3 Ways to Get Past What’s Holding You Back

by | Oct 21, 2019

By Sandra Beckwith

When I find myself procrastinating about writing a blog post like this or an article for a client, I have to hit the “pause” button and think about what’s holding me back.

About nine times out of 10, my problem is that I don’t know how to begin the article. That’s an obstacle for me because I’m wired to start at the beginning.

Fortunately, I’ve finally found a way around this. Now, when I realize that I’m procrastinating, I skip the beginning and start writing where I’m comfortable. I fill in the beginning later, once I have everything else in place.

That’s exactly what I did with this article. I knew what I wanted to say. In fact, I was excited about what I wanted to say! But I just didn’t know how to ease into it.

So, as I’m writing these sentences now, the rest of this blog post is already done. Yes, the process is a little backwards, but I think you can see where I’m going with this. I figured out what is holding me back, and found a workaround.

That’s what I want to do for you with this article.

What’s holding you back?

Enough about me. What about you?

What’s holding you back?

What’s keeping you from moving forward with your book promotion? Here are three common problems and how to maneuver around them.

1. You’re confused about where to begin.

Authors who would rather write books than market them are often overwhelmed by the many book marketing tactics available.

What’s more, they get conflicting advice from peers. Someone in their writing group says, “You should be using Instagram!” while an author in a Facebook group says that Amazon ads are the secret to sales success.

If they don’t write books in your genre and if they aren’t more successful than any author you know, stop listening to them. Instead, figure out who will buy your book. When you know that, you’ll be able to do the research required to discover where you’ll find them online and in the real world. That will help you zero in on the tactics that will work for your book and its readers, not anyone else’s.

2. You’re not comfortable with some of the work involved.

You’re not alone. Many authors say to me, “I feel like I’m blowing my own horn and I don’t like doing that.”

Others simply don’t enjoy some of the tasks involved.

Both are surmountable obstacles.

If book promotion makes you feel self-conscious, re-frame how you look at it. You wrote your book for a reason, right? Maybe it’s to entertain, educate, or inform.

When you tell the right people – your ideal readers – about your book, you’re performing a public service. You’re doing them a favor. Reading your book could help them solve a problem or escape into a story.

As for those tasks you just don’t like, I’ve got three words: Don’t do them.

It’s that simple. If you don’t understand Twitter, don’t use it, even if your readers do. There are other options. Similarly, if you communicate better in writing than you do by speaking, ditch public speaking and focus on guest blogging and sending tip sheets to the press for publicity.

3. You’re having trouble finding the time for book marketing.

I hear ya. It’s not easy.

There are always lots of demands on your time – the job that pays the bills, family commitments, and well, life, right?

But . . . you found time to write the book, so you can find time to tell people about it. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Set daily promotion goals to keep you motivated.
  • Reallocate the time you set aside to write the book, using it for book promotion instead.
  • Get up early.
  • Use your lunch hour.
  • Get outside help from a virtual assistant or student intern.

Finding time for book marketing might mean postponing your next book because you don’t have time to do both at once. That’s okay. Sales and awareness of today’s book will help build a larger audience for the next one.

Knowledge is power, so whenever you feel powerless, take the time to learn as much as you can about the topic that’s causing your paralysis. It will help give you the confidence you need to move forward.

What’s holding you back? Maybe we can help you find a way around it here.
Photo: BigStockPhoto

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  1. Katharine

    That’s a terrific idea. I try to get a dyslexic student to start anywhere past the intro and he can move forward more smoothly. How silly that I don’t use this strategy myself!!

    • Sandra Beckwith

      Different situations…same solution! I would have overlooked it too, in your shoes! I’m glad it helped, Katharine!

      Sandra Beckwith

  2. Susan Hawthorne

    Hmmm… still not quite sure how to do this for fiction. I write Fantasy.
    Tip 1. If you find a portal into another land or time, don’t step through unless you hate the life you have here and want to re-invent yourself.
    ??? ;)

    • Sandra Beckwith

      Susan, you’re not sure how to do what for fiction. Could you be more specific?

      Sandra Beckwith

      • Sandra Beckwith

        Ahhhh, gotcha. It IS harder for fantasy, but it can be done. What are the themes of your book? For example, if one is that good will always triumph over evil (and yeah, I’m totally making that up here…), you might write a tip sheet about X things you can to to bring more “good” into your life, or one with X things you can do to protect yourself from toxic people or things.

        Tell us more about your theme here to brainstorm or email me at sbATbuildbookbuzz.com. I’ll bet that between the two of us — you, with the impressive imagination it takes to write fantasy fiction, and me with my understanding of this tool — we can come up with something solid.

        Sandra Beckwith

  3. Indigo Chase

    I’m always worried about spending money because I wrote my first book using a vanity publisher. I was clueless about publishing. So my husband believes I’m just a dilettante and doesn’t want to spend money. So I want to find the marketing scheme that actually is the best bang for my buck. That’s what stops me, so I’ll end up losing my publisher if I don’t figure out how to push my book successfully.

    • Sandra Beckwith

      Hey Indigo, how can you lose a publisher you’ve paid to produce your book? Sounds like that would be breach of contract.

