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About the Episode

Let’s talk about setting boundaries around growing an author platform online, especially with social media marketing, so we don’t burnout or feel like we’re losing a piece of our soul. 

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📒 Show Notes and Resources 📒

About the Episode:

00:00 6 Rules for Growing Your Platform
00:56 CEO RULE
07:41 6:1 WORK WEEK RULE
12:25 3S RULE


Click for Transcript

[00:00:00] So one of the things that I often hear from authors when I’m working with them and coaching them on how to set up their author platform is this idea of not wanting to be a slave to the algorithm, not wanting to be having to always show up on social media and feel like it is sucking the life out of their very soul. Well, today we’re gonna talk about six boundaries you can put into place as a writer to keep this from happening.

Hi, I’m Rachel Fahrenbach. I help fiction writers just like you get your books into the hands of a reader. And this is The Business of Christian Fiction podcast.

 [Title Slide]

Okay, so there’s six rules or six boundaries that I think that we as writers can put around our author platform to help us grow and utilize it well without it becoming a time suck or a soul crushing, or any of those other terms that we talk about that are very dramatic, but very serious things that we need to consider as writers.

So the first rule I have for you is the CEO [00:01:00] Rule. And this rule is just simply a reminder that you are the business owner. You are the one in charge, no algorithm, no platform, no employee, not even your social media manager if you have one, not even your VA. If you’ve got them, you are the one in control.

You get to decide, decide what your marketing looks like. You do not have to answer to Instagram. They are not your employer. They are a tool that you are using to market your business that you are in charge of. And I think it’s important that we remember we ultimately are in charge because that means means that we get to make decisions that our good for us and our business.

So that’s the very first rule I would give you for this whole author platform growth. The CEO Rule, you are the one in charge. You get to make the decisions.

So number two is the Platform Rule. The platform rule simply states that the author platform is a marketing department of an entrepreneurial business. So [00:02:00] that means that your author platform is your marketing department, and you get to decide how that marketing department looks, how it’s set up, who works in that art marketing department.

So for instance, things like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok and all those, those are just part of your marketing department. You get to decide who gets to be a part of that marketing department. They do not. And likewise, you don’t have to incorporate a certain program, um, meaning like Facebook or Instagram, whatever.

You don’t have to. All of them, or any of them, or most of them or whatever, you get to decide which ones get to operate in your marketing department. It’s your marketing department. You get to decide what feels authentic to you, your brand, your products, and your people that you’re serving. All right? So just know that you have that freedom to decide what your marketing department is gonna look like.

And remember, your marketing department is gonna be made up of not just social media, it’s gonna be made up of [00:03:00] other things as well. But that’s a conversation for a different episode. Right now we’re just talking about online stuff.

 All right. Rule number three. It’s called the Sample Cart Rule. Your author platform is about giving a sample of you, a sample of your work, a sample of your worldview, okay? So you get to decide what that sample looks like. Now, for instance, when a somebody has a sample of a product in the store, they could maybe, okay, let’s just say like a cake for instance. The sample could either be an end slice or it could be a middle piece, right? That’s the person’s prerogative to decide what kind of sample they’re going to give the customer. Same thing for you. You get to decide what, how much, how little of yourself and aspects of how much and how little you are going to share.

You also get to decide how much of your hurts you share. And now there’s a [00:04:00] really great way of like, thinking about this. You can think about what’s a what’s a wound? What happened really relatively recently, and it’s still, or maybe a long time ago, but it’s still oozing, it’s still open. It still would hurt if you poked at it. So maybe those things don’t share. What’s a scab? What’s the thing that, it’s been a little bit, you work through it, but if it get picked at, it might open back up again and be more of a wound? Maybe that you don’t share either, but the things that are scars. Those are the things that can withhold you sharing them.

And so in your own life, as you’re thinking through, okay, what kind of sample of myself am I gonna share on my author platform? Think through what are your scars? What are your scabs, and what are your wounds? And kind of evaluate that for when you’re sharing on social media.

Additionally, with the sample sample cart rule, you are giving a sample of your family because they’re a part of you, and so you [00:05:00] get to decide how much or how little of your family both immediate and extended you show to the world. That’s up to you. You are the one in control. You do not have to show your kids, you get to show your kids. You are in charge.

