This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
By Anna Bell
Last week my baby boy turned six months and it hit home how little I’d been doing on the social networking front. Since his birth, I have posted on my Facebook page a total of twelve times. Twelve! And five of those were when I launched one of my self-published books. I was embarrassed to see how little effort I’ve put into social networking over the last few months. With a month until my next book release, and a couple of months before I am effectively out of publishing contract, I’ve decided to do something about it.
Before I had the baby I welcomed the procrastination of social networking. Losing an hour here or there might have been an inconvenience, but I could make it up later in the day. Now I’m struggling to find time to make myself dinner, let alone have time to tweet about what I’m eating.When I’ve talked about author platforms in the past, I’ve mentioned that you should pick ones suited to you and how much time you’ve got to maintain them. I usually stick to Facebook and Twitter, which I do for both my writing pseudonyms (twice the work!). Now that I’m specifically making the time to update, I’m struggling with what to write. I don’t want to be constantly posting status updates about being a mum and about my baby. Whilst it’s nice to show people my world, I want to include other stuff too. The trouble is, all my time goes on Baby Bell and my manuscript, which leaves me with little else to say. What’s worse – saying nothing or being boring?
My website is also feeling neglected. I haven’t updated my blog since August last year (I know, I know, I’m hanging my head in shame). Surely that’s a wasted resource? I know that people visit my website as I check my Google Analytics. As a reader, too, I often look at other authors’ websites and I get disappointed when they’re out of date. Most of the time, you can tell that they were last refreshed a couple of years before, perhaps for a book launch. I always want to know what they’re working on now, even if it’s vague – it just gives me hope that they’re still writing. Of course, nowadays with Twitter and Facebook, you have immediate access to an author, but I quite like the permanence of a website or blog and the insight it gives you into an author.
I stopped using Goodreads when I stopped reviewing books, too. I’ve always felt that it’s more about the readers than the authors so I tend to steer clear of that particular network. However, this week was the launch of My Independent Bookstore by Penguin Random House. I saw it and thought it was a great idea, then groaned – it’s yet another platform to maintain. It works on the premise of individual users setting up a “shop” and filling their shelves with books they recommend. Unlike Goodreads it isn’t so much about rating books, but showing others what you’ve enjoyed. No nasty reviews, no star systems, just people showing books they love. Unlike Facebook and Twitter though, it’s not a daily commitment. Phew!
Speaking of daily commitments, how much time do you spend on social networking in a day? It’s all very well me saying that I’m going to increase my time spent on my platforms, but how much time is enough? One tweet a day perhaps? Or is that still going to get lost in the Twittersphere?
Has anyone got any tips on maintaining an effective author platform? I’d love to hear them!