Do you remember when Marie Kondo burst into our lives with her compelling bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? The thrill of decluttering swept through many of us, as we experienced the pleasure of keeping only the physical possessions that “spark joy.”
But what about your book promotion? Have you considered it could be similarly satisfying and energizing to declutter your marketing plan? How would it feel, to keep only those activities which earn their place?
Make a list of everything you’re doing now, or have tried in the past, to promote either your books or yourself as an author.
A) Rank everything on your list for effectiveness.
What’s working for your author business? What’s leading to book sales, growth in your email list, or at the very least, rewarding interaction with (potential) readers?
This might uncover a snag: what if you don’t actually know what’s working?
This can be a problem for authors: we see ten book sales on Amazon, but we can’t be sure what prompted those purchase decisions. Or a potential reader may learn about us, then borrow our book from their library (and leave a glowing online review) two years later. This is part of the territory in which we operate, so to some extent, you’ll have to use your judgment. However, you can also:
B) Now look at every item on your list and mark it according to how much you enjoy it. Most experts agree that book marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. So, if you really don’t enjoy a tactic, you need to acknowledge this: in the long-term, it will zap your creative energy. Similarly, there are hopefully at least a few methods on your list that you love to do.
C) Finally, estimate how much time you spend on each book marketing method. Hours spent on promotion are hours you’re not spending writing, or getting on with the rest of your life. Even if a method isn’t costing you actual money, time is an expenditure, too.
Based on these three factors, make decisions on what should remain. You might conclude that a moderately effective, but highly enjoyable tactic can stay. You might decide to purge everything that you loathe, even if it’s quick and occasionally effective. Equally, you can choose to limit the time you spend on certain activities, which don’t deserve hours of your focus. It’s up to you to make the call.
But it goes without saying: if you don’t enjoy something and it’s not effective, your sanity requires you to stop!
Take account of the total time you have available for book promotion: the fewer hours you can allocate to this activity, the more focused you’ll need to be. You can’t, for example, engage authentically on five different social media platforms, if you can only spend an hour per week.
For the tactics you’ll keep, streamline what remains:
THRU MAY 15
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Don’t let your decluttering efforts unravel. Set a calendar reminder to revisit the effectiveness of your marketing plan, analyze your statistics, and adjust accordingly. Try to stay consistent with your tactics for at least six months before concluding whether something is working.
And be wary of “shiny object” syndrome, so you avoid chasing the latest marketing trend that ripples through the author community. As you move forward, a reasonable rule of thumb is that for every new tactic you aspire to add to your marketing plan, you may need to let another one rest.
In this way, you’ll stay mindful about the best use of your time, and the book marketing tactics which “spark joy” in your author business.
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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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