“I’m so busy I barely have time to write! How am I supposed to work on building my author brand, too?”
For those of us who have other full-time commitments, it can be hard to find the time to work on our writing projects, let alone focus on building an author brand. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible!
Whether you’re working forty hours a week, have kids to take care of, or maybe even both, setting aside the time to work on your author brand is completely doable Check out the following tips:
1) Set goals
It seems obvious, but goal setting is essential, and it keeps you focused, even when you’re super busy.
Before moving forward, take some time to clearly articulate your goals. Do you want to start a monthly newsletter? Grow your mailing list? Start a Facebook group? Whatever your goal is, make sure it’s measurable, achievable, and as specific as possible. For example, “Get 15 subscribers to my author newsletter” is a lot more specific and measurable than “Grow my newsletter.”
Once you’ve identified your goals, break them into smaller tasks. So, continuing with the newsletter example above, some of the smaller tasks could be: selecting a newsletter platform, designing a template, and creating opt-ins (for example, offering a freebie such as a deleted chapter from one of your books is a great way to get newsletter sign-ups).
Finally, whatever goals you have identified, make sure that you’re excited about them! The more excited you are about achieving a particular goal, the easier it will be to carve out the time to work towards it.
2) Become a time management ninja
Take stock of your days and the amount of time you spend on various activities (work and Netflix binges included!). Be honest with yourself and look for gaps in your days where you could reasonably squeezed in some brand-building time. Whether you only have a 15-minute gap every other day or a three-hour block of time during the weekend, you are bound to find at least a little bit of free time in order to work on your author brand.
Once you’ve identified times that you can dedicate to building your author brand, it’s important that you don’t waste it! Make sure you are consistently reviewing your goals and budgeting your time accordingly. For example, if your goal is to grow your social media following, your first order of business might be to decide on a platform that you want to focus on. If you’ve already decided on a social medium platform, you might want to work on developing a social media posting schedule. Essentially, make sure you’re using your budgeted time wisely!
Finally, set realistic, yet challenging deadlines for yourself. In my experience, there’s nothing like a looming deadline to keep me accountable.
3) Do social media the right way
Yes, it is so tempting to spend an hour mindlessly scrolling through your social media feeds, especially if you’re trying to unwind after a long day. However, when you’re using social media to build your author brand, it’s important that you go into it with a focused plan. Again, make sure you’re reviewing your goals! If you want to promote and sell more copies of your latest book, consider using Instagram to showcase some quotes or collages. If your goal is to connect with more writers, you could try out Twitter Chats, which is an excellent networking tool.
If you want to save even more time, consider checking out apps like Buffer or Hootsuite. All you need to do is load your social media posts into the app of your choice and it will do all the posting for you. Hello, extra Netflix time (er, I mean, extra writing time)!
4) Make time for in-person networking
While social media can be an excellent tool, don’t underestimate the power of in-person networking. Whether you attend writing conferences, or schedule meetups with local writers, time spent exchanging ideas and advice with others is invaluable. While you certainly don’t have to spend hours upon hours at networking events, budgeting for at least one good event per month is a good idea.
Terrified of meeting people face-to-face? Don’t stress! Start slow and experiment with different events. If huge conferences make you break out in a cold sweat, you can try smaller meetups at local coffee shops or libraries. Finally, don’t worry too much about perfecting an overly sales-y “elevator pitch.” Instead, focus on getting to know your fellow writers. Ask everyone you meet what they write and what kind of projects they’re working on. I guarantee you that they’ll be excited to talk to you about it!
5) Be flexible
Let’s face it: life happens. Sometimes you get sick. Sometimes you get slammed at work. Sometimes you just need a vacation. The key to all this is to not give up. If you need to take a couple weeks off, go ahead and do it. When you get back from your break, re-evaluate your goals and schedule, and then get back on the wagon.
At the end of the day, don’t work against your other commitments, rather, work with them in order to reach all your author branding goals.
Back to you, writers! How do you balance your full time commitments with your writing commitments? Let me know in the comments!
Manuela Williams is a Las Vegas-based writer and editor. She is the author of Ghost In Girl Costume, which won the 2017 Hard To Swallow Chapbook Contest. Her second poetry chapbook, Witch, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. When she’s not writing, Manuela is busy drinking coffee and spending time with her blind Pomeranian, Redford. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Pinterest.