Archive for June 20th, 2014

30 writing/marketing challenges for 30 days

If imitation is the highest form of flattery, Martijn Schirp should feel quite flattered, as I’m borrowing and adapting his fantastic idea from this post at High Existence: 30 Challenges for 30 Days. For the math-challenged among us (seriously, I’m not laughing at you — I understand!) that’s 2-and-a-half YEARS worth of challenges, if you were to do them successively.

Where Martijn’s ideas apply, I’ll leave them. But I’m filling out the 30 with some of our very own Marcie Brock ideas! Martijn ranks each challenge as easy, intermediate, or hard. I think that’s a subjective assessment that only the challenge-taker can determine. That’s not to say that some of these won’t be easier, and others more difficult.

#1 Write a Thank-You note/text/email each day. Certainly, there must be 30 people in your life who have helped you develop as a writer, take a step forward as an author, get the word out about your book. You may not still be in regular contact with them, but don’t let that stop you. This is the perfect way to let someone else know you care. You surely will make someone’s day, 30 days in a row!

#2 Talk to one stranger each day. If you’re shy, this is a great motivation to step out of your comfort zone and chat with networkingpeople. Of course, it does require that you get out from behind your computer, because online chatting doesn’t count. NOTE: This challenge is not ‘Tell one new person all about your book each day.’ It’s probably better if you don’t force a conversation about your book on every stranger you come across. You might just start with saying “Hi.” Then work up to other topics, like the weather, the headlines on the tabloids if you’re in line at the grocery store, etc. People are generally friendly, but don’t get freaked out if you meet an equally shy person. Just say hello and move along, without taking it personally. Remember where you were before you began this challenge!

#3 Take one picture related to your book each day (and post it on Pinterest). If pictures related to your book are difficult to come up with, you could take 30 photos of yourself reading your book in different poses/places, but that might be a bit self-aggrandizing. So what about enlisting friends to help you out. If they don’t have your book yet, this might incentivize them to buy it. Or, you might just have to
show up at their doors and ask them to pose with your book. Either way, lots of fun, don’t you think? Add to the power by posting the pics on Pinterest.

#4 Re-evaluate one long-held belief each day. Questioning your own beliefs is a great way to rid yourself of the self-sabotaging bullshit, while continually implementing and acting on the new knowledge you’ve taken on since you began this self-examination. If you’ve got a habit of getting in your own way, maybe you want to make this challenge a priority.

#5 Watch a YouTube video on your subject/theme each day. One way to stay fresh and keep the ideas flowing is by checking to see what others in your industry are doing. YouTube is great for book trailers, how-to videos, motivation and inspiration, and author vignettes. Take a spin — then implement what you learn!

#6 POST a YouTube video on your subject/theme each day. Yes, this is what they call “out of the frying pan and into the fire.”  Make this easier on yourself by making a bunch of short videos in one session, and posting them separately. Need ideas for topics? Your book. The setting. Your characters. You can talk about them, read illustrative samples from the text, or go to (or find video of) places/people that resemble your setting/characters. Your writing space. Your influences and inspirations. The ideas are endless, really.

#7 Read one chapter of a marketing book each day — and take (or plan to take) one action step from it. This accomplishes two things: (1) the more you read, the better a writer you will become, and (2) it will give you new marketing ideas that you can implement into your book marketing campaign.

#8 Read a blog post each day and comment on it. Always wanted to know everything about Animal Behaviour? Psychology? Physics? Philosophy? Educate yourself without school! You’ll probably learn something, and it will help increase your sphere of influence, especially if you ever decide to incorporate a blog tour into your book marketing campaign.

#9 Write a blog post each day. A blog challenge like the Ultimate Blog Challenge (or Author Blog Challenge, if we decide to bring it back) may help incentivize you to stay on track with this one!

#10 Write a new article and post on eZineArticles.com. Articles are different from blog posts, in that they tend to be written third person and presented from an objective perspective. The best ones incorporate a third-party source into them, be it a blog, article, quote, or excerpt from a book. And you get to include a resource box with a call to action and a link back to your blog or website!

#11 Pick one bad habit you already have and ditch it for 30 days. Are you a procrastinator? Do you tend to overexaggerate the negative side of things? Do you practice self-hate? Do you eat fast food? Do you play too many video games? Watch too much TV? Choose one habit and give it up for 30 days, and fill that void with one of the other challenges instead.

#12 Write a 60,000-word novel in 30 days (2,000 words a day). OK — this is especially for those who still haven’t begun writing, Ever wanted to write a book? Do it. Do it in 30 days. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) happens every November, so you’ve still got a few months to do your research and get your duckies lined up. Check out the official site here.

#13 Post to your favorite social media site every day. Try to incorporate the 4 + 1 + 1 rule: for every post that promotes your book, write one post of original content that is not a direct promotion for your book but something useful for your readers, and post four pieces of content from other (more recognizable?) influencers in your field or genre.

#14 Clear your clutter each day. If you’re already a neat creative type, this is not a challenge for you, so move on to something Pig-Penelse. If, however, your work area would make Schultz’s Pigpen proud, spend 15 minutes each day clearing out the clutter. Put books on the shelves where they belong. Toss or recycle old papers you no longer need. File or organize the ones you do. Sweep out the cobwebs and dust. You’ll have a new outlook, become more productive, and chances are, your income will increase, too!

