Monday, February 24, 2014

ROI = A Happy, Contented Author Who...WRITES

Return on Investment (ROI)

These days, I hear a lot about Return on Investment (ROI) in relation to authors and marketing, much more than in years past when what we know as social media (facebook, twitter, blogging, etc.) was just a glimmer on a distant horizon.

What is ROI? If you took economics in high school or college, or have your own business, then you probably have a pretty good understanding of ROI. For simplicity, dictionary.com says that ROI is the amount of profit, before tax and after depreciation, from an investment made, usually expressed as a percentage of the original total cost invested.

A simple formula to determine ROI is: return on investment (%) = (Net profit / Investment) × 100

So, if I invested $100 in stock and earned $5, my ROI would be 5%. Or, if I had a business and my expenses for the year were $100,000, but I had income of $120,000, (making my net profit $20,000), my ROI would be 20%.

20% = ($20,000 / $100,000) x 100

This has NOTHING to do with ROI, unless you measure
the time it takes to make against the enjoyment you
get out of it. Just sayin'
Now, let’s think about ROI and how it relates to authors. For this first step, let’s leave all marketing and social media out of the equation, and just look at the actual process of writing a book and publishing it.

Even though most of us don’t keep up with how many hours it takes to craft a story from start to finish, theoretically, it could be done. Multiply the hours worked by an hourly rate, add expenses to that and that is investment. Advances and royalties for the project would be income. The difference is Net Income, or Net Loss as the case may be, and on minimum wage, there could very well be a Net Loss. Simplified, yes, but if we wanted to spend that much time figuring it out, we could measure the actual ROI against the time and expense that it takes to produce product (our books).

Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI)

Where people get hung up is in trying to measure ROI on marketing. But, here's the deal: ROI and ROMI aren’t the same thing. ROI is when McDonalds provides a coupon for a happy meal. There is a direct correlation between how much the coupon campaign cost McDonalds and how many people redeemed the coupon. ROMI is how many people saw a billboard on Hwy 19 and actually stopped to buy a happy meal. The only way to measure ROMI on the billboard would be to poll everyone who stopped at that McDonalds to see if the billboard was the reason they chose McDonalds for lunch.

While researching this topic, I looked back through the Seekerville archives and realized that I really didn’t have to write this post at all. Tina wrote TheEveryday Author’s Guide to Establishing a Book Marketing Plan in November and did it so much better with all kinds of wonderful links and advice. I even read the post and commented, and had full intentions of doing everything she said. ;)

Tina says, “The single biggest mistake authors make is spending too much time and money on marketing strategies that have little or no ROI or worse yet, they have no idea what the ROI is. That's throwing dollars in the wind, folks.



If you are spending valuable writing time doing blog tours, Rafflecopters, ad campaigns, Tweeting, E-mail blasting, Facebook parties, and monitoring pricing algorithms, you should at least have data to show that there is a direct correlation to the time spent and increased book sales or VISIBILITY.

Shameless plug: Claiming Mariah can be
found in WalMart... 
now that's what I call
Visibility!

So, ROI for the author can be boiled down to increased book sales or VISIBILITY. Increased book sales can be measured with the ROI formula, but visibility can’t. But just because visibility can’t be measured, doesn’t mean we toss it out the window and forget about it.

In this related article, Natalie Burg says, “There’s no longer much doubt for small businesses regarding whether being on social media is a good idea. If nothing else, the visibility and connectivity offered by social media has convinced most business owners that it’s worth their while.”  (Howto Measure Your Social Media Return on Investment, by Natalie Burg, Forbes.com)

Notice anything interesting about the Forbes article? Not once does Ms. Burg use the word author, or writer. What? It’s not just authors who can’t measure social media ROMI. You mean other business owners struggle with this?

Well, who knew? In our little world of writers, we get in panic mode when someone tells us not to tweet, post on Facebook, Pin, or blog because we can’t measure ROI. So what do we do now? Tweet, or not tweet? Well, yes, but hold on to Tweety Bird for just a bit...

