Monday, August 24, 2009

Keeping Up

Planting the seed isn't enough to ensure it grows.

Plants need attention. Water. Sunlight. Pruning. Fertilizer. Insecticide.

Planting is tough. But the work doesn't end there.

Maintenance and upkeep is a never-ending process.

Which brings us to one of my Achilles heels. And perhaps one of yours as well.

I'm great at planting. Maintaining, not so much.

For those who haven't caught the obvious analogy to marketing yet, let me drive the point home.

If you want to sell books by using the Internet, maintenance is essential.

When was the last time you updated your website?

When was the last time you blogged?

Traded links?

Friended people on MySpace, Facebook, Shelfari, or Goodreads?

Participated in a forum?

Having an online presence doesn't mean building it and the forgetting it. It means constant upkeep, diligent attention to what visitors want, and an ongoing addition of quality content.

You can't ever rest on your laurels.

I've been buried in writing for the past few weeks. Which is great--I'm lucky to have contracts and deadlines. But this isn't an excuse for lapsing on my net maintenance.

A good website or blog will keep attracting new visitors.

But new content is what keeps visitors coming back.

Don't forget your site maintenance. You worked too hard planting the seed to let it die.

Now stop screwing around on my blog and go tend to your garden.


JoePike said...

I couldn't agree more (Contest #3...), what a great reminder. Writing should take up (Contest #3 winner?) the majority of your time. But as you said, maintenance (remember forum Contest #3?) of your online presence and connections (judge it judge it judge it!) to your readers is essential for keeping your base with you. Doing web contests and hosting writing exercises is also a fun way (who won who won who won?) to keep your readers interested in your blogs and forums.

I'm glad to hear you're buried in writing right now...I really enjoyed AFRAID & CHERRY BOMB, so it makes waiting for new books (and other things...) all worthwhile.

Gayle Carline said...

Maintenance? So THAT'S why my plants keep dying.

Seriously, is there a way to keep things in balance? I get so busy being 'out on the Net' - updating statuses and website and blogging, yadda yadda, that I'll go days without working on the next book. Not to mention the day-to-day familial responsibilities. Hubby and son can order pizza, but the dog and cat expect to be fed!

How do you have it all, Joe?

Gayle (Freezer Burn)

Analisa said...

Thanks for the reminder. I have always been a killer of plants.

Debra L Martin said...

I'm just starting out with all this web presence stuff. I write with a co-author so we have an author site [} for a book that almost made it, but in the end was passed on. We are posting 1 chapter a week hoping to garner a following. I also have a blog, a facebook account, a tweeter account, and a myspace account.

Next week I'll start the query process for our new book. I'm in the process of creating the spread sheet of the agents who might be interest in it.

In addition to this, I work full time and take care of my family. I'm exhausted just reading all this stuff......

Anonymous said...

We all struggle to find that balance. Blogging is NOT word count, but it is a valuable part of an author's promotional tool kit. When I'm working to a publishing deadline (like now) I keep blog posts simple: a news flash on Indigenous Literacy Day or on the children's book awards. It takes only a little time out of my writing day, but helps keeps me connected in the blogosphere. Thanks for the post.

Christopher said...

I hope that some day all the work I am doing building a social network will pay off. It is small now but I am getting good practice.

It has paid off for me psychologically. I have met a few people that have wonderful blogs that i thought were right in the demographic that i was shooting for with my book.

I let them read it and they have liked it. Even if the book doesn't get published it was a great boost to my morale to know that I am not completely fooling myself.

Karen from Mentor said...

I try to provide new content almost every day on my blog. Cause just like good sex.... doing something new and interesting every day keeps them coming.


Stacey Cochran said...

Here's something I know y'all all want to watch.

I am actually streaming video live as I work on my novel!

@ 2:15 PM (EST) Thursday August 27

Dana Konop said...

Social networking for writers...what jello did for the family kitchen, no?

Laurene said...

Thanks so much for this post, pretty worthwhile material.