We do it to ourselves every year. The list of New Year’s resolutions is loaded up with high expectations and multiple goals — sell a million books, lose a million pounds, run a million miles. You know the drill. Optimism rules. It feels good. But what if this new year, you let go of outcomes and committed to a process of daily and weekly disciplines that would help you become successful. What would that look like and where would it take you?
Start by quantifying your commitments by assigning either a certain amount of time you will devote to them on a regular basis or a numeric goal. For example, you might commit to spending thirty minutes on social media each morning or obligate yourself to three posts each day on Twitter. This will feel a bit mechanical at first, but you will be creating routines that will ultimately help you achieve your long-term goals.
I recently had the pleasure of working one-on-one with romance author Susan Rodgers, who was the winner of Kobo’s Social Savvy Author Contest. Her enthusiasm was contagious and she accomplished amazing things in a small amount of time while juggling many other obligations. You should check out her sleek new website. Susan is setting herself up to achieve her long-term goals by committing to daily rituals with a “can do” spirit. Go Susan!
My message to Susan was simple: define a realistic amount of time to spend each day on book promotion and then follow the 20/20/20 rule. Spend 20 percent of the time researching and learning about book marketing, 20 percent marketing across all channels (website, blog, social, email, in person, etc.), and 20 percent engaging with other readers and writers. If you are an author who only has one hour a day to devote to book marketing, that’s okay! Just apply the 20/20/20 rule and devote 20 minutes to each task.
Do the same with your writing routine. There is nothing more important to your success than learning your craft and writing great books. Regular readers of this blog know that one of my favorite mantras is: a good book is your best promotion. Quantify the practice of writing. Commit to a writing routine — an hour a day or a thousand words a day – whatever works for you and your schedule.
Discipline is a practice, not an outcome. And, as you well know, becoming a successful author in today’s crowded book marketplace takes tremendous discipline. So this year, resolve to put in place a process for success. I think you’ll be pleased with the outcome.
Happy New Year!
Kathy Meis is founder and president of the social book discovery platform Bublish. She is a professional writer, editor and editorial manager with more than twenty years of experience in the media and publishing industries. Kathy was also a founding editor of Forbes MediaCritic and is a founding partner of PubSmart, a new author-centric publishing conference being held in Charleston, South Carolina. She also ghostwrites business books and is a frequent blogger on the subject of book promotion, author branding, social media and discoverability. In 2012, Kathy won the People’s Choice Award at the Startup Showcase at O’Reilly’s Tools of Change Publishing Conference.