You can’t sell it (or tweet it) if you don’t produce it.

What businessman in his right mind spends 80% of his time tweeting and facebooking instead of producing product? Now replace the word businessman with author. As a matter of fact, scroll up to Tina’s quote above and replace the word author with businessman, and read that quote again.

Hmmm. Well. Something to think about.

It doesn't matter if you're building bird houses, manufacturing motorcycles, or writing books, perfect your product, grow your business, build a customer base, and after a while you can look at the big picture and determine ROI on your business. Gradually add in the social media aspect, but don’t let it gobble up the time you need to produce your product, because without a quality product, what’s the point of social media, other than to find out when the next family potluck is, yes?

Today's Task: If you're serious about writing as a business, I want you to carve out some time (whether that’s one hour or five) and do two things. Spend at least 80% of that time writing and no more than 20% on social media. After you're done (or as soon as you grasp the ROI for this task), hop on Seekerville and tell us how you feel about the time spent writing vs. the time spent on social media, because, in the end, when it's all said and done ...

ROI = A Happy, Contented Author Who...WRITES


Jumpstart YOUR happy, contented author ROI
by signing up for Speedbo today!



80 comments:

Helen Gray said...

Coffee's on!!

I much prefer writing to doing social media.

Marianne Barkman said...

Yeah to all who determine to sign up for Speedbo !!! Though I'll leave the coffee pot in Helen's capable hands, I'll put out sun tea. Pam, I will be eagerly waiting for authors to realize their ROI.

Marilyn Baxter said...

I'm signed up! I also have a nice proofreading job coming in that will probably interfere with the first week of Speedbo. But that brings in revenue and I cannot turn that down.

My books are digital-only, and that means there are no displays at Walmart or Barnes and Noble. I did an initial push on social media when Tea for Two was released and post something once or twice a week now.

And now I'm back to a late viewing of the Downton Abbey finale and thinking very evil thoughts about what I'd like to happen to that horrid Barrow.

Lyndee H said...

Visions of stories are dancing in my head. Now to get them onto the page.

Natalie Monk said...

Wow. This hit home for me. "You can't sell it if you don't produce it." I need this taped to my bathroom mirror, computer monitor, kindle screen, dishwasher...

:) Thanks for this compelling post!!!

Cindy W. said...

I too loved the comment, "You can't sell it (or tweet it) if you don't produce it". It sort of reminds me of the quote from Field of Dreams "If you build it, they will come". The Lord's been dealing with me lately about this same thing. So, I signed up for Speedbo and getting things in order so I don't have to worry about 'stuff' while I'm wriing. :)

Have a great week everyone!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Kav said...

My head is spinning over the math equation and all that arithmetic talk. Brought me right back to high school days in Mrs. Newbie's class. Not fond memories. Now I'm traumatized all over again. Thanks for that. :-0

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Pam, I'm a numbers girl, so I love this.

And an interesting e-mail came to me this week that talked about the basics of writing. That e-mail reminded us that no amount of marketing replaces lack of books.

The more books you write and have published, the more visible you are and you're getting paid to be visible!!!!

That was the easy-peasy 1000 words/day formula I adopted years ago, and it's been hugely successful so far.

The more you write, the easier the marketing gets!

Helen, LOVING THE COFFEE!!!! Yay, you!!!!!

And Pam, that Tina girl is stinkin' smart, isn't she????

Oy. Oy. Oy.

Jackie said...

Good morning. 80/20...I can do that. Thanks for sharing. It'll be good to keep this ratio in mind when I get home today and settle down to work.

Great post!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Great post PAM and I have to agree with KAV. The math is swimming in my head. I was horrible in math which is why I taught kindergarten. I could do that math. lol

Anyway in spite of the math, your words are full of wisdom and terrific advice. If you don't write, you have nothing to sell.

