Thursday, 1 March 2018

Author Mummy: How do you balance Home, Family and Author Life?

This post comes from a regularly occurring post in one of the forums I am on and after writing a reply, I realised how much I had to say on this - because after 10 years of authoring, I've had to either adapt or self-destruct. 
When I started writing I had a very demanding full time job, a new baby and a home to run because my husband commutes and was also doing the last stages of night school. It was tough. I can't remember how I did it, but somehow I did, and I wrote and published at least 5 novels over a 6 year period. 

Three years ago, I quit the day job to concentrate on the writing and to be more present for our children. I foolishly thought this would mean that I would, being a full time writer, be on my fiftieth novel by now. Oh, how I laugh!

Part of the reason was because despite being at home all day whilst the children were at school, somehow the house becoming a ridiculously demanding mistress, and because I was home there was an expectation (90% self imposed) that the house had to be perfect and that like a good 1950's housewife, everybody nurtured cared and catered for. 

Well suddenly between being begged by the kids to come and help at school, laundry, cooking, shopping, caring for my mum, organising tradesmen etc etc etc, time disappeared. Poof! Gone! 

I tried scheduling. It didn't work. It stressed me out. 
I tried communicating with my family. They tried. It didn't work. It stressed me out.
I tried running away to coffee shops. It sort of worked. It cost a lot. I wasted money. 

SO, I needed to take direct action. 

I wasn't prepared to compromise my home and family ideals. I wasn't prepared to make my family compromise for my writing by hiding away in an office, by making them eat off paper plates, by leaving them to fend for themselves. 

This is what I did, and it works - mostly. Family life is mercurial and chaotic by its very nature. Kids get sick, the dishwasher breaks, building work needs to be done, your pre-teen has a melt down every 5 minutes, family visit... but honestly, this has worked for us and we are happier, healthier, more connected, more content. 

A lot of the tensions have gone.

It's taken a good 4-6 month period establish the following, and that has been frustrating in itself but I had to remember I was playing a long game not a short fix that fades in a week or two, like schedules and conversations.

I had to change the behaviour patterns of my family and myself. Here's what I and WE did. 

1) MAJOR HOUSE DECLUTTER. 
This has been the gruelling bit, but stuff equals clutter, equals disorganisation, equals more hours of cleaning and tidying. We started at the top with our eldest's bedroom and worked down. 

We labelled the childrens' clothes draws and invested in storage boxes. We got rid of lots of stuff and rearranged the furniture for streamline hoovering and dusting - also making it easier for her to take more responsibility. 

The idea was that by eliminating unnecessary stuff, firstly it looked tidier and cleaner already without doing anything and secondly, it meant that everything had space to have a place and that meant if it had a place, it could be tidied by anyone and quickly. 

2) MAJOR WARDROBE DECLUTTER &  LAUNDRY STREAMLINE.
I reduced everyone (still a process in motion) to capsule wardrobes. How many t-shirts, jumpers and jeans do they actually need? How many 'smart' outfits. This saved money and washing time. The eldest has her own laundry basket and a weekend chore to bring it down. 

With her drawers labelled this enabled her to put away her own clothes without anxiety

3) BATCH COOK
Careful planning and doubling up means you can batch cook on a Sunday afternoon for a good part of the week. By doubling the quantities and freezing down you save huge amounts of time and mental energy. Good dishes for this are lasagna, casseroles, fish pies, stews, pies, chilli con carne, spaghetti Bolognese, curries etc. 

4) ONLINE FOOD SHOP
This ties to the previous point. Menu planning and shopping lists enable really efficient online food shops which are not only much more efficient but they're a really good way of controlling your budget and your health. 

5) SCHOOL / WORK STATION
By the front door, hang hooks and place a basket. You may be lucky enough for a cloakroom. Each person has a hook to hang their coat, scarf, hat, and school tie! A basket for work and school shoes. They have a further peg for their work / school bag and kit bags, and music art bags etc (packed on the Sunday ready for the week) Water bottles filled the night before and in the fridge. 