And I wanna just say that again. I, I think sometimes we as writers feel like there’s this perfect formula for building our audience up.

There’s this perfect formula for gaining the views to getting the likes, getting the comments, all the things, and we think we’re having to play the game. But really we’re in control and our job is as business owners, is to figure out what’s working for us, what’s effective for us, what feels authentic for us?

And so this goes into the whole family thing too, and, and what you’re willing to share about your everyday life with people on the internet. How much are you gonna let them in? And I think you need to take it one step further and ask why would they care? And I know this feels weird of a question. Hear, hear me out for a second.

When we’re talking about our [00:06:00] reader and we’re talking, this author platform is really to give them a sample of who we are, our worldview and our work, so that they know what to expect when they engage with us in that work, right? They know what to expect with us when they engage with us on our platforms.

So when you are deciding how much to share of something, how much of a sample to give them, you wanna think about it from the reader’s perspective. I’m giving them this sample to get to know me better so that they will then turn around and buy my products or continue to engage with me so that maybe later on they’ll buy the product.

So the sample you give them needs to be a sample that relates to where they’re at and how they’re going to interact with you in the future. So if you’re giving them samples all the time of your cats and you know, fun pictures of your cats, and yet that’s not what you do as a fiction writer, cats don’t show up in your stories ever, you know? Then that should not be the majority of your posts. Does that mean you can never post about your cats? No, but It does mean [00:07:00] that you, the author, have to realize that every opportunity that you have to get in front of your reader, you need to be using it wisely and stewarding it well.

So you’re not gonna post every picture about your cats if your cats never show up in a novel, because that does not give your readers a sample of what to expect when they engage with you in your writing. However, it is a part of who you are. So you would wanna give them a little sample of that every so often.

So just know that you need to kind of balance between the giving them a sample of who you are and giving them a sample of who you are in a way that makes them know why they should engage with you and your work later on.

Number four is the 6:1 Work Week Rule. So my rule for my world of work is that I work with intentionality for six days and rest with intentionality for one full day. Now, this can look different from person to person. For me, that means that I’m working on my business [00:08:00] six days out of the week and resting for one in which I don’t touch it at all.

But for others, that might mean that for five days you work on your writing business, and then that sixth day you used for getting some stuff done at home that for your home management. Right, your business of managing your home, you use that six day to get that done. But that one day of rest is the day where you step back and you say, you know what?

I do not have to do anything productive this day. My day here is to just simply enjoy life, reconnect with God, reconnect with my family, and just be. This is not a day to be productive. This is the day to rest and the having this weekly rhythm of just showing up and resting, even if the work is not done forces us to remember that it is, our work is out of obedience, and it is in a posture of trusting the Lord to provide the outcome. Because we can do this work day in and day out. We can hustle our butts off, but at the [00:09:00] end of the day, it is God who is our faithful provider. He is the one who brings about the the harvest. We just are the ones sewing the seeds, and so we have to remember that. And having a weekly rhythm a rest reminds us, puts us into that posture. And the way that it helps us protect ourselves when growing the Author platform is, it helps remind us to stop worrying about the numbers.

We just show up. We do our things. We analyze, we, we think strategically. I’m not saying just show up and don’t ever think about how can I improve or make the numbers better, but I am saying that having that weekly posture of I just need to show up and do the work. I need to do it strategically and I need to do it well, but God is ultimately the one who is going to make this whole thing happen if it’s in his will. And my job is just to be obedient. That is a really great posture to have when it comes to building your author platform because it protects you from thinking it all rests on your shoulders and burning out from that.

Okay. Number five [00:10:00] is the Time Block rule. This is essential. You have to time block. And I say this with all the love in my heart for you, with all the compassion in my heart for you, because I am can be the worst about this. I like to get into a project and just keep going, going, going, going.

And you cannot do that as a writer. You have to time block. You have to allocate your time to doing different tasks. Otherwise you’re not gonna make progress in both your author platform and creating products like your novel for your reader. It just doesn’t happen. So the majority of your time, your work time throughout the week, the majority of it should be focused around creating long, long form products like novel writing and and such. Then a portion of it should be centered around creating content that will help you get discovered on social media platforms and on SEO driven platforms. And these are things like YouTube, Pinterest, all that. So the majority of the chunk goes to creating products because you’re going to [00:11:00] sell them and make money off of them.