And its great to make a plan for social media and stick to it. Unfortunately for me that ends up being like a new years resolution. I go great on Facebook for a few days and then can't think of anything interesting to post so it lags. Bad me.

I admire all of you who follow your plans so well. We have heard so many stories that prove persistence pays off. Go Speedbo.

Jennifer Smith said...

Thanks for this post...I have become guilty of spending too much time on social media and blogging and not enough on my WIP. I signed up for Speedbo in hopes that it will help me focus on priorities!

Audra Harders said...

Direct and to the point, Pam. I like it. If we don't continue to produce products, what will promoting do for us?

Nothing. Well, maybe there is something to being personally well informed. I'll go with that : )

Great post and great reminder to always consider how effective our marketing efforts.

Write. Write. Write.

Audra Harders said...

Cindy W, the good Lord has been poking me in the same direction. Keeping writing and give God an inventory He can work with. Marketing is essential, but if you run out of product, what's the point??

Audra Harders said...

Marilyn, digital only has its own set of good and bad points. But it's a viable market that is growing and will (hopefully) continue to do so.

We need a substantial backlist for readers once they discover who we are and start clamoring for more, LOL!

Audra Harders said...

Amen, Ruth. Numbers make my head swim, BUT without books, what would we need to market??

Mary Hicks said...

Hmmm, interesting. In my case, I'd rather spend 80% of my time in my 'writing hole' conversing with my 'people', than on all the social media sites put together.

My people often seem more real than those on FB.:-)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Audra!!! You're on a roll, girlfriend! Yaya!!!!!

BIG GRIN HERE.

Agreed.

Totally.

Write. Write. Write. I do believe I've mentioned that before.

;)

Pam Hillman said...

Wow, lots of comments already this morning. :)

Helen, sometimes it's not the preferences that broadside an author, it's the necessities.

I know we shouldn't talk business over your delicious coffee and my Caramel Apple Cider, dear heart, but technically, Seekerville is a form of social media interaction. Right this very minute, I need to be tweaking a proposal, but I'm interacting with social media. :)

Also, when an author has a book launch and is attempting to get the word out, she has to be very savvy about how she uses her time.

The more books she has out, the more juggling she has to do.

With Claiming Mariah just released, it can be way too easy to get a little tipsy at all the social media watering holes when I only meant to visit one and then go home to my wip. :)

Pam Hillman said...

Marianne, raising my cuppa Caramel Apple Cider to your sun tea!

And we have Helen's coffee and country sideboard all prepared.

Too many items to list. It's like Shoney's breakfast. I used to love that place.... all the bacon my taste buds desired. Yum!

Pam Hillman said...

Marilyn, sounds like you have your ROI priorities straight.

And congrats on the proofreading job! Many writers have two (or three) jobs and you're blessed to have one is flexible and compliments your writing. Well done!

Pam Hillman said...

Lyndee :)

Natalie and Cindy, that's the ticket.

Produce more than you market and you'll have something to market.

Kav, sorry about the trauma!! lol That's what the cider is for. Drink up!

Pam Hillman said...

Ruth, I think we all know this in our heads, but we just get caught up in the heat of the moment and before the day is out, we realize we've spent more time on frivolous things (not just social media, btw) than we should have.

Jackie, you can do this. Right now I'm typing VERY fast so that I can work on the proposal. If I talk the talk, I've got to walk the walk, huh?

Connie Queen said...

I love common sense posts!

I've always dreaded the thought of marketing, so it shouldn't be too hard to leave that to 20%.
Now I've got to go write, write, write so I'll have something to sell.

Pam Hillman said...

San, sorry for the numbers! Ha Just stick with the 80/20 rule and ignore the rest. :)

Jennifer, you go Speedbo girl!

Marilyn, Audra is correct. My first two books were digital only, and Mariah was out a whole year as digital before it came out in print.

The WalMart plug was actually a different kind of visual, sort of my half-baked attempt at a play on words. Social media and internet Visibility as far as marketing goes is more about name and book recognition all over the internet, so you are poised for stardom with your digital books. Just remember the 80/20 rule. :)

Pam Hillman said...

