Letters from the Real World: Um, don’t forget to write.

I know. It sounds silly. But, trust me, it’s an easy, easy trap to fall into, just like the clearance rack at Marshall’s.

I emerged from the writing cave at the end of January with my book, and then I hit the panic button and began to build my social media empire (cue megalomaniacal laughter). Then I went to the AWP ’14 conference and came home with a lot of really wonderful opportunities to write creative nonfiction pieces and get myself out there. Then, I’ve been working on the pre-publication process for “Blacke and Blue” (out today at http://www.bookstrand.com/blacke-and-blue – yeah, self-plug but hey, baby’s gotta move some volume!).

I went back to my list of books that I’m working on, and suddenly, I realized that I am way behind in my writing schedule. Now, my writing schedule list pretty freaking ambitious for most writers, but I am trying to jump start an avalanche (how’s that for a it-has-been-a-long-day-metaphor?), so I’m pushing myself to produce more, faster.

Except, I haven’t really for the past three weeks.


I’ve been doing blog posts, five creative nonfiction articles and finishing the production for “Blacke and Blue.” I’ve been on Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Tumblr. I’ve been trying to fine tune the back end of my website. I’ve been making some last minute adjustments to the promotional work for “Blacke and Blue.”

But, I have to get back on track with the writing. No new content means nothing new to market means slowing sales sooner rather than later.

Part of what got me mired so deep in marketing is trying to figure out exactly what forums were most effective for me. Was I better on Tumblr than Twitter? Would there ever be a Goodreads group I’d actually want to check in with every day? WattPad? How could I be a better Tweeter? Should I try to use Pinterest as a major marketing tool? It takes a lot of plain ol’ time and effort to answer these questions, but I think I am actually starting to get there.

I’m learning what I’m really good at: blogging, tweeting and sharing stuff on Pinterest. I’m happiest and most effective in those media. I feel like I could make something out of Tumblr eventually when I get a bit more of a routine settled and have a little extra time to work on it. I also think I could do fun things with YouTube. Again, maybe that’s phase II.

Maybe the big lesson in all of this is that it’s a long game. Maybe it’s better to get the basics solid first: get your ‘mothership’ website set up and active with regular blogging, find some niches on Twitter, and hook in Facebook. Then, over time, do trial and error with the various websites and techniques like Goodreads groups, Wattpad, etc.

Puppy-snuggling requires a minimum of 30% body contact at all times.
Puppy-snuggling requires a minimum of 30% body contact at all times.

The key word is TIME. No one should have to do what I did which is try and get an entire author platform set up in less than two weeks to get ready for the release of my book. Even if you’re not published, start now to build your website and get active on Twitter. You will be SO thankful that you did.

So, starting this week, I’m splitting my days into marketing mornings and writing afternoons. I can’t go completely back into the writing cave, as much as I would like to, nor can I just sit back and market the everlovin’ daylights out of what I currently have.

And, somewhere in all this, I need to make sure I stay on track with my outrageously demanding puppy-snuggling schedule.


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