Like most authors, I’m finding learning how to build a platform, a blog following, use Twitter and Facebook, and just plain market my books an overwhelming task.
Something that makes it harder is the sheer volume of information available.
I barely get through one book or report when I hear of another one. And each of the so-called experts contradict each other. How do I know what strategies to try? And when do I give up on one and try another? How do I know which advice to take?
After struggling with this for over two years, I’ve come up with a few guiding principles that help me stay focused and stay on track. I hope they help you, too.
1. Remember that all the experts are giving advice that worked for them. Everyone’s platform will be built differently, depending on what they write (or sell). So what worked for one person might not work for another. In any case, some tweaking will be necessary to get the most benefit for you.
2. Make a list of the strategies you want to implement, put them in the order you want to achieve them, and then work the list. Trying to do everything at once could be overwhelming. Learning to set up a website and use all the plugins and tools involves a steep learning curve. So take it one step at a time and keep going. Pick one new thing to learn, get it down, and then move to the next one.
3. Have patience. Often I run into snags with quirks in wordpress plugins or other glitches that are beyond my comprehension. It takes time to read the help forums or submit a help ticket. Sometimes I think I have a system in place only to find my spreadsheet has errors or my links that worked last week are broken today. Take the time to learn how to make the fixes you need to.
4. Manage your time. Schedule time for platform building and marketing, but leave time for the real work: the writing. Don’t let the marketing take over, but don’t ignore it either. If you find you are spending too much time on a technical issue, consider paying someone to fix it for you.
5. Take the time to implement each piece of your platform building well. It will do you no good to just slap a blog post together and think your readers will keep coming back for more mediocre work.
6. Figure out a way to evaluate the success of your strategies. This can be tough, but there are some tools that can help. Google Analytics can tell you where the traffic to your website if coming from, what pages people are looking at, and how long they are staying. If you aren’t seeing steady gains in readers or follower, start tweaking.
7. Persevere. The old story of the tortoise and the hare comes to mind. Slow and steady wins the race.
My new time management plan is to write in the mornings. After lunch I’ll carve out an hour to deal with website and marketing; a few days a week or if I have some special promotion going I’ll spend more time on it. How do you manage to juggle writing and marketing?