As authors today, we’re compelled to juggle more tasks and responsibilities than ever before. Given the colossal effort you’ve invested in writing and publishing your book, you know you’d be crazy not to dedicate some energy to promoting it. But with all that’s going on in your life, how do you make the time for this?
Here are four different approaches to carving out some precious minutes or hours for boosting your book. Experiment with these, and you’ll find they’re a big help in making sure you undertake regular promotional activities, without becoming completely overwhelmed by all you have to do.
Time blocking involves analyzing your schedule, typically on a weekly basis, and designating specific chunks of time for book promotion. This is a great approach if you like a lot of structure in your days and have a fair amount of control over how you spend your time. On the other hand, if you feel constrained by making firm plans in advance, or if your days are highly unpredictable, this method may not be for you.
To get started, review a typical week and figure out how much time you can spend on your author business as a whole. This includes writing, admin, and promotion. Then decide what proportion you would like to devote to promotional activities. This will vary according to your preferences, how far along you are in your career, the size of your backlist, and so on.
Now, get out your calendar and make appointments for yourself. Set reminders, create do-not-disturb signs, and use any other tricks you like so that your promotion time is protected.
If time blocking feels too rigid, another approach that works well is to theme your days. You might have certain days each week where you concentrate on writing new content, a day for business admin, and one or more days where you turn your attention to promotional tasks.
This approach is particularly useful as it gives your brain a break from worrying about promotion all the time. If niggling marketing thoughts and to-dos pop into your head, simply make a note and reassure yourself you’ll get to them on your next book promotion day. Having one central place (either digital or on paper) to serve as your promotional brain dump is a great tactic here.
Have you heard the time-worn advice to write every day? Did you know that more and more writers are, in fact, setting aside time to binge write on a far less frequent basis?
You can tackle your promotional efforts in the same way, by designating, say, one weekend per month for your book promotion activities. This is regular enough that you can stay in contact with readers, and it provides some good quality time to really dig deep into your marketing project list. For the rest of the month, your creative muse can get on with that task, safe in the knowledge that your promotion slot is coming.
An optional extra for this approach would be to form the habit of taking yourself off to a different physical location, like a library or coffee shop. In time, you’ll associate being there with wearing your promotional hat. You may find this brings extra focus, allowing you to power through your promotional tasks with added efficiency.
I’m not a huge fan of this approach, as I believe you should ideally aim for regularity in when you show up for readers. However, if you simply can’t juggle writing and promoting on an ongoing basis, you might decide to nominate short seasons where you do nothing but promote.
You might, for example, designate promotional months either side of each book release. During these months, you throw yourself 100% into being visible and building readership. Outside these months, you do only the bare minimum.
This approach feels a little dated, and it relies heavily on readers getting excited for your book around the time of its release. There’s definitely a risk your sales rankings will slip without ongoing attention. So, use this approach with caution and only when you’ve found the other methods really haven’t worked for you.
Many authors admit to feeling overwhelmed by book promotion tasks. I hope you find one or more of these approaches frees you up to write more joyfully and with better focus, as well as safer in the knowledge that you have set aside time for book promotion!
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Pauline Wiles is the author of three light-hearted novels as well as Indie With Ease, which helps self-published authors conquer stress. She believes pragmatic self-care is the foundation of a long and happy writing career. Her own version of this includes plentiful tea, cake, and running.
Get more tips on purposeful productivity for writers and a free mini-course, Focus for Writers, at https://www.paulinewiles.com/writers
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Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month - created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and two live Twitter chats: #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with TheRuralVA, Emilie Rabitoy) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with C. Streetlights and Judith Staff. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.
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