How to Balance Writing and Marketing

You’ve written a book. Congratulations! That’s a fantastic accomplishment that many people will spend their whole lives chasing. Take a few seconds to feel proud.

Great. Except now you’re faced with the overwhelming pressure to market that book. I mean, other people need to see it, right? After all, you want to get some sales and get paid for all the time and effort you put into writing. No book will ever hit the bestsellers list without marketing!

You sit down at your computer only to realize there are thousands of strategies for cracking book marketing. A month later, you’re spending most of your time updating six social-media platforms, creating email blasts, designing a website, and constantly checking your rankings and sales stats on Amazon. The only problem is that you didn’t write a book so you could be a marketer. You wrote a book so you could be a writer.

So, how do you balance the need to market a book with your desire to actually write? The answer is simple, but not always easy.

Setting a Writing Schedule

The number-one tool for any writer is a writing schedule. If you haven’t already, figure out a time when you are at your most productive. For me, it’s early in the morning before anyone else is awake. Block out as much time as you can spare, whether that is thirty minutes or two hours. And during that time, write. That’s it. Just write. Don’t check your author email. Don’t update Facebook and Instagram. Don’t send out an email saying you’re working on your next book to that email list you’ve been carefully cultivating. Just write.

Even if it’s just jotting down some plot points or sketching out a character on your lunch break, start working on your next project in that sacred writing time.

Automate Your Marketing

If you use tasks like social-media posts or email blasts to market your book, automate them. Learn how to use the native scheduling function on social-media sites or find a website that can do it for you. There are several of them out there. With automation, you can shift the bulk of your marketing work to one day a week.

Not only does automation let you spend less time on marketing, it also helps you see the bigger picture and make sure your marketing efforts are complementing each other. Perhaps you wrote a guest blog post about your book or were interviewed on a podcast. You can build your whole week around this, scheduling marketing campaigns around its release.

Use the 80/20 Rule

Italian designer and jack-of-all-trades Vilfredo Pareto popularized the 80/20 rule. This ratio has been applied to everything from wealth distribution to manufacturing processes, and you can use it in your writing to make you more effective. If you add up all the time you spend on your book business in a given week, 80 percent of that should be spent on writing and 20 percent should be spent on marketing. If you find that you are wildly off the mark, then look for ways to trim back until you are in line with that ratio. Prioritizing writing your next project will help you rekindle the passion you have for the business and can force you to be more efficient in your marketing.

Now, get out there and write!