Jennifer, if I can do this, you can. I am determined! :)

Mary, if I had my druthers, I would, too. It's a fine balance for sure.

Go write, Connie! I'll be joining you shortly. And I'm out of cider. Should I have more cider or coffee?

Coffee or cider? hmmmm

Sherri Shackelford said...

I love the 80/20 rule. Well said!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks PAM. The 80/20 rule is a great rule but sometimes tough. Like you said you have intentions for one peek and pretty soon two hours are sucked into that social media. LOL

Stick to the rule
Stick to the rule
Stick to the rule.

Got it. I hope.

Janet Dean said...

Excellent post, Pam! Practical and timely with Speedbo mere days away. Love that 80/20 ratio you suggest with writing our prime objective. For me that 20% is an encouragement to do more social media, not less. :-) You are a numbers gal. I'm not, but this is simple. You can't market a blank page.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Ruthy said: The more books you write and have published, the more visible you are and you're getting paid to be visible!!!!

Well said!!

Janet

Tina Radcliffe said...

Amen, Pam.

What came first the book or marketing the book.


Hello. THE BOOK!!!

Myra Johnson said...

KAV, I'm traumatized right along with you! Numbers are NOT my thing--but thanks, PAM, for trying to help us get our heads around ROI.

Sheesh, I was doing good to get through our tax prep paperwork last week so I could mail it to our CPA. I do the family bookkeeping and can generate all the necessary reports in Quicken, but when you start talking algorithms and percentages and all that other stuff . . . YIKES!

Meghan Carver said...

So much wisdom here, including the comments! Just last week I took a blogging break and significantly reduced my social media time to concentrate on writing. It was wonderful! :-) But editors and agents want to see pre-published authors on social media, so it's a delicate balance. I need to work on the 80/20. One question: would you include blogging in the 20%? Thank you! Always good information and advice from Seekerville.

Myra Johnson said...

P.S.: No new baby granddaughter yet. Still waiting . . .

Marilyn Baxter said...

I have 3 jobs actually -- writing, my work as a virtual assistant for an author plus any other odd proofing jobs I can come up with)and my steady job as an Admin Assistant) at a law firm.

My second release, a novella, will be out in May. And after that? They are looking at a full-length manuscript now. And my Speedbo goal is to complete another novella for them.

There just aren't enough hours in a day.

And now I'm off to shower and shampoo and get ready for that steady AA job.

Marilyn Baxter said...

Oh, and numbers. They traumatize me. I didn't get the numbers gene like my sister. She's a CPA, and bless her, she does my taxes for me. I emailed her my stuff yesterday. She sends me a worksheet to fill out and I scan it plus all the supporting documentation and email it back. Then she crunches the numbers and sends me back my return and I, in turn, send money to the IRS and my state department of revenue since I pay estimated quarterly taxes.

Marilyn Baxter said...

Sorry I got )-happy in that first post. LOL! Must be the tendinitis in my hand. That's my excuse anyway.

Mary Connealy said...

Wow I had such a relevant topic and now I can't remember it.

Be back soon.

DebH said...

Can't market/sell what isn't there...

what a concept. simple and to the point. exactly the smack upside the grey-matter i need. thanks PAM!!!!!

now to apply the ol' discipline and get crackin'... first on the list: sign up for SPEEDBO (james earl jones a Connealy thing), second on the list: finish those Seekerville caricatures I promised so long ago *heavy sigh* yeah, i need discipline big time (or, perhaps a less rambunctious child unit - wish i could bottle a four year old boy's energy).

Mary Connealy said...

I REMEMBER NOW!
There is a quieter...hard to quantify side of ROI. (like at me using big words like quantify!)

That is impressing your editor.
And helping. Simply doing your part. Doing your best.
And hoping your editor/publisher notices you're out there hustling, holding up your end of the bargain.
And maybe saying, "That Pam Hillman is a worker. She's done her part and she's honorable and I'm going to give her a chance to do more for us!"

