I’ve been working as an Indie Author for almost a year. At times, it feels as if I’m floating, and sometimes drowning, in an excess of advice, information, and time-consuming minutiae. As a fairly organized person who can multitask, I haven’t felt comfortable, so I decided to organize the tasks I need to accomplish every day. For other Indies reading this post, please note that this is now my full time job. For once in my life, I have the luxury of pursuing my dreams without day-job interference. It does mean I need to be creative when it comes to our one-paycheck household, but we manage. I bring in enough each month to pay for incidentals.
However, I intend my lack of regular paycheck to be only a temporary situation, which leads me back to the focus of this post. If I want my books to sell – which I do – then I need to market what’s already out there while continuing to write new books. To make it less daunting, I’ve broken down the tasks, by giving myself a list of eight items that need attention every day. I might not accomplish all of them, but it gives me focus for my day instead of leaving me so overwhelmed that I accomplish nothing.
Tasks for this Indie Author
- Triberr – This task takes me approximately twenty minutes each morning. I belong to five tribes, with a total of 180 tribemates. Check out the Triberr website if this is meaningless to you: www.triberr.com. My blogs are linked to Triberr so every time one of my posts goes live, it appears in the tribal stream for 180 other bloggers who then tweet my post to a potential market of 769,000 folks. I tweet their posts as well. Tweeting that many posts is mindless routine work, and I usually accomplish this while drinking my coffee and listening to the morning news. It accomplishes two things recommended for the successful use of Twitter. First, I’m tweeting about something other than myself. Second, others are promoting my blogs, which is more attractive in Twitter world. If you haven’t joined yet, I recommend you do so if you have a blog.
- Leave comments on at least two different blogs – I follow approximately fifty blogs, although I don’t read them all. Some I read every time they post. I try to leave meaningful comments rather than just saying, “Great post.” I enjoy doing this, and it only takes about thirty minutes or less each day. If I comment on someone else’s blog, chances are if they aren’t following my blog, they will at least check me out. In addition, during this time, I respond to all comments left on my own blog.
- Complete two book promotions and/or strengthen platform – Yesterday, I added Trails in the Sand and Live from the Road to two different websites, so technically I completed four promos. Savvy Writers blog has a wealth of information on how to promote. I count writing guest blogs in this category, if it’s about my book or I can mention my book somehow. Right now, I’m working on two guest blog posts and both will reference and link back to my books. I spend an hour or two on this every day. While taking a break from writing this post, I found several articles about criminal charges filed against BP employees responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which is a topic relevant to my newest novel, Trails in the Sand. I shared the articles on my Facebook author page, Twitter, and Google.
- Research marketing strategies – I have several reference books on my Kindle and in paperback on self-published marketing. I’m working my way through social media strategies. By next week, I plan to tackle SEOs, keywords, tags, and website promotions. Last night, while we watched the hockey game (Go Penguins), I surfed a marketing book during commercials. While I’m reading blogs, I find promotional ideas, which I bookmark or print. I have a ton of bookmarks and a folder filled with strategies to sell more books.
- Request two book reviews – On Monday, I found a blogger who does book reviews – via a Facebook reference from a colleague – and she agreed to review both of my ebooks.
- Send out at least one press release/kit – I made a list of possible publications that might review and/or publish information about Trails in the Sand, and I send them information. I might not always send something out, but I keep a list going of potential audiences. I send to newspapers and to organizations relevant to the environmental theme in Trails in the Sand.
- Work on my new novel, Safe Harbor – I’m in the beginning stages of reading what I wrote six years ago. I started a notebook with short notes on chapters, and I’m making character note cards that will go on a bulletin board in my office. Right now, I’m not heavily engrossed in the book, but my interest is growing. Soon this will become the priority instead of the last listing in my organizational chart. Last night, I went through two chapters at bedtime instead of reading someone else’s book.
I work more than eight hours a day, but there’s flexibility. Today, I need to leave the house by 10 o’clock and won’t return until late this afternoon. However, this morning I began my workday at 6:30 and will most likely put in a few hours this evening. Don’t worry about me working too hard because it almost seems as if I’m lying when I write about writing as a job. I love what I do, and I’m even beginning to enjoy the marketing end of the business.
Do you have any organizational tips to share? I’m sure those of you who work outside of the house are finding creative ways to do it all. Please share your ideas and tips.
Please note that I have some giveaways going on right now and my novel Tortoise Stew is free Feb. 7-10 on Kindle at amazon.com.
10 responses to “Organization for the Indie Author”
I’m afraid organization is one of my weaknesses. But, I admire your setting goals. I wish you success.
Thanks. Even if I get distracted, that list in front of me helps me get back on track. Thanks for stopping by. Love your name – I’ll check out your blog.
Great article. I’m not quite as organized as you, but getting there. I have the luxury of not needing to worry about money (retired) so that’s a bonus. But, I’d still like much better sales for my books and do most of the things you do.
It can be discouraging, Darlene. I have a tendency to expect instant results, so I need to get over that. I keep repeating to myself, “keep writing, keep writing.” I also work hard at not looking at my sales figures but mostly I fail at that. Wish it wasn’t so easy to check. Hang in there and keep in touch.
Although I have fallen off the wagon lately, I am truly a ‘list’ person. I strongly believe they are both motivational and grounding when you’re having trouble wrapping your head around all you have to do.
Even if you don’t ‘work’ from home (as far as earning an income goes) I think being home all day can cause a loss of focus. Lists definitely keep me on track. Hmm…maybe I should go write one now…. ;0)
This may be cheeky, but I do think this is a ‘great post’! There is a lot of fresh (for me) info in there. I appreciate your sharing it.
Yes, I get distracted at home sometimes, but luckily I can shut myself in my office and shut it all out. But when I venture to the kitchen for a glass of water, I notice the dishwasher needs to be emptied/filled or counters need to be wiped or stove top cleaned. You get the idea. Sometimes I go elsewhere to write and accomplish more sitting at Starbucks. The list has helped me tune out the rest of the world and keeps me focused – at least for this week!
Nice list breakdown, though I tend to prioritize new fiction over promo based on the recommendations I’ve read over at Dean Wesley Smith’s site: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=8272
The other good list I read recently was at: http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2013/01/fiction-marketing/
Of course, part of why I make that priority is 40+ hours of day job, so what time I have left over is precious to me.
I understand. Thanks for the links. I’ll check them out. And thanks for stopping by.
You ARE organized. I let things pile up and then do bursts. Good job for you in prioritizing and doing a little every day.
If you saw my desk right now, you wouldn’t say that! Things were getting so out of control, I had to do something. From all that I see you do, I assumed you were very organized.