author platform

Don’t Let Time Pass You By

As writers, we each face our own struggles.  I tend to think a lot of my issues could be alleviated if I had more time in the day. Seeing as how I don’t have access to a magical hourglass, I had to consider other options.  The one that screamed for my attention was time management.  My situation is not unique.  Like many of you, I work full time.  That leaves a few short hours a day to take care of my home/family, exercise, write and grow my audience.

Building my author platform

It’s hard.

Who knew there would be so much effort required?  I thought writing the novel was supposed to be the most difficult part. Imagine my surprise when I realized I needed a twitter account, a Facebook author page, a blog, etc.

It’s time consuming.

Each plank in the platform comes from the connections we make.  Those connections take time to cultivate.  That means we reach beyond ourselves.  We engage others.  We listen to their ideas. We share ours.  In short, being a good neighbor requires being social.

But – here’s the catch

Building my platform was taking too much of my writing time.  Seriously.  It was so easy to get caught up in reading the posts on certain Facebook pages.  And then there was Pinterest. My goodness – I was on my way to becoming a “Pinning” junkie.  I have boards dedicated to my blog, to interesting faces, beautiful places – things that may or may not inspire scenes in future stories.  There’s boards dedicated to my books.  I’m sure you get the picture.  😉

I needed to get a handle on my socializing…

I love my blog.  I love the blogging community.  I decided that my blog would become the hub of my social media/platform building efforts.

Blog Hub

This is still a work in progress.  But it has helped ease the stress of coming up with so many new ideas for posting to the different social media sites.  Take my Facebook Author page – I guess I’m a bit ambivalent when it comes to this page.  I hate feeling as though I’m shouting Look At Me! and my Facebook author page makes me feel that way.  By sharing my blog, I have activity on my page without bashing people over the head with Buy My Book posts.

There’s still the Time Management thing…

This requires discipline and lots of it.  I’m not the most disciplined person.  I have a tendency to fly by the seat of my pants – which is probably why I’m a pantzer and not a plotter.  To help keep myself on task, I came up with a schedule. It’s helped by making me more mindful of my time.  I decided to limit my interactions to about 30 minutes an evening.  That means I have to choose which sites/communities I am going to visit.  Take Mondays, for example.  I’ll visit blogs that I follow as well as Twitter.  Tuesdays will be G+ communities and maybe a stop at my Facebook Author page.  It’s not a perfect plan but it is helping me stay focused and freeing up my time.

schedule

Not sure where the lines that separate Thursday, Friday, and Saturday went…

I’m always looking for new ideas… What are you doing to maximize your writing time?

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Favorite Hashtags!

Hashtags!  

They’re everywhere!

Used correctly, they can help us maximize our reach.

Below, I’ve listed hashtags that I’ve found quite useful.

Microsoft Word ClipArt

Microsoft Word ClipArt

Connect with writers:

#AmWriting

#AmEditing

#AmRevising

#Author

#Writer

#WritersLife

#Writing

#WordCount

#IndieAuthor

#WIP

Connect with Readers

#AmReading

#FictionFriday

#FridayReads

#GoodReads

#GreatRead

#IndieThursday

#KDP

#Kindle

#MustRead

#WhatToRead

There’s also: 

#MondayBlogs

#SundayBlogShare

Did I miss one of your favorite hashtags?  If so, please share in the comments!

Finding the Perfect Social Media Fit

Social media is the ultimate equalizer.While I’m not a social media guru, I’ve tried to educate myself.  I’ve listened to podcasts and read e-books/blog posts.  I’ve found that there’s a lot of competing voices, offering multiple strategies.  It’s been a challenge trying to sift through the various suggestions.

Below is a summary of my social media experiences:

Twitter – I’ve learned that Twitter is great as long as you aren’t spamming the Twittersphere with loads of self promotion.  I think this advice is accurate.  I catch myself scrolling past those writers who are continually hawking their books.  On the other hand, when I see an author who shares quality content, I’m all about liking and retweeting.  I can’t afford to purchase everyone’s books, but I try to be supportive and share the love.

Facebook –  There has been a lot of uproar over the change in Facebook algorithms.  This change has meant that our posts are less likely to be seen.  Some writers have decided it’s not worth their time/effort anymore.  They are choosing to focus on Instagram or their personal website, etc.   As for me – what can I say?  I don’t love my Facebook Author Page.  This probably has a lot to do with the fact that I tend to be relatively quiet on my personal page.   BUT – I can see my daily interactions, likes and numbers reached and I am convinced that of all the different social media sites I’ve used, my Facebook Author Page has led to more sales.  (Whether this changes over the next year is to be still to be seen.)

Blogging – After attending a writers conference last year, I came away convinced that I had made a huge mistake by using blogger.  If I was serious about my writing, then I needed to look like a pro and having .blogspot following my name didn’t look professional.  Never-mind, that I had a .com website – one that displayed my blog feed.   I jumped ship – diving headfirst into WordPress.  I let my website go, transferring the .com over to my WordPress blog. However, I have since realized that when I jumped, I left the majority of my followers on the good ship Blogger.  It has been a challenge, building up an audience again.  To be honest, I’m not sure making the switch was worth it.

Pinterest – Not everyone is convinced that a writer needs a pinterest board.  I certainly wasn’t.  However, I decided to give it a try.  With fingers crossed, I set up my page.  I don’t have a lot of followers but I’ve created boards that feature my books, trailers, etc.  I’ve also added boards featuring images of interesting faces and exotic places – things that might inspire a new story.  What I like about Pinterest is this – people who check out my pinterest page should come away from it feeling like they know a little more about me than those following me on other sites.

Summary –  While using social media is necessary to building our author platform, I’ve come to the realization that there isn’t a one-stop-fits-all plan out there.  What works for one author might not work for another.   No matter what options we choose, consistency is key.   It takes time to get our name out there and to build a true following.

What about you?  Are you still searching for the right fit?  Or have you found something that works?