When you can’t be everywhere

As authors, we often hear about the importance of social media. We’re supposed to establish a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tsu, Pinterest, Tumblr, Reddit, and other sites I probably have never heard of. Overwhelmed yet? I am. The idea of being in all these places is daunting, especially if you’re new to social media and are still trying to find your way around.

In addition to being told we need to have a profile set up on all the platforms listed above, we’re also told we’re supposed to have a snazzy website. We’re instructed to blog X number of times every week and to engage with other bloggers. We have to Tweet X number of times per day, but not too many Tweets about our books, or we’ll run the risk of being labeled “spammers.” YA authors are encouraged to be active on Wattpad. And in addition to all the social media sites, we’re also told we need to set up profiles (and engage) on reader-oriented sites such as Goodreads and Library Thing. Oh, and while we’re at it, there are also a whole host of writer-oriented sites and author databases we need to visit so we can register our author profiles.

And, as if all this Tweeting, blogging, Pinning, and profiling isn’t enough? We have to do it well. We can’t just set up a profile and abandon it, right? No! We have to be everywhere, all the time, because if we don’t do it perfectly, no one will know we exist and they won’t buy our books!!!

The idea of doing all these things every single day is exhausting. I’ve seen a few authors who seem to juggle all this social media stuff, but I can’t do it. Not if I want to pay my bills, feed my kids, and still have time to write.

So what is an author to do?

If we can’t be everywhere at once (and let’s face it, few of us can), we need to pick a place to be.

An author platform is a cool thing to have. I think every author needs SOME sort of author platform. In my humble opinion, here are the places we need to be and the stuff we should have.

  1. A website/blog – If a reader (or agent or publisher) Googles you, they should be able to find all your stuff in one place – books, social media links, blog. Everything they need to know about you, including how to contact you, should be in this one, easy-to-access place. Your website doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive, but if you’re a published author, you should have something set up. 
  2. An Amazon Author page – This is really important. Amazon doesn’t link all your books together under your name. You have to do this on your own. To do so, you need to register with Author Central. You’ll add your bio, author picture, and “claim” your books. You can also link up your blog and Twitter feed, if you choose to do so. Once your Amazon Author page is set up, you don’t need to revisit it unless you’ve published a new book or changed your bio. Trust me – whatever hassle you endure setting up your author page is worth it.
  3. A Goodreads profile – For me, becoming a “Goodreads Author” was not the easiest process. Your Goodreads author profile isn’t nearly as important as setting up your Amazon Author page, but it’s still worth doing. Once you’ve accomplished this task, you don’t ever need to return to Goodreads again. Not unless you have to change your profile. Some authors use Goodreads to do giveaways, join review groups, etc, but you don’t need to do this if you don’t want to. Just be sure to set up your page. You’ll be glad you did.
  4. A Twitter account and/or Facebook page – Ideally, you’ll have both, but you don’t have to. Heck, you don’t have to do any of this stuff, but it’s a good idea. Readers will expect to be able to connect with  you somewhere in cyber space. Facebook and Twitter are excellent places to connect with other authors and make some friends. If you’re too overwhelmed to do both, I’d recommend Facebook, but that’s just my personal preference. 

In my opinion, everything else is cool, but optional. I’m signed up and registered in lots of places, and I’ll be darned if I can remember where. On Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr, my attendance is sporadic. On some of the other sites, I’ve forgotten my password because I haven’t been there in so long. 

I signed up for Authorsdb several months ago. I didn’t go back to the site until recently, and since I hadn’t been there for so long, all my information was outdated. Really outdated. I know there are other sites I’ve signed up for that are probably even more outdated than this one, but I can’t remember where.

Personally, I think it’s better to have no profile on a site than an outdated one. Don’t sign up for more sites than you can keep up with. If you really, really, really don’t want a Twitter account, don’t get one! If you don’t want to be on Pinterest, don’t do it.

You can’t be everywhere, but be somewhere. It’s up to you where you want to be.


43 thoughts on “When you can’t be everywhere

  1. The best advice I read on social media for authors is that it’s better to be fully engaged on one or two sites than to be present on all and not interested in the majority. Personally, I concentrate on my blog and Twitter, because I enjoy both. I have a presence on Google + (which helps boost my blog’s SEO) and I have an Amazon author page, but that’s it. I never went down the Facebook route.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s good advice, Dylan. I engage more on WordPress than anywhere else, but I’m active on Facebook and Twitter as well. I often suspect I’m not doing a great job of connecting with people on Twitter, but I do my best. That’s all we can do.

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  2. This is a great post! I’ve been feeling completely overwhelmed by the advice to be everywhere all the time. I can’t keep up and my writing time is half what it was a year ago. I feel starved and frazzled (big breath). This focus is just what I needed. It’s rational and doable. You made my day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally agree with this. These would also be my picks of where to be. When I first started building my platform, I put way too much time and energy into it. Now, I probably do the opposite. But I get a lot more writing done, and honestly, I think having more books out is much more important than hollering at people on Twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! Figuring how to organize the social media can be tricky. I’m still learning new platforms. Some I have are more for my pro writing while others are more for the fangirl side (though all are connected in my author “brand” so to speak). I am not on Goodreads. I tried it a few years ago but I am not comfortable there at all. I still don’t have a Facebook page either but have the blog, author page, Twitter and a few other social media I am fine with. 🙂

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    1. I’m on Goodreads, but I’m not active in any of the groups. It’s overwhelming. I think you’re doing great if you have the blog, Twitter, and whatever else you’re comfortable with. Facebook is switching things up (again) and most of the people who follow your page don’t see your updates anyway.