And that is worth it.

To a point.

Linda Finn said...

Wait a minute !!! I thought that is why you have us Readers, Reviewers and Influencers !!! LOL
and I came here looking for an awesome article on A ROI , really Obsessive Indulgence and Were going to talk Money, I guess I needed this one, here I am thinking were suppose to do this for the love of writing wonderfully addicting stories and enjoying Chocolate, Tea, Flavored Coffee's and Fine baked goods and your telling me I have to think Money... I mean I was sitting here enjoying my Caramel Cream Coffee with Vanilla Creamer, blissfully waiting for my Mail Lady to being me loads of books to influence for and loving it and look forward to one day when its my books getting published and all my wonderful Author/Reader Friends are cheering me on ... I wasn't even going to think about the MONEY !!! But I guess I have to, I just invested money in Website Hosting, I have a wonderful webmistress as I am like busy indulging myself in books , books and chocolate right !!!! So I better think Money, All I know is it comes in and it goes out... You'll have to check my FB page for what came in the mail...Ruthy, I hope your staying warm, it was white and blizzard here on my side of NY ! I will shoot you a PM in a bit with my Mailing address. I was just saying to Kate L this morning that being a 24 year old Homeschool Veteran /Mamma I love reading and look forward to writing someday soon...always been poetry for me, never thought to write till the Lord said share this !!!!! Yes Lord is my reply and yet it seems so daunting a task at times. I hear you, Join Speedbo...Head and Heart say ok, but my brain says Holy Crap... stress...
No better place to start right ? Where is Julie when I need her huh...Save me Jules !!!!! I know I am suppose to be a working girl but this is harder then living it out in your book...lol I think I prefer to be ' One Hot Babe" or Smokin Hot !!! It comes easier for me !!
I will admit to liking denium, hate jumpers...so that stero typical HS wardrobe isn't me by far. Although I am in jeans this morning.. I have to become my inner me, especially in books... And it would be nice to make a little MONEY. Thank you for a great article Pam, You know I still want that book girlfriend !!!
Hugs
Linda Marie Finn
Faithful Acres Books
faithfualcresbooks@gmail.com
http://www.faithfulacresbooks.wordpress.com
Coming Soon ! New Website at faithfulacres.net

Vince said...

“What came first the book or marketing the book?”

Great question. I remember one large self-help book publisher who ran irresistible ads for books that didn’t exist.

“Just write an ad that will sell tons of books. You’re not restricted by the limitations of an existing book. Show us how great a copywriter you really are and we’ll give you a cut of the book sales!”

They sold millions of books this way. How could they lose? They didn’t even pay the best copywriters for writing the ads! If the tests ads were highly profitable, they’d hired an author to write the book. “It’s got to have all this stuff in it.”

If the small circulation test ads failed, they just returned the money to the buyers.

“Sorry. Technical problems prevent publication at this time.”

This is what I mean by ‘building the marketing in’ before the book is even written. That’s how to get the best ROI. (Remember: ‘Roi’ means king in French. :))

BTW: My ad was turned down because they couldn’t find an author to write a book titled:

“How to become the most powerful man in the universe by learning the ultimate nature of reality and becoming completely invisible.”


Oh, yes, I’m writing, writing, and writing. This is my social media investment for the month.

BBTW: What’s the best ROI from a marketing POV? Writing lots of short books that make the reader go right out and buy more of your books. Each book then sells every other book.

That’s a sales force.
More books.
More reviews.
More word of mouth.
More $.

Great post Pam. I’d also suggest two more concepts.

Opportunity cost: that’s what you could be earning if you were not writing. This is a real cost and it keeps a lot of people from not writing full time. Opportunity cost is an important part in real world ROI calculations – particularly in real estate investments. (An owner proudly told me once that he was getting $200 a month positive cash flow on his free and clear rental house. I told him he could be getting $600 a month if he sold that house and put the money in a CD. No renters, no repairs, no hassles, no risks.)

