Keeping Track of Online Appearances

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.

Author: Melissa Bowersock

Melissa Bowersock is an eclectic, award-winning author who writes in a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres. She has been both traditionally and independently published and lives in a small community in northern Arizona. Learn more about Melissa from her Amazon author page and her blog.

20 thoughts on “Keeping Track of Online Appearances”

  1. It’s not easy to keep track. I know I have missed a commitment or two and felt so bad about it afterward. This may come in very handy. Now all I need is to remember to USE IT. lol

  2. You’re my hero, Melissa 🙂 I love Excel, but have drifted away from using it much anymore. I usually pencil events in on my calendar (old school). For time-sensitive, important stuff I’ll schedule an alert on my email.

    Now you’ve inspired me to get back in the spreadsheet game and become more organized!

    1. What’s cool, too, is looking back on all I’ve done. My list now goes back almost 2 years, and it’s pretty amazing what all’s on it. If you love Excel, you’ll like this.

    1. A calendar could work, but I like to keep it simple and be able to go down the list of run dates so I know exactly what’s up. This way I can just glance at it quickly and know if I’m due to make an appearance.

  3. Good tips, Melissa.

    I’ve found just inputting the info on my Google calendar is helpful, as it syncs with my phone and I can see when I’ve got something coming up (or set an email reminder). But a spreadsheet can work, especially when it comes to remembering to complete stuff and send it in. I come from a journalism background, so if someone gives me something to do and no deadline, it sits in a murky limbo, so a spreadsheet would be helpful just to remind me of tasks.

    1. Before this, I would leave e-mails in my in-box to remind me that I needed to do something, but then the in-box gets too full and I might still miss something amid the noise. I’ve found this list keeps me on track better than anything else I’ve tried.

  4. Thank you very much for sharing your idea. As a 77 year old aspiring writer, it has been difficult for me to keep track of what I have been doing in the world of internet. From today, I will keep a record of my activities.

  5. Great post, Melissa. I really ought to do this. 😀 I don’t think I’ve dropped any balls (yet!), but it would be handy to have the links to appearances, so I could click back and see where I’ve been.

    I would use it in conjunction with a calendar. The calendar keeps me on track; this is more of a historical record.

    BTW, all you Excel-obsessed people (lol!), you can do the same thing by setting up a table in Word. I know Excel already has the little boxes drawn for you, but a table can be a better choice if your data doesn’t include any formulas.

    1. Lynne, I can’t even remember why I set this up in Word, but I did, and it works fine. Excel has the added advantage of a sort function, but I’ve never had the need for that.

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