and comments, writing a (daily?) blog post, leaving a meaningful comments on blogs, interacting on my favorite social networks, updating my website, etc., I’d lost a valuable chunk of time from my day. And lets face it, if we aren’t writing that book or the next book after that, then all the marketing and promoting we do on social networking and blogs won’t help.
My word count goal for the last few months has been about 300 words throughout an 8 hour day. Horrible, I know. I decided I needed a change this and recently downloaded a productivity app I’d heard of called Cold Turkey. This app doesn’t allow you to access certain sites and you can add your time wasting websites to it. I highly suggest it and I get nothing from if you download it.
Since I like to write in the mornings, each night after I finish working on business for the day, I set the app up for the next day. I can still access research sites I need, but everything else is closed to me. Which means I get more writing done in a day. I’ve been averaging about 800-1000 words in a 4 hour day. I’m hoping for more when I get into the groove of things.
Ruth: What I started to do is limit the days I’ll respond to blog, Facebook, and Twitter comments. I take 3-4 days a week to answer them. I’ll do it less often if I’m especially busy. I’m not as active on Facebook or Twitter as I used to be in terms of interacting with people, but I do link up blog posts to those places. Linking blog posts can help you social network with no extra effort on your part. That’s why I like to set up my Twitter and Facebook accounts to WordPress to link automatically on those sites. I hit publish or schedule to publish, and WordPress does the work for me. I also link my blog posts (from my author blog) to Goodreads. I will share a blog post I’ve done for a deleted scene or inspiration for the book or sample scene to Pinterest. These are time savers for me. I love those share buttons at the bottom of the blogs.
I also love those share buttons and suggest that everyone who writes blogs and have websites install them on their website and leads into my last point.
Don’t Neglect your Author Platform
Please don’t neglect your author platforms to carve out more writing time, that’s not the point I was trying to make above. Your author platform is very important, not as important as the next book, but a close second. Why? Because your website, Twitter, Facebook, other social media sites, and blogs are your way of telling the world, both readers and fans, that you are writing a book. It’s a way to get them excited about what you are publishing and it’s counterproductive to do a disappearing act to write. It can set back your marketing efforts.
What I am suggesting is plan you platform activities carefully. I’ll use my efforts as an example.
After I finish my writing for the day, I check my emails, reading through and answer those that need to be answered. Those from fans, people wanting to guest post, answering comments on my blog and other blogs, and answering questions from authors who need book cover designs done. I wait for Saturday to read through blog posts and newsletters. Since I find social media distracting, I wait for the blog muse hit and spend a day writing blog posts and tweets. I don’t schedule them ahead of time because I like to read through them one last time before they go live. I spend about 10 minutes in the late morning and evening on Twitter (posting tweets, retweeting, talking to people, etc), about 10 minutes on Facebook (updating my status and talking to others), and about 30 minutes rereading and publishing blog posts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Once a month I like to update my website, though since me website and blog are one, every time I post I’m updating it too. LOL
I’m hijacking this post again. I’m not as organized as Stephannie on this one. I love her idea, though. It might be helpful to have a timer nearby. Ten minutes on Twitter, Facebook, or another social network site is easy and doable. The problem comes in when you get sucked into looking at pictures or reading articles that look interesting (this is where I end up spending a lot of time that takes away from my writing). If there’s an interesting article off Twitter (a lot of good ones come from there, esp. ones that help authors), I suggest marking them as “to read” when you schedule time to do it. (And this is all stuff I am going to mark down to do since my approach has been lacking in this area. :D)