***** Quick Note before beginning today: My debut novel WWIV - In The Beginning is now available for free at the review site of Story Cartel. If interested, please download a free copy and leave an honest review in exchange. Free is a hard price to beat. Thanks! *****
I've read a lot of posts in many blogs about social media. Most, if not all, warn about one thing in common – be careful, social media is a huge time suck. I have a solution for all budding authors, editors and mere mortals for this problem.
Like anyone else, I spend a great deal of time on social media. While I try to avoid the infamous "Buy My Book" posts, I still come up with many other ideas to post hoping to entertain and enlighten my followers. However, posting isn't the problem, is it? No, you lose track of time while reading others' posts (the good, the bad, and the ugly).
Twitter is a great way to reach millions of folks with a mere 140 character entry. Well, maybe a couple thousand. But if you're lucky enough to have generous people repost (re-tweet #RT) some of your posts, your reach increases. But then you start reading other people's posts. Good posts, in my case, from fellow authors offering great advice; bad posts that promise to increase your followers by eight-billion people in mere days; and sometimes the ugly posts. You know what I'm speaking of. Either the angry person who seems to be able to use profanity as an adjective and an adverb (usually in the same sentence), or someone promoting something that will surely "change the world", or even something as simple as a cute and clever video that eats up three minutes of your valuable time.
Now Twitter is not the only place this can happen. G+ is one of my favorites and I can easily use up ten or fifteen minutes cruising through checking up on my various "friends". Or Facebook, where you typically have a personal and an author account. Or Instagram or Pinterest or any of the other dozens of social media sites that may be your favorite.
And before you know it, the hours disappear. You start with a simple post to one of the sites at lunch, and wah lah, all of a sudden it's 3:30 and the kids will be home soon. Or you sneak a quick peek at work before a meeting, and suddenly a co-worker knocks feverishly at your door telling you the group is "waiting on you." Well, the group and the boss (angry boss that is).
Here's what I do. It's not rocket science or astounding or even life changing. It's just how I handle the possible loss of valuable hours from my day.
I get up early and plan my entries for the day. No, I don't arise at 4 o'clock or anything crazy like that. Most morning's it's 6:15 or 6:30. I spend a half hour figuring out what clever thoughts I can spread throughout the day. And then I post on several outlets. (Note – not the same drivel on every outlet; that doesn't help your Google ranking one bit). Then around 11:00 I post a little more, same about 3:00 in the afternoon, and one last time when I get home after 6 o'clock.
How does that work for me? Well, time wise, pretty good. I usually only lose a few minutes roaming aimlessly through the sites (each time I log in of course). Book wise? I have no idea. I know it doesn't hurt, but it's hard to accurately measure the results. But, according to thousands (if not millions) of "experts", you have to have an online presence. Okay, I can check that off my list.
Now I know many of you will tell me all about the various sites I can use to schedule my Tweets, G+ posts, and Facebook updates. Please, save your breath. The fact that I've been able to maintain a somewhat constant presence on these sights is amazing all in itself. Trying to get me to schedule my activities will go as well as trying to get your mother to stop posting cat videos.
Remember, you really can teach an old dog new tricks ... just be sure they are easy tricks.
Have a great Easter break and find a good book to read over the weekend.