6) MONEY TALKS CHORE CHARTS
Our kids are very reluctant chore doers. However, the sight of money is motivating. I've made them chore charts with clear plastic wallets underneath that physically contain the money. When they've done the chore they get to put the money into the moneybox on the shelf next to the chart. Rosie is 10. Her chores are Recycling 1 Sunday (50p) Recycling 2 Wednesday (50p) Room tidy on Wednesday (£1) Make mum and dad a cup of tea in bed at weekend (50p each morning) and bring her washing down, sort into white and dark piles. Place in machine (£1) 

Betty is 5. She has make her bed every morning (10p a day) Hang her coat, shoes, bags etc on hook every day (10p a day)

These really help with teaching them responsibility. 

7) THE 10 MIN PRE-BED BLITZ 
Ten minutes - and we put it on the clock timer like big kids and that's how we approach it. A race against the clock. In that 10 minutes we straighten the front room, load the dishwasher, take dry laundry upstairs, feed the cats and do a quick mess sweep. When the clock stops, so do we. 

This means we're already massively up on the day when we wake up. This means there is rarely more than 30 mins  of tidying and cleaning which done after the school run, means I'm totally clear from 9.30am-3.30pm 

I also need to be in a tidy space to work and it stops procrastination. Ready for the day and ready for work. 

8) SCHOOL BASED AFTERSCHOOL CLUBS
One night a week the girls stay at school until 4.30pm doing Creative Writing and Cookery. This makes a huge difference on a Wednesday. I know I have 7 hours of uninterrupted writing and business time. 

9) EARLY WEEKEND DOORS
I'm rubbish at getting up in the morning but on occasions, I have been known to sneak down at 5.30am and do a couple of hours quiet writing on a weekend before sneaking back up to bed for 8.30 before everyone else wakes and then having a little lie in after that. (Occasionally the youngest sneaks down too, but as she doesn't venture much further than the television on a Saturday morning, she's often not even known I'm up) 

So here are my very real and very doable tips for finding more time to write and to keep the home fires burning bright and warm. I'd be really interested to know what works for you other than the dreaded scheduling answer that I always seem bandied around.  



 


Monday, 26 February 2018

Will You Be Bewitched by The Meadowsweet Sisters?

Join the Meadowsweet Sisters as they take on supernatural and diabolical forces, and evade the deadly kiss of The Witch Hunter. 

I'm so happy to be releasing Book 4 of The Meadowsweet Chronicles this March. 'Angelicus' is out soon. I love working on this series so much, it's a complete passion project full of all the things that I love reading. 

If you've not had a chance to catch up with the series yet, then there is a special offer box set of Book 1 and 2 for just £0.99 / $0.99 throughout the launch of Book 4 or you can download Book 1 for Free on Amazon, iBooks, Nook, Kobo and Smashwords. Links in the comments.



SPECIAL OFFER BOX SET of BOOK 1&2

Special offer Box Set of The Meadowsweet Chronicles Book 1 and 2 for just £0.99 / $0.99 is here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079Z9Y3B5

There’s no light without the dark. 

Fox Meadowsweet is a Witch. Jeremiah Chase is a Witch Hunter. 

The Meadowsweet bloodline has lived in the sleepy English village of Heargton for thousands of years. Jeremiah Chase is a New York boy in exile. 

Neither of them asked for their past but now it’s the only thing that can save their future as dark and ancient paranormal forces threaten to obliterate the world. 


When a local college girl is discovered ritually murdered and covered in strange symbols, old suspicions rise, ancient fears manifest, and centuries-spanning blood feuds reignite between ancient households of the village.


With their ancestral reputation of magic and witchcraft, eyes turn towards the three beautiful Meadowsweets sisters… including the eyes of Jeremiah Chase, who finds himself inexplicably drawn to the quirky wild-beauty of the middle sister, Fox.  


