When should an author begin setting up social networking profiles / blogs / websites?
Yesterday I spoke at an AAR / Association of Authors’ Representatives panel together with Connor Raus (who runs digital advertising agency CRKWD) about understanding social media and how to use it effectively — as you know, a favorite topic of mine here on The Book Publicity Blog. I don’t have time to summarize the entire panel here (and you don’t have time to read a summary of the entire panel), but I did want to tackle the issue of timing, a common question among book publicists, authors, agents and others in the publishing industry, and one that we discussed last night: in order to most effectively promote a book, when do you begin setting up social networking profiles / blogs / websites?
It occurred to me that creating an online author platform — aforementioned social networking profiles, blogs and websites — is much like training for a marathon. (Unfortunately, the marathon analogy only came to me during my shower last night — historically, my good ideas have all arisen near water — rather than during the panel, but fortunately, I now have the opportunity to share this with you now.)
If you have ever run a marathon — or if you know someone who has — you (may) know that typically, runners train between two and six months for the race. Of course, it depends on your fitness level, how much you’ve been running, what your time goal is (if any), but the majority of runners will end up training between two and six months. Which, coincidentally, is about how long before a book’s publication many would suggest authors start developing a web presence.
You may be thinking that if one can get into good enough shape to run 26.2 miles in six months, then imagine how much better shape one would be in if one trained (blogged / networked) for a year! Except for the crazy ones, however, no marathoner does this (running, that is). The reason is simple: there are only so many 5 a.m. 20-milers you can run weekly before completely burning out. Likewise, (most) authors find it is simply not feasible to generate an unlimited number of blog posts or tweets or status updates for time eternal.
Just to be clear, I’m not discouraging an author from starting to blog a year before a book comes out — after all, unlike with marathoning, blogging and social networking is unlikely to result in injury (one hopes) — but I am saying that realistically, given the vast number of personal and professional commitments we all have, most authors probably will end up tapering their online activities after a few months.
That was my epiphany for the day. What do you think?
17 Comments »
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Fall 2012: I’ve really enjoyed writing about book publicity and meeting (0nline and in person) writers, publicists, editors, agents and others in the publishing industry, but I’ve — reluctantly — come to the conclusion that I just don’t have the time to maintain this blog.
I imagine there is some information that will remain the same and that will remain useful, but there is much more that is or will become out of date, so please keep that in mind if you find yourself perusing my posts.
For some time now, I’ve closely followed a lot of very informative sites about media and about the publishing industry. Since I find myself quite voluble at times about issues that pertain to my job in the publicity department at a large publishing house, I thought I’d set up a book publicity blog. The purpose of this blog is provide tips, primarily, but also information about publishing / marketing trends that will help book publicists — and hopefully others in media and publishing — do our jobs with greater ease and efficiency. Please note that the opinions expressed on this blog are my own, not those of my company.
I encourage you to subscribe to my feed in an RSS reader, but you can also receive a daily newsletter with content from this blog. See below for subscription options or for information about how to follow me on Twitter.
- What's a book blog tour?
- What is an imprint?
- List of freelance book publicists
- Checking in to promote books: Foursquare vs. Get Glue
- What you need to include in your email signature
- Why email subject lines are so important
- How Excel can make book publicity easier
- How to make sending email more efficient
- Contact / Submitting Tips
- What to include on author websites