#15 Create a power hour each day. This idea comes from my friend Joey Sampaga, who used it to great effect to build his mortgage business. Every day, he’d clear one hour in his schedule to make phone calls to people. He wasn’t selling anything – just checking in to say hello and further develop solid relationships. Yes – he got off the computer and used his phone for phone calls! Wondering where you should begin? How about tackling the stack of business cards you’ve been meaning to get to? Surprise people – be the one who follows up first!

#16 Download a card scan app for your phone and scan a few cards every day. Again, if you’re already ultra-organized, this won’t be a challenge for you. But if you’ve got cards sitting around in little piles going back to January (or longer), get organized by at least adding them to your database so you can see who’s there, categorize them, and put them on your regular newsletter or email list. As my friend Todd Smith used to say, “Those are little piles of money scattered around your office, car, house, etc.!”

#17 Do a random act of kindness each day. Wait – this isn’t related to my book or marketing! Oh, but it is! This is called generating good karma and promoting the Law of Attraction. You want good stuff to come to you? You’ve got to get into the habit of giving good stuff to others. And maybe it is related to your book, depending on the subject/genre of your book. Is your book about caregiving for the elderly? Help a caregiver or elderly person out every day! These gestures can be large or small in scale. Pay for the coffee of the person in line behind you at your favorite coffee shop. Mow an incapacitated neighbor’s lawn. Smile at someone you wouldn’t normally approach. Touch a homeless person – physically touch them! We all need human touch to survive, and that population, especially, lacks it the most. Get creative. It will help you feel better about yourself and the world around you!

#18 Spend 10 minutes a day visualizing yourself achieving your goal. Really do this! Make sure you’re in a quiet space where you’ll be undisturbed for this exercise. Whether it’s selling 10,000 copies of your debut novel and making The New York Times Best-Seller List or landing keynote speaking gigs, visualize yourself achieving whatever your goal looks like. See it happening in real time, as if you are acting it out – not as if you’re watching yourself starring in a movie. See it in color, and make sure the image takes up the entire frame of your visual field (even if you’re doing this with your eyes closed). Feel the emotions of achieving your goal, allowing yourself to get excited, happy, energetic, etc. Keep it up past the 30 days if you really intend to manifest the goal!

#19 Write down 10 (or 25 or 50) things for which you are grateful each day. Sometimes we can get stuck in a rut, feeling like we’re not making any progress or like other people have it easier or are catching all the breaks. It’s essential to snap out of this kind of thinking as quickly as possible, and one of the easiest ways to do that is by taking stock of all the things we have to be grateful for. If you’re reading this on a laptop, that’s something. Smartphone? Something else. Able to read at all? Able to write? Have some good graphics skills? Have people in your life who support you? All your body parts working? Most of them? Have running water and AC in your home? Have a home office – or an office office? Have a car or transportation? Able to breath fresh air? You get the idea…

#20 Think of an accomplishment you’d like to achieve for each year of the next 30 years, one year for each day. clockThis is great existential shock therapy. You can’t answer these questions without facing your life as it is right now and how it is likely to unfold. This one also gets harder progressively. It’s a great way to reflect!

#21 Practice a random skill everyday. There are many how-to videos available on YouTube and other video sites. Pen tricks, hand stands, dances, cooking tricks. Broaden your arsenal, especially if there’s a marketing skill you want to develop but presently lack!

#22 Wake up early each day. “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.” — Aristotle

#23 Keep a journal. Great for memory, reflection, and especially awesome to look back on from the future and remember the good old times when you did these challenges!

#24 Doing something that scares you every day. Fear is the one thing keeping you from being the best version of yourself. The only way to overcome your fears is to face them head on!

#25 Sign up for BookCrossing.com and give away a book every day. These can be copies of the book you’ve written, books off your bookcase, or a combination of both. Register for your unique BookCrossing ID. Download labels with your ID and put them in the books. Place the books strategically in public places where someone is likely to pick them up: bus stations, on the train, in a public restroom, in a restaurant, etc. Provided that the people who find your books play along, you will be able to go back to the site and track where your books go.

#26 Submit your book to one book review blog/site every day. Google “book reviews for self-published authors” and you’ll likely find dozens of posts, each containing dozens of book review possibilities. 30 days’ worth should be a breeze! Be sure to read and follow the reviewers’ submission guidelines fully. If one reviewer doesn’t accept books in your genre, move on. The next one will!

#27 Don’t complain for an entire day. This one will likely take more than a few days to work up to achieving. Even if you’re a highly positive person, it’s difficult not to utter one negative sentence during any 24-hour span. Don’t get down on yourself if you can’t make it past just one hour — as with everything this takes practice! This one is also great practice for becoming conscious of your thoughts.

#28 Meditate each day. Read this to learn why you should meditate and learn awesome variations on meditation here. The best moments are just after waking up and just before sleep!

#29 Rehearse the pitch for your book each day. Your pitch is your 30-second elevator speech about your book – the one you give when tell someone you’re an author and they inevitably ask, “What’s your book about?” or “What do you write?”  Don’t blow these opportunities by saying something like, “Well, it’s kind of hard to explain,” or boring them with a 15-minute diatribe. Cut to the chase and explain succinctly what the book is about, who it’s intended for, what it will do for them, and the thing it will cause them to do. Then practice it until it rolls off your tongue. Ten minutes a day for 30 days will surely help you get to that place!

#30 Combine challenges. Take a photo of yourself reading a different book at a different location. Do a video interview with a stranger and ask him or her for a business card. Do all of the challenges, a different one each day. Wake up early to make time to meditate, write a gratitude list, and visualize your goal.

Here’s to challenging yourself — and seeing what comes out on the other side!



If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put an Anatomy of a Book Launchevent like this together, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!


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