Balancing Writing Time: For Authors who work full-time

If you work a full-time job and still aspire to be an author, you will find that setting aside the time necessary to write your novel presents quite a challenge. After all, there’s still house chores to do, gardening, lawn work, dog baths and a bunch of other stuff that really rack up the minutes, and eat away at your spare time.

Notice, I said spare-time! When I first started writing, it was a hobby, something I did to relax and escape for a while. When I decided to seek out publishing options, I thought, ” Well, I’ll set half my weekend aside for writing”. Something miraculous happened and I actually completed the novel. Yay! I felt wonderful!

Until I realized how much “time” the marketing was going to take. Suddenly my “spare-time” was not enough time to do it all! I’m not twenty anymore and don’t multitask as smoothly as I used to. So, I decided that I would treat marketing for “The Wraith of Carter’s Mill” like a part-time job … second to my full time job of running a business. I quickly realized that my part-time job was absorbing my “spare-time” leaving me very little time for sleep.This was not working for me.

The bottom line is this, if you want to write and you want to promote your work, but you have a full-time job, you must make a schedule. Be realistic with what you expect from yourself and remember that you write because you love it! The following steps are how I am getting myself on track.

  •  Make a list of your marketing goals each week.
  •  Make a realistic schedule for yourself. Consider how much time you can set aside each day for marketing tasks and what time of day is best for you. Try to adhere to your schedule but if you have extra time one day and work ahead on your list, good for you!
  •  Take good notes. I have a notebook handy while I am working on marketing. On it I document what I did and where I stopped. It helps me to restart the next morning right where I left off.
  •  Keep a notebook handy throughout the day if possible. If you’re writing a story, ideas can come along at any time. Jot these down as they occur and when the weekend comes, you’re already halfway to writing a couple of chapters.

Because I run my own business, I have some flexibility in my work schedule … not much but some. So I decided that I would reclaim my weekends, creating “spare-time” in which I could get creative and start my next novel. Creativity does not flow on demand, but all week long I jot down notes, ideas and phrases that come to mind so that when the weekend arrives, I already have the bare bones.

I decided to set aside 2 hours each day for marketing my latest release and I chose early morning. Why did I chose 6am as my marketing time? Because at 6am my business phone is not ringing and I am fresh for the day. Our work day starts at 9am, so I have two hours for answering emails, making inquiries about reviews, posting to my books social media pages etc. with a one hour break in between.

For now, it is working for me. I feel a bit more empowered and less overwhelmed. I am experiencing the joys of writing again and the excitement of promoting my novel “The Wraith of Carter’s Mill”.

I realize that in time, I may have to rethink my writing and marketing schedule, but the important thing is that for the time being, I feel much more organized.

C. Evenfall is the author of “The Wraith of Carter’s Mill” available in paperback at http://www.amazon.com/dp/1503205096

and in e-book format at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VIU9YKS.

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Reviews, Friendly Fire or Not!

As an author, I realize the importance of reviews. In today’s world, more than ever, it’s how we shop. Most of us, authors I mean, cringe when we see a new one as we are ever looking for those coveted 5 star reviews and dread anything less than a 3 star.

The fact is, literary tastes are as unique as DNA, and everyone is not going to like our books. By the same token, reviewers will like different things about our work and dislike different things, and this is valuable information to authors.

While book reviews are written for readers, as authors, we just would not be smart to overlook them … especially the poor ones. That’s right, I said the 1’s and 2’s are equally as important as the glowing, sought after 5 star review. Now notice I said reviews and not ratings!

Ratings alone without any comments can be misleading to other readers and disappointing to the author whether it’s a high rating or a low rating. When I am book shopping, I always rely on reviews to help me make my decision about purchasing a book. Any book with say, 50 reviews, and they are all 5 stars sends up a red flag. I will scan through them but when it becomes obvious that they are just book reports with a rating, I lose interest.

When I look at a book and it has for example ; 45 (5) star reviews, 23 (4) star reviews, 15 (3) star reviews and 6 or 8 (1’s and 2’s) I get interested, and guess what? I read the 1’s and 2’s FIRST. If this handful of readers felt it necessary to leave a poor rating without a comment, I assume they are just being mean and I disregard it, BUT if they actually left a review, I’m all in. I want to know why you didn’t like it.

Think about it, everybody likes ice cream! But if everyone liked the same flavor, how boring would that be?

Same thing applies to the glorious 5 star! If the reviewer only saw fit to rate the title and not leave a comment, I am very disappointed. I want to know WHY you liked it so much or WHY you hated it ! SHOUT it out, tell readers what you think because in truth, that’s who you are reaching with your rating and review. Reviewers, you are writers … and people are reading your work.

C. Evenfall is the author of The Wraith of Carter’s Mill, available now on Amazon in e-book and paperback formats.