      If what’s holding you back is that you know you need to market your book but don’t know how to do that affordably, then you’ll want to start researching that topic. There’s a lot you can do that doesn’t cost anything — here’s a link to my audio program that offers 60 ideas you can execute that don’t cost you anything:

      You’ll find other information about this online, too.

      First, though, you need to know who will buy your book. Knowing as much as possible about your ideal reader will help you select the book marketing tactics that will help you reach them. It doesn’t matter how much those tactics do or don’t cost you if they don’t help you get your book title in front of the people who are most likely to buy it.

      Finally, “marketing scheme” sounds negative — like marketing is a devious process. What you need is a book marketing PLAN. Here’s a link to my free book marketing plan template with instructions on how to create it: https://buildbookbuzz.com/marketingplan/

      I think you’ll find that once you invest some time in learning about your audience and how to reach them w/out spending a small fortune, you’ll stop taking action.

      Sandra Beckwith

  4. Diana M Jackson

    Thanks Sandra
    I’ve never thought of writing the middle first ~ interesting idea. Also I’ve often felt guilty about not spending enough time on Twitter and Facebook and as for Instagram, I signed up the other day then reached my home page and sort of froze. What on earth do I do next? I wonder if anyone else feels the same when faced with marketing. I used to find it so easy. My Curves instructor talks about ‘Getting in the Zone’ about fitness. Maybe its the same with book marketing. I like the small steps each day. Thanks again Diana

    • Sandra Beckwith

      I feel your pain, Diana! So here’s a key question for you: Who are your ideal readers — your target audience in marketing terms? If you’ll tell me that, I can help you zero in on the best social networks to use to reach them. It might just be that you don’t need Instagram!

      Sandra Beckwith

  5. Tara Alemany

    I too start my writing at the beginning. Not only that, I tend to be a pantser. I write when I’m inspired and without a predetermined structure.

    Each month I have a devotional that I need to write, and that’s always the most difficult one. Sometimes I find that I just need to type the first sentence that comes into my mind. And by setting something down on paper, so to speak, the rest starts to come.

    I’ll have to give this a try next time I’m stuck.

    • Sandra Beckwith

      Thanks, Tara! I sometimes have to do what you’ve described, too — just start writing, knowing that the final piece might not include those initial sentences.

      Whether it’s writing, marketing, or anything else, the trick is to invest a little time understanding why you’re procrastinating. Once you start to see a pattern, you’re much closer to moving past your obstacles!

      Sandra Beckwith

    • Sandra Beckwith

      Thanks for that validation and link, Mark. “Non-linear” is an interesting term to use for this, and it makes sense. Normally, I do write with an “if A, then B” approach, but wouldn’t have told you it was “linear.” What I love about writing nonfiction (which is what I do) is that it’s like putting together a puzzle that has many solutions. Given the same information that I have, what you end up writing will be different from what I write — we’ll approach it differently — but the end product for each of us will still be interesting to read.

      Thanks for weighing in!

      Sandra Beckwith

  6. Maggie Smith

    My goal today was to write a requested blog post for a writer association I belong to but like you said, I was struggling with the right way to start. Thanks to you I’m going to start in the middle and then go back- hey, it can’t hurt and it just might be the solution to my problem. Thanks for the help, Sandra!

    • Sandra Beckwith

      Maggie, you made my day! I hope my approach works for you. Please do me a big favor and come back later and let us know if it helped you out, OK?


      Sandra Beckwith

    • Sonia Frontera

      Music to my ears. As always, Sandy, you are on the money!

      Thanks for validating my bizarre practice of not starting at the beginning. I have always written what I am inspired to talk about at the time and rearrange items at the end. Starting with sections that are factual is easier, especially when I don’t feel particularly inspired.

      And most grateful for emphasizing that what works for others may not work for you. My greatest frustation marketing my book has been that I have little return from doing all the things that “I am supposed to do.”

      Having followed you for a while I am convinced that book publicity is the way to go.

      • Sandra Beckwith

        Hey Sonia, I’m glad this was validating! What so many don’t realize is that book marketing isn’t one-size-fits-all. What will reach my audience won’t necessarily reach yours, and the tactics I use might not be tactics that you want or can use. Book marketing and promotion is very personal to the book, its ideal readers, and the author’s skills and comfort level with certain tasks.

        Your book is well-suited for publicity, for sure. I think you could also pull a workshop out of it — something that you test in person, and then convert to an online course once you know what does/doesn’t work for your audience. You can also speak to women’s groups in a way that’s a little less workshoppy (sorry about the technical language…) and more inspirational. There are so many women’s groups formed around lifestyles plus Junior League, etc., and I’ll bet financial institutions would hire you to speak at breakfast or luncheon gatherings of their female customers and prospects.

        I could go on and on…but the point is: What do you do best, and how does that dovetail with how and where you’ll find your target readers?

        Thank you for weighing in!



  1. Getting in the Zone ~ Small Steps to Book Marketing | Diana Jackson's Muse, Views and Reviews - […] 3 Ways to Get Past What’s Holding You Back […]

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