But as Jeremiah learns the history of her bloodline, he also unearths the dark and tangled story of his own family, giving him knowledge of a terrible and diabolical legacy. 

or FREE BOOK DOWNLOAD OF BOOK 1

Book 1 of The Meadowsweet Chronicles is on FREE Kindle download https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NG5CLTE and on iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id950645919

Saturday, 24 February 2018

The Meadowsweet Chronicles. Boxed and on celebratory Sale.

On March 22nd, Book 4 of Katie M. John's 'The Meadowsweet Chronicles', 'ANGELICUS' comes out. To celebrate the launch of book four of this planned seven book series, we have bundled Book 1 and 2 of The Meadowsweet Chronicles into one simple one click box set of the first two books for just £0.99 / $0.99

You can grab your discount eBook copy here:

https://www.amazon.com/Meadowsweet-Chronicles-Book-Box-Set-ebook/dp/B079Z9Y3B5

BLURB:

There’s no light without the dark. 


Fox Meadowsweet is a Witch. Jeremiah Chase is a Witch Hunter. 

The Meadowsweet bloodline has lived in the sleepy English village of Heargton for thousands of years. Jeremiah Chase is a New York boy in exile. 

Neither of them asked for their past but now it’s the only thing that can save their future as dark and ancient paranormal forces threaten to obliterate the world. 


When a local college girl is discovered ritually murdered and covered in strange symbols, old suspicions rise, ancient fears manifest, and centuries-spanning blood feuds reignite between ancient households of the village.


With their ancestral reputation of magic and witchcraft, eyes turn towards the three beautiful Meadowsweets sisters… including the eyes of Jeremiah Chase, who finds himself inexplicably drawn to the quirky wild-beauty of the middle sister, Fox.  


But as Jeremiah learns the history of her bloodline, he also unearths the dark and tangled story of his own family, giving him knowledge of a terrible and diabolical legacy. 


This box set contains books 1 & 2 of The Meadowsweet Chronicles. 


https://www.amazon.com/Meadowsweet-Chronicles-Book-Box-Set-ebook/dp/B079Z9Y3B5

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

FOREVER EMELINE IS COMING.....


***FOREVER EMELINE IS COMING IN JUST 6 WEEKS***

I am so incredibly excited and proud to be part of The Havenwood Falls author community and soon to be reader community. I can't tell you how nervous I am about this release, not because I don't believe in the story with a full heart but because of the awesome that has gone before this story in the series.

There is something incredibly special working in a shared creative world, tapping into one another's imaginations and muses. I love how knitted together the world is, how the sense of community is a living thing inside the books.

Our characters eat at the same places, hang out at the same spots, share lessons, bump into one another shopping, hide from one another at the Medical Centre, fall in love and have the usual community fall outs. 

Forever Emeline, which is a 3/4 length novel, is coming in 6 weeks for the launch price of $2.99 and its on pre-order now.

By Katie M. John

Series: Havenwood Falls High
Genre: Young Adult Supernatural Suspense
Release Date: April 6, 2018
Cover Design: Regina Wamba, MaeIDesign.com

Preorder on
iBooks: http://havenwoodfalls.com/fe-ib
Amazon US: http://havenwoodfalls.com/fe-zon
Amazon UK: http://havenwoodfalls.com/fe-zonuk

Coming soon to Kobo | Barnes & Noble

Friday, 2 February 2018

Haven wood Falls Cover Reveal for 'Forever Emeline'.

FOREVER EMELINE
By Katie M. John
Series: Havenwood Falls High
Genre: Young Adult Supernatural Suspense
Release Date: April 6, 2018
Cover Design: Regina Wamba, MaeIDesign.com

Preorder on

Coming soon to Kobo | Barnes & Noble

Welcome to Havenwood Falls, a small town in the majestic mountains of Colorado. A town where legacies began centuries ago, bloodlines run deep, and dark secrets abound. A town where nobody is what you think, where truths pose as lies, and where myths blend with reality. A place where everyone has a story. Including the high schoolers. This is only but one…

At barely eighteen, London-born Harry has already been making a name for himself in the New York and London art circles with his otherworldly and haunting fairy-tale paintings.
When he relocates to New York to be with his mother and his new stepdad, the world-renowned Dr. Lewis, his life takes an extraordinary turn of events that brings the family to the derelict Fairchild mansion in the strange little town of Havenwood Falls.

