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Are you organized for success in 2013?

Marcie juggling

OK, then. It’s the first Monday in February. How are YOUR book marketing plans for 2013 going? I was battling a fierce cold for the first two+ weeks of January. When I finally stopped coughing long enough to be able to hold a reasonable phone conversation, I looked up, and January was g-o-n-e. Now, I find myself back in work mode – and the ideas are swirling fast and furious.

I’ve been reading great stuff, meeting fantastic people, developing new projects, one after the other – all of which is very exciting, but I’m realizing that if I don’t rein it in a bit and organize these thoughts, they could be lost in the whirlwind of energy that carried them to me … and wind up going nowhere.

If you’ve ever heard of the Enneagram personality assessment, I’m a 7 – THE ENTHUSIAST. “Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming overextended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.”

Some coaches refer to this as Shiny Gold Object Syndrome. Or using my catlike reflexes to chase a bird, eat food, climb on the dresser, sit in your lap, and bat at dust bunnies … all simultaneously. I think many creative types fall into this category. The goal is to work on that last line, “At their best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.” They say the teacher teaches what the teacher needs to learn … so trust me when I say I’m not necessarily the best-equipped person to tell you how to manage the 1,000 new ideas that may barrage you daily.

The following are a few things that are working for me. Please know, these didn’t come easily and I have yet to master them completely. But since I’ve been incorporating them, I’m definitely more productive, focused, and calm.

  1. WRITE IT DOWN. No matter how good the idea, quote, tagline, website, suggestion, or invitation may be, it’s not going to stay at the forefront of your mind for long. Because if you’re active and interested, another great idea, quote, tagline, website, suggestion, or invitation is going to come along right behind it. And then another. Do you really want to trust your memory to recall all of those opportunities, or do you want to be sure to be able to examine them again, when you have some time to focus on them?
  2. Which leads to the next point. MAKE SOME TIME. I used to have a really bad habit of not reading email as it came in. “Oh, that sounds interesting. I’ll look at it later when I have more time,” is what I told myself. Two hours pass. Another 137 emails poured in on top of the one I was going to “get to,” and before you know it, it was buried, deadline all but forgotten. And it wouldn’t come up again until someone mentioned having attended the event, met the speaker, or in some other way taken advantage of that email that I was going to get to. Now I schedule time to read – and ATTEND to – email every two days.
  3. PRIORITIZE. Try as you might, you cannot do it all. At least not all at once. This means learning to put an order to your goals and ascribing deadlines to them, too. You might think about creating a physical or virtual file for the things that are interesting but don’t practically apply right now. Then calendar some time (once a quarter, once a month, whatever works for you) to look that file over. At that point, you can reassess your current plans and determine whether the things in your Future Folder might have more relevance now.

One thing is true: it’s impossible to be successful if you’re overwhelmed. 2013 can be your best year yet – as long as you stay somewhat organized and VERY focused. Please share your suggestions, ideas, and experiences around what’s worked for you in the comment section below!

Laura

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Steve Avery … baseball fan, bibliophile

For the next 14 days, we’ll be taking a little detour from the traditional marketing posts you’ve come to know and love on the Marcie Brock blog as I lead by example and follow my own writing prompts for the Author Blog Challenge.

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Day 15 writing prompt:

Find someone you know, either online or in the real world, who is a true bibliophile and interview them about their reading habits.

This prompt was inspired by a recent conversation with my friend Steve Avery – the most avid purchaser, reader, and consumer of books I have ever met. In short, he is a true bibliophile. Steve and I have been friends for years. We met selling tickets for the Arizona Diamondbacks way back in 2000, and in all the time I’ve known him, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen him without a book. His house looks like what I imagine the back room of a book shop might look like, except there’s just one copy of each title.  He recently admitted to me that he’s more of a collector than a reader, in that while he buys between one and two dozen books a month and starts all  of them, he probably finishes fewer than 50 percent.

Steve was one of the first people I knew who owned a Kindle – but he seldom uses it now, because he has an iPad and an iPhone in part, but mostly because he just prefers printed books, hardbacks if he can get them. I went with Steve to the midnight release of one of the middle Harry Potter books (I couldn’t begin to tell you which number or title, but I’m sure he remembers) at a Waldenbooks up the street from his house that has long been converted into a check-cashing store.

