How Much is Too Much?

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As authors, we all know it’s up to us to market and promote our books. Times have changed, and it’s the rare author (except for the big names) who gets much support from his or her publisher. In fact, a lot of publishers are requesting a market plan from the author before they’ll consider contracting the book.

I’m sure most of us follow the same path. We read books on marketing. We sign up for Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc. We visit blogs of our friends, invite them to visit our blogs, and watch our numbers on Amazon.

I eventually reached a point where I was forced to ask−how much is too much? Little by little, I found myself spending more time with social media than I was with writing the books that required me to have a presence on social media. I was swallowed up with visiting the same author friends on the same blogs promoting the same books. I mean how many times can you wish someone ‘best of luck with XXX?’

This year will be super busy for me with what I already have under contract, planned to write, edit, and have published. Plus I’m the new president of my local RWA chapter. In addition I give back to the writing community by judging contests and critiquing other authors’ manuscripts and/or beta reading. And I enjoy giving book reviews as a trade for reviews of my books. It was time to take a serious look at how I was spending my time.

When it comes to writing, I’m usually a panster, but a definite plotter in my life. I tore apart my entire marketing strategy for 2012, went over what I did, what I thought worked, what I thought was fun, but generally a waste of time.

Several online groups I belonged to had become no more than cyber coffee klatches. They had to go. Twitter is important, and so is Facebook. Goodreads comes in third, and possibly (for me anyway) not the best use of my time.

Blogging is good. As long as I have something to say worth reading. Constant blogs about my books would become boring and uninteresting in no time. Hence this blog – well, maybe in part about my books, but more about my plans.

I checked out a few new things I’d learned about in my quest for the ‘perfect marketing plan’ and will see how they work out. But for the most part, I’m headed off into a better use of my time this year.

We’ll see how it goes, and I’ll report back next year. In the meantime, I’d like to hear what has worked for you, and what changes you might be making this year.

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15 Responses to How Much is Too Much?

  1. Robyn Neeley says:

    I completely agree, Callie! I’ve had to put some parameters on my social media time, otherwise I find myself on Facebook (two accounts), Goodreads, Twitter for hours. I let myself check in the morning and then again at lunch. Then I set a timer in the evening, for 30 minutes of social media time. So far, I’ve only “fallen off the wagon” once, ignoring the timer:). Thanks for the post!

  2. Eliza Daly says:

    I’m currently evaluating my use of Social Media. Must be the thing to do this time of year I’ve been reading about a lot of authors doing the same thing. I recently read one well established author say he is cutting back on social media that he doesn’t think it does enough for him, especially due to things like only a limited number of FB fans seeing posts anyway now. Been hearing that more and more. I definitely am trying to cut back because it interferes with my writing time. For me I’ll keep my FB fan page, I only post to it once or twice a week so no time suck I just need to stay off FB more period, and my Goodreads page, which I think is the most critical author tool. I have a Twitter page but have never really gotten into the grove of it, so will see where that goes. And as of right now I’ve decided to stick with being a guest on others blogs rather than starting my own.

    Happy Marketing Callie!

  3. I love playing around on FB and Twitter, but I have to set limits for myself or, like you, I find myself being “social” while my writing goes nowhere. So I allot two hours a day to social media; one in the morning while I’m having my coffee, and one in the evening. I do log in during the day if I’ve had a successful day with writing, but if the words aren’t flowing then I stick to my two-hour rule. I also have a Goodreads account, and I’d like to do more with it since I believe I can interact with readers more on GR than on FB or Twitter, but I don’t really know how to use it right now. Maybe I’ll take one of those hours and try to figure it out. :)

  4. Ella Quinn says:

    I’ve having to be much more disciplined this year than last year when I started all this social media stuff. I will say it’s working. So much so that I had an acquisitions editor drop by and ask me to submit to her. But, with three of my book sold and looking forward to 2014, I need to get another two written by June. So for the first time, I have to figure out how many words I need to write a day. I’ll just have to see how it goes.

    • Callie says:

      I think we all reach a point where we have to evaluate. Is what we’re doing effective? Or just distracting us from the main thing, which is writing the best books we can.

  5. Sylvie says:

    Before I got published, I’d quit social media. Cold turkey. But now I’m back because many agents and publishers expect you to have a ‘platform.’ But with limited time in the day, it’s hard to write and have said platform. The best tool I’ve found is Freedom (an app that kills your internet connection until you reboot). But I end up leaving a lot of asteriks where I need to do minor research. A better app would cut you off of social media (and news if you’re that junkie), but leave you Google Maps and Wikipedia. Ok, back to slogging away at the words.

    • Callie says:

      Lol, Sylvie.

      I write at work, since it’s a cleaners, I’m there by myself for five hours, and low traffic. I have no internet there, so it helps to keep me focused. I, too, end up with notes about research I have to do when I get home.

  6. BJ Scott says:

    I agree we reach a point when we have to question. A year ago, I had to learn all I could about the social media beast. Until my book was published I had never been on FB, or been to a blog. Now there are days it monopolizes my life and steals precious time from my writing. But we are told by our publishers it is a necessary evil. Want your book to s then a web presence is needed…Sigh… sure wish there was anoth
    er way.,

    • Callie says:

      Hi Barb,

      It is a problem, trying to market those books and still leave yourself time to actually write them. So glad your books are doing well.

  7. Interesting post, Callie. I’m dealing with these very same issues. The fear is if I don’t continue to stay active socially, will that effect book sales? You’ve dealt with these very same questions I’m sure. Finding that wonderful sweet spot is hard, especially when deadlines and other responsibilities loom over our heads. But the fact remains… books don’t write themselves. This year, I’m going to have to knuckle down and focus on what’s more important. Maybe we can just get Tinkerbell to sprinkle fairy dust over all of us. Would that work?

  8. Lola Karns says:

    Excellent post! As writers we are forced to wear so many hats that sometimes it seems like we spend the least amount of time writing. I have tried to limit my social media to one day a week in front of the computer and catch as catch can while on other mobile devices. This has helped, but it is hard to stay disciplined. Good luck to you with what sounds like an amazing year.

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