Awhile back, I had the goal of redoing my office starting with painting the walls, and then putting in a hardwood floor. For some reason, the previous owners decided to wallpaper the room with cream-colored wallpaper. It looked just like paint, but it was actually wallpaper. Since it had begun to fray in places, my desire was to remove the existing wallpaper and paint the walls—not a small task.
I kept putting the task of removing the wallpaper off. I was waiting until I had a whole day to devote to the project. The day never came. Life kept getting in the way. Then, one day, I had an epiphany. I realized it was never going to happen. Something would always come up and take priority over peeling wallpaper off my office walls.
As I was speaking to a friend about my conundrum, I realized that I needed to change my mindset. Instead of waiting for a whole day to complete the project, I could just start devoting a half-hour or an hour a couple times a week to the task. If I did that, then I would accomplish removing the wallpaper in the time-frame I had in place for the project.
Just as I was too busy to complete my large office redo project in one day, as an independently published author or small publisher, you, too, are extremely busy. You have many roles that require your time and attention. Most require a lot of focus and energy. Some of these roles include:
- Book Designer
- Project Manager
- Marketing Manager
- Social Media Manager
Each role has large tasks and many responsibilities that demand your time. Because you wear so many hats, I am sure that at times you end up neglecting some of your roles. An independently published author recently told me: “I am so busy writing and producing my books, that I don’t have any time for promoting and marketing them.”
When we are busy with large projects, thinking about taking on another “project” is overwhelming. For this author, marketing was another big project. It was a task that would require a substantial amount of time just like my wallpaper project. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Paul J. Meyer, Founder of the Personal Development Industry, says, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” I agree. Just like my realization that I needed to take small pieces of time to spend on my office upgrade project to accomplish it, the same is true for your various roles and responsibilities.
Here is the solution: chunking. Plan small chunks of time each day to devote to each project you have or to tasks under each one of your roles. Break the tasks down into manageable bites. For example, decide you will spend 15 minutes in the morning and afternoon on managing your social media efforts. Then take another 15 minutes in the morning and afternoon to do one or two small marketing tasks like calling a producer of a radio show, sending an email to a blogger requesting to be a guest, or planning your next special promotion.
Don’t stop producing new books because you are too busy promoting your current book. Don’t neglect time marketing your books because you are too busy writing your next book. Instead, devote chunks of time every day to different tasks, and you will accomplish more. Remember, small efforts add up over time.
Sarah Bolme is the author of the award-winning Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace, now in its third edition. As the Director of Christian Small Publishers Association she helps independent authors and small publishers market their books in the Christian marketplace.