Marketing, Promotion, Time Management, oh my!

When I’m working with a coaching client, one of the first things I ask them is, what is their eventual publishing goal? I’ll often get an answer that factors in how much marketing and promotion they feel comfortable doing. I then have to inform them that writers, whether they be indie authors or traditionally published, need to not only be their own marketers and promoters, but must have a good grasp of public relations as well. Some of my fellow authors seem to fall into these roles with aplomb. Others, like myself, struggle to figure out not only how to market, promote, and tell their own author story, but also struggle to figure out when to fit these duties into a day that already bulges with the amount of stuff we try to cram in there.

For the how and what of PR and promotions, there are a lot of good resources out there, and I’ll be sharing them. In the meantime, you can check out the indie author biz Facebook group, 20Booksto50K(R), which is just about the best group on the subject that I have found.

The question for me, however, was not only what to do, but when to do it. Time management. My daily schedule can get crammed full of stuff faster than I can jot it down in my bullet journal. Finding the time to write, especially when you’re feeling less-than-motivated, can be hard enough, let alone finding the time to come up with a plan to market and promote that writing. Conversely, I’ve also found myself getting into the swing of PR and promo so heavily that I neglect the writing I need to do in favor of making one last Tweet on a trending topic (or crafting a blog post on the topic of time management…)

So, I came up with this:

There you go. Now you know all my plans for world domination … Muahahahahaa!

I spent a couple bucks at the local print shop to get this blown up and laminated. Part of this tool comes from spending time as an Army staff officer. A “battle rhythm” is a tool to keep staff sections (and others) on track with what’s happening on a regular basis, and what the daily tasks are, with an eye on the horizon to make sure things are happening when they need to for future events. This isn’t completely detailed down to the last level–that’s what my bullet journal is for. This is more because I needed something that I could refer to at a glance and keep myself on track.

The “Five Daily Action Steps”section came from Jack Canfield’s Rule of Five. I added it to this graphic for two reasons. First, it helps me keep a log of what I’m doing each day. I’ve got a stack of Post-It notes, each with one marketing/promotion “to-do” written on it, and sometimes I use one of those, and sometimes I already have something on my bullet journal daily list. Either way, once I’ve done that activity, this is a record that I’ve done it. At one glance, I can review the week and see if I’ve gotten top heavy or lazy anywhere, or if I’ve gotten off track and instead of promoting an upcoming publication I’ve started just surfing social media and calling it a day. Second, it keeps me from falling down the rabbit hole of spending my entire day on the promo and marketing hustle. Although P&M isn’t necessarily my favorite part of the writing process, I have found that once I get into it, I come up with more and more ideas that I just have to start on right now! And then I look up at the end of the day and realize that I’ve gotten no writing done, my workout has fallen by the wayside, and there are several sets of eyes both human and canine staring at me wondering if we’re going to eat tonight. (Or else, my spouse has made dinner and they’ve started without me…)

So, just in case this might help anyone stopping by the blog, feel free to download the graphic, mess around with it to make it more helpful for your process, and go forth to do great things! Also, if you would like the original PowerPoint slide that I made the image from, in order to make it easier to customize it to what you need, feel free to drop me a line at unfamousscribbler(@)gmail.com. Good luck!

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