Thursday, September 14, 2017

Progress by Christine DePetrillo

Back in July, I attended the RWA Annual Conference in Orlando. I didn't post anything about it back then, but thought I'd speak today about some of the things I learned and what I've done with that learning.

Hold onto your hats, peeps. I feel a list coming on.

(and how they've helped me move forward)

1. Scheduling social media posts - Okay, so I knew I could do this, but I didn't realize how the consistency of it would encourage more interaction on social media. I basically stick with Facebook because I don't like the format of Twitter and don't take enough pictures/videos to make Instagram worth my time. By taking an hour to an hour and half each week to schedule two posts a day (8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. per conference learning) to my author Facebook page for a week's time, I have seen more people like my page, like my posts, comment on posts, and share them. I truly feel as if I'm using Facebook much better to push my writing career in the right direction and gain more readers.

2. Ten percent of writing revenue should go into marketing - Say what? Had no idea. I was spending way, way, way less than that for sure. I'm probably still not spending that much, but when opportunities come by or I find them for myself, I'm a little looser with the purse strings because, honestly, you do have to spend money to make money.

3. - I won't even admit publicly to what I was using to make social graphics and advertisements. I can't say it aloud. You'll think I'm a moron. is wonderful and has really upped my visual marketing. If you didn't know about this website, check it out right after you're done reading this blog post.

I said AFTER!

4. Just because I have more time to write, it doesn't mean I'll use it ALL to write - I go through this every summer. I think that I'm off from teaching and I'll spend an entire eight hours on the patio, writing like a maniac. I'll generate so many pages I'll be drowing in them. Never the case. Never. The. Case. And that's okay. I went to a panel about quitting your day job to write full time and all three authors said they write about the same amount as they did when they had their day jobs. What they have now is more time to promote and market themselves. More time for the "business" of writing. Makes total sense. Alleviated much of the guilt I always had when I wrote for only 4 hours a day during the summer then had other things to do. I was still living the writer's life.

5. Find your lane - This was something author Susan Wiggs said in her address to conference attendees. She was speaking about not comparing yourself to the writers around you, to find your own lane and drive in it to the destination meant for YOU. We've always got our eyes on who is making it as an author, but we'll make it too if we stay true to ourselves, take steps to improve our craft, and never give up our dreams. Success is waiting for us if we just hit the gas and keep focused on the road ahead.

Maybe these kernels will be helpful to you too. They've made my writing work feel more purposeful, and I'm happy with where things are headed.

Like my author Facebook page if you want to see what I'm all about. I'd love to see you there!

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Leah St. James said...

Thanks for sharing these, Chris. I have tried paying more attention to Facebook and have even taken a marketing class about how to find interesting content, but I've never actually followed through on a schedule like you mentioned (I think largely because I STILL don't have a clue what to post!). I also love Susan Wiggs' advice about finding your own path. I'm going to take that one to heart. Oh, and Canva is phenomenal...and free! You can purchase some of their elements but still pretty cheap!

Diane Burton said...

Thanks so much for sharing what you learned. I never thought about scheduling FB posts. Good idea. I love "find your lane." So true. Some authors move faster and the rest of us go at our own pace. I haven't tried canva yet. Now that you (and Leah) mentioned it, I'll have to try.

Jannine Gallant said...

Thanks for sharing, Chris. I've never made a graphic. I know, my bad! I'll give Canva a try and see if I can figure it out.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Good for you, Chris! That's what I like about conferences...if we go to the right sessions. We learn what we're doing right, almost naturally, and we cherry pick a couple of nuggets that give us energy/purpose. I like Susan Wigg's idea to find our own lane...make our own highway. Think of it this way (regarding your own road/output), I put ALL my energy/time into teaching/principal work until 2000 when I started writing fiction. I only have 17 years on the road. You are WAY ahead of me, girl, by writing as you continue teaching. Mush on!