We all know one of the hardest aspects of being an indie writer is keeping our name out there in front of readers. Luckily, we have a zillion ways to do that: Facebook, Twitter, our own blog, guest blogs, review sites, author interviews. There really is no lack of exposure if we go looking for it and ask for it. But for some of us, the problem is not getting the exposure, it’s keeping track of it all.
I’m guessing I’m not the only one who’s made an arrangement to provide a guest post or author interview, and once I got the piece off to the site owner, I completely forgot about it. If I’m lucky, the site owner sends out an e-mail the day before to suggest tweets or FB posts; if I’m not, I hear three days later from someone, “Hey, nice post last week.” Ug.
I once got an e-mail request for an interview and dutifully answered all the questions. Then I got another e-mail request for another interview, and answered those questions, too. One of the requesters sent me a follow-up e-mail, asking for more information, and I got a little ticked because I had already supplied that. And because I thought I had already gone into detail, I kept my answers short. Imagine my chagrin when I realized I was confusing the two, and I actually had not given detail to the requester I had given curt answers to. My mistake, simply because I had not taken the time to keep track of whom I was talking to, and my loss, because the interview was less than stellar.
After that, I resolved to keep better track of what I was doing when, and for whom. I worked up a table to help me. I keep this running list in a Word doc (could also use Excel), and I always keep the most recent contact on top. I put in the date I make the contact, the web address, the contact’s name and e-mail address, and the subject matter. When the post is scheduled, I then put in the run date. If I’ve sent out a query and have never received an answer, the lack of a run date tells me that.
With this, I can quickly run down the list and remember when I’m slated to appear and I can easily go to the site and leave comments, then tweet out and post announcements on Facebook. If I’ve queried for a spot and haven’t received a date, I can send out a gentle nudge to the often overworked bloggers. And if I get a lead on an absolutely fabulous blog, I can also double-check to make sure I haven’t already queried them! I would love to say that I have a mind like a steel trap, but the truth of the matter is that I have far too much in my brain to try to keep track of all this information, as well. And I certainly don’t want the bloggers thinking they’re dealing with a complete air-head.