Guest blogger, artist and author Elizabeth Creith writes several popular blogs, including the Northern Knitting Goddess and Elizabeth Creith’s Scriptorium. Her recent post Going Up – The Elevator Pitch is highly relevant for readers of our blog, and for anyone working or considering working as an independent professional. The Portable You is delighted to be hosting a guest post from Elizabeth the second Tuesday of every month in 2012.
I’m big on self-sufficiency. I like to be in charge of whatever I’m doing. Recently I’ve realized that there have to be limits. I’m speaking specifically of social media and maintaining my profile on the web.
When my first book, “Erik the Viking Sheep” was published, the sum total of my required involvement was writing the story and signing the contract. Oh, sure, I did a few readings and book signings, but it wasn’t something my publisher (Scholastic) expected of me.
Things have changed; now any serious author needs to have a platform and a web presence. Even the big publishers expect it. When you’re working with a small press, it’s absolutely essential.
And Time to Write?
Website, blog posts, Facebook, LinkedIn, email lists, professional memberships, schmoozing, socializing and keeping that all-important profile as prominent as Cyrano de Bergerac’s – when’s a girl gonna get time to write? It’s the books and stories and articles and poems that pay the bills, and are ultimately the reason for all this frenetic social activity.
I have a dialup connection, and social media is not dialup friendly. Most of the time I can’t even get Twitter to load, and while I’m tearing out my hair waiting for it, I’m not writing the books, stories, articles and poems that all this social media is supposed to promote. It’s all sizzle, and damn little time for steak.
I’m a smart woman, and I know I can deal with the Internet. I have a blog and a Facebook page. I belong to several online forums. I have clients I’ve never met, with whom all my interactions have been by email. I use PayPal. I can even use some html tags, and upload photos. Certainly I could learn how to use Twitter effectively. The question is, should I?
The answer is – maybe not. Does a winemaker design their labels? Or blow the bottles? Or harvest the cork? No – the winemaker makes wine and delegates the rest to those they know and trust to be good at it. This is an arrangement that any author would be wise to consider. I call it “the other D&D” – Delegate and Disappear.
There are people whose passion and expertise is in navigating cyberspace and dealing with all the denizens thereof. For every minute they spend updating Facebook or retweeting something, I’m going to spend ten, or fifteen, or maybe more, and without the assurance that it’s been done correctly – or done at all. In the meantime, my real work – the writing that nobody but me can do – is left undone.
This week I finally realized that self-sufficiency has its swampy bits, and that I was in serious danger of bogging down in peripheral activities. I did a D&D and hired an expert who knows my work to do my tweeting. I’m not rich, but while I can make more money, I can’t make more time. Giving the bottling to someone who’s an expert at it frees me to make another batch of literary wine.