Garbage time: This is when you are doing things when you really would not be writing anyway – or at least not writing in any productive sense. Like when you are waiting on line at the post office. Humans have a right and need for downtime and entertainment. If social media – or anything else -- is done during garbage time, then the time spent may not be a cost applied to the ROI.

Rest is over. Back to writing, writing, writing….

Jan Drexler said...

I can handle the 80/20. That's visible and doable. Thanks, Pam!

One of the best things I've learned on Seekerville is that to be a writer, you have to write! Nothing else will take its place.

At the same time, people need to know who we are. We need to connect with our readers - and that's why I need that 80/20 reminder :)

...and my social media time for today is up! Time to head into the production mode!

Mary Connealy said...

HI VINCE! YOU HAVEN'T STOPPED BY FOR A WHILE! YOU ALWAYS ADD INTERESTING STUFF FOR US HERE!

Debby Giusti said...

We've missed you, Vince!

Welcome home to Seekerville. :)

Terri said...

MATH! Oh wait, I do lots of math in my day job. No wonder I want to quit and write fulltime. LOL

The rule of 80/20 I can understand. And it is a great one. I know for me personally I really need to produce more words.

Pam Hillman said...

Good grief, I take a break to work on my Contentment ROI and there's like 25 comments when I come back.

You are all such social butterflies!!

Elaine Manders said...

Hi Pam,

Interesting post. I have a BBA in Business Management and Accounting but I'd never considered to use ROI for a book. A book by its very nature is different from all other books even if written by the same author. Too many variables to pin it down in a formula. As a general rule, yes put money and time (and time is money) in promotions that sell more, but the quality of the book will sell more, so the 80/20 rule is a good one.


Debby Giusti said...

Opportunity cost has me worried, Vince. I could make more money working in the clinical laboratory than I do writing.

But I'm happier writing. That's got to play into the equation. Doesn't it?

Lots of food for thought today, Pam! You've given us permission to throw out what doesn't work instead of hanging on to something that doesn't bring results. Very freeing.

Hugs!

Going back to writing. Will report progress later.

Pam Hillman said...

Sherri, the fun thing about the 80/20 rule is that once we writers become immersed in the 80%, we become more energized and excited because we've met our goals for the day.

We are so much happier knowing we didn't fritter away the entire day promoting.

Cara Lynn James said...

I'll take writing over social media any day! Thanks for the interesting blog, Pam. Words of wisdom.

fictionthatfeedsyourfaith said...

Yes, indeedy - a comment like "you cannot sell it if you don't produce it" sort of puts a fire under one's feet! I signed up for Speedbo, so, look out world this manuscript is being finished!

Pam Hillman said...

Myra, taxes. Ugh.

Yes, those kinds of things do take up huge chunks of my time, too. We have a farm and guess who gets to handle ALL the tax prep? Sigh.

I did my own taxes for years, and would leave it to the last minute, finish it up on 4/14 and mail on the 15th, ha!, but now that I have someone else preparing ours, I need a bit of time to review it, so I handed it all off to the tax preparer last week. Yay! :)

Big tasks that have to be done are better completed and gotten out of the way, or they'll stress me out knowing THAT deadline is looming over my head as well.

Pam Hillman said...

Meghan, I need to clarify that I'm talking to myself just as much as I am to anybody else. It's hard to balance it all, especially if you have an outside job in addition to writing.

The suggestion of the 80/20 rule is if someone has a small amount of time to devote to writing, say anything under 2-3 hours a day, then setting some kind of guideline will help them be more protective of their limited writing time.

If someone has 8-10 hours at their disposal, they might be more flexible. For instance, if a writer has set a goal of 1000 or 1500 new words a day, and that's their goal, and they finish it between 4-6 am (RUTHY! :) and then they want to spend more time on social media than 25 minutes, that's okay. They've met their goal and they are on track.

