Friday, November 19, 2010

Writing vs. Web Presence: the 90/10 Rule

Free-form Friday

Even knowing that the ether is awash with conflicting advice, you don't have to read long before you come away with the impression that you must blog and twitter and friend and comment in order to have any hope of success. But if you do all that, when are you supposed to find time to write the book that you're doing all that to promote?

Agent Rachelle Gardner suggested the following guidelines for balancing writing and platform building:
"If you are writing fiction. And you are unpublished. You really MUST be putting your writing first. Spend most of your discretionary time learning to write. You do this by continuing to write, and by reading high quality fiction, and by using critique partners, and reading books on craft. But mostly from writing, writing, writing.

"Dabble in social networking for fun and leisure, and to get a head start on what you'll need in the future. But you should keep in mind a 90/10 ratio. Spend 90% of your free time on your writing, and no more than 10% on platform building."
Clearly, "if you build it," they won't simply come. That is, you can't expect to write a novel and then sit back while your audience finds it. But if you haven't written a novel, there won't be anything for your audience when you invite them to come.

Image: Photography by BJWOK /