Frequent Author Questions

In my quest to help authors become Media Darlings, there are common questions that come up, and today seems like a good day to share some of those questions along with the answers.

One of the top concerns writers and authors have has to do with focus. They want to know how to stay focused on their publicity efforts and avoid Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS). SOS is when our attention is hijacked upon hearing about the next “great and wonderful new thing” that will 1) help us as authors, and 2) save us time. It takes us off our committed focus and down various rabbit holes only to end up feeling depleted and discouraged for not finishing what had set as the goal for that day.

It’s understandable. We live in a world that is constantly trying to get our attention about something or other–and it’s often with a price tag attached. That’s fine and helpful if it is something we can actually use, but more often it just takes us away from finishing what is important for that day.

Here are some more of the most common concerns and questions.

How do I keep from being overwhelmed with all that needs to be done?

I wish I had a magic bullet for this one, but it takes discipline to keep oneself on course. Most authors need to have a strategy for doing the work they say they want to do until it is done. Usually it’s around creating and continuing to build on their platforms.

Create checklists: One of the best methods for staying on track is to create checklists. For example, creating social media checklists containing all the actions authors can take on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis will help them to feel organized and productive. It’s extra brain power to think through all the steps you need to take each time you decide to post. With a checklist, you simply follow the list in the order it’s written.

Create an editorial calendar: An editorial calendar is simply a list of what you are going to write or produce and when. For example, if you have a blog you might decide that you will blog three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Monday’s topic will always feature what I am currently up to. Wednesdays will always cover something new within the topic my book covers, such as new research. And Fridays will be dedicated to featuring guest bloggers. You get to decide what content will be on the editorial calendar, but sticking to it gives you deadlines that need to be met.

How can author’s maximize their efforts and spend less time doing it?

Repurpose content: There are many different strategies for this, but one way is to learn to repurpose content. When you write a blog post, take parts of it to use as social media comments and topics. When you create a video, take the transcript and use it in your newsletter. You can set this up however you want to, but the point is that you use your content in many different ways so that people can consume it the way they most like to, and you are not always creating brand new material from scratch.

How can I write effective “Hooks” for my blog, articles, and other media?

There is an art to writing snappy, compelling headlines. It takes practice, and a good way to begin is by paying attention to the hooks that grab you. What causes you to stop and pay attention to what you’re reading, watching, or listening to? You can learn a lot by paying attention to this. Then, how can you take your content and write a hook that will cause others to stop and listen? When you have an author community, this is a great place to test your material. Share your content early with them and ask for feedback.

Why should I care about social media?

My one-on-one clients are pretty well entrenched in social media. However, I do a fair amount of teaching too, and this question comes up fairly often. While it may seem like most of the world has embraced social media, many have not. And if they have, many aren’t doing it as  effectively as they could be. If that’s you, not to worry. Knowing what we need to learn is half the goal. It’s time to open up to the possibilities now. Start by watching what others are posting. Pay attention to the reels as this is getting a lot of traction now. Get involved in groups with common interests. You might start with a book group, or a group that focuses on your topic. And, you might meet some wonderful new friends too, who want to help promote your book.

If you are already deeply involved in social media, pay attention. It changes and evolves–fast!

It seems like everyone is the media now. How do I know who to go after?

You’re right. Everyone is the media now, and that is a fact. I have found it helpful to look at media through 3 different lenses: You Media (Your own content generation), Borrowed Media (Your social media with the understanding that you do not own the platform), and Earned Media (These are the coveted interviews and segments written and produced by others.) Each element is important and all interact with the others. You want to be sure you spend time on each in a fairly balanced way.

I hate the word platform. I hear it all the time. How can I learn to think differently about my platform, publicity, and visibility? What can I do?

Haha…yes, we hear the word “platform” all the time. Think of it as all the ways you are able to reach your audience. It’s all the different media channels you use via your “You media,” borrowed media, and earned media too. Your platform is how you show up and stand out in the world. Just remember, it’s easy to stand up these days, because anyone can create a website, open social media channels, and build a list. The trick is figuring out how you’re going to stand out. That is the key! More on that in the near future.

To your success!


P.S. I hear from frustrated authors all the time. “How do I get the news out about my book?” It seems like there is so much to do, so what should you do? The NonFiction Authors Association and I are presenting a webinar on July 28th called, “How to Locate Media Contacts.” It’s filled with lots of the tricks I use, so come and join us. You can sign up for it here.




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