I have a new puppy, so you’ll forgive my wanting to see her life (and my life with her) as one big metaphor. That’s how my mind works! I thought I’d include a super-cute picture of her, just as eye candy.
Here’s the scoop: she is super adorable, her name is Lula, and she came from a death-row shelter in the south when she was a mere six weeks old (she’s now ten weeks and twice this size). She is a mix of a Bernese Mountain Dog and a Border Collie, meaning she is very fluffy, very smart, and gains approximately one pound every three days.
Why am I comparing my new (adorable) puppy to authors in the process of marketing? Because frankly, puppies bring an inordinate amount of chaos into your life. They do not have control of themselves. They poop, they pee, they cry– basically they are like toddlers with no pants, running around and getting your house messy. The only way to get through it and turn them into the awesome dogs you know they can be is to be consistent with their training, forming good habits and rewarding them for good behavior.
When you finish your book and start the process of building your author platform and marketing yourself, your mind is going to act like this puppy. It will be easily distracted, it will cry, and it will make messes from time to time. It will get frustrated, cry, and possibly bite you. As soon as your mind hears the words “1) use keywords / keyphrases as post titles, 2) syndicate your RSS feed through feed directories, 3) ping your posts through ping services (I’m just assuming your site is built on WordPress, and 4) go to www.boardtracker.com, sign up for some forums that are appropriate to your market and participate in them in order to build readership,” your puppy mind will go nuts and want to run away with a frisbee. I say this from experience, because I talk to authors every day who, when I give them this list, start to behave just like my puppy. My advice is this: DO NOT OVERWHELM YOURSELF. The more things you throw at your mind, the more it will want to give up. “I wrote a book!” it will say. “Isn’t that enough?” We all know by now that the answer is no. It’s not enough to just show up and be awesome. You have to make getting yourself out there into a habit.
The key is to not give up on your mind, just like you would not give up on the puppy. Take it a little at a time– right now, we are practicing Lula’s skills and manners in 15 minute increments, because that is all her little brain can handle. I suggest that you do the same, eventually making marketing (blogging, participating in social media, or otherwise getting yourself out there) a habit that you enjoy. Be sure to use the right training tools as well– StayFocused is an awesome app for your Google Chrome browser, for instance, that can help you block yourself from chit-chatting on Facebook when you’re trying to learn about RSS feeds or get a blog post done. Also, be sure to reward yourself! Lula gets a treat when she sits or lets me know she has to go outside. Give yourself a treat when you’ve completed your marketing for the day!
And with that, I will stop distracting you and let you do your 15 minutes today! Also, if you want to see more pictures of this puppy, I (of course) have a whole separate blog for her at http://worldscutestpuppy.tumblr.com. Add it to your “fun stuff” list for when you’re done with your marketing!