Harry soon discovers the history of Havenwood Falls doesn’t always remain in the past. When the ghost of the fae-blooded Emeline Fairchild makes her presence known, Harry begins to fear he’s losing his mind. He’s heard stories of the greats going mad with their creativity and believes he might be following in their footsteps.

The truth is even more tragic. Not even out of high school, Harry is set to blaze a trail of light with his precocious talent, but fate has another terrible future in store. One that even the supernaturally talented Dr. Lewis can’t fix.

As Harry finds love in the present, he has to look toward a future where the past is his only hope.

This is a Young Adult paranormal tale in the Havenwood Falls High series of Young Adult fantasy stories featuring a variety of supernatural creatures. The series is a collaborative effort by multiple authors. Each book is generally a stand-alone, so you can read them in any order, although some authors will be writing sequels to their own stories. Please be aware when you choose your next read.

Books in the Havenwood Falls High YA series:
·       Written in the Stars by Kallie Ross
·       Reawakened by Morgan Wylie
·       The Fall by Kristen Yard
·       Somewhere Within by Amy Hale
·       Awaken the Soul by Michele G. Miller
·       Bound by Shadows by Cameo Renae
·       Inamorata by Randi Cooley Wilson
·       Fata Morgana by E.J. Fechenda
·       Forever Emeline by Katie M. John
Books are released on a monthly basis. Coming soon are stories AnnaLisa Grant, Daniele Lanzarotta, J.L. Weil, Rose Garcia, and more.
Immerse yourself in the world of Havenwood Falls and stay up to date on news and announcements at www.HavenwoodFalls.com. Join our reader group, Havenwood Falls Book Club, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/HavenwoodFallsBookClub/


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

New Year Brain Explosion: Perils of Creative Living.

So I love Christmas, I mean Elf has nothing on me, but as soon as Boxing Day arrives, I could tear it all down because I'm so excited about starting the New Year.

It fills me with the same excitement as the first page of a brand new note book. The possibility, the intention, the creative energy are all streaming through me; it's almost like a physical high.

Amongst all the homemaking and Christmas magic making, my mind has been like a coiled spring waiting to unleash with all the ideas, hopes, dreams and good intentions I want to start come January 1st.

Last year was really clear and I had a real sense of direction, my word was TEND and I was going to look after my creative garden, do some weeding, cut back dead wood and really nurture what I had already planted. It worked better than I could have hoped. My brand and my books are in a place I am really happy with.

This year, the word is GROWTH and as if this word has a mind of its own, it's caused an almost insane burst of mental growth and inspiration in the last few weeks that has left me somewhat paralysed.

By now, I had visions of having my intentions all written up, my resolutions in print to be held for future accountability, my journal several days full, my business plan all colour coded and my diary all organised ... instead, it's day 10 and I'm still not sure entirely where to start -- there's just too much awesome I need to do - and so, like many occasions in life, the days are starting to pass by and I'm still not actuating my planning plan.

It's all there in my heart. My ambition, my targets, my objectives, my intentions, my passions, my will-power, but they're refusing at this stage to be confined to paper and lists and declarations.

What we have done is start our family resolution of 'Healthy Us, Healthy Planet, Healthy Piggy Bank' and as a result of that, I have refuelled my poor abandoned food blog called The Frugal Snob. The focus is slightly different in that it now about one woman's quest to save the planet, save her bank account, and save her expanding waist line, but the principle is the same. Learn to live more consciously and more conscientiously and then enjoy the abundance that comes from that.

