Friday, May 3, 2013

Persona Time vs. Writer Time

As requested, we produced an article called:
Top 10 Marketing No’s-No’s for Authors posted at The Editor Devil on April 15th.
Our final point is: NO Using Marketing and Promotions as an EXCUSE that you are too busy to WRITE. ONLY 10% of your writing time should be used for marketing and promotions. Remember, you are a writer FIRST and great books will keep your readers coming back for more!
This advice has often made authors pause and now we want to clarify this primary message.

You're a writer/author. You write. This is your art, skill, talent, training. You produce books, articles, and stories, to inform and entertain your audience. How you do that requires lots of time. This is your primary work, joy, obsession. Being a writer will include certain rituals (music, candles, chocolate, power stones, meditation, and pink fuzzy bunny slippers) and That Place where you go to write. All of this "writer stuff" is very individual. Some plot, some fly by the seat of their pants. Your WRITER TIME is the primary part of your business as an author.

Your PERSONA TIME is for when you are Doing Business As An Author. This is your public presence as a professional business person. This is who you are when you are not writing.

Doing business as an author is very important and requires a lot of time and some project management skills. Doing business includes reviewing industry information so you can make good choices regarding your career. Doing business includes all correspondence (email and networking), financial details, office work, tools maintenance, sales analysis, and meetings with others. Doing Business As An Author also includes a PERSONAL LIFE. (Remember that?)

If you are a Full Time Author doing 40 hours of work per week on your Author Business then consider a balance of 20-30 hours as Writer Time. Then 10-20 hours are Doing Business as your Author Persona. The variation in hours per week will depend on calendar fluctuations as promoting new releases requires more Persona Time and a public presence. Initiating a new book project requires you to be in That Place as a Writer with all your rituals and comforts.

As a Writer you can indulge in inflammatory remarks and all manner of socially unacceptable behavior. It's RECOMMENDED to create conflict and drama, lie, cheat, steal, stab, kick, and in some places - drop F-bombs or destroy planets. As an Author Persona, any of the above will land you in jail and though some have attained publishing contracts in that way we do not recommend it, even snark and sass needs to be presented in a professional manner.

To qualify, in terms of that 40 hour week, 4 hours of that is devoted to your Marketing Plan, donning your Author Persona, and stepping forth as a Professional Author engaging with others to enhance your business.
For more on the topic of Doing Business tasks as an Author:
You Have To Leave the Comfort of your Computer (4/22/2013) as Scott Eagan breaks this topic down into Professional Networking, Creative Networking, and Marketing.
Another aspect of the Author Persona to consider is Estrangement in the Social Media Era (4/22/2013) as Nathan Bransford experienced a divorce, that got public attention, while he was active in Social Media. (There are many of these examples!)

An Author is both a Writer and a Public Persona. Not everyone in your personal life will admire both, but when you find a balance that works for you, have fun with it.

1 comment:

  1. Good on everything except remembering the "personal life" part. :) Trying to keep that in balance. It is particularly hard when on deadline.

    In terms of poor Nathan, this is one of the many reasons I write under pen names instead of my "real" name. Though people can figure it out if they look hard enough, most people don't look for it and I prefer my personal public life and author public life do not intersect.