Song of the Day: Breathe into Me by Red
I know I’m not just speaking for myself when I say time is at a premium. Whether you work full time, manage a household, volunteer, rear children, or all of the above, finding time to write is a challenge. Sure, I have all sorts of tricks I use to squeeze in some writing time. With young children, including a much too smart, much too active toddler, this is no easy feat. Still, the stories get written, albeit slower than I’d like. Darn it all. (raises arms above head and shakes fists in frustration)
But my job as an author doesn’t stop there.
With so little time on our hands, when, and how, do we make our presence as authors known to the outside world? What’s with all the social media? Shouldn’t time be spent writing instead of hanging out on the internet? I’d say yes. But unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way, darn it all. (raises arms above head again and shakes fists in frustration) Published, unpublished, traditionally published, e-published, or self published, we still have to market ourselves, our name. We have to squeeze a little more blood from the turnip, er, I mean, time from our day. I admit, I’m still working on this one.
Conundrum. But here are some tidbits I learned that I hope are useful.
First, foremost and the most obvious, every author should have a website, a place all your own, a little slice of the internet pie. (Boston crème pie, if you please) It doesn’t matter whether or not you are published. If your goal is to someday be published, you need a website. The website should fit your personality or the theme of your books. It should be kept up to date, not left to stagnate. Share news, links, and/or blog.
It is essential to develop a presence in the world of social media. The two most popular social media sites are Twitter and Facebook. I will specifically address these two mediums. Many swear by these sites, and many favor one over the other. But these sites can be time sucks, especially when getting involved in a juicy conversation. (raises arms above head yet again and shakes fists in frustration)
So how do you manage them? I have picked up some advice and listened in on workshop over the matter.
Twitter is immediate. It’s like watching the ticker rolling at the New York Stock Exchange, complete with the excitement. The feed continues. What’s being tweeted now will be replaced by the next tweet. Keeping up with and sharing in conversations, news, articles, and links can be distracting. One way to manage Twitter is to dedicate 30 minutes a day in 3 chunks. Twit, I mean, tweet, read, and comment for 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in the afternoon, and 10 minutes in the evening. This will help keep you in the know and an active participator without bleeding you dry.
Facebook is also a constant stream of communication. It can also be the site a writer can reach more people and exchange interactions. A good rule for Facebook users is to add at least 4 bits of content per day. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine. You can follow the same time guidelines as Twitter. Allow yourself small blocks of time to browse and comment on other people’s wall, links, and posts. And always respond to those who comment on your pages. This is important when building relationships with readers or potential readers. Also, and this goes for any social media network, don’t blatantly self-promote yourself or your product. Yup, this is equivalent to telemarketing callers.
These tips can work for the many, many other sites, such as Goodreads, MySpace, or Kindle Boards, as well.
When time is lacking, you may not be able to visit all the networking places daily. Perhaps, allot yourself time every other day for the sites you may not visit as often. Only you can decide where your time is better spent. (raises arms above head…wait…I have control of this)
Do you Tweet or Facebook? Love them or hate them? How about other social networking sites? Which tool do you prefer to use? Let me hear from you.
Next up … blogging: essential or erroneous?