My hubby and I have also dramatically cut down our alcohol consumption to just one treat night a week, which for folks that drank a bottle of wine with dinner every evening, is proving to be an interesting trip in our life journey. It's much much easier than I anticipated and I'm trying to ignore the subtle shifts in energy, motivation and well-being for fear that it's slightly psychosomatic and maybe a stark realisation of all the years we have abused our bodies and our time... One of the big incentives other than 'feeling better' is that by making this change (and it's quite a big one for us) we will save almost £1500 a year! Isn't that incredible. I've already spent it ten times over in my head - and it's all about travel and experiences, about truly living.

So I guess that even if I haven't written and planned and journaled my 2018 plans, at least we've started living them.

Who else here is slightly overwhelmed by the possibility and opportunities of 2018?

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Cover Reveal & inside info for Book 4 of The Meadowsweets.

To celebrate the New Year and the new book, 'The Meadowsweet
Chronicles has had a beautiful revamp and rebrand. I am totally
in love with the new covers. And what's amazing is that all 7 covers
now sit inside my computer. 
It's finally coming. I know it's taken some time and I know that many of you have been waiting patiently (very patiently) for me to get it finished.

The thing is, Book 4 of 7 has proven to be a very tricky beast and I wasn't prepared to rush something out that would cause a pickle in Books 5-7.

However, it's done and it's going through the editorial process so I can finally announce that the pre-order is now live for Book 4 'Angelicus' on Amazon Kindle and the cover reveal is here.

Not only that, but to celebrate the new year & the new book, the whole series has had a beautiful rebrand and cover refresh. So I'm delighted to share all of that with you guys.

As ever, thank you all for your support, love and encouragement. I love how you guys love this weird, adventurous, folklore filled world of The Meadowsweets as much as I do.

And without further ado, introducing you to the the cover of Book 4.

Book 4 of The Meadowsweet Chronicles
'Angelicus' is now on pre-order

WHAT'S BOOK 4 ALL ABOUT? NO SPOILERS & This is not a blurb ;)

Book 4 begins with a flash back, and not just any flash back but one that takes The Meadowsweet Story back to 745BC, to the founding of the first settlement in Heargton. For one of the characters, it's where their story begins and it knits into the present day story.

The dark forces and energies have charged Heargton up like a super charged supernatural battery and as a result, spirits, ghouls, demons, poltergeists, angels, and all manner of supernatural beings are coming to the fore. The whole village is cloaked in fear and suspicion and the talks of the ancient Heargton Witches curse is rife.

For Jeremiah, his brush with the weird and otherworldly continues, and the arrival of two unexpected guests is cause for further stress and concern; especially the arrival of the mysterious Father Abandon, who has been sent as The Church's answer to the Heargton paranormal problem - only Jeremiah is far from convinced that the handsome and charming priest is who and what he claims to be.

The village is descending into hysteria, with an embracing of old customs, old rituals and old worship. The sacred circle, the village pagan group who have been practicing since the 70s in the back of The Green Man pub, finds itself gaining new members and a whole brand new location at The Rookeries, as a young and persuasive man introduces himself to the circle and begins to lead them into a more shady version of their belief system.

The Ravenhearts are still galavanting around the globe looking for allies in their quest to usurp the Guardians of the Heargton Portal so they can reign over it with ultimate power, but they soon discover that there are many people in the Witch community that have their own agenda and desire for  world domination.

Meanwhile, Fox continues to battle more domestic issues with her relationship with Will Harrington and her best friend Carmen.

And for other Meadowsweet sisters, they discover that, "the path of true love never did run smooth."

ANGELICUS is NOW AVAILABLE for Pre-Order on Amazon worldwide

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078N34MBP
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B078N34MBP


BOOK ONE OF THE MEADOWSWEET CHRONICLES IS FREE TO DOWNLOAD


Amazon US

Amazon UK

Smashwords

iBOOKS



THE OFFICIAL TRAILER FOR THE MEADOWSWEET CHRONICLES.


