By Narelle AtkinsToday I’m starting a new part-time day job after working in my previous part-time role for nearly a decade. It’s an exciting change for me, and I’m looking forward to new challenges and opportunities.
|Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia.|
Which brings me to my next thought that I’ve been pondering. Are authors expected to be ‘on’ and available all the time? Social media doesn’t sleep. International authors who live around the globe and publish in North America will know that this means something is happening in their online world 24/7, 365 days a year.
Many years ago I was at a conference where an editor from a New York publishing house said that she expected her authors to be available during NYC business hours. My initial thought was how do authors with full-time day jobs manage these types of expectations? My second thought was I’d need an agent to meet this expectation because 9am-5pm during the USA summer months is 11pm-7am in my Australian time zone.
If you have a Facebook Author Page, you’ll know that Facebook compiles data on how often and how fast you reply to messages sent to your page. This data is readily available to readers who visit your page. Facebook recently advised me that I could set up an auto-response reply to all new messages, but that’s not how authors usually interact with readers. We prefer to provide personal responses to readers who reach out to us via Facebook.
|Central Oregon Coast near Depoe Bay, USA.|
Last month my family and I enjoyed a fabulous vacation in Hawaii and Oregon, USA. International data is expensive. I had a data limit that needed to last for the duration of my time in the US when I didn’t have access to free and secure wi-fi. I kept my social media rolling by using Buffer and scheduling tweets. I was online for only five or ten minutes most days, and I loved the break from social media and being ‘on’. My children, on the other hand, have grown up in an online environment. They struggled with the whole concept of not having access to the internet for long periods of time.
I know I'd finish writing my books at a faster rate if I was online less. It’s a balancing act to manage the expectations on authors to interact online vs. actual writing. My author friends who write full-time are clocking up the writing hours in front of their computers, and they face the same challenges those of us with day jobs have in managing our online time.
I’m now reassessing how much time I spend online. I’m not taking on any new writing deadlines until I’ve settled into my new job. In the coming months I’ll work out how to restructure my writing schedule in a manageable way that includes time off for vacations.
Have you found a comfortable balance between your writing time and your online social media and marketing activities? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.
A fun loving Aussie girl at heart, Narelle Atkins was born and raised on the beautiful northern beaches in Sydney, Australia. She has settled in Canberra with her husband and children. A lifelong romance reader, she found the perfect genre to write when she discovered inspirational romance. Narelle's contemporary stories of faith and romance are set in Australia.
Twitter: @NarelleAtkins https://twitter.com/NarelleAtkins