Pam Hillman said...

I understand completely, Marilyn. Been there, done that. Still am in some ways.

I work full-time from home now, writing and as treasurer for ACFW, oh and My Cowboy's gopher and office manager. I'm also the chief cook, baker, and bottle washer. :(

The difference is that pretty much I can do all these things on my own time. If I get edits, I can drop everything else and work on those until I drop. Then do a bit of marketing, wash some clothes, run errands, balance the books, visit Seekerville. :)

I'm just as busy (if not more!) than I was when I worked outside the home, but I control the hours, and that's what I love about it.

Pam Hillman said...

DebH, I remember having little kids and working. It's TOUGH.

Course I also had a lot more energy then...

Pam Hillman said...

Amen, Mary. Very wise words.

Just show up.

Do your part.

Yes.

Pam Hillman said...

Linda, you wrote a book in your comment! Congrats! lol

Hmmm, did I say it was about the money? Hmmm, well, maybe, sorta. But I didn't really mean it like that.

I kinda, sorta talked about money to explain that you can measure ROI on tangible stuff like writing time and expenses vs. real income, but that you can't effectively measure marketing in the same way, and I backed it up with the Forbes article.

And...that it's all about the writing and finding your warm, happy place.

So, you good now, Linda? Do you need a blanket, or maybe a strait-jacket, or another cup of Caramel Cream Coffee? It's really delicious, you know.

Pam watches Linda nervously and pats her arm in a reassuring manner...

Janet Dean said...

Hi Vince, glad to see you here! Sounds like you're doing Speedbo in February.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Mary, glad you remembered your point. It's excellent!

Janet

Pam Hillman said...

VINCE, I'm so glad you added more to the convo and that my half-baked ideas on ROI made a smidgen of sense! :)

Wow, on the self-help book's campaign. For some odd reason, that story reminds me of Crowdfunding. Shrug.

Opportunity Cost: Would this be the same thing as a really good day job? I had that, and it really was a good job, but it was extremely stressful, and I had no brain cells left at the end of the day to write. Eventually, I had to weigh the costs of pursuing the DREAM against losing the income.

The dream won.

PS...I'm not advocating anyone quit their day job. I kept mine for 28 years. Just sayin'

Pam Hillman said...

Garbage time: This is when you are doing things when you really would not be writing anyway – or at least not writing in any productive sense. Like when you are waiting on line at the post office. Humans have a right and need for downtime and entertainment. If social media – or anything else -- is done during garbage time, then the time spent may not be a cost applied to the ROI.

Yes! Thank you for this bit of wisdom, too. MEGHAN, this sort of speaks to your question earlier about whether you'd count blogging as part of your 20%.

Again, as long as you meet your goals for writing, the rest can be done during your garbage time.

Oops, did I just call social media garbage time???

Back this truck UP!

Pam Hillman said...

Jan, go put your nose to the grindstone! :)

Oh, and about that loosely suggested 80/20 rule...

It really is a loose concept. I'm the hostess today in Seekerville, so I need to be here, chatting, keeping Linda's strait-jacket tight, offering Helen her own coffee that she doesn't drink, and making sure the rest of you don't spend TOO much time here when you're supposed to be writing! lol

So, yes, my social media percentage for today is going to be out the roof! I'll have to make up for it the rest of this week.

But I did spend 2 hours working on a proposal this morning, so it hasn't been an entire bust, and later, I'll work on my wip.

There will be days that you'll think, "Oh, man, I blew it by doing too much social media stuff!" It happens, especially if you help host such an awesome fun-filled, chatty bunch as SEEKERVILLE.

I threw this in because I can see ELAINE calculating all this in her head and thinking, "Oh, yeah, girl, you're going to have to write ALL night to make up for today's social media blitz!"

Pam Hillman said...

And Debby just touched on the point of this post (there was a point. I distinctly remember!).

Being happy. Being content.

