Managing Marketing for Authors in 20 Minutes a Day

Are you familiar with the website Unf*ck Your Habitat? I first learned of it on their Tumblr site. It’s a place where people upload pictures of their personal space before and after after cleaning up. It’s very satisfying to see–much, as I imagine, the same kind of fascination people have for Dr. Pimple Popper.

The idea behind UfYH is brilliant, however. This statement is from their page: 

So jump in. Don’t worry about catching up. This is about doing what you can, when you can. 5, 10, 20 minutes at a time. And then back to your normal life.

The beauty of it is that it can be applied to so much besides cleaning up your home–getting back in shape, organizing your photos, sorting your finances, you name it. Any project that seems overwhelming to you, that you keep putting off for lack of time and energy.

I decided to apply it an area of being an author I find frustrating: marketing.

See, I know on some level, I produce a decent product. Not world-class, mind you, but solid writing with good storytelling. But relatively speaking, few people know I exist. In part because I’ve refused to use KU (as a romance author, I’m going to have to rethink that…more on how to use KU without letting it eat you alive in a separate, future post), in part because I can’t produce more than one novel a year with my current workload. But also because I don’t market effectively.

I sign up for marketing seminars, Facebook groups, newsletters, etc all the time. I’m on mailing lists I never open, I’ve shelled out big bucks for workshops that I barely attended, I pay a monthly fee for good advice I never take the time to read or listen to, and in general just sort of wing it when it comes to book launches. I pay for promotional tours and buy ads, but I’m never really sure if I’m just throwing my money out the window. It certainly feels that way to me sometimes.

Ditto with craft. I’ve got all kinds of books on how to be a better writer (yes, I’ve read Stephen King’s On Writing, thank you). Romancing the Beat. Bird by Bird, etc They line my bookshelves. People love to give them to me as gifts and I appreciate their support by doing so.

But most of them are unread.

That’s on me. But the truth is, most days I feel overwhelmed by my To Do List. And after all, isn’t writing the next story the most important thing I can do as a writer?

Well, yes. But if I keep making the same mistakes, then my launching a new story is about as fruitless as Noah releasing doves every day after The Flood, hoping they will come back with evidence of dry land out there somewhere. It might eventually happen, but I could be more effective, now couldn’t I?

So I’ve decided to take the Unf*ck approach to lots of things. I’m going to tackle my marketing in bite-sized chunks of time. I’m not going to stress about what I haven’t done or read or how full my inbox is or how much time and money I’ve wasted thus far. Ditto with improving my craft. Writing itself. Or exercising, for that matter. Anything I choose.

Obviously, I don’t have endless “twenty minute” blocks of time to devote to something every day, but I can make a point of devoting 20 minutes two or three times a week to anything I choose. I’m prioritizing things into daily, bi-weekly, weekly, and monthly categories depending on urgency and need.

The other thing I’m going to do is take a hard look at the advice given by people who’ve made a successful career out of writing–and resist the urge to jump on every bandwagon that comes down the pike. No more seminars. No more expensive programs. I’m going to focus on the material I already have before taking on any more right now.

It might be like chipping away at stone a little at a time, but it’s better than doing nothing and complaining about the lack of progress. And if I keep at it, eventually I’ll have something to show for it.

First up for me is to read BadRedHeadMedia’s 30 day Book Marketing Challenge by Rachel Thompson. I’ve had a copy for several years. Now’s the time to read–and implement–it.

I’ll let you know what I think. In the meantime, what can you do with 20 minutes?

2 thoughts on “Managing Marketing for Authors in 20 Minutes a Day

  1. Hi McKenna, 😃

    “The other thing I’m going to do is take a hard look at the advice given by people who’ve made a successful career out of writing–and resist the urge to jump on every bandwagon that comes down the pike. No more seminars. No more expensive programs. I’m going to focus on the material I already have before taking on any more right now.”

    I made that decision as well. I’m only doing freebies these days and I’m even starting to avoid those. I’m picking up, on more a few of the blogs & newsletters I follow, that a lot of authors are starting to feel extremely burnt out from all the pressure to do-it-all. Many have full or part time real life jobs (the ones that pay the bills) plus families – then, they’re trying to do three or four other part to full time jobs of writing, marketing, promoting/public relations, blogging/newsletters, and social media involvement. And all that while being pressured to turn out two or more books per year!

    I remind myself that most of those individual jobs are many people’s full time jobs. There are full time marketers. Full time promoter/PR people. People who work full time covering other people’s social media commitments. But the author who doesn’t have the funds to hire all those pros is still expected to do all of those jobs on their own.

    Your idea sounds like a good one, McKenna, and I hope it works well for you! 😃❤️

    • Yes, we have to wear all the hats, don’t we? And I get frustrated by the advice that says simply write more books, or write on your lunch break.

      I don’t get a regular lunch break, and when I do, it’s often less than 20 minutes! Not really enough time to wrap my head around the story I’m working on. Instead of attempting to write stories on work breaks, I’ll draft a blog post or schedule some social media releases. For me, it doesn’t take the same degree of concentration and I can line up snippets weeks in advance which helps with marketing a little at a time.

      That way, when I have a more usable block of time, I can concentrate on actually writing.

      I’m also planning to work more to my strengths. I *like* writing blog posts. I’m terrible at running a Facebook group. So I’m probably going to spend more time in the future writing posts and less trying to keep a conversations going where there isn’t much interaction. 🙂

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