Most authors struggle with how to balance their writing time against their social media efforts. They feel that the more time they spend promoting their books on Facebook, Twitter, their blog, or other blogs, the less time they have to devote to writing. Some even go as far as wishing they could wash their hands of the whole business end of their writing career and concentrate on what they love best—writing books to put in readers’ hands.
I’ll admit, I’ve had these feelings sometimes, too. After all, there are a finite number of hours in the day. But I’ve come to look at it all a bit differently. I’m often asked how I juggle multiple book contracts and an active blog and an active social media presence and multiple promotional efforts all at once, and I’ve thought and thought about an answer that would be more useful than “I don’t sleep very much.”
I think I just might have found an answer that is more useful: I don’t see social media as a burden, and I don’t approach the business end of my writing career as being different or separate from the writing end of it.
Why do you write books? I write because, well, because I have to write. I can’t not write. But I also write because I hope my words and stories will bring a few hours of joy, happiness and pleasure to my readers’ lives. I do it for my readers. After all, if they weren’t out there reading and enjoying, I couldn’t do what I do. Therefore, when I think of social media, I see an opportunity to talk to and hang out with my readers and friends, not something burdensome or obligatory I have to do.
I adore seeing how readers will react to my excerpts or status updates or posts or weird observations I tweet. Online reader feedback is the best kind of instant gratification, and I find it fuels me. It’s fun and serves as a great break from writing or a way to productively fill ten minutes I couldn’t use for other activities.
- Writing (X%)
- Plotting, Writing, Revising, Pitching, Submitting, Editing
- Business (X%)
- Promotion (free), Marketing (paid), Administrative tasks
Social media only distracts from your writing career if you see it as not being central to your writing career.
Similarly, I’ve learned that the business end of my writing career is just as important as the writing end. In fact, I’ve learned they’re equally part of the whole experience. In fact, for me, I’d fill in the X’s above with the number 50—as in, I estimate that, on average, I spend approximately 50% of my time doing writing-related tasks and 50% of my time doing business-related tasks.
When I’m on deadline, the percentage skews more heavily toward writing. And when I’m in the midst of a new release, it skews more heavily toward business—and I don’t let myself feel guilty or unproductive about that at all. Because, either way, both activities are central to my career. Indeed, these days, most authors can’t be fully successful without doing both. Therefore, social media only distracts from your writing career if you see it as not being central to your writing career.
I’m not talking about basic procrastination here (I excel at that, doncha know?)—yes, of course, procrastinating on the interwebz might thwart your writing goals for the day. Instead, I’m talking about shifting the way you think about how the time spent on social media, blogging and other promotional efforts relates to your career itself.
I think attempting a shift in attitudes about the time spent on social media has the potential to make it more enjoyable, more productive, more consequential, and less overwhelming. Of course, sometimes you just have to say nope, no time for Facebook today! But that’s a different thing from saying Oh, gawwwwd, guess I have to go post on Facebook and twitter now (cue long-suffering sigh). LOL
So, what do you think? Could a shift in perspective make the business end of your career easier to handle, manage, accept, and enjoy?
Thanks for reading!
About Laura Kaye:
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.
About Laura’s new release, Hard to Come By (Hard Ink #3, 11/25/14)
Derek DiMarzio would do anything for the members of his disgraced Special Forces team—sacrifice his body, help a former teammate with a covert operation to restore their honor, and even go behind enemy lines. He just never expected to want the beautiful woman he found there.
When a sexy stranger asks questions about her brother, Emilie Garza is torn between loyalty to the brother she once idolized and fear of the war-changed man he's become. Derek’s easy smile and quiet strength tempt Emilie to open up, igniting the desire between them and leading Derek to crave a woman he shouldn’t trust.
As the team’s investigation reveals how powerful their enemies are, Derek and Emilie must prove where their loyalties lie before hearts are broken and lives are lost. Because love is too hard to come by to let slip away…
And don’t miss the other Hard Ink books, now available: