Managing Your Time to Promote by Jan Christensen

Jan-in-Beach-Hat-800-pix-300x159I’ve been struggling with promotion for a couple of years now. I want to do it all. But I really don’t like doing it all. I enjoy Facebook. I like writing blog posts, and I don’t mind signings and personal appearances. I also like Pinterest, but frankly, I don’t see how it can be made to sell very many books and be worth the time invested.

 

So, that leaves a lot of things I don’t particularly enjoy doing. They’re like housework for me. Necessary, but I’d rather do something else. These include:

 

  • Tweet two or three times a day.
  • Ask for reviews.
  • Ask for guest blogging gigs. (I like writing the posts—I just don’t particularly like asking to do them.)
  • Ask libraries to stock my books.
  • Run a contest, then distribute the books to the winner(s).
  • Run a free offer.
  • Run a countdown.
  • Produce my newsletter.
  • Make changes to my website.
  • Keep track of everything on spreadsheets.

 

The only way I’ve found to handle all this is to set aside a specific amount of time every day and use it to do what’s most important at that time. And schedule the things I’ll do every week. Those things are write and edit blog posts (Tuesdays) for myself and for others. Wednesday, I request a review and contact a library. I take Thursdays off and work on Saturday instead. So, Friday I update the spreadsheets, and make any changes needed to my website. Saturday I finish anything from the other days left hanging, and pick something else to do to fill up the time. You’re wondering what I do on Mondays? I work on short stories. First thing I do is send one out. If I have time left over or they’re all out (never happens), I work on another one. I hope getting short stories published increases my platform as a writer.

 

You’ll notice, too, that Facebook and Twitter are not included in the specific time I’ve set aside for other marketing. I work them in during the day. I try to Tweet something every morning, again around four, and sometimes in the evening. I try to look at Facebook late afternoon, but often don’t get to it.

 

I’ve been using the schedule for a while now, and I allot one hour, five days a week. This is all just marketing—not getting the book ready with cover, editing and so on. The things I really, really dislike doing, often, I admit, do not get done. But I haven’t given up. I keep at it, I keep trying.

 

Here is what I’d accomplish in one year by sticking to this schedule religiously:

 

  • 780 tweets (52 weeks times 5 days a week, times 3 times a day)
  • 52 short stories submitted
  • 52 requests for reviews
  • 52 library requests
  • 12 or more guest blog post requests (I aim for one post a month)
  • 12 promotions (countdown, free offer, contest in conjunction with a guest post)
  • 4 newsletters sent out
  • Website always up-to-date
  • Spreadsheets always up-to-date

 

I believe that writing this down, seeing it in black and white, can help us better realize how doing something five times a week or even once a month can help us achieve our goals. Try this yourself and see how it goes.

 

But I do the most important thing almost every week for six days (yes I do this on Thursday, too). I write for about an hour, or until I have one thousand new words written. I also usually get in another hour five evenings a week editing another project. Now, if I could just get on with this marketing plan every single day, I might be doing better with sales. Which is why I still keep trying. Anyone have any shortcuts to all of this? I’d love to hear them!

 

Jan Christensen grew up in New Jersey. She bounced around the world as an Army wife, and in Texas when her husband retired. After traveling for ABrokenLife_200x300eleven years in a motorhome, she settled down in the Texas Coastal Bend.

Published novels are: Sara’s Search, Revelations, Organized to Death, Perfect Victim, Blackout, and most recently, A Broken Life. She’s had over sixty short stories appear in various places over the last dozen years. She also writes a series of short stories about Artie, a NY burglar who gets into some very strange situations while on the job. Learn more at her website: www.janchristensen.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jan.christensen.9275?fref=ts

Twitter @JanSChristensen

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15 thoughts on “Managing Your Time to Promote by Jan Christensen

  1. Seems like a workable system, Jan. I’m adding some of your ideas to my schedule. Like you, marketing is not something I particularly enjoy but know I must do.

    • Glad you found it helpful, John. That was my aim. It’s also helpful, I’ve found, to write a system out for myself–clarifies my mind, especially when I start fooling with numbers like I did at the end of the post.

  2. Hi, Jan,

    You’re definitely well-organized! Helpful ideas.

  3. Jan has some of the best organization and time management ideas around. She’s helped my disorganized and unmanaged self many times. Now if I only followed her suggestions as faithfully as I should 🙂

  4. EARL STAGGS says:

    Jan, everything you’ve said makes good and practical sense. I want to establish a schedule like yours. All I need is some discipline. Please bottle a gallon of it and sent it to me.

  5. Dear Lord! Travis didn’t put that in his spreadsheet and I’m having enough difficulty keeping abreast of that one.

    I thoroughly approve of setting aside time to meet a 1000 word goal, but I wish I could include another hour for examining one paragraph to edit it down to a single sentence.

    • Hi, Madeline. I try to also put in an hour of editing every day, but I sometimes miss the hour target for that and for marketing. I’ve tried to make the hour of new writing sacred because I can’t make that up on other days. For me, it’s the hardest to do. Plus you get into a rhythm when you do it every day, and I think it goes easier that way. Good luck with all your sentences.

  6. Hi, Earl, if I had any discipline to spare, I’d send you a bottle for sure. Just because I write advice like this, doesn’t mean I hit my target every day. Sometimes life gets in the way, and sometimes mood and even discouragement. The only thing I know to do is to keep on trying. And not beat ourselves up too badly when things don’t got the way we want every day. Keep on keeping on!

  7. Some very good organization points in this post, Jan. I like how you set one day aside just for short stories. I’m going to try to do that, too. Maybe not a whole day, but even just one morning a week. Thanks for an interesting blog post.

  8. Su says:

    Enjoyed the post, Jan. I’m curious how many spreadsheets you have? One for promotion and one for writing?…

  9. Hi, Su, I have one spreadsheet for each book where I list reviews, guest blog posts if the post includes a link to that book, reduced or free offers and other promotions, and so on. Then I have one each for income and expenses. I have another one where I keep track of number of overall sales from Kindle, CreateSpace and Untreed Reads in the aggregate. I have a table in Word that lists reviewers and another one that lists places that will list your book when doing a promotion. Not sure why I don’t use spreadsheets for those, because I could. I also use a tables to keep track of short stories, and for character lists for each novel. Anywhere I make a list, I do it in a table or spreadsheet so I can sort things. Once they’re set up, if you tend to them weekly, they are great. If you fall behind, they’re a royal pain. LOL

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