by Carol Brill
Carol is a frequent commenter here, and this is her first article as a guest author. Carol is also a leadership coach and trainer, and today she gives us 4 very valuable tips for those times when we get stuck, either in our writing, or in all the tasks needed to publish your own books. They are practical and helpful. Read on.
I’m a pretty persistent person, but I won’t lie. More than once on my journey to write and publish my novels Peace By Piece and Cape Maybe, I considered giving up, taking a hammer to my keyboard, and destroying every draft.
One of those discouraging times was about two years ago, when I started to research self-publishing and book marketing. I thought the hard part was over. After all, I’d succeeded in writing two novels. How challenging could publishing and marketing be?
I was a social networking neophyte. The more I researched, the more the list of indie marketing must-haves–Goodreads, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, a website, blog, newsletter/mailing list, platform, book trailer–nearly did me in.
As my initial meltdown wore off, my persistence gene kicked back in, reminding me that in spite of being clueless about how to craft a novel when I joined my first critique group, I’d reached my goal and written two books. Couldn’t I apply the same goal achievement tactics to self-publishing and marketing?
Here are the tips that helped me succeed. Regardless of where you are in your writing and publishing process, these simple tips can help you realize your goals, too.
Tip #1—Put Your Goals in Writing
If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance you’re a writer so it seems fair to ask, are your goals written down?
Experts say that unwritten goals are really just good intentions—written goals more than double your chances of success. According to psychologist and author Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D., only 20-30% of unwritten goals are realized.
That means 70 to 80% of the time intentions do not do it, you need to write your goals. The good news is you’re a writer. Who is better equipped to write a killer goal?
Google “S.M.A.R.T goals for goal writing help”. You’ll find a wealth of information and tutorials online about writing goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound.
Tip #2—Be Specific
To get where you want to go, be precise about your destination.
For years I said, “I want to write a book.” A lofty goal but not very specific. Would it be fiction or non-fiction, romance or business, historical or contemporary? Until I knew the specifics, it was impossible to start.
Think of it this way. If you are in New York and want to visit your aunt in Florida, you don’t just program Florida into your GPS. You put in a specific city, street name, and address. It’s exactly the same with writing specific goals. Eventually, “I want to write a book” became, “I want to write a contemporary novel for women about family, relationships, and love.” That more specific goal gave me a place to start and more importantly, it gave me a clear destination.
Tip #3—Chunk It Down and Commit to Timeframes
To achieve a goal, especially a lofty goal like writing and self-publishing a book, it helps to break the work down into the concrete nuts and bolts that will get it done. I like to think of it this way: When Christopher Columbus stood on the shores of Spain and announced to Queen Isabella that he wanted to sail to America, he was still standing on the shores of Spain! To get to America he had to chunk it down into the nuts and bolts—buy lumber, build a boat, hire a crew—you get the picture.
“I will build a platform” is an intention, not a time-bound plan. As you chunk-down your tasks and make them time-bound, you identify exactly what you will do and when you will do it.
As I stuck my toes into the self-publishing process, my chunked-down list included weekly commitments like:
Research and follow at least two blogs about self-publishing (Thankfully, Joel’s blog was one of them)
Create a Facebook page
Meet with Richmond (a self-published author friend) and pick his brain about his process
Create a Goodreads account
Visit the Createspace homepage and research author services
Build a blog page
Chunking it down makes the goal manageable and gives you small wins along the way. Those wins recharge your batteries to master the next week’s task.
Tip #4—Include the Power of “If/Then” in Your Plan
If/then planning means deciding in advance what you’ll do when something derails your plan. Life is unpredictable. Although I consider my weekly self-publishing and book promo commitments sacred and non-negotiable, stuff happens.
My if/then plan includes things like, if we have company for the weekend and I can’t be on the computer, then I will get up fifteen minutes early all week to complete my tasks in the early morning.
Having an if/then plan prevents you from feeling discouraged, resentful, or powerless when everyday life threatens to derail your plan.
Word by word, sentence by sentence, chapter by chapter, these tips helped me write and self-publish my novel.
How about you? What is your writing or publishing goal? And which of these tips could help make this the year you attain your goal and hold your dream in your hands? Let me know in the comments.
Carol Fragale Brill‘s novel Peace by Piece is about unshakable first love and complicated second chances. Carol’s fiction has been recognized by Poets and Writers and The Best of Philadelphia Stories, and her work has been published in Wide Array, New York Journal of Books, the Press of Atlantic City, Philadelphia Stories, and various online e-zines and business journals. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. By day, she is a Leadership Coach and Trainer. Find her blog at 4 Broad Minds, and her book reviews for New York Journal of Books. Her second novel, Cape Maybe, will be published this fall.