by Dana Lynn Smith
Let's face it – writing, publishing and promoting books is a lot of work. Sometimes authors can feel overwhelmed with all of the things they need to do. Here are some tips for coping with the myriad of tasks authors face:
How many hours per day or week can you realistically spend on your publishing business? Block out the time on your calendar like any other appointment.
Are you a morning or evening person? Do you work best in short bursts or long sessions? Find the best time for you to work productively.
Are you easily distracted or prone to procrastination? Develop strategies to combat that.
Find a Balance
One of the best ways to make more money from your publishing venture is to publish more books. But it can be a challenge to find time to write new books while you are promoting your existing books. You'll need to consider your own situation and work style to find a way to balance writing, publishing, and promotion.
For example, I tried writing for one hour a day, but I've found it's much more productive for me to work on a book in large blocks of time so I can dig in and really focus. So I tend to put marketing on hold for a few weeks when I'm working on a new book. But another system may work better for you.
If you have been following me for long, you have probably heard me say how important it is to have a written book marketing plan, customized for you and the type of books you write. For help with your plan, download my free report, Create a Book Marketing Plan That Sells Books.
Once you have strategy in place, schedule promotional tasks on a calendar for specific days, weeks and months of the year.
For example, my marketing plan calls for publishing a podcast each Monday, doing a blog post on Wednesdays, and sending out email newsletters on Fridays. But I'll let you in on a little secret - that's not when I actually do the work.
I find it much more efficient to batch these tasks together. So during the month, I will spend a couple of days producing next month's podcasts. And I will devote a day to writing and formatting blog posts, and another day writing newsletters to go out next month. Focusing on one type of work for a larger block of time works best for me.
Working a month ahead also reduces stress – I don't have to worry on Tuesday evening that I still don't have tomorrow's blog post done. I get the work done in advance and schedule the podcasts, blog posts and emails to be published on specific days in the future, so they will be distributed on time even if I'm traveling or busy with something else.
You'll get more accomplished if you really focus on the task at hand. Shut your office door if you can, close programs on your computer that you don’t need right now, silence your phone, and turn off the television.
When you have a written marketing plan with a timeline, you don't need to waste time thinking about what to do. Just take a look at your plan, get to work on what needs to be done today, and work as efficiently as you can.
Stick to your plan – don't be distracted by shiny objects. Focus on tasks that move you toward a specific goal. For example, if you want to build your reputation and drive traffic to your website through guest posting, you might set a goal of researching and contacting one blog a week to offer an article. By the end of the year, you could have articles published on as many as 52 blogs that are read by your target audiences!
Do the most important tasks first each day – before you check your email, or Facebook, or surf the internet, or watch a video, or whatever else is distracting you from your work. I also recommend setting time limits for things that seem to suck up a lot of time, like social networks.
Figure out how to do things most efficiently. Organize your files so you don't waste time searching for things. Automate whatever you can, and develop systems and checklists for routine tasks.
If your budget permits, consider hiring a virtual assistant to help.
Do something every day to promote your books, even if you just have time for one email or phone call. Each step you take is moving you closer to your goals.
Most importantly, just do it!
How about you? What techniques do you use to conquer author overwhelm?