The Balancing Act
In March, I posted about new writers thinking they were at work (‘at work’, meaning actually composing), when they really weren’t. You can check out that post here: http://wp.me/p1t9AW-s
Today I want to post, briefly, about a similar problem facing writers that have begun to self-publish. As will all of my posts, I’m speaking from experience.
One of the first things that a successful self-published writer is likely to tell you is you have to be in constant contact with your audience. It’s that interaction that helps spread your work around to the masses. Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, you have to utilize all of social media. I’ve been doing this in recent weeks, and I’ve been slowly picking up followers and subscribers here and there. It hasn’t translated into sales yet, but I’ve known from the beginning that it’s a slow, uphill road.
Now the problem is balancing the time spent networking and actually creating new content for your audience.
Hell, in all of these areas you’re creating content, or should be. You don’t want every tweet, every post on your wall, or every post to be a link to your product on Amazon. That’s not going to keep people coming back. You want people to enjoy their stay at any of these stops, and have something to tell others about. That content also takes time.
Browsing through the twitter timeline, replying, retweeting, this doesn’t come without the expense of time.
Facebook? Honestly, I haven’t utilized that to its fullest yet. So far, most time there has been spent declining various app requests.
For me, a good blog post will take me anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. On a good writing day, that’s almost 1,000 words I didn’t put on a page that i plan to sell. Then consider that I might have between 1-3 most evenings to write…well I’ve just shot myself in the foot, haven’t I?
Then there’s visiting my own favorite writer’s websites, leaving comments, replying to other comments. In short, interacting with other writers.
The kicker, of course, is that its all necessary. You or I can’t expect to succeed in indie-publishing without it. It’s just that simple. And I have found myself blowing entire writing sessions doing this necessary work. A few weeks back, when talking about networking, Michael Stackpole told me how important the networking is, but to make sure I leave time to write.
I have learned this lesson.
The solution? Well, that’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it. The answer: it’s just like writing, when you have a full-time job, family, and responsibilities.
You make the time. There’s no other way to put it. You have to find it somewhere. If you’ve already adjusted your video game time to accommodate time for writing…well…you may need to adjust it again.
Personally, I’ve taken to utilizing any spare moments during the day (evenings are my writing time, usually 9-11pm). I handle a lot of twitter time on my cell phone. The same for Facebook…and I don’t even have a smartphone. I’m working toward doing most blog posts during my lunch hour at work…that’s still a work in progress.
The point is this: If the writer doesn’t put forth the effort to balance their self-publishing career, they will likely never fully enjoy the control over their career that self-publishing provides.