Balancing Your Writing with Promotion
- By: Jessica Faust | Date: Jun 04 2019
When signing a contract one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is when you plan to deliver the book(s). It’s during that conversation that you’ll come to realize how much things in your writing life are going to change.
No longer will freely write a book in six months. I mean, some can, but most authors will find the changing schedule also changes how they write. A published author no longer just writes a book. She revises the first book according to editorial direction while writing the second book. They’ll review copyedits (while writing the second book), review page proofs, review cover copy, and of course, find time in all of that to promote and market their books.
When asked how an author balances promotion with writing and building a career I look at how I do things. *from Art of Promotion
How do you balance promotion versus other stuff in social media? I know that I’ve unfollowed authors who only talk about their books and just promote, promote, promote, because that gets boring. Is their a rule of thumb or some unspoken etiquette to manage this well?
Despite how it might appear, I do not spend every day writing blog posts, Tweeting or making videos. All of these things are carefully scheduled into my weekly or monthly calendar.
Every Thursday there’s a to-do on my list to write a blog post. Just one a week. Me being who I am, I tend to write on a whim so while I’m scheduled to write one a week there are days when I’m inspired and write 3-4. All posts are scheduled for the future. This post was written in April, at 5:30 am.
James and I also have a specific schedule for videos. Every Friday we film 3-4 videos. Sometimes we make one long one that can be divided. Other times we film three separate videos. These are also scheduled for future dates.
Filming or writing extras allows us the freedom to take breaks as needed. We won’t film if we aren’t in the mood. If we aren’t funny, charming, or just need naps. By filming a few at a time, we give ourselves the luxury of a buffer to skip a week if needed.
For your own social media, including Twitter and Facebook, there are a number of apps that allow you to schedule your posts and Tweets ahead of time. These allow you to write all posts on a schedule that works for you. Say, Sunday night while waiting for GOT to start.
There is no rule of thumb to balancing your promotion posts with real life posts. I could easily say three real-life posts to one promotion post, but it’s not that simple.
This is why I encourage authors to get on social media well before a book is published, or sold, or agented, and find your voice. Take a look at my social media. I discuss lots of business stuff, but rarely do you see me post straight-up promotion. Rarely do I say, “buy this book” or “submit to this agency.”
Mostly I give advice, engage, chat, and talk about what I’m eating. This is the best type of promotion. People aren’t ever going to submit to BookEnds because I said, “submit to BookEnds.” They won’t buy your book because you said, “buy my book.”
Allowing people to get to know and like you, engages them and pushes them subtly into looking into you more. Connecting with authors on a real level is why they submit to me (I hope). I guess it’s also why some don’t. 😉
For an author, connecting with you is what makes readers buy your book. That and the fact that they want to read your book. They will look into your book not because you sent them an Amazon link, but because they like you. Because they’re fascinated by your knowledge of the Alaskan wilderness, and because what you talk about makes them interested in your book.
My best advice for social media is not to use it as a promotion tool, but to use it as it was meant to be used, to be social and connect with others. Connection, more then anything, sells books, people, businesses and you.
As always, sage advice.
Oh yes, social media is an enormous time-suck! It’s really only working for teenagers with nothing better to do or for people who actually get paid to be online all the time…
I’m only on facebook and twitter for my company, so scheduling posts and tweets in advance is relatively easy. I’m not sure this would work with more personal posts though. Unless you are cheating and the photo of the “wonderful sushi I’m eating right now” is actually from last week.
The scheduling and writing in advance does have some problems though, as can be seen from the post above (re: wonderfully outdated GOT reference 😉 ) If you don’t want people to catch on to your pre-writing shenanigans, you have to be extra careful.
Thank you for some more wonderful insight into the process. And you’re right that by watching your videos and blogs and by your encouragement given in those, you’ve presented a sense of family and professionalism, two very valid reasons someone would want to query you.
Great post! I have been trying to juggle both new work and edits to gear up for that kind of writing life. I’ve always wondered why we don’t hear much at conferences about building these multitasking skills. Thanks so much.
The other factor that comes into play will be the loss of guilt. Unpublished means I have a lot of guilt at the time I shave away from my very little free time (and therefore family time) for writing and writing related activities. While I have no contract and no income from writing, which to me would justify prioritising my writing, it’s pushed down the priority list. But when I am contracted I will feel justified in freeing up time to focus on my career. That should then balance the extra things like revisions, new ms and social media.