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November 6, 2014

Finding Time to Write and Market

by Donna Huber

Are you an author who struggles to find time to write along with the all the other duties of life? Perhaps this month, you are attempting to write 50,000 words in 30 days and in order to do so you have had to clear your calendar of all but the most pressing duties (job, family). One of the things that authors often put on the back burner when in the "writing zone" is marketing. However, marketing is an important component in becoming a best selling author. With a little planning, you can effectively market your book with just a few hours each week.

First, you need to make sure you have the appropriate tools.

A media kit is a must. You will find having everything about you and your book available in a single file to be extremely helpful and time-saving. No more hunting down your review quotes for promos or book summaries for review pitches. If you have not put together a media kit, it can take a couple of hours or more to pull everything together. But once you have it complete, you will have everything you need to promote your book at your finger tips.

Read More: Author Media Kit Components

Other tools you need are auto-schedulers for social media (i.e. Buffer, Tweetdeck, and/or Hootesuite), RSS feeds for easy access to info to share, blogger directories, and a calendar.

Second, fill out author profiles on retail sites and Goodreads.

Sometimes as a blogger I want to do a promo for a book I really enjoyed and it frustrates me to no end when I can't easily find an author bio or social media links. My go to places for these things is Goodreads and if I can't find it there, then Amazon. Many readers are interested in finding these social media links and biographies as well. And it does the author no favors if readers have difficulty learning more about you. Again, this is something you do once and it has lasting returns. You may need to update the info from time to time.

Third, set up a weekly to do list

Marketing can be a daunting task, but if you break it down into smaller bits and pieces you will get more accomplished in less time. You can break the tasks into 3 broad categories - blogger relations, social media management, and personal blogging.

Blogger relations would include pitching your book for reviews as well as guest posting. Using the blogger directories you should be able to identify 10 bloggers to pitch to each week. You will want to break this task in to two smaller tasks - researching bloggers and the actual pitching. In the beginning the researching will take a bit more time and depending on your schedule you may want to just focus on that until you have identified 30 - 40 blogs to contact. You are not only looking for reviews, but also blogs to appear on in interviews or guest posts.

Read more: Make Friends with Bloggers

Social media management could also mean community management. You will need to give some attention each day to your Twitter and Facebook communities, but for the large part you can plan content in advance so that you can just check in for 10 - 15 minutes while taking a break from writing. Remember to set a timer or you may soon discover your writing time has vanished while in Facebook land. RSS feeds will help you find interesting content to share with your followers. I use Triberr for finding content, but you can things like BlogLovin to get an email about new content on blogs you follow. There are other RSS readers out there as well. I like Triberr because I can select a week's worth of content and it will automatically be shared. If you are getting RSS feeds directly you will want to use the auto-scheduling tools I mentioned to set up content. In addition to sharing blog content (yours as well as others), you can also schedule in quotes, pictures, review snippets, teasers, and conversation starters. You will want to check on any chatter these posting create each day and respond accordingly. If you have a street team, make sure you are providing them with ways to help you each week.

Personal blogging is highly recommended for authors. You should shoot for one post a week. Setting up a schedule of what you will post about each week will be useful, but doesn't have to be rigidly followed. I like to use a Google calendar for scheduling my blogging schedule as I can access it any where. As Girl Who Read is my main publication, my schedule is much fuller than if I were maintaining an author blog in support of a book. Having a list of topics to write on will save you time when you do sit down to blog each week.

Read More: Setting an Editorial Calendar

Fourth, keep a calendar handy.

You calendar will be for more than just setting your blog schedule. Keeping a calendar will help you stay on task each week. Remember those weekly pitches to bloggers? Some of them will net you interviews and guest posts. Putting those engagements on the calendar will help you remember to get the interview/post to the blogger as well as letting you know that you may have to spend a little less time that week pitching bloggers in order to write a guest post.

Busy people have to make sure they are making best use of their time and spending time wondering what to do next is wasted time. So when you are scheduling in dentist appointments and soccer practice, be sure to write down work on blog post, schedule social media, and email bloggers.


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