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My answer? I have, I want and I know I need a social platform. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Goggle+, and LinkedIn. I am saying this not to impress anyone, but to let you know how overwhelmed I feel right now. I am 11,000 words into the next book and I have to keep my social personality out there. How do I decide what to do with my time? That’s the conundrum of being self-published. Everything falls in your lap. If I’m doing all this promotion, when do I have the time to…ah…you know…write? And if I don’t keep my social media updated, schedule readings at books stores and libraries and write this blog, who will even know who I am?

I found a voice of calm and reason over the weekend who helped me straighten out my priorities. Her name is Jane Friedman and she “helps writers and publishers make smart decisions in the digital age.” Among other things, she writes a well-respected industry newsletter called , The Hot Sheet.” One of her email newsletters found its way into my mailbox and

the topic of an article was “Should You Focus on Your Writing or Your Platform?” How timely was that?

Photo: Jane Friedman

This is how she breaks it down:

When to focus more on your writing

  • If you are within the first five years of seriously attempting to write with the goal of publication

  • For novelists: If you have not yet completed and revised one or two full-length manuscripts

  • If you can tell that what you’re writing is falling short of where you want and need to be

  • If you see a direct correlation between the amount of writing you put out and the amount of money that comes into your bank account (the JA Konrath model)

  • If you are working on deadline

When to focus more on your platform

  • If you start to realize you’re on the verge of publication

  • If you have a firm book release date of any kind

  • If you want to sell a nonfiction book concept (non-narrative)

  • If you intend to profit from online/digital writing that you are creating, distributing, and selling on your own

  • If you need to prove to a publisher or agent that your work has an audience

From this, I seem to be on both lists. But I am clearer on where I need to spend my energy.

One other thing that she mentions is that building a name-recognizable platform takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. In other words, it is a marathon, not a sprint. Not the words I wanted to hear. Like most of us, I want it NOW. But I understand the concept and plan to move forward doing what I want to do and like to do…not necessarily what I feel that I have to do.

The ‘like to do’ is speaking at bookstore/libraries and writing this almost weekly-ish blog. The ‘want to do’ is finish the first draft of the third book in the Trisha Carson mystery series.

And if all that sends me into another major tailspin, I will take a deep breath, turn off the computer and take McCovey for a walk.

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