At the end of May, I finished writing my fifth manuscript. So being the crazy impatient, let’ get the show on the road person I am, I couldn’t wait to send this manuscript to my agent and get this bad boy out on submission. Then I talked to my agent. Being the voice of reason I often need in my life, she explained how she wanted to wait a little longer to send it out. You see, I have two books from two different publishers that are currently going through edits, as well as two other contracts in place. I went from zero publishing contracts to four in a few months time. And even though I was ready to go for number five, my agent cautioned me to wait because I would be so busy once my books were released.
The Business Of Books
Wait…huh? I mean, writing the words is what’s the most time-consuming, right? What would be sucking up my time when the books actually came out? (If you’ve published books before, go ahead and laugh right now.) My agent was kind enough to send me a checklist of all the things I should be doing leading up to my book release, and that is when I fell into the rabbit hole of this business we call book business. Okay, so nobody really calls it that but it sounded catchy.
Since I have no books out as of yet, and won’t for quite a few months, the biggest thing I need to do is build my author platform. I became obsessed with how to get my followers up on my social media pages and find a way to get my name out there. I shoved my WIP into a corner. No new words were written and my brain started to turn to mush. Here are the things that sucked me into their vortex and took my mind completely off my writing
One thing I’ve been told time and time again is to increase my social media following in order to widen my reach. Here’s the problem…I don’t particularly like using social media. Sure, I enjoy scrolling through Facebook and Instagram to look at cute pictures of family and friends. But to review hashtags and find people to engage with who in return want to follow me? Even in cyberspace, making new friends is scary as hell! It’s hard enough finding time to spend with my real-life friends. You know, the ones I can actually drink wine with away from my children and home. Spending time on social media trying to find people to follow me felt like wading through a giant void and yelling into a dark abyss, praying someone would be nice enough to holler back.
Right now I’m happy to post once a day on each platform. Instagram makes it super easy by posting on my Twitter feed and my Facebook page. Then a couple time a week I search my most used hashtags and like posts and follow like-minded people. It hasn’t earned me a huge following (yet), but I have to be okay with baby steps right now. I also don’t feel like I’m wasting my time that I need to dedicate to writing.
Blogging is something I started doing a couple of years ago. I’ve enjoyed coming up with topics to write about without worrying about following all the writing rules I use on my novels. But when I started getting serious about increasing traffic to my website, I realized I was blogging all wrong. I’d never heard of SEO and knew nothing about keywords. Hell, I spent fifteen minutes today trying to figure out how to put in a heading. Technology isn’t my thing and trying figure out how to get my blog more exposure was taking up huge chunks of my time. Just creating a good title on coschedule took me HOURS! I needed to blog more often and consistently,which meant more time thinking up good ideas and putting the whole thing together.
I cut myself some slack. Instead of trying to blog once a week or bi-weekly, I aim for monthly. I took a beginners class on SEO through Yoast, and continue to pick up knowledge on Pinterest. My website traffic has gone up significantly with a few small changes. I continue to learn a little at a time. Now I spend hours finishing chapters and not creating blog titles.
After obsessing about my social media presence and researching how to blog, I spent my time looking into how to specifically market my books. I attended a session at RWA that went through how to make Facebook Ads, Bookbub Ads, and Amazon ads. Again, I HATE technology and found this task especially daunting. I located audio files from conferences to listen to, read data upon data online, and looked up books and podcasts I didn’t even bother to read/listen to because I didn’t even know where to start.
I’m not going to lie, these still scare me. But I’m happy to report I have started listening to some awesome podcasts that gave me great information on ads, as well as other marketing tips. I’m also lucky enough to watch my CP make amazing ads for her new releases! One of the best ways to learn is from friends and peers. Just make sure to let them know what rock stars they are!
Getting Back To Writing
These are just a few of the pitfalls I fell into and how I got myself out. My WIP is chugging along. I can now put my phone down and shut off my computer knowing I am doing all I can to figure this stuff out. It’s going to take time and that’s okay. It’s important that while I’m building my social media numbers and increasing traffic to my blog, I don’t forget the reason I’m doing it in the first place. To bring attention to my writing. My writing is my creative outlet and what keeps me sane. It’s my passion and my therapy. I need to make time for it. I need to take it seriously. Because if I don’t, nobody else will. And let’s be honest, this mama is always a lot happier when I write down the words and keep creating new stories.
If you liked this post, check out https://daniellemhaas.com/2017/02/14/blocking-out-the-noise/