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Looking Backward Won’t Take You Forward

Leave the past

Yes – there’s a spelling error. I’m letting perfectionism go and leaving it as it is!

I was looking in the mirror this morning, and I found myself wondering how long it was going to take me to get back to how I looked in my last head shot. This should not have been a lightbulb moment, but the awareness that I’m never going to “get back” to where I was a few years ago was rather like an ice-water shower.

Over the last 16 months, I’ve been working out pretty diligently – both with my trainer and on my own – and in that time I’ve managed to lose about 30 pounds. Not a huge shift, but significant enough to be feeling better and motivated to keep exercising and eating well. That was until I saw a video about this guy who lost 140 pounds in 10 months.

Suddenly my accomplishment didn’t seem quite so accomplished.

Should I have lost more weight in that time? Probably – but that’s a value judgment. Your answer would largely depend on your own lens, perspective, and beliefs. Could I have lost more weight in that time? Now we’re on objective territory, and the answer is, without question, yes.

So what’s my next step? Agonize over the “should-haves” and “could-haves” and dissect the reasons I didn’t? Or is it to stand up tall and then pivot 180 degrees, turning myself to face forward instead of backward? I know that’s what my trainer would recommend.

How often do we get stuck – if not heading in reverse, then staring longingly down that path to yesterday? It’s a mirage, though, that path – because as hard as we might try, we’re never going to find ourselves there again. When it comes to your book marketing, are there things you could have done that would have helped you be further down the road today, a little close to your goal? If you’re like most people, of course there are. Better planning. More consistency. Automation. A stronger follow-up system. Fill in your own blank about what you could have done better.

As we head into Fall and find ourselves just weeks from the holidays (and the end of the year), it’s not too soon to start our planning for the next phase of our book marketing campaigns. But what if, instead of trying to fix everything that went wrong or underperformed or disappointed us this year, we chose to focus on one thing we were going to do well in 2018? What if we learned to embrace that empowering two-letter Get-Out-of-Overwhelm Free word, and started saying NO to anything that took us away from that singular focus? What if we turned off the TV? Got an accountability partner who would ask whether we called that bookstore or emailed that reviewer? What if instead of looking back, we looked forward with anticipation, commitment, and a determination to call perfectionism’s bluff?

You know what you have to do to write more books, sell more books, build your email list. Acknowledge where you are right now – and where you were a year ago. Then make a pledge about where you intend to be a year from now – and start taking the steps that will allow you to accomplish that goal.

Laura

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