Monday, 11 December 2017

The perfect parent & daughter Read. New Release from Helen Whapshott.

I am super happy to announce that my fellow Little Bird author, Helen Whapshott is releasing the third book in her series of 'The Glow' this Wednesday. It's called 'Blaze' and is the final instalment in the trilogy.

I have had the amazing privilege of working with Helen on launching this series and have come to hold true affection for the world and characters that she has created.

Not only that, but my 10 year old, avid YA reading daughter also loves the series, not least because she has met Helen in 'real life' and has been completely charmed by her.

The series a perfect Parent / Daughter read and throws up issues surrounding bullying, abuse, growing up, first love, and family difficulties in a really safe way. More challenging topics are touched upon with a lightness of touch that really respects the sensitivities of younger readers who may pick up the series.

There's enough young teen action to keep curious readers occupied, but the series also harks back to a slightly more innocent and magical time.

With strong messages about friendship, adversity, personal acceptance, The Glow series is an absolutely perfect Christmas present for daughters and nieces.

Book three is available in Kindle this Wednesday and is currently on pre-order, and it is out in paperback middle of next week, just in time for last minute Christmas order from Amazon. It will be going out to iBooks, Nook and other eBook platforms in the New Year.

You can get hold of Book One of the series in paperback and eBook here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Glow-Book-One-Helen-Whapshott-ebook/dp/B00IX2EI9Q

and you can pre-order the Kindle edition of book 3 'Blaze' here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blaze-Book-Glow-Helen-Whapshott-ebook/dp/B077WJXFRV 

Friday, 1 December 2017

RELEASE DAY: Something a little different.

TODAY IS RELEASE DAY of 'LOVE FOOL' - I am so excited to be sharing with you my very first published New Adult Romance story. 
When Vicky Dean finds herself drowning in the ocean of cool that is the London indie music scene, she soon learns that if she's to survive, it's time to change the record.
It's one of 10 short novels published in WaWa Productions' '10 Things I Love About You' collection and it's out TODAY. 

BLURB: The 90s: The decade of AOL, Grunge music, the Gulf War, OJ Simpson trial, Friends, Seinfeld, Britney and Christina, tattoos and belly button piercings, Monica Lewinsky, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Tarantino movies. It was a decade of polarities and hilarity.

Those who reached adulthood in the Nineties were branded Generation X, and were labeled apathetic slackers and cynics. But, ultimately, this generation was called on to bridge the gap between old ideals and new technologies and ways of living. 
These new adults had to find jobs, find themselves, and find love amidst rapidly changing landscapes online and off.
TEN THINGS I LOVE ABOUT YOU is a collection of ten contemporary romance, new adult, stand-alone stories set in the 1990s.


The title of each love story will be a hit song from the year that the novella represents, and are written, respectively, by award-winning and bestselling authors.
1990: "Nothing Compares 2 U" -- Michele G Miller + Mindy Hayes
Can one weekend erase a first love's betrayal?
1991: "More Than Words" -- Christina Benjamin
It takes more than words to make it in love and music.
1992: "Jump" -- Micalea Smeltzer
Jenna's shy, quiet, and a bookworm. Caleb is wild, sarcastic, and an adrenaline junkie. One trip will bring their worlds together in ways they never expected.
1993: “Can't Help Falling in Love” -- L.A. Fiore
Emma doesn’t put much stock in fairy tales and happily ever afters, but finding herself stranded in some unknown town, in a diner late at night, dripping cheeseburger juice on her wedding gown is so not how she saw her big day ending. But when the town’s sexy mechanic comes riding to her rescue, maybe her fairy godmother is onto something.
1994: “The Sign” -- Carey Heywood
Are personalized mix tapes, Ferris Wheel rides, and ice cream-flavored kisses signs that I'm falling in love with my best friend?
1995: “Who Will Save Your Soul” -- Skye Warren
Emily's a pathological liar. When her life is at stake, will anyone believe her?
1996: “Always Be My Baby” -- Mary Ting
Lucas' words might have begun to sew me back up, but Grayson's love would heal the wound and ensure there were no scars.
1997: “Lovefool” -- Katie M John
When Vicky Dean finds herself drowning in the ocean of cool that is the London indie music scene, she soon learns that if she's to survive, it's time to change the record.
1998: "My Heart Will Go On" -- Tia Silverthorne Bach
After a tragic car accident, Kerry After a tragic car accident, Kerry struggles to put the pieces of her life back together. Until Jase walks into her life, and a spark of hope ignites. Can her heart go on? 
1999: "Genie in a Bottle" -- Elise Kova
When high school senior Erin Williams discovers that an N64 game she picked up at a yard sale contains a real (and really hot) genie, she gains three wishes and a much-needed confidant. However, the final wish may cost her more than she wants to give.


