Most of my Savvy Sunday posts contain very specific action tips on how to get media attention for your books. Sometimes, I find it necessary to address problems or challenges that may keep us stuck or hold us back in some way. Today is a day like that.
To say our world is changing quickly is cliché. In fact, quick change is the new norm, particularly in the world of publishing and media, so we must be willing to learn fast when it comes to publicizing and marketing our books.
Not everyone wants to hear that.
I get it. I really do.
But we must embrace this if we are to stay relevant in this swiftly changing marketplace.
When people don’t want to change, it shows up in the form of resistance. There are three that I hear most often when discussing with authors what it takes to get more media attention for their books:
- I don’t have time.
- I’m overwhelmed.
- I don’t know how.
We all experience these feelings from time-to-time, but if they actually stop you from attaining the goals you have set for yourself, then we have got to figure out how to either get past them or get them under control in order to meet the goals set for the campaigns.
Today I’m sharing some of my strategies for getting past the “three biggies:”
“I don’t have time.”
This one is particularly tricky because the truth is, no one has time to do all the things they want to do. It’s also heard so often that it doesn’t mean anything anymore. It’s in the same category as “Have a nice day,” or “How are you?” or “I’m doing fine.”
“I don’t have time” or “I’m too busy,” roll off tongues easily. And it may be true that you’re too busy, but if you want your book to be successful, then you have to find the time somewhere.
This is where you examine exactly how you spend your time. You’ve heard of a food diary, right? Well, this is a time diary.
Twenty-two years ago when my publicity business launched, I would write down the exact start time of each project, and then the stop time when I completed it for that day. I did this for every client and every project.
Then I got an actual, digital time clock and would punch in and out the exact times I worked on every project, including when the phone rang regarding a different client, or when I got distracted by something else. I religiously clocked in and out and only recorded the actual minutes on each project.
The results were stunning.
I discovered writing down start and stop times, versus clocking in and out of every little thing, were vastly different. The digital time clock was money very well spent and gave me a very clear idea where I was on every project on a daily basis. I thought I could judge time. It was very eye opening.
How do you spend your time?
Do you binge watch Netflix every evening? Statistics say the average adult watches 4.71 hours of television per day (and that doesn’t count personal screen time on laptops and phones.) How long do you spend on Facebook each day? Are you able to get right to tasks on your “to do” list or do you procrastinate when it isn’t something you’re excited about doing?
We all procrastinate from time-to-time, and no one is arguing that we don’t need down time, but when it gets in the way of achieving the things you say you want to do, well, then it’s a problem that needs to be examined.
Another phrase that is overused but is a very real feeling is, “I’m overwhelmed.” People know how to overwhelm themselves and some are extremely good at it. Now is the time to learn how to underwhelm yourself.
You do have some control, after all. You do get to decide how you’re going to think about your book and its promotion. Yes, there are a million things to do, social media posts to make, speeches to write and then present, webinars to attend, and advice from every direction to be taken, but what should you be doing right now? This second?
And when you’re confronted with so many choices coupled with indecision, well, that feels bad. No one wants to feel paralyzed, as if they can’t get things done.
Sometimes we all need a little help with this, so here are a few ideas:
The next time you notice you’re beginning to get that feeling of overwhelm again, STOP what you’re doing and go do something else. Don’t wait until it’s full blown overwhelm; Stop the second you begin to feel it. This is not the time to power through. You’ve done enough of that in your life. Now is the time to interrupt that pattern and go do something you enjoy.
One of my favorite choices when I begin to feel that sneaky feeling coming on is to go outside for the brisk walk or a run. Move your body. Breathe. Don’t think about your book. Think about anything else, e.g., how much you’re looking forward to visiting a good friend next weekend, or think about all the wonderful things you’re going to do on your next vacation, or how you want to surprise someone special with a precious gift. Whatever brings you joy and pleasure. Think about that!
The truth is we make time for the things we really want. However, I will take this a step further: We’ll make time for what we want when WE KNOW THE NEXT STEP WE NEED TO TAKE.
“I don’t know how.”
This one is sneaky too. Often, people feel overwhelmed just because they don’t know what to do next. This is where mind mapping or list making can make all the difference.
Step one: Write it all down. What do you need to do? Hold absolutely nothing back and don’t worry if it’s a work-related item or a personal item. This is equivalent to the process of brainstorming or writing. You don’t want to edit yourself during the process. There is plenty of time for that later. Just get it down.
Once you write it all down (and this might take awhile so take breaks when you need to. See comment #2: I’m overwhelmed.), then you can being dividing your answers into segments, such as “work” or “book” and “life.”
Next, look over your list and determine if there anything on your list that must be done today? If so, then do it. For everything else, begin putting a timeline together.
Remember: There are projects that are important but don’t have a looming deadline yet, e.g., “begin writing keynote speech.” These things are easy to put off, and this is where discipline comes in. Mark time on your calendar to get started on it. Allow yourself to do the first draft badly. This is one of my best tricks to fool myself. I just say, “Get started on first draft,” and once I have done that, I get to feel good about accomplishing something. Then the next day, we tackle the second draft.
I’ve noticed with human beings a tendency to think that because we have thought about doing something, it should now automatically be done, when there is actually a lag between thinking of a great idea and then completing it. Talk about a recipe for overwhelm. I know this seems obvious, but how else do you explain that feeling of being behind simply because we have a list of things to do — that aren’t done yet?
I have discovered a tool that has really changed my life. It’s called Monday.com and it’s a platform for getting down all the projects you’re working on and where you are in the process. It makes the most sense if there are others on your team, such as a VA, office manager, assistant, etc. You might want to check it out and see if it’s for you. I love it.
The whole idea here is to promote your books and get more media attention for them. As I mentioned earlier, when we have other thoughts that get in our way, such as the three I’ve described here, well, it’s time to take action to change that. Sometimes we have to confront our own mental beliefs so that we can get things done and meet our goals.
If you have comments, please let me know!
To your success!