Welcome to an entire month of Top 5 Tips for Authors!
Every day this month my friends and I will bring you a new set of Top 5 Tips to help you along on your author journey. 2017 was a year of change in the Indie author world for sure. So many happenings. So many new things to learn. So many old things that didn’t quite do what you’d hoped. Well, every day is a new day. And every year is a new year. So we hope that this month’s worth of tips will get you the kick start you need to make 2018 your best yet and please feel free to ask questions and leave comments.
JA Motherfucking Huss is the NYT bestselling author of 321 and has been on the USA Today Bestsellers list eighteen times. She writes dark shit that isn’t for everyone but once in a while she gets a joke in her that comes out as a romantic comedy. She’s a workaholic who lives on a ranch in Colorado. (This is her blog, BTW, so her links are all over the goddamned place so I’m not gonna post one here.)
The Top 5 Tips today is a little different because I’m talking about planning your upcoming year and I actually have a whole marketing course on that, so I’m linking all those videos below. But I saw something that a friend of mine posted yesterday – it was a TED talk about how the brain of a procrastinator works. And it was a funny video, and the guy was an amazing presenter, but he had a very good message about deadlines in there that I think is very important.
Deadlines save you from dying a slow, painful death as an indie author. So I’m gonna do a Top 5 Tips for short term planning as well as give you the videos for long-term planning.
1 Watch this video
Watch it all the way to the end. The end is the most important part. 😉
2 Admit that you need a deadline
Look, no one cares what your deadline is, OK? Because you’re an Indie author. You’re your own boss. You get to set you schedule. HOWEVER, if you want a career as an indie author, you have to publish books. Often. All of my most successful friends–and by success, I’m defining people who make regular money. Consistent money. All of them release often. This is the key to success in being a successful author. Of course, quality is important, and fan base is important, and personality is important, and all that shit is all important. But the basic, undeniable fact of the matter is… readers want books. You produce books. If you want to sell enough books to make writing your full-time career, you have to deliver readers books on a schedule. And that means you need a deadline.
3 Learn to work within your deadline
I’m a procrastinator. Just like Tim Urban in that video, I thrive on deadlines. I can spend a whole day fucking around on YouTube and sometimes I even think it’s necessary. BUT I always mind the deadline. I have never missed a release day. And now that I’m very much a pre-order author, there’s that added stress of having to deliver that file to the distributors.
Panic over deadlines has a purpose. The panic monster is the one who keeps the procrastinator focused. But if you don’t respect your deadline–if you keep moving it out, and moving it out, and moving it out because you’re not responsible to anyone, then you’re in a very bad place. Because you’re never going to have a schedule that you can both live with and make a career out of.
4 Goals without deadlines are dreams
Dreams are awesome. Dreams don’t have an expiration date. You should never stop dreaming and I’m definitely not telling you to do that. And of course, in order to be creative (and all writers are creative), you have to live inside your head a lot. So it’s very tempting to spend a lot of time dreaming instead of doing. What I’m saying is… that dreams without deadlines have very little chance in becoming reality. Now… daydreams are useful too. Daydreams being… what would it be like to win the lottery? That’s not a bad dream. Winning the lottery is actually a pretty fantastic dream. But there is no goal attached to “winning the lottery” aside from buying a ticket every week. That’s not very constructive, ya know? Because your chances of realizing your dream of winning the lottery isn’t dependent on YOU, it’s dependent on luck. So while dreaming about something like winning the lottery is fun and creative, it’s not constructive. So give your “dreams” deadlines. And then…
5 Come up with a plan
Planning is my superpower. I am lucky to be a planner, but everyone can learn to plan. You might not follow through like people who LIKE to plan, but practice makes perfect. That is a true idiom. OK, maybe not everyone can be perfect with planning. Perfect is a lofty goal. But you can get better at anything if you practice. So with that I’m going to leave you with my Perfect Year Author Marketing plan. It’s for all speeds of publishing. Two books all the way up to more than six books a year. And you can change my plan any way you want, just as long as you MAKE A PLAN. Because the realization of dreams starts with goals, and accomplishing goals begins with action. And action without planning is asking to fail.
The Perfect Year Author Marketing Plan
Each video also has some commentary to go with it, but I left that off of this post. If you’d like to read the commentary, CLICK HERE to go to the main page for the course.