If you're a regular reader here on ye old blog, then you probably noticed something last week. Or rather, you didn't notice anything because I didn't post anything. This wasn't a planned decision on my part. Rather, last Sunday rolled around and I realized I didn't have anything to say. It had been a week of lots of work, but no epiphanies to share. So rather than rehash old news, I simply didn't post. Then along came Wednesday and Friday and I still didn't have anything interesting to share. So...no blog posts.
And the strangest thing happened.
Mobs of pitchfork wielding authors didn't storm the city. No one sent me any angry emails or voice mails. I did not keel over and die. Site visits for the week were down. That makes sense. There wasn't anything new to read.
And then, the strangest thing happened to book sales.
They stayed the same.
Yep. Despite my almost non-existent internet presence last week, the population of America did not boycot my book in protest of my limited exposure. If anything, book sales increased (making me wonder if I should shut up more often).
I'm being a little cheeky here, but I do have a point. As authors, it can often feel as if we need to be constantly on. There's this idea that if we aren't always blogging, tweeting, sharing and posting, our readership with shrivel up and die a slow painful death. Which means too many of us force out new posts and jump online to interact out of some kind of obligation rather than because we have something interesting to say.
And this is a load of horse manure. Your platform is not only as good as your last blog post. If you decide to take a break or just (gasp) don't have anything to say, you will not alienate the planet. Your social interactions online should be fun. If you're only putting out content because you feel like you have to, your readers will know. And then you'll lose them anyway.
Now, before you all run for joy and shut down your blogs and twitter accounts, let me just say that this is a critical mass for absenteeism. If I didn't make any kind of effort for a month or so, I couldn't expect to pop back on and generate the same kind of readership as I had before the break. If you leave your audience alone for too long, they will move on, because there is no shortage of content on the internet. You can't go silent for months and then drop new content on the web in the middle of the night and expect the world to bend over backwards to get it. You are not Beyonce.