Tuesday, March 24, 2015

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.

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