5 Tips for Authors to Keep Writing-Related Tasks Straight

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I’ll share what I do to keep the writing, marketing, financial, pay-it-forward, and event tasks straight. I hope other authors will share what they do. Now that I have eight books in different stages of publishing, I’d welcome more suggestions.

Tip 1: Make Separate Marketing Mailboxes for Each Book on Email.

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Since you’ll use these mailboxes every day, place them at the front of your mailboxes so you’re not constantly scrolling. Put them alphabetically by a title word or title’s initials.

Add sub-mailboxes that work for you. My sub-mailboxes are:

  • Ads
  • Announcements
  • Books in Store (where I keep all my purchased Kindle gift-book emails ready to forward for giveaways, contests, reviews, etc.)
  • Contests
  • Endorsers
  • Events (online and physical)
  • Guest Blogs
  • Influencers
  • Materials (bookmarks, postcards, business cards, posters, etc.)
  • Reviews
  • Winners

Drag pertinent emails into these mailboxes. When you have a question about what a blogger wants from you as a guest, you can find it quickly in the Guest Blogs emails for that book. Don’t forget to store your sent emails too so you know what you’ve submitted or agreed to.

Tip 2: Keep Logs for Certain Responsibilities.

I agreed to be the treasurer for a state chapter of an international writers’ group to pay forward help I’ve received. I’m responsible for special and yearend reports. So I keep a log in a word processor table (could use a spreadsheet) of each action I perform. Just a brief action, who, and a date. For special, monthly, or yearend reports, I don’t have to remember or hunt for what I did.

This would be good for keeping track of what you’ve done or assigned to others for a large launch party. 

Tip 3: Have Frequently Used Documents Quickly Accessible.

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My husband John takes care of much of the marketing, financial, and KDP publishing tasks. We have a shared folder on Dropbox with subfolders and sub-subfolders: 

  • for each book 
    • final edited manuscript
    • long and short blurbs and bios, 
    • interview content
    • marketing documents (ad and tweet content)
    • memes
  • one for all books 
    • headshot
    • financial spreadsheets
    • all final book covers 
    • newsletter content
    • general marketing

I can quickly find the items hosts ask me to attach for my guest posts, newspaper interviews, and events. 

Tip 4: Make the Best Use of a Calendar.

Most writers put events and due dates on their calendars. Try jotting a note on the dates you’ll write a guest post, interview, or workshop. Enter a note on the date you’ll polish and send it and one on the date it goes live and you’ll promote it. Also, I enter dates I expect my guests to have sent their guest posts to me.

I live by a weekly schedule sheet I developed. When I create my schedule for the next week, my calendar helps make my job easy. I know what stages of projects I need to schedule. I don’t worry about ending up in a crunch.

Tip 5: Use Checklists for Repeated Tasks.

Writers usually have blogging or other tasks they do each week or month. I developed a checklist for putting my blog content on WordPress and promoting it. Then I don’t forget to add links, select a featured image, add tags, or who I’ve promoted it to after it’s published. 

What tips do you have to keep all your tasks straight?

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How Much Time in a Week Does an Author Write?

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When I started writing, I couldn’t have imagined what my weeks would look like after my books published. For the last seven years, I’ve been a full-time writer. Let me rephrase that, a full-time author. I’ve learned there’s a difference, as I’ll show.

Background

I work five days a week. Often, I work a half-day on Saturdays to make up for non-writing half days I allow each month for

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  • teaching a weekly Bible study,
  • attending a women’s church meeting,
  • hosting a prayer shawl ministry,
  • meeting with a writers group, and
  • fulfilling doctor and hair appointments.

 

My normal workday is from nine to six. Besides trying to keep up with emails, here’s what my writing week looked like last week:

Monday

  • Reported last week’s progress and this week’s goals to my writing accountability group.
  • Polished the writing-craft blog post I drafted last week, downloaded photos from Pixabay, and put the post on WordPress.
  • Worked on my book cover for CreateSpace. I have an e-book that was published in a collection on Amazon. I’m putting my book into a print version on Amazon. The cover and manuscript must be reformatted for print. (This took my husband and me hours more than I’d scheduled.)