** A portion of proceeds goes to the National Kidney Foundation **

Friday, 17 November 2017

5 Point Social Media Blitz for the Time Poor.

Article also published on LinkedIn profile. https://www.linkedin.com/in/katie-m-john-6b17a669/

When you're a creative, busy... creating, it's super hard to keep all the social media plates spinning. There aren't endless hours in the day, and as our visibility online grows, as we connect with new readers, investors, patrons, et al, we find ourselves joining even more social media platforms and online communities in order to create even more visibility and success.

It can be exhausting, and it can also be damaging if you let some of those platforms drift creating a footprint of earlier branding that may not fully reflect where you are now at.

In oder to keep a fresh, cohesive brand across the internet and social media world, I have created a process of consciously 'quick checking'. It can be really easy to be sucked into a sparkly new social media platform, plough all your current work, concepts, branding and time into it - but the danger is that the others lag behind and the connections you have worked so hard to build, start to grow stale.

Here is a quick 5 point check which can be done in just one or two hours of your time a month.

Before you begin, write a list of all the social-media platforms, forums and other places you have at some point made a profile for. (You'll be amazed, especially as like me, you've probably jumped on every up and coming subject related platform over the years. You may need to google yourself.)

MONTHLY:

1: YOU. Make sure all your profile pictures are a) relevant to the audience for that particular social platform, b) make it one of your more recent photos, and c) good quality, which means properly lit, properly cropped, and appropriate context. (It's really good practice to try and get photos of you taken on a regular basis and build up a folder on your desktop so you can just grab one - a good selfie has its place, too so don't be afraid to get in front of the camera) 

2: BANNERS. Don't underestimate the power of banners to be an effective advertising space. Does your banner demonstrate fully a) What you do? b) What's fresh and new in your world? c) Have either an explicit or implicit call to action depending on the platform.

3: POST. Write a single post (it can be a copy & paste on each of the platforms if time is really squeezed) but it should include where you've been, what you've been doing, what your currently excited about and will show you've not been inactive, just really creatively busy. It will also show you're still willing to engage, and your not abandoning your fan / reader / patron base. If people stumble across your page, it also shows that you aren't missing in the ether and no longer relevant.

4: ENGAGE. Spend 5 minutes engaging with 10 other people on that platform. Leave a comment on their post, ask a question, share a post - demonstrate that as well as swinging by to broadcast, you're willing to engage and connect. It gives the impression that you are a lot more active than you actually are.

5: DELETE. Ask yourself what each particular profile is doing for you. If it's not working, if you know in your heart that you don't have the time or inclination to invest in it, then delete it. It's better to have 3 or 4 really engaging, exciting, fresh and live platforms where people know where to find you than having a load of dead or dying fish in the water. Poorly managed social media platforms can do more damage than not having one in the first place.

If you do each of these 5 small tasks once a month - maybe allocated a specific day (such as the first or last of the month to make it memorable) then you'll soon find that your social media platforms are all up to date, relevant and creating more engagement. Good luck, and remember the trick with social media is little and often.