Just Five Things: How to network online

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5 2Just Five Things, a list of simple actions that can enhance your publishing career. One tip for each day of the week related to every aspect of publishing from time management to marketing to writing.

1.  Establish an engaging, interactive online presence that reflects your brand, service, product, business, etc.

2.  Identify  professionals peers who share your target audience and connect with them on social media.  Like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, subscribe to their newsletters/blogs.

3.  Create a list of 10-20 most influential contacts and engage with them on a daily or weekly basis by making thoughtful comments and sharing their content.

4.  Send a personal email or message to individuals when you’ve found their information or expertise helpful. Be sure to include your credentials as a subtle invitation to cross-promote and/or network with you.

5.  Create profiles at social networking sites such as LinkedIn, but also those specific to your industry.

See you next week for another list of Just Five Things.

If you have a tip to share or need help with a challenge, email me at myauthorconcierge@gmail.com.

Just Five Things: How to avoid writer burnout

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5Just Five Things, a list of simple actions that can enhance your publishing career. One tip for each day of the week related to every aspect of publishing from time management to marketing to writing.

1.  Familiarize yourself with the signs and  symptoms so you can take action as soon as you recognize you’re headed toward writer burnout.

2.  Take care of your physical health. Eat nutritious meals, avoid junk food, stay hydrated, manage stress, get up and move. Visit Writing and Wellness for articles on becoming a healthy writer.

3.  Step away from the desk. Writer are notorious for working 10, 12, 16 or more hours a day, but workaholic habits actually impair productivity and affect not only your mental and physical health, but relationships too. Each writer’s definition of work/life balance will differ, but the important thing is to set boundaries and make time for hobbies, friendships, recreation and other obligations.

4.  When planning your production schedule, allot more time than you estimate needing. It is not uncommon for projects to take longer than anticipated. “Padding” your timeline can reduce stress, allow for better quality output and even give you a chance to take advantage of unexpected opportunities.

5.  Be selective in how you spend your time, money, energy, creativity and other personal resources. If projects, conferences, relationships, etc. don’t contribute to your life or career in a relevant and positive manner, now may not be the time for them.

See you next week for another list of Just Five Things.

If you have a tip to share or need help with a challenge, email me at myauthorconcierge@gmail.com.

Just Five Things: Characteristics of credible, effective publishing industry influencers

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five-706893_960_720Just Five Things, a list of simple actions that can enhance your publishing career. One tip for each day of the week related to every aspect of publishing from time management to marketing to writing.

Influencers – Individuals who have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their (real or perceived) authority, knowledge, position, or relationship. (Definition per Business Dictionary)

1. They are actively engaged on social media (consistently post content and have a high level of interaction with their audience).

2. They are widely recognized within the publishing community as an expert or authority.

3. They have a genuine passion for books, publishing, reading and authors.

4. Their audience has an authentic interest in you and your product (books).

5. They support positive experiences and authentic relationships, meaning they are respectful, professional, reliable and honest.

See you next week for another list of Just Five Things.

If you have a tip to share or need help with a challenge, email me at myauthorconcierge@gmail.com.

Just Five Things: How to network with publishing professionals

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5Just Five Things, a list of simple actions that can enhance your publishing career. One tip for each day of the week related to every aspect of publishing from time management to marketing to writing.

1.  Networking is about building authentic professional relationships so be prepared to offer solutions and benefits to others. “True networking occurs when there’s an understanding that everyone in the room has equal value. In its purest form, it’s about people enjoying other people, communicating passions and connecting with others who share those passions.” — Andrew Vest, How to Network the Right Way: Eight Tips

2.  Practice your networking skills prior to formal events. Read How to Network: 12 Tips for Shy People by Meridith Levinson, who offers these practical suggestions: Smile. Ask a question. Listen.

Bonus tip: Memorize 3-5 icebreakers to start conversations with strangers. Here are a few suggestions.

Hi, my name is ____.
What’s been your favorite workshop so far?
Tell me about yourself.
What do you write?
What are you currently working on?
What are you most looking forward to during this event?
Do you have any tips or suggestions for a first timer?
How did you get started in publishing?
I’m a fan of your books/company/work.
What advice would you give someone just starting out in publishing?
Who are you here to meet?
Who do you know here?

3.  Be prepared to share information. Have business cards and/or bookmarks/postcards. Refine your “elevator pitch” about your book(s) and about your author brand/career.

4.  Many networking events include social activities, but remember these are professional settings. Do not reveal inappropriate personal information, do not drink to excess, do not overstep personal boundaries.

5.  Sometimes interacting with “important people” is intimidating, but don’t let this cause you to miss valuable opportunities to connect. In 3 Tips for Making Conversation with Really, Really Important People, Lily Herman suggests treating them like real people, finding personal connections to springboard conversation (“I see you like cats. I have a Siamese named Oscar.”), and making sure to follow up.

See you next week for another list of Just Five Things.

If you have a tip to share or need help with a challenge, email me at myauthorconcierge@gmail.com.

Are you reluctant to hire an author assistant?

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The two most common excuses given by authors as to why they do not hire an assistant is expense (“I can’t afford an assistant”) and not knowing what tasks to delegate. The third most common excuse is lack of entitlement (“I’m not published yet” or “I only have a few books out”).

Other reasons authors may be reluctant to hire an assistant include concerns about reliability and confidentiality, past negative experiences and the potential for mistakes that could damage income/reputation. They may also lack management or business experience and be uncomfortable in a supervisory role.

Let’s address the three most common reasons authors are reluctant to hire an assistant.

I can’t afford an assistant.

