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Feeling Stuck? End Book Marketing Paralysis in Just 5 Minutes

dalekLast night, I jumped out of bed after having one of THOSE dreams.

You see, wacky dreams are kind of my thing, but they (luckily) usually keep to the neutral/non-scary end of things. Every once in awhile, though, I’ll have one like this:

[Harp-y Dream Sequence Sound Effect]

I’m laying in bed, watching a bit of TV before bed.

The next thing I know, I’m in my bedroom closet, hiding from the Daleks, these Doctor Who villains who attack you with weapons that look like a whisk and a plunger (I know).

Anywho, they’re barging into my house yelling “EXTERMINATE!” and, suddenly, I decide to stop hiding and fight them (because, apparently, now I AM the Doctor).

I race into the hallway…and come face-to-face with one of the cold-blooded creatures.

I freeze. Like I’m super-glued in place, I can’t move or speak. The Dalek moves closer…

…and, luckily, I wake up.

Have You Ever Felt Paralyzed?

After my heart rate returned to normal, I started thinking about other situations where we feel stuck — and I was reminded of a common occurrence among our author friends: book marketing paralysis.

Whether you’re new to fanbase-building or have been at it for awhile, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the book marketing tasks that you need to/have to/want to do as an author that you do! Eventually, you do end up making a choice…

The choice to do nothing at all.

If you remember nothing else from this post, let it be this: doing nothing will get you nowhere. I know that sounds obvious, but I think we all (me included) could use that reminder now and then.

When things get hectic, it’s VERY easy to throw your hands up in the air and give up, but will doing that mean fans will magically find and buy your book? Sadly, I don’t think so.

Book marketing requires consistency, not intensity.

Some folks are able to throw their all into writing and promoting their work 40 hours a week, and having that amount of time makes the whole getting-started gig MUCH more manageable.

…but what about the rest of us? When you’ve only got an hour or two a week to spare for book promotion, how do you know where to start?

Heck, a site like ours has over 300 posts about self-publishing and marketing — how do you decide which task to focus on right now?

Choose Your Book Marketing Adventure in Just 5 Minutes

In this 5-Minute Book Marketing Jumpstart, I’m going to help you narrow down all of your possible book promotion tasks into a single focus for (up to) the next six weeks. Let’s get started!

Minute 1-2: Brainstorm.

  1. Take out a clean sheet of paper, some sort of clock/timekeeping device and a writing utensil that won’t crap out on you after 30 seconds (Bic standard pen, I’m looking at you).
  2. Make a list, using two columns if you’re very fast/have lots of ideas, of every book marketing task that comes to mind. These tasks could be things you want to do, need to do, might maybe someday want to do — don’t toss out any ideas or leave anything out.

Note: Don’t just stick to online tasks (social media, blogging, mailing lists), either. Think about things you can do offline to expand your audience and earn new fans!

Minute 3: Narrow Down the List

  1. Scan the list of marketing ideas you’ve compiled once to refresh your memory.
  2. Circle 5 of the ideas which sound the most promising. While you’re doing this, keep in mind:
    • Variety rocks. If you choose 5 tasks that all have to do with Twitter, things will be pretty boring (but perhaps easier!) come decision time. Pick a motley crew of marketing tasks, just to make things a bit more fun!
    • Your personal “order of operations.” No worries, no math here! When choosing your top 5 tasks, don’t choose a task that has some prerequisite you haven’t completed yet (for instance, updating your blog when you don’t yet have one…you get the idea)
    • Your schedule. Some tasks take more time than others, so only circle tasks you can reasonably complete in (no more than) six weeks.

Minute 4: Choose the Finalists

Oh snap, we’re getting close to choosing a winner! In minute 4, look over the 5 marketing tasks you circled and narrow them down to the two ideas which sound the most promising. Consider:

  • The fun factor. Let’s face it, hanging out on social media is way more fun than working on your website. If you choose a task that sounds dull as dirt, the odds of you completing it are slim. We’re looking for easy wins here!
  • Return on investment. Even if you’re not monetarily investing in the task, think about how much time it will take you to complete. To get the most bang for your time buck, choose a task that will give you the most exposure to new readers in the shortest amount of time.

Minute 5: Choose the winner.

Finally, the! big! moment! is here.

  1. Choose the winner of the exercise from the 2 finalists. I don’t have any pointers for you here — the choice you make is yours alone!
  2. Grab another fresh sheet of paper and write the winning task on top. You’ll need it for the next steps!

Note: Don’t throw away that list of ideas, it will come in handy down the line!

Next Steps

Now that you’ve chosen a fanbase-building focus, let’s make a plan to complete the task. On that new sheet of paper, outline how you’ll tackle everything about the task, including:

  • Steps. What steps do you need to take to complete the task?
  • Time. How much time will the task take you? When will you work on completing the task?
  • Resources. Do you know everything you need to do to complete the task, or is there some stuff you need to look up?
  • Dates. When will you start working? When will you complete the task?

The best part about this exercise is, when you finish this first task, you can re-do the 5-Minute Jumpstart to figure out what to do next. Pretty cool, right? You’ll never worry about that doggone book marketing paralysis again!

Want Some Help?

If you’re ready to end your case of book marketing paralysis, but would rather have some guidance as you tackle the 5-Minute Jumpstart, download the totes-free PDF worksheet I whipped up to help you out.

Remember, if you’d like some one-on-one help figuring out how to complete your book marketing task or guidance about where you should start, you can always schedule a coffee chat with us!

Talk Back

Have you suffered from book marketing paralysis? What did you do to beat it? Share your tips in the comments!

  • Thank you so much for this post. There was a time where I felt completely overwhelmed by the myriad of marketing options. I’m learning that I have to do what’s right for me and what will get the results that I’m looking for in the time that I have. Once I figured that out, I was less stressed and I actually started having fun with marketing.

    • Exactly, James. Just take a deep breath, and take things one day at a time. I hope you can get to that “fun” place with your promotional efforts!

  • Bette A. Stevens

    Once again, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I’ve started on my mailing list, thanks to you, but I don’t have many subscribers yet. Think I’ll post an invitation to my twitter followers with a link to my next blog post. THEN, I’ll get right on my 5-Minute Book Marketing Jumpstart. Have an amazing weekend! Bette

    • Yay!! You’re so welcome, Bette. Focusing on one thing at a time really is the way to go! :-)

  • Anne Lewington

    My problem is different. The things I would like to do are beyond me because I’m learning the techno thing as I go along. Some of the time it works for me, mostly it doesn’t and, just when I think ‘Ah, I’m getting somewhere!’, I hit a brick wall.

  • I absolutely love these ideas! This summer I’m planning on modifying your bowflex method for working on my blog. <3

    -Kate Tilton