I get it. Everybody is strapped for time. Even more now than ever before. Between the normal hassles of life and the shiny distraction syndrome of the Internet, for writers, it oftentimes feels impossible to get anything productive accomplished.
Moreover, trying to block out time for marketing never feels urgent, especially when your mind is focused on writing out that next scene in your up and coming novel.
Nevertheless, it is extremely important if you want to grow a writing business that really changes your life and circumstance.
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen Covey wrote about the importance of doing non-urgent but important activities. In other words, the types of actions that allow you to grow within your writing business.
If you only ever spend your time on the most urgent tasks, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to make giant leaps forward as an author.
The kinds of tasks I’m talking about don’t always take a long time, but they do require that you put in a little bit of effort every day for many weeks, months, or even years.
Here are four non-urgent, but important items to put on your daily to-do list that can help you to sell more books in the long run.
1) Step Into the Writing Place Where Anything and Everything is Possible
Mark Levy, the author of the book Accidental Genius, is a major believer of freewriting. Most often what you read or hear is how to get ideas for writing, but very seldom do you hear or read tips on how to use writing to get ideas.
You see, the process of freewriting is getting the logic side of the brain involved (or engaged) with the creative side. This practice is one way to push through seemingly insolvable problems and come up with ways to go beyond the limits that our minds create for us (and which are really not even there).
Napoleon Hill said something along these lines
“There are no limitations except the ones we create in our own minds.”
The idea with freewriting is to be intentional and set aside 15 to 30 minutes a day for a brainstorming and problem solving writing session.
One line of questioning that will help you to make more profit from your books is to ask yourself what you need to do to get more readers.
But you’re not going to stop there. At the top of your sheet of paper or word processing document, place the following question:
How can I give 10x as more value to new readers?
Take this question and expound upon it in as many different ways as you can think of. Never limit yourself. Instead, let your fingers fly and allow your brain to answer the question for you.
There are no barriers or obstacles here. If you decide that getting on the Today Show will give you the opportunity to make the impact you want to make, then let yourself brainstorm how you might create or attract such a thing to happen. There’s no dream too big for a brainstorming session.
Now, of course, not all of the ideas you come up with will be feasible, but there’s a strong possibility that you’ll get something tangible for your efforts.
In fact, there’s an ole saying that goes
“Reach for the moon … even you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
Now, your brainstorming session shouldn’t be a one-time thing. Schedule out 15 to 30 minutes a day every day for freewriting. If you successfully block off that time, then there’s no telling what you’ll be able to come up with in each cumulative session.
And if thinking in this way is not something that you’re used to, then I encourage you to get copy of John Maxwell’s book, “Thinking for a Change”. It can really give you a new perspective on the power of thinking, dreaming, as well as most powerful gift of imagination.
2) Employ a Virtual Assistant
One secret of many full-time authors is that they use one or multiple virtual assistants to help them complete some of their marketing tasks. It’s easy to recruit a VA to help you make more profit from your books as well.
Use a site like ODesk or Elance or Upwork or even Fiverr to post a job listing for your personal/virtual assistant. In many cases, you’ll be able to find someone who can complete basic tasks for you for under $5 an hour.
By hiring a virtual assistant to work an hour each weekday on any tasks that you might want to delegate, you can quadruple your productivity.
For instance, spend 15 minutes organizing and explaining a task to your VA, such as researching reviewers and bloggers, or editing and redesigning parts of your website that may need a little sprucing up, and/or looking up opportunities for you to expand your personal brand.
Now, I will say this, you shouldn’t expect miracles for such a small hourly rate, but you can definitely feel like you’re getting more hours in the day by having someone available who can lend you a hand. And that’s really the whole idea here. Having someone that can take the load off every now and then.
If you’re able to put a little more towards this type of service I would highly recommend it. Consider finding an expert in this area. It will be an investment, but it will provide a high return in book profits.
3) Share Something of Value Every Day
This point could’ve easily been replaced by something as typical as “tweet out a link” or “post something engaging on Facebook.” But instead of thinking of social media as a chore to do, you should concentrate on sharing something of value on a daily basis.
You should consider social media as a place to micro-publish something your proud of. The idea here is finding something you’re passionate about that you can share with the world.
If you’re novelist, you could create a Facebook-only story while sharing 100 words of the tale every day. Or if you are a non-fiction writer, make it a priority to post some words of wisdom that can inspire potential readers.
Whatever you decide to share, make sure it’s a part of you. Don’t just put something out there because you read about it on some blog. The more you care, the more your readers will care about you sharing it.
4) Nurture Relationships With Successful Authors
Reaching out to other authors is easy. All you have to do is find them on social media or shoot them a message on their contact form from their website. That takes significantly less than 15 minutes.
However, what may take you some time is formulating how your message can stand out from the rest. The best way to get an author’s attention is to offer something he/she needs or wants.
Zig Ziglar is famous for making this statement
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want, first.”
It’s as simple as that. For instance, J. Thorn used this method to get to the top of the horror genre on Amazon, by offering to design and format box sets for other authors.
You can use your particular skill set to help another author make more profits from their books, and in the meantime, you’ll cultivate an important relationship with someone who may have insight into how you can make progress in your own writing business.
Time is Money…How Will You Spend It?
Now, as we’ve discussed, it’s easy to get swept away by the most urgent tasks of the day. This is why it is so important to lock in at least 15 minutes per day for non-urgent work.
15 minuets doesn’t seem like much, but you can make a lot of forward progress growing your writing business if you are able to log over 50 hours a year at just 15 minuets a day.
Whatever you choose to do with that block of time, you’ll find yourself miles ahead of your peers who struggle to get any marketing in whatsoever.
They might even start asking you, “How’d you ever find the time?”
Now Over to You
Do you have some tips that you might be able to add to this list? Or do you have a success story from using one of these tips in the past?
If so, I would love to hear your thoughts. Let us know in the comments below.
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William Ballard is one of the most sought-after business and leadership coaches in the world. As founder and CEO of William Ballard Enterprise, his core business development and leadership programs are designed to be a catalyst for entrepreneurs and leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their business, their lives, and the world. To learn more about how to get back to your first love as a writer again, subscribe to William’s free business insider newsletter.