Publishing high-quality books that will sell and attract readers costs money. As you develop your business plan and budget, consider building in funds for an author assistant. Some assistants are willing to accept project work (such as putting out a monthly newsletter), will work with you on an as-needed basis, allow you to commit to just a couple of hours per month or offer discounts if you purchase blocks of time.

Here’s an interesting fact: Many assistants offer a wide variety of skills such as proofreading, ebook formatting, website maintenance and graphic design. While prices for these services vary, you could save money by hiring a (qualified) assistant instead of a cover artist or website developer.

For new authors, especially, working with an experienced assistant can save you costly mistakes and prevent embarrassing actions that reflect poorly on your professionalism. If you are new to publishing, consider hiring an assistant to mentor or coach you. Some assistants offer consulting services, which provide authors with resources and how-to knowledge.

I’m not published yet/only have a few books out.

The most effective strategy for establishing your author career is to write more books. Both traditionally and self-published authors hold accountability for non-writing related tasks, such as accounting, marketing, advertising and engaging with readers. While full-time writers have 40-60 hours per week to dedicated to all career-related tasks, many authors work full or part-time “day jobs.” Add in family obligations, health issues, commute time, college classes, travel, etc., and you see how the time available to actually write quickly dwindles.

Delegating one or two labor-intensive, non-writing tasks to an assistant can free up more time to write. More writing equals more books. More books equal more sales. The key to making this type of investment pay-off is to carefully evaluate how much time you are applying to non-writing related tasks and what tasks you can afford to hire out. Using the 80/20 rule is one method to identify decisions that will lead to more effective management of your resources: time, energy, creativity, and money. According to this adage, 20 percent of your activities generate 80 percent of your income. They key is to minimize how much time you spend on activities that don’t generate income and focus instead where the pay-off is greatest.

I don’t know what to do with an assistant.

Many authors, particularly self-published authors, are control freaks and perfectionists. That’s one reason many choose to self-publish in the first place. However, these traits can inhibit your career growth and undermine goal achievement. The reluctance to delegate tasks to an assistant is often rooted in fear, distrust and uncertainty. Will the assistant perform the task correctly? Will the assistant meet deadlines? Is the assistant really as skilled as s/he claims?

There are strategies to overcome these concerns (see the section Getting Started with an Author Assistant), but the first step in overcoming this objection is educating yourself about author assistants. Learn how other authors and assistants work together. Ask what kinds of tasks your peers delegate to their support staff. Attend workshops given by author assistants to become acquainted with the attitude, personality and conduct of these professionals. Lastly, realize that developing an working partnership with an assistant is just like any other relationship; it takes time to build trust, rapport and empathy.

Do you have questions about working with an author assistant? Contact My Author Concierge for information, tips and advice.

thinpaperback_795x1003This content is excerpted from DO LESS. WRITE MORE.: The Author’s Guide to Finding, Hiring and Keeping an Excellent Author Assistant.Copies are available from most online vendors:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1INjCRv
BN: http://bit.ly/1LnQlsl
iBooks: http://apple.co/1NjbtmE
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1VVvT79

Just Five Things: Avoid common promotional mistakes

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5Just Five Things, a list of simple actions that can enhance your publishing career. One tip for each day of the week related to every aspect of publishing from time management to marketing to writing.

  1. Be intentional about your marketing. Don’t invest resources in a promotional activity just because everyone else is doing it.

2. Be proactive instead of reactive. (Reactive = responding after something happens; Proactive = preparing a course of action before something occurs.)

3. Be willing to invest time, money and energy in promotion and marketing.

4. Educate yourself about marketing and promotion. Ignorance leads to poor decision making and reflects lack of ownership of your success.

5. Recognize that effective marketing is cumulative. Don’t expect instantaneous results.

See you next week for another list of Just Five Things.

If you have a tip to share or need help with a challenge, email me at myauthorconcierge@gmail.com.

JUST FIVE THINGS: Five simple actions to enhance your publishing career

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five-706893_960_720My family often complains that I’m always working. I’ll be the first to admit that it is true. As a full-time author assistant and published author, there is always, always, always one more thing I can be doing for the benefit of my or my clients’ publishing careers. One more promotional platform to schedule. One more marketing strategy to try. One more blogger to reach out to. One more reader to connect with. One more chapter to write.

Managing a publishing career, especially for indie-pubbed authors, can be overwhelming. New and established authors struggle with how best to manage time, money and energy. Sometimes it is so overwhelming that it can be hard to figure out where to start.

I’m a huge fan of practical tips and strategies so I thought maybe I could help solve this dilemma. Thus, the launch of Just Five Things, a list of simple actions that can enhance your publishing career. One tip for each day of the week related to every aspect of publishing from time management to marketing to writing.

Here’s the list for the week of March 21-25.

  1. Monday morning (or Sunday evening) take five minutes to look over your schedule for the next two weeks. Make a note of deadlines and appointments. Is there anything that requires special prep or handling, such as finding someone to take your daughter to soccer practice or asking your husband to take care of dinner on Thursday so you can participate in a Facebook party.
  2. Buy a kitchen timer or locate the timer function on your cell phone. Use the timer to stay on task.
  3. Put everything you do on a daily basis on your schedule. This includes checking Facebook, responding to emails, lunch, prepping items to ship out, etc. Then allot a set amount of time per task. It is easier to manage time if you know how you are spending your time.
  4. Stand and stretch every 60 minutes (set your timer as a reminder).
  5. Hang or display a large calendar where you can easily see it. This makes for easy reference instead of pulling up your Google calendar or flipping through your Day Planner.

See you next week for another list of Just Five Things.

If you have a tip to share or need help with a challenge, email me at myauthorconcierge@gmail.com.