It happens often in spring – this sudden realization that our closets, cabinets, desktops and laptops have become littered with piles of junk we really don’t need any longer. Just like mother nature, where the old makes way for new growth, so must we make room for new opportunities and new readers. Spring cleaning, here we come!
Purging what’s no longer needed can be more difficult for artists; I suspect imagination has a lot to do with it. After all, the old adage “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” holds especially true for the artist, and for the writer, because all that research might come in handy some day…
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Before you get picked for an upcoming episode of “Hoarders” –or worse– lose your audience in a sea of useless or outdated information about you and your work, let’s get cracking on some spring clean-up. Keep these tips handy, as regular quarterly (or seasonal) “check ups” will take less time and keep you current with your crowd at all times!
1. Your Author Website
Is your bio up to date? Your photo? Contact info? As authors, we tend to pay a lot of attention to our events/press page and our blogs, but forget about those “static” pages that don’t need updating as often.
Also, check your reviews at Amazon and Goodreads and add the latest, greatest ones to your Reviews page. Finally, check for broken links, update your plugins, and make sure you’re backing up your website. We’ve been going through our own spring cleaning during the past month, cleaning up reviewers, adding new reviewers and book clubs, seeking out new conferences. Yes, it takes time but having sparkling clean, useful content for your website visitors feels great!
2. Your Computer
I use a Macbook Pro and am loving CleanMyMac 3. It’s super easy to install and use, and it reminds me each month to hit the “Scan” button for useless junk in the system. Always amazed that it finds over a gig of data each month, even when I think I’m deleting as I go. There are PC versions as well – Google clean my PC.
This is truly where an ounce of prevention is a pound of cure. If you’re not backing up, start now, as in right this minute. I prefer to back up to an external hard drive; others like cloud-based systems. Many savvy users do both. Either way, it’s inexpensive and necessary. One random bug or prank virus can undo years of work. I’ve seen it happen to too many authors. Don’t let that be you!
While you’re in computer-cleaning mode, check your mobile devices. Eliminate apps you don’t use, decide which podcasts you still want to access or maybe search for new content.
3. Your Email
And then there’s email. If you download your email from the server to Outlook or Apple Mail, it’s easy to create folders to manage the e’s you want to hang onto for future reference. It’s also easy for them to stack up. Case in point – I have a folder called “Blog Fodder” full of ideas for someday blog posts. When I started spring cleaning, there were 598 messages in that folder. Seriously? 90% of them had to go!
While you’re cleaning up the email, there may be newsletters or other lists you’re on that you no longer find useful. Start unsubscribing (but please stay subscribed to WWW!)
4. Your Social Media
Much like your author website, the clean-up items you’ll want to check/update on each social media platform include:
- Settings – Do you need email notifications, is your password up to snuff?
- Bios – Any changes to what you do, what you’ve written?
- Apps – Check the apps attached to your Facebook author page (in example your blog app or Read My Book app) to make sure everything’s in working order.
- Videos – If you have video interviews or a video book trailer, make sure they’ve been loaded to your Amazon author page, your Goodreads author page, and your Facebook author page, as well as to LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
- Groups – Especially important on LinkedIn and Goodreads. Leave the groups where you’re not active/productive, and do new searches for groups that might appeal to you.
5. Your Desktop
How much paper are you hanging onto? You may want to scan and archive the bits and pieces crowding your desk, or start a document of notes from all those little post-its with the curled edges Take a hint from a major movement today, “Spark Joy” – the basic premise of which is simply, if it doesn’t spark joy in your life, why is it taking up space in your universe?
There, doesn’t that feel good? If you have a spring cleaning tip for fellow authors, please do share it with your comment below. (Comments are one thing we never spring clean!)
Creator of Where Writers Win, Shari Stauch has been involved in publishing, marketing and PR for 30 years. She speaks at conferences around the country teaching authors how to better reach influencers.