If I have the heart of a writer, but I spend all your time talking about it, either to my friends, at writer's meetings, or gasp, on social media, then I'm not writing, and that makes me feel guilty for not writing.

A writer is happiest when they've written.

Pam Hillman said...

Whoohoo! Go Fiction that Feeds! Glad to have you on board for Speedbo!

Haven Brown said...

Can anybody see this comment? I've had a terrible time with technology recently. I think it's just blogging. I can use Google. Social networking is sooo difficult. :'(

Meghan Carver said...

Thank you, Pam, for your helpful suggestions. I struggle balancing writing time with homeschooling my children, so I really, really need to get up early and get it done then. The problem is I married a night owl. Oy.

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Thanks Pam.

ROI/ROMI really is something to consider. Like someone said way back when, "Time is money."

We only have so many minutes in a day. How are we using them? Writing IS our product. Marketing, whole different thing.

Hard to know where to SPEND our time...

When someone figures it out, let us know. I'm still working at it! ;)

Thanks for an insightful post, reminding us where to INVEST our resources!

Jenny Blake said...

interesting post. I like the you cant tweet it if you dont write it.

Nick Tippens said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pam Hillman said...

Haven, we see your comment. Social networking gets easier the more you do it, but sometimes, you try to figure out the best way to navigate a question or concern.

Much like you do in real-life. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Okay, let me try posting my comment again logged in as myself instead of my son! LOL (last comment was removed by me)

Great post, Pam! I've been using a time-clock type app (Hours Tracker) just so I can track how my time is spent. And also so I can look at how much I'm making an hour.

I love the idea of making sure to do the 80-20% rule! Thanks for sharing!

Pam Hillman said...

Meghan, I married a rooster...he gets up at the crack of dawn. :)

Pam Hillman said...

Kc, it is an investment. I've even gone so far as to assign a dollar amount (okay, a PENNY amount) to my words so that I could justify the time I spent writing.

And I see that Missy mentions an app that does this for you.

Chill N said...

Gee ... I'll have to build up to that 20%. I've concentrated on the 'product' and often been glad I didn't dive into the social media because it has changed so much (and continues to change). I've also had the time to figure out what social media I'll be most comfortable with. I started a blog waaaaay back but decided no blog is better than an infrequent blog.

Since we have hybrid authors here, do you notice any difference in the percentage of time you spend with social media as pubbed and self-pubbed? Do you have more flexibility about what you choose for your self-pub?

Strong, thought-prodding post, Pam. Thanks!

Nancy C

Pam Hillman said...

Good question for hybrid authors, Nancy. And you probably had the right idea to close down the blog rather than let it lay dormant.

Julie Lessman said...

Pammy, I'm late today, but LOVED this post, my friend, and a much-needed kick in the butt for moi!

No question we can write a lot more books if we spend less time on social media ... OR anything else. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Joanne Hill said...

Vince - shorter books sell better? Pretty sure I read a stat that on Amazon, anyway, longer books actually sell more than shorter books. But as a category length author... yay!!
As an indie-author, these comments are interesting. I spent the first year of my self publish-dom listening to friends who didn't blog, tweet, FB, said a good book will sell itself (cos they did for them) and these ladies were getting really good sales. Sounded pretty fine to me so I just focused on getting another book out there. But... the indie world has changed in the past year, its cluttered out there on the highway, so yep, am hopping on the promotion bandwagon - well, more than I was. The 80/20 rule sounds pretty good from someone who was probably more 90/10. Thanks for the post, and all the comments everyone.

Pam Hillman said...

Joanne, thanks for stopping by. It's all a delicate balance, isn't it?

Hope we all find it without completely tipping over! :)

Haven Brown said...

I'm having so much trouble. I feel like I'm writing to a blank wall. It's my fault, I know. I can't work the internet. If anyone sees this PLEASE say something. I'm begging you. PRETTY, PRETTY PLEASE.

Pam Hillman said...

We're here, Haven. You're always welcome to chat with the Seekers at www.seekerville.blogspot.com

God bless!