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  5. You are appealing to so many writers here, Tricia. I find that automation services have really helped me to organize my social media activity and save time online so that I can spend more time writing. I share to four different networks posts throughout the day and sometimes I’m not on any of them all day. Great post here.

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    1. I honestly don’t think it costs you any sales. And, you’re right – your sanity is worth much more. I signed up for EVERYTHING when I published my first book. I got really burned out too. It’s not worth the stress.

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  6. Great post, it’s like you had taken the time i hadn’t to write answers to my ?tions, & i guess i was right; Don’t juggle more you can handle.. As a Published Author, i/we need every & all Quality thoughts time – for me, this is very crucial. Today’s society, & new fashions are not of main interests to most of us, & although they are helpful & educational, also interacting with others which is great,because we are all in this together, looking for extra means to support a better life for us or our loved ones; i Strongly object to Publishing myself to media online, as i lived my life practical & socially with others, despite the invasion of our privacy, encase of Cyber crime affiliated; i guess their’s a risk in everything we do. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to, but understand that it helps us proceed accomplishing our Goals with style.
    as D. Wallace Peach had said, I can’t keep up and my writing time is half what it was a year ago.
    priorities are ever so demanding with family choirs, & like you had mentioned with social media, i have signed up to many, with honesty, most of them i don’t even check in until i remember it’s there, & i would not find them useful – so thanks for your heads up on your blog/message, i should have done it long time time ago; – Go on a Social diet – Unwanted Social medias out the you go.
    p.s, will also look into your other wise, opinions, they sound Life easing..

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have done some of the good things you’ve covered, unfortunately if i did them all by the time I sat down to write I’d have the energy to type, “Oh i can’t be bothered, anymore,” before falling asleep. So I just do some of them. What did people do before social media?

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  8. Great advice! I’m like you–signed up to a lot of places just to be but hardly visit the sites. I’m mostly on Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Facebook is getting on my nerves because my posts aren’t really reaching people since I refuse to pay.

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  9. Cracking post. It’s so easy to burn out. I do a little bit of Twitter, some Goodreads and I blog. Even so, I’ve now reached the point when I can’t follow back the people who follow my blog because there are just too many of them. What I do think, though, is that the you have to blog lots advice is a pain. I do one or two posts a week and if everyone I followed did that too I could cope with them all. But I think the big thing is that if you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it.

    Cheers

    MTM

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yes, I’m feeling a bit stretched. Ideally my blog and website would be in one place, but the blog is on WordPress, which is great for blogging, but awful for manipulating and presenting pages. So I have kept my old MAC website, which I can totally control, but have to remember to keep updating… Then, as you say, there is Facebook, Twitter (wallflower only) and Goodreads. I will check the Amazon Author page. I’m sure I have one.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You can’t be everywhere, there just aren’t enough hours in a day.

    I’ve closed down account and deleted profiles, then reanimated on blogspot. I hadn’t used in a while, and closed down my WordPress blog.

    I feel better because I don’t have so many ‘shouldas’ standing between me and my writing. What a load off my mind.

    Great post!

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  12. I do find it all overwhelming. And lately I haven’t been able to keep up with much. I’m moving and starting a new job, and most everything else is getting short shrift. Thanks for narrowing down the list of musts, Tricia. 🙂

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  13. Great post! Every time I read those “101 things you NEED to do to sell your books” blogs I get overwhelmed and feel like surrendering because how the heck can we do it all? But you’re right, we don;t need to do it all, just do something.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Great advice. It’s overwhelming indeed. I’m still trying to figure out a way to spend the time I enjoy, reading all the blogs I love to follow. I don’t think anyone has come up with a cure for that one yet. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thanks for the insight! I’ve also always felt really overwhelmed with social media presence and many aspects of marketing, so this kind of clever, narrow-it-down advice is truly ever so helpful and greatly encouraging. It is best indeed to just take baby steps, but do things well, and expand little by little after we have the basics set up. I’m trying to improve on that so your post will be a great help.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I could not agree with this post MORE! It’s simply impossible to be everywhere all the time, yet we all feel such pressures to do that and such guilt when we can’t. Anyone with a life, with family, work commitments, life commitments is continually juggling everything and invariably failing and dropping some balls (the rebuking themselves for not being superman/superwoman!). For instance, I’ve had a particularly manic few months with work pressures, health problems and lots of author signing events, each one needing a huge amount of prep and promotion, so my own blog as well as those of my dear friends, like you, have fallen to the wayside, something I’ve felt so bad about as I always want to read others blogs and support them. It’s a no win situation. I’m trying desperately to catch up on emails, blogs, websites etc today, but really, how are we all supposed to write, juggle life and be everywhere all the time, lol, totally impossible! Lol, or perhaps I’m just a particularly bad juggler!!! 😀 xx

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