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Juggling Writing & Marketing
Every indie author will tell you, aside from writing a great story, the toughest part is handling your own marketing. And you can’t even say “well then just go the traditional route and save yourself the heartache and pain,” because while traditional publishers might provide the staff to do marketing, nowadays they want you to come with your own built-in audience already so they don’t have to do all that much lifting for you.
We live in a time where it’s all about social media. From Twitter to TikTok, Facebook to Instagram, your website to your newsletter, it’s all a form of social media. The way I define social media is, “sharing my work to strangers I am likely never going to meet through the use of technology.” Very technical but it helps to think of it that way so you try your best not to take it so seriously or stress it as much as we all tend to do.
There seem to be two schools of thought when it comes to marketing and how we use it to promote ourselves: Some feel if your creative work (whatever that might be) is good, then the customers will just find you and come to you with little effort on your part to tell them where you are. Others think you have to be on that grind 24/7, studying analytics, statistics, and learning algorithms in order to be seen by as many people as possible hoping you’ll reach the right customer who will like what you’re selling and stick around.
However you choose to market yourself and your work, there is no right or wrong answer...unless...your work suffers at the hands of overmarketing.
I do believe too much can be both distracting, draining, and detrimental to the whole reason why you find yourself needing to promote yourself in the first place. Don’t fall victim to spending so much time getting the perfect tweet out or the best lighting for that Instagram story that you lose sight of the thing that will not only get you a customer but keep one forever; your work! Or, in my case, my writing.
As the old saying goes: There’s more than one way to skin a cat. And when it comes to marketing the same can be said. Because there is no one model fits all I’m just going to tell you what I do and how I manage to make sure I keep my priorities in line when it comes to my writing and the need to market myself.
First and foremost, I always make sure I’m writing. What do I have to promote if I’m not producing new content? Also, the last thing you want to do is have just one thing to promote all year long. If you’re not mixing in something else, your social media can quickly seem very spammy to your followers and you’ll have no one to promote to. You want to keep your followers engaged and the best way to do that is to give them something new!
I like to share my progress on new content I’m working on as well as let my followers know when something is finished and how they can get their hands on it. I only do this when I have something to report. What I try not to do is give a deadline via my social media. That can backfire if I don’t meet it. I’ve learned that in the past and felt very disappointed in myself when I wasn’t able to meet a deadline I imposed upon myself!
Something else I try to do is for every one promotion post I put out on my social media I want to sandwich it between four personal posts just about how my day is going, life as a home-owner, things like that. You want to seem at least mildly human and like someone who has a life that you are willing to share. You don’t have to share every meal picture or personal thing in your life but sprinkle a few here and there so when newcomers find your social media and scroll they aren’t immediately turned off by the fact that every tweet is a promo and a link to buy. Not a good first impression.
When I do these posts will usually be when I have a free moment and I find those are always when I’m in the bathroom. Or when I’m standing in my kitchen waiting for the oven or microwave to ding. We all have our phones in our hands in those moments, why not put them to good use? Instead of scrolling your social media, actually, post something! Takes less than a minute and it will help in the long run.
At the end of the day just make sure you are spending more time on your work (at least two to three times) as you are on social media. This means if you are devoting half an hour to creating an image on Canva to use on Instagram, then you better damn well have spent 1.5hrs working on whatever it is that you do creatively! And do it before you move on to social media stuff.
Some of us enjoy the social media stuff. Creating the images. Figuring out the best hashtags to use. It’s in our blood because we’ve been doing it so often. Use that as an incentive then. You can’t work on creating promo images till you do that other thing. And quite honestly, if I ever found myself wanting to do promo stuff more than writing I would begin to question if writing truly is my passion.
As much as I get joy in teaching myself something new when it comes to the latest Instagram tools or discovering new hashtags I can use on Twitter, at the end of the day, I much rather be writing. I can prove how true this is by the fact that I am notorious for scheduling blog posts and forgetting to include a Featured Image because that isn’t something I want to spend time doing even though I know I need to if only because when I share my blog on my social media I want it to have a nice and hopefully eye-catching image if the headline isn’t enough.