Recent events have reminded me of an adage: don’t put all your eggs in ONE basket.
This warning primarily applies to the social media and other online platforms we use in self-publishing. Here’s the thing: some websites decline in popularity, and some even disappear altogether.
MySpace used to be considered a worthy competitor to Facebook. These days, MySpace is lucky to be mentioned as Facebook forges deeper into the “metaverse.”
Old services such as Google+ and Vine used to bustle with many users. Sadly for their users and creators, these sites no longer exist.
Even the longest-running social media services may not endure as recommendable options. Who knows what direction Elon Musk may go with Twitter!
My point is: if you market your books only on one website, figuratively putting your eggs into the basket of that one platform, you risk your career dropping with the platform.
I know I harp all the time about how you must put yourself out there online if you want to advance your publishing career, so it’s doubly important that you don’t invest your efforts in only one platform.
Here are some considerations as you future-proof your marketing and publicity:
Diversify your platform
When businesspeople talk about “egg baskets,” it’s usually to exalt diversification. In most cases, it’s in the context of financial investment, but you can also invest in multiple platforms.
Return to your marketing plan—or if you don’t have one, write up several ideas for one. Consider the websites you use the most in promoting your book and the platforms where you want to expand. Write a few reasons you have questions you want to answer during your research and experience.
Then, aim to promote on at least two to three platforms during any particular week. I recommend focusing mainly on one (more on that below), but keep your accounts open on a couple of other platforms just in case your leading player becomes unviable.
Funnel readers toward platforms that you own
Here’s a scary thought: you don’t own your social media account. Sure, you have the password to your account, and you run your profile. But if the platform goes away, you’ll be left with nothing.
Having your account suspended or even banned is a common risk! It could be a mistake, but you could find yourself disconnected from most of your readers at a moment’s notice.
To mitigate this, build up platforms you have more “ownership” over. For instance, I recommend websites. First, buy a web hosting plan—and importantly, buy your own URL. Then once you build your website, back it up frequently to multiple locations.
While it requires money, paid hosting and domain services give you more ownership than most social media platforms, where you could be considered a virtual renter.
You’re much less likely to be kicked off their servers when paying for hosting. But if it happens, then you have a backup plan. You can switch hosts, move your domain, reupload your website, and be back in business, all at the same address.
In a similar vein, look into running a mailing list. Email has endured over the decades. You can also be equally flexible with mailing list providers, with the option of exporting your list of emails to another service when necessary.
In any case, use your social media platforms to “funnel” your readers toward these self-owned platforms. Not only will your readers stay more in the loop about your publishing, but they’ll also be further invested in your career.
But don’t overcorrect with TOO many baskets
Don’t stretch yourself thin by using too many platforms.
Whenever we see news of another platform declining or dying, it’s tempting to join up with all its competitors. With the announcement of Elon Musk buying Twitter, many users tweeted to their followers that they were moving to Discord, Tumblr, their new mailing list, TikTok . . .
But the ephemerality of platforms doesn’t preclude the dangers of burning yourself out.
If you find your favorite service a sinking ship, don’t decide your next destination out of panic. Instead, do the research, pick one or two other alternatives, and maintain your self-owned platforms like your website and mailing list. And keep in mind you can prioritize your accounts differently yet adjust your usage based on how each platform rises and falls.
In the end, it comes down less to the state of any particular basket (or platform) but rather the skills you build and transfer throughout your publishing career that will serve you the best.
Maybe we can create another expression: don’t put your eggs in TOO many baskets.
I’ll let you workshop that one . . .
Over To You: How do you diversify your internet presence? What precautions have you taken just in case one of your main platforms collapses?
ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.