eBook Review Gal is pleased to share a guest post by accomplished author, Glynis Astie. Glynis has some great things to say about a subject many writers struggle with: How best to divide our valuable time between writing, and marketing our work. Take it away, Glynis!
Hi, eBook Review Gal! Thank you so much for having me. Do you remember playing a game called Don’t Tip the Waiter when you were a kid? You had to take turns balancing plates on the poor waiter’s tray without knocking it over. Each turn would cause your hands to shake, dooming you to accidentally dropping a plate and causing the whole thing to come tumbling down. That’s the feeling I get when I think about balancing writing with marketing. There is little time in my day for anything other than taking care of my kids, so I have to make every second count. And so begins the conundrum – how to parcel my precious time between two important tasks.
Often I cast my mind back to the days when I lived in blissful ignorance; when I had no idea of the extent of social media or how to use it effectively. While writing my first book, French Twist, I was so focused on finishing it that I didn’t devote a thought to marketing. Upon completion, I simply uploaded it to Amazon and started my second book, French Toast. Thankfully, with the release of this book, the fog finally cleared and I knew it was time to join the social media game.
Determined to make a splash, I spiffed up my website, set up author pages on Facebook, Goodreads and Amazon and joined Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter. Twitter scared me the most! It took a while to grasp the terminology and to learn how to express myself in 140 characters or less. After all that, I started blogging, splitting my time between general topics and questions about my books. Because my books are based on the story of how I met my husband, I receive a lot of questions about which elements of the story are true and which are not. Both blog options are highly entertaining, but incredibly time consuming.
Before the release of my second book, I threw myself into social media with a vengeance. I tweeted, commented and shared everything I could think of. Needless to say, I was exhausted. But this was the game I willingly joined, so I had to play it to the best of my ability. Fast forward two months and I cannot remember the last time I worked on my book. All my time is spent navigating social media channels. I could easily spend all day, every day, corresponding with my author friends, but the madness has to stop. Balance must be found! Otherwise, I might ask you to do a girl a solid and find me a nice padded cell somewhere.
I have asked many authors how they manage the slippery slope between writing and marketing and everyone seems to have their own formula. Some swear by schedules, others have lists and a crazy few (like me) just wing it. No matter what your method is, it is clear there will always be a need for flexibility. There will be times when marketing will win out (when you have a book launch) and there will be times when writing will win out (when you have a looming deadline). The important thing is that you stay sane during the process. I employ a steady supply of chocolate to achieve this goal!
The one common thread appears to be that the career of an author is a marathon, not a sprint. It is going to take time, patience and determination to get you to where you want to be. And in the interest of MY sanity, I have elected to change my method of balancing writing and marketing from “fly by the seat of my pants” to a schedule. My experience has shown me that I have no self-discipline when it comes to extracting myself from what I call “the social media vortex”, so I have decided to set a timer for each of my task periods. If I can enforce a time limit for my son’s video games, I can enforce a time limit for my own electronic engagement, right?
I have no doubt that my struggle to balance my writing and marketing responsibilities will be difficult, but I believe that I will triumph. Wish me luck! If you have any brilliant ideas, I would love to hear them. 🙂