This post is targeted at promotion for writers. Although the principles are the same for any type of promotion.
Writing or creating a book comes first. Anytime an author is prioritizing tasks for the day, word-count must be first, no question. But if no one buys your books… well, basically you’re creating stories for your grandchildren. So, promotion must be the second item on your to-do list.
Do you need to do a thousand other things? Yes. But writing the books and selling the books should be one and two on the list every day.
If I asked you what was the one thing you do every day that takes up writing time, what would you say? What do you waste time on, every day? Did you say social media? Spending time on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are collectively one of the biggest time wasters for anyone, not just writers.
Learn to wisely use the time you spend on them. And don’t let social media eat into your writing time. You can justify some of the time you spend on social media as networking and making contacts with other writers, or doing promotion. But are you being smart about what you’re posting?
Who are you and why are you here?
Can you answer the question above? How about – Why do you write? or we’ll start with an easier one – What do you write? In two or three sentences or less, can you tell me the answer? Is what you just said in your mind…something you can sell?
You can’t escape the fact that part of being a writer is promotion. You need to sell books, keep in touch with readers, and network and learn from other writers. But—there is an awful lot of noise out there. If you don’t know who you are and what you are selling, no one will.
You can spend your life on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest…and other social media outlets…without really getting anywhere. Plus, sooner rather than later, you need a newsletter.
You need to be smart, take a few minutes and figure out who you are as a writer, and what you want to portray in newsletters, blogs, and social media. Basically, you need a promotion strategy, or a plan. This should be a part of your author branding.
Don’t know what that is? See my blog post that talks about pen-names and branding – So You Want To Be A Writer Tip#1.
Create an Author Mission Statement
The first step in designing a promotion strategy that works, is to create your author mission statement.
I write hot paranormal and Sci/Fi Romance and my name is Ravyn Wilde. So, I use taglines like Get Wilde! Fall in love with something Wilde? Come play with something Wilde! Are you a Wilde Woman? Need a Wildeman? Etc.
That is simplified branding. When I create twitter or Instagram posts, I want to reflect that “Wilde side,” as part of my promotions.
When I really thought about who I am and why I write, I went through the process of writing a mission statement. The Five-Step Mission Statement (An Author Essential) on the Creative Penn website, helped me through this process.
Here is what I came up with that fits who I am as a writer and a person:
As a self-published author my goal is to bring life to fantasy, making my readers laugh, cry, and want to throw things! I’m not interested in changing the world—I want to give you a break from it. Come play with me and enjoy one Wilde book at a time!
Once my mission statement was ready, I evaluated my personality and the things I do well and don’t, the things I like and don’t. And came up with a few more guidelines to help me devise a strategy.
My goals and guidelines are to write and promo my books, to help new writers, and share things that I’m interested in or that are fun. I know I don’t do chitchat in person very well, online I’m terrible at it. And I don’t have a lot of time.
What does all this introspection do for me? How does it help? I put together what I want to accomplish with a few things I like to do/see on social media, and the process helped me narrow my focus.
Promotion - Time Management and Focus Tip:
Build a promotion strategy for newsletters, Social Media, and all online interactions with readers and potential readers. Create a mission statement and consider your personality when you set up this strategy.
Once I knew what my mission was and evaluated my personality I created a plan. This plan cut down on the time spent on Social Media and it helped me focus on the message I want to send. Today I spend almost no time thinking about what to post…because I have a plan. I went from several hours a day, searching, thinking, and then actually posting. Now I spend an hour on Monday, scheduling a week’s worth of posts. That includes two posts a day on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and 3 to five posts a week on Pinterest.
How does this work? My social media plan is one post per day of interaction that allows me to motivate or give tips to other writers, speaks to my personality, or is just fun and has something to do with Ravyn as either an author or person.
Each week I do a writer’s #MondayMotivation and #tiptuesday, a #wildemanwednesday that is just fun and speaks to the Wilde in Ravyn, #coffeesnark on Thursday (because I love coffee and snark), a #doorfetishfriday or #wildehome post (again, my personality and things readers have told me they enjoy), Saturday is words from a #wildewoman, Sunday varies from #placestoreadandwrite, #sundayfunday, or #getWilde options.
I can do a month worth of these posts in less than an hour, as I’ve collected the stuff to post throughout the previous month.
Besides these posts, I do a second post each day that I consider a marketing or promo piece. This can be a blog post, new review, quote from one of my books, new release information, book on sale information, link to my newsletter, etc. The marketing posts have some variation of my brand—Fall in love with something Wilde! or Get Wilde! or Come play with a Wilde Thing!
For all these types of posts I use Buffer, a social media scheduling tool. It allows me to schedule up to a month’s worth of posts in advance, so I’m not cutting into the writing time. And it gives me analytics to see which types of posts are working well and what types of response I receive. It can be surprising what works and what doesn’t.
Since I’ve set this up, my stats have climbed. Comments are up, sales are up. Etc. And time spent thinking about Social Media is down. Again, I don’t have to think or worry about what to post, that day because I have a plan. (And in reality, today’s posts were set up a week or so ago.)
I still make sure to participate on Twitter in quick, daily flashes of informal posts and unscheduled interaction. I respond when someone comments on things I’ve posted or copies me on a post. (I do not respond or even look at DMs on Twitter or Facebook.) I also respond if I see a post about my books or things that interest me. I look for posts on Twitter where a new writer has asked how you deal with Writer’s Block, or editing issues, or if I see a question that goes unanswered from a writer and I think I have relevant advice.
I also spend a few minutes each day following authors and participating in the occasional #writerlift on Twitter, following hashtags that apply to writing or books on Instagram, and saving things that apply to my books or things I like on Pinterest.
I do this about 4 times a day and I limit these moments to the time it takes me to have a cup of coffee, or to take out the dogs, or wait for my daughter to come out of the store. That way I have time to meet my 25k to 50k weekly writing goal!
I hope this helps you decide what to post. Enjoy your week and take a walk on the Wilde side! ;)