Burnout happens to us all. The constant drive to make time for marketing and make time for writing, leaves you feeling stretched too far at both ends.
Being an indie author/publisher is a bit like being a jack of all trades. You are responsible for every aspect of the product you create, your books. That includes (as you have already learned): writing, editing, cover design, layout, pricing, and promoting. Even if you are contracting out part of the work to freelancers, you are still acting as overseer or Project manager, and that’s work too!
Indie Publishing is a hard job, and often a thankless one. The only thanks you can hope to receive are spikes in sales or maybe a nice book review. Even then, the thanks is short-lived because you’re constantly pushing for the next one and the one after that.
When you start out, you’re a complete unknown. You have to really get out there and be with the readers. They have to get to know you and your work. The way to do that is to be in all of the places your readers might be. So, you set up profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, GoodReads, etc…. Then, every day you religiously try to hit every single one and do your best to interact with the friends you’ve made. You post comments on their status updates, you respond to tweets, you participate in conversations on Goodreads about books in your favorite genre. As you do this, you learn about groups and message boards where authors are sharing good advice and working together to help promote each other’s work. So you sign up for those too and add them to your daily round of “social networking.” Some of the advice you get tells you that you must have a blog and use it regularly, so you create one and begin adding daily post into your rotation. Soon you find that every waking moment is spent online and you have no more time for writing.
The up side is, you’re beginning to see sales from all of your active networking. The readers you’ve been connecting with are really responding. Book reviews are coming in and you think you’ve finally hit it big.
Then, you relax a little on your daily regime. You miss a few blog posts, you forget to log into Twitter. A sudden down spike in sales happen and you are sure that it’s because you haven’t been online as much. Now you feel compelled to keep the same level of social activity because if you don’t, your sales will suffer.
You immediately increase your networking efforts. Your fans begin to ask you about a sequel to your first book, but you just don’t have the time to write it. You don’t want to disappoint your fans so you try to make time for it all and end up hitting burnout.
Your story may not be exactly like the one I’ve just described but I bet it has similar elements to it. You want to do everything you can to be online and be a good writer, but sometimes you have to draw the line.
It’s hard figuring out the balance between the necessary social aspect of your job and the need to give your creative genius time to write. And I’m sure your family would like to see you as well. I know mine do. They threaten to mutiny when I try to work weekends. And yes, it is “work” don’t be afraid to call it that. Indie publishing is a job!
What you need to do, when creating your marketing plan, is to try and work out a schedule that allows you time enough for everything without making you feel like you have to do it all every single day.
Blogging doesn’t have to be an everyday job. And you’re not going to lose fans if you aren’t on Twitter or Facebook every second of the day.
Remember that utility I suggested you use in an earlier chapter? Social Oomph. Take advantage of its features and learn to schedule things like blog posts and twitter updates in advance so you give yourself more time for other things.
Along with scheduled updates, be sure to give yourself time limits on each site so that you don’t end up spending your entire afternoon online.
Make sure you schedule in writing time too.
Even with proper scheduling and limiting your time on the social stuff, you can still reach burnout.
Know that it is okay to take a break from time to time. You do it in your normal job, right? Vacation, sick days, etc… Give yourself a break from marketing every now and again so that you don’t end up burning yourself out so badly that you just can’t stand to look at the computer. Trust me, your fans won’t leave you.