A true sign of Steve’s friendship is that he has bought a book, read it very carefully so as not to make even the slightest crumple in a corner as he turned the pages, and then gifted it to you because you once mentioned it in passing. Almost as big a baseball fan as he is an avid reader, he’s probably got every baseball title ever printed. I always consider it a coup when I can alert him about a new baseball book or seminar before he’s heard of it.

Steve does not buy used books unless it’s a rare or hard-to-find title. If it’s not hot off the presses, he’s probably not interested. He is not only a consumer of books – but he devours book magazines and websites. His favorite authors are the father and daughter duo, James Lee Burke and Alafair Burke. The best thing he’s read recently is Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn.

He loves to attend signings and considers his vast – and ever growing – collection of autographed books among his most prized. The most memorable signing he attended was that of Sophia Littlefield, who was interviewed by her longtime friend, Juliet Blackwell. As Steve tells it, they threw away the script and carried on an impromptu interview for an hour which he found utterly delightful. Questions he’d most like to ask his favorite authors include “How autobiographical is your work?” and “Are you considering moving into the YA market?”

The book that most surprised Steve recently was William Landay’s Defending Jacob “because he wrote beyond the obvious end of the story.”

A history major with an avid imagination and a very funny storyteller, Steve does not fancy himself a writer at all. I think he really shorts himself in this area – but he will tell you he’d much rather read the words of a true expert than dabble at conveying a convoluted message.

He recently left me a Facebook message with a new proposition. Because he reads almost any kind of fiction but would like to get to more nonfiction titles, we are going to begin a book club of two. He’ll choose two NF titles that interest him and ask me to choose the one I’d most like to read. He’ll buy it, read it, pass it on to me, and then we’ll discuss. Like grownups. Our first assignment is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. I’ll let you know what I think of it when I find a moment to stop nattering.

Happy reading!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out!

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The challenge of time and priority

For the next 16 days, we’ll be taking a little detour from the traditional marketing posts you’ve come to know and love on the Marcie Brock blog as I lead by example and follow my own writing prompts for the Author Blog Challenge. There’s still time to register. Join today and qualify for drawings for daily giveaways for every day that you post.

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Day 13 writing prompt:

What has been the most challenging part of your book process: writing, building the book, printing, distributing, marketing, etc.? What do you wish you’d known before you began?

The original idea for my book, 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women, came to me in March 2001. It took me a few months to compile the questions, and the book was nearing completion in early September 2001. Then, like so many dimensions of all our lives, it came screeching to a halt as a result of the 9/11 tragedies.

While I lived in the NYC area, I commuted to the Financial District from New Jersey. I worked in the World Financial Center, the complex directly across the street from the World Trade Center, connected to it by a footbridge. In fact, the PATH train I took to work every day was stationed in the WTC. Certainly these tragedies resonated uniquely with every American, but because a former co-worker lost her firefighter husband, and my friends and loved ones were lucky to escape with their lives, for me the events were eerily personal.

Eventually, though, the shock began to abate, and my own life crept back toward a routine – but for a long time, images of the WTC (before and after) appeared everywhere, and each time I gasped anew. The site of the Twin Towers in pre-9/11 movies still catches me off-guard sometimes.

So, for a long while after the terrorist attacks occurred, I put aside this project. It felt trivial and ridiculous in light of the events of the world. But slowly, I was drawn back to it – because it is important and worthwhile. Upon rereading them, it seemed to me that a number of the questions required re‑wording in our post-9/11 world. I offer them with humility, honesty, and the utmost respect.

Eventually I hit on a layout for the interior pages that I liked and seemed to prove useful to the readers – and I had an official launch in December 2010. In 2011, I entered the Global eBook Awards contest and won in the category of Women’s Studies. Since then? Nada. Marketing plans that have been waylaid by client work. Formatting for Kindle and a paperback version, with only the questions (as opposed to a workbook format) in process but incomplete.

My biggest challenge? Continuity. Time. Priority. I seem to work in spurts, making giant progress. And then back on the shelf for another six months to a year. The good news is that the book has a certain timelessness about it – and I know the right things to do. It’s just now making a concerted effort to do them.

Writing about it again as a part of the blog challenge is motivating, though! Glad to be in the mix, just like everyone else in the Challenge.

Happy publishing!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out and register today!

Read Full Post »

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