There’s a bigger return on investment of time in the product, so just know you should be putting the majority of your time into your product development. But you do have to do some short form content, such as author platform building and, but you need to be strategic about it, and you need to only work on it during that time block that is allocated for it.

Because if you aren’t putting the time, if you’re allowing that social media to crouch into the novel writing time, You’re not gonna make progress in your novel writing and you won’t have, it won’t matter that you built up a platform cuz you’ll have nothing to sell to them once you do, and vice versa.

If you’re only writing your novel, but you’re not building up your platform, you’ll have nobody to sell to once that novel’s done. So you kind of need to do both at the same time. And time blocking is the way to keep the social media from eating away at your novel writing time, and also from just consuming everything that you’re doing.

And if you are trying to figure out how do I [00:12:00] time block, how do I make that happen? I want you to check out the link in the description below to my planner. The Write & Rally Planner. We talk about time blocking in there. We talk about how, what areas of focus, how much of a percentage of your time should be you’d be allocating to each of these different areas that you should be working on.

We talk about all of that. There’s worksheets, all of that stuff in that planner, and you can find that at rachelfahrenbach.com/planner

All right. Number six. Is the 3S Rule. And the way that the three S rule works in helping you protect and put boundaries around your author platform growth is this. It is a commitment to showing up online in a way that shows your readers who you are. It shares your heart with your reader. And it steers your reader towards the experience that you are crafting, either with your short form content or with your long form products, such as your novel. Either way, [00:13:00] it’s gonna steer them towards that experience that you’re crafting.

And so the reason why this last one is so important, this 3S Rule, is because it reminds you why you’re showing up on your author platform in the beginning, why you’re even showing up at all. What is the purpose of this author platform? This author platform is your marketing department, sharing your brand with your reader so that they know the experience they’re gonna have when they engage with you and your work.

So they know the experience they can expect from the things that you craft. They know they can get a small sample of that. And when you commit to show them who you are as a person, you, your personality, your interests, your likes, your dislikes, your beliefs, your, your, the things you totally stand for, the things you totally don’t stand for.

The things that you are committed to, the ways in which you’re wired, the, the, the things that you are just wholeheartedly about, the things you value. When you show that to the reader, they know, they [00:14:00] begin to know, like, and trust you. And when you share your heart with the reader, it helps them know you. It helps them trust you because now they know why you’re doing the things that you’re doing. , they know who you are authentically. It makes them endears you to them. You can’t really grow in a relationship with somebody. You can’t really have a connection with somebody if you don’t really understand where they’re coming from.

And so when you commit to your readers to show up as yourself authentically you. To share your heart with them so that they can get to know and get to understand why you’re doing the things you’re doing, and you are committed to steering them. You’re committed to not wasting their time. You’re committed to sending them in the direction of the experience you’re crafting. When they know you’re gonna do that for them, you’re not gonna waste their time. You’re gonna be. You’re gonna be true to doing what you said you’re gonna do. They know they can come back to you and continue to experience that time, after time, after [00:15:00] time, and that will help you grow your author platform in a way that is good for you and your brand and your reader.

 In a way that is connected, relational, and engaged. It’s not just about the vanity numbers, it’s not about hustling your heart out. It is about doing what you need to do to show up authentically online, to share your heart with your reader, and to steer them towards the experience that they’re looking for and that you can craft for them.

Well, I hope these six tips have been helpful for you to hear as you think about ways that you can continue to grow your author platform in a way that doesn’t suck the life out of your soul.

I would really appreciate it if you shared it with a friend of yours who is a fiction writer who needs to put some boundaries around their author platform so that they don’t get burnt out, or have the life of their soul sucked out of them.

Well, I I, I do hope this has been beneficial to you. I invite you to join me back here next week as we continue this conversation on the business of Christian Fiction. [00:16:00] Bye.

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Hey! I'm Rachel and I'm so glad you're here today!
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Hey! I'm Rachel and I'm so glad you're here today!

I help Christian fiction writers figure out how they can make an impact and an income from their storytelling while keeping rest a priority. 

You can learn more about how I’m in your corner here.

And you can learn more about my personal journey here.

One last thing, if you’re looking for a bit more rest in your life, be sure to check out the Rest & Reflect guided journal.

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