The Writer’s Commute - Platform building when you don’t have a clue.
(First published in Opal Publishing, August 2016 )
Going to Work
Going out to work, you have a commute to make the transition. Working at home, it’s difficult to leave home duties and settle into writing. To help me, I developed my Writer’s Commute. It happens in my office, on my computer.
What the heck do I do with this Social Media?
As a woman of a certain age, computers are not my natural habitat. I know the basics and can find articles that tell me what to do. The thought of building a platform overwhelmed me. I was advised to start small and expand slowly. I took an orientation course offered on-line by a member of my writing group. It could have been called: Platform Building for Dummies. Lorraine Paton was patient with us and assured us that slow was fine.
First I formed goals for my platform.1) Expand name recognition.
2) Learn and share about all things writing.
3) Support other writers.
4) Promote my books when they are first launched.
5) Stay up-to-date with the world of Indie writers.
Decide what social media sites will accomplish this for your market.
Over of a year, I hammered out a process I call my writer’s commute. All commutes need coffee, so that’s first. Then I visit, in no particular order:
- · Emails (2 accounts – personal and author link)
- · Facebook – Profile and Author Page and Groups
- · Blog/webpage
- · Internet in general
Learn how to use the sites you choose.
Tasks to do on each site
It is not necessary to do every single thing, every day.
- I review both personal and writer accounts and respond to items requiring short answers.
- If a writing newsletter arrives, read it and make a short comment.
- Most sites have a place to put your website. Be sure to add it.
If it’s a social chatty email, I come back to it and respond in depth at the END of my writing day (or at lunch).
I use Blogger from blogspot.com. (Where we are right now.) I find it user friendly and simple enough that even my older brain can grasp it. I played with it before hitting publish. The layout and content on the blog expanded as I became more familiar with the layout function. There is no rush. Take your time to learn.
I have additional pages to this blog one. (See the other tabs above. About me, Why Writers Write) Set up a permanent sidebar or similar. It is best (so I’ve read) to be consistent and to set a schedule you can maintain. I alter my content between items for readers and those for writers and do interviews with writers launching books my followers might like. (www.mahriegreid.com)
Tweet, twitter, tiddly winks
One day, I bit the bullet and added a Twitter account. It confused me. However, I followed along and got the hang of it. (@MahrieGReid)
Twitter –you don’t need to check every day.
Tweet about your new blogs or book launches. Pre-write six posts and post them through the day with links to your blog or book. Otherwise, scan the tweets and re-tweet interesting posts. If you click through and read an article, retweet making a specific comment.
Go to notifications and see who has retweeted or followed you. Check them out. Follow back if you like. The ones that want your business, you don’t have follow. Do tweet thanking all followers and re-tweeters using their Twitter address. Be polite
- For the general internet, I decided on topics and went searching. As I found sites I liked, I added them to my save-list. If a site offered an email link, I often chose that option.
- If you see groups you like, ask to join them. That way their posts will show up in your feed and cut out the task of going to the group. I belong to a few private groups and several public groups. Follow sites you'd like to be in touch with. (Other author pages and so on.)
- Scan profile news list quickly. Many posts are cute but not helpful to a writer’s career. Pass them over. Read short writerly articles and comment. Personal items can be left for later.
- Check Author Page and answer any messages plus respond to comments even if it is only a “like.” Post a new message once or twice a week. Promote books by other authors and/or add a teaser with a link to your newest blog post. Post any launch information for your own books. (https://www.facebook.com/MahrieGReid/ )
- Visit a couple of your writer/author groups a day. You can follow on an irregular schedule. Reply, share or comment on a post that catches your eye. Become known as a contributor.
If you have time left – pick one of the sites on your saved-list and click-in to check out their most recent articles. Again, here’s where you can leave a comment and a link to your information. Participate Positively.
When 1 hour is up
I’ve reviewed in-coming information, responded appropriately, and liked, linked or commented. Most important my brain is transitioned to writing. I open my Word or Scrivener, or grab pen and paper and get to the writing. Give it a try and good luck in designing a writer’s commute that works for you.