This past decade has seen a ton of changes in the bookish world. Technology assured indie authors had a voice at the table, and Amazon turned the publishing industry on its ear. We saw the end of great brick-and-mortar stores while digital books rose at unprecedented rates. Gone were the gatekeepers of old, and in their place a new paradigm. It’s enough to overwhelm anyone, but here are five things successful authors do to maintain balance.
#5- Create a time limit on social media.
Some sites are like black holes–once you go in it’s impossible to get out. For me, it’s Pinterest, Instagram, and, of course, Facebook. I’ve resorted to using Stayfocusd, a Chrome extension that blocks sites you choose during certain hours. It’s incredibly useful if you need to protect your writing time, and I highly recommend it.
#4- Schedule writing time and treat it like the Holy Grail
Time. It’s the one thing we can’t get more of, yet we always need. I realized a few months ago that being purposeful when deciding what we are spending our time on is critical to success. Make a schedule and stick to it–that’s the key to getting stuff done. #truth
#3-Stop with the excuses
If you want to write, write. If you don’t, then don’t. It really is that easy–and that hard. Some manuscripts flow like honey. Others drip painfully, words struggling just to make their way onto the page. When this happens, we need to remember that writing is a marathon, not a sprint. One that takes sacrifice, time away from family, tons of hours online marketing and getting to know readers. If you find yourself making excuses instead of stories, maybe it’s time to step back and reflect.
#2-Build your Tribe
We’ve all been taught to write the story you want to write, but if you have no idea how to reach those who’d like to read it you may as well be screaming into the ether. In the wise words of Janet Wallace, find your tribe and love them hard. Take time every day to connect with your readers. If you’re still figuring out who your tribe is, look at your insights. Research your demographic. Interact. Talk. Laugh. Care about your readers, not because they’ve read your work, but because they’re amazing humans. To me, my peeps are the wind in my sails, and I love them more than air!
#1-Post on Social Media
Every. Damn. Day. And not just that Facebook page you created eight years ago. New algorithm changes have made that sucker a wasteland. Invest in finding outlets that may seem unusual or off the proverbial beaten path. I know it’s time-consuming. For introverts, it can be downright painful, but the bottom line is social media has altered the way the world works. The business end of publishing is a rapidly changing landscape, one where relationships and time are the new international currency.
And that, my friends, is an excellent thing.