Hi, SEers! Welcome to the first Mae Day post of 2023. I hope your holidays were spent with loved ones and filled with good cheer! Yes, it’s a New Year, and you know what that means—resolutions, right?
Let’s not go there—because seriously—how many resolutions are actually kept? Cut yourself some slack with a kinder ideology like intended changes, accomplishments you’d like to pursue, and random goals. No pressure, but it’s nice to plan for change, especially when change can benefit you in the long run.
More and more I’m reading about people abandoning social media. From celebrities to indie authors, to family and friends. I’m not suggesting that in the least, but I have come to the realization it’s simply impossible to maintain a presence across numerous platforms.
You’ve seen this discussion before, maybe even blogged about it yourself, and certainly weighed in with thoughts to others. Well, it’s a new year, so maybe it’s time to think about it again.
Most businesses work with a budget. Even if we’re not rolling hand-over-fist in sales, as authors we are running a business, and thus faced with the same dilemma. We tend to think of that budget as dollars spent, and certainly money is part of it, but time is another factor. Just the mention of the all-important “T” word may have your blood pressure spiking, but let’s back up a step.
Remember the old saying about the grass always looking greener? Before Amazon paved the way for small press and indie publishing, most of us accepted we were unlikely to ever have our work published. We longingly ran our fingers over colorful book spines in brick-and-mortar stores and thought if only. . .
<insert sigh here>
Then the threshold opened. Hard working and talented writers everywhere jumped for joy. Suddenly, we had the means to share our work with an audience. The goal of every writer is to be read, and for a while, we experienced sheer bliss.
Soon, however, the reality of reaching an audience set in. We created blogs and websites, Facebook business pages, joined Twitter and Instagram, and signed up for oodles of Facebook and Goodreads groups. Pinterest, newsletters, Triberr, YouTube videos, Bookbub and TikTok elbowed in, along with endless paid sources for marketing.
Can you say burnout?
We might have contemplated tossing in the towel, but we love what we do far too much, and we’ve made dear friends through social platforms. Most of us, however, are still struggling to reach a larger audience. With every release we hold our breath and hope. And with every release, we scramble to do announcements and tours, update pinned tweets, book pages, websites, and platforms across the spectrum.
How sad is it that there are people and businesses who earn money teaching others how to manage their time? When did we become so busy? Sadly, as we scramble from point to point, we have less time for writing—and isn’t that why we started this journey in the first place?
If Twitter doesn’t work for you, don’t use it. If you’re not a fan of Facebook, it could be time to part ways. The same goes for Instagram and Pinterest. You get the idea—I’m simply suggesting that as authors we don’t need to be everywhere. When you stretch yourself too thin, you dilute your presence. It might be better to choose one or two platforms and focus your concentration there. It’s what advertisers did in the old days. Rather than creating small ripples in multiple markets, they sought to make a big splash in one or two. Dollars and time well spent.
When it comes to an online presence, there is no hard and fast rule that works for everyone, just as there is no guaranteed marketing strategy to help you achieve the brass ring. At the end of the day, we often live with the fear that if we disappear from social media for an extended length of time, others will forget about us and we’ll fade into oblivion, taking our books along with us. But I bet you took time off for December holidays, didn’t you? And I bet it felt GREAT, proving those breaks are needed.
That said, it’s fun to visit with our online friends. Maybe the difference (or the balance)—is just as with those New Year resolutions—we need to cut ourselves some slack.
Be kind to yourself. Don’t feel like you need to be everywhere. It’s a new year and an excellent time for beginning new projects.
I wish you happy writing and blissful time management. If you have thoughts you’d like to share, please drop them in the comments and let’s chat.
Ready, set, go!