Tuesday

  • Drafted a post for the Seriously Write Blog. I’m a regular contributor.
  • Practiced reading Chapter 1 of one of my other books. The publisher asked for an audio copy for promotions.
  • Sent e-book copies of yet another book to two winners for last week’s Author Cross Promotion Giveaway.
  • Worked again on the book going into print. Researched how to test for embedded fonts, etc.

Wednesday

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Published a Facebook Author Page post.
Recorded practice sessions of Chapter 1 on QuickTimePlayer.
Worked to get the print book’s cover and manuscript into a PDF-acceptable format for CreateSpace.

 

 

 

Thursday (only a half day available)

  • Published my writing-craft blog post, promoted it, and replied to comments.
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    Reworked the back cover and manuscript PDFs and submitted the cover and manuscript to CreateSpace.
  • Recorded Chapter 1 on editable GarageBand (learning curve).

Friday

  • Drafted a post for my next week’s blog post.
  • Contacted upcoming conference’s bookstore. Asked for the procedure for putting my books on consignment.
  • Ordered a test copy of the print book from CreateSpace.
  • Edited the Chapter 1 audio on GarageBand and saved as an MP3.

Hopefully, you noticed I spent no time this week writing my new book. Many weeks are like this one.

The Solution

For the last several months, my husband has taken on additional tasks in supporting my writing career. To vacuuming, laundry, and shopping, he has added several book-marketing jobs, editing tasks, and learning to use CreateSpace and GarageBand. I’m so thankful God called my husband to team up with me. I hope to spend more time writing.

Other than when authors are on tight book deadlines, just how much writing time do they fit into their schedules in a week? Click to tweet.

Who in your cache of family and friends could you recruit to take over a non-writing task or two?

COOKING UP KISSES – has earned an Amazon #1 bestseller ribbon in two categories!

Five scrumptious e-book romance novellas, all for $0.99 or free on KindleUnlimited. Here’s the link.  Here are the blurbs:

 

 

 

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN IN A RED DRESS BY ZOE M. McCARTHY

Candace Parks lives a passionless life in Richmond. The computer programmer returns to the empty family home in the Blue Ridge Mountains solely to evaluate her job, faith, and boyfriend. Her high school crush, Trigg Alderman, who barely remembers her, visits his Gram next door. Sorting her life out? How about nothing of the sort!

 

LOVE ON A DARE BY MARY MANNERS

Alana Mulvaney’s life is in a holding pattern. Consumed by day-to-day operations of the family business, Alana has no time for fun or romance. But a little fun and a whole lot of romance is just what Alana’s sisters have in mind when they learn childhood friend Donovan O’Reilly has returned to town.
Donovan O’Reilly has loved Alana Mulvaney since he moved in next door to her at the age of five. But he broke her heart when he was forced to leave town, and now that he’s returned home to Winding Ridge he has a second chance to prove himself. But is it too late to earn her trust…and her love…again?

HUMMINGBIRD KISSES BY DELIA LATHAM

Toni Littlebird believes that when she meets the man God created for her, she’ll know—and she’ll love him in that very moment.
But then Dax Hendrick roars into Hummingbird Hollow on a noisy, crippled Harley, stinking up the air and chasing away her beloved hummingbirds. One look into the intruder’s eyes and her heart sinks. He’s “The One.” She’d been right about knowing, but wrong about something far more important: She will never love this man!

HEARTS ON THE HARBOR BY ROBIN BAYNE

Cara Peyton is content with her life, her trendy Baltimore bookshop is perfect for her. But when her ex turns up to remodel the store, asking for a second chance, she’s torn and unsure about risking her heart again. Can he convince her to trust him, and God, before the job is finished?

 

 

HIS VALENTINE PROMISE BY DORA HIERS

Another Valentine’s Day and Quinn Randolph prefers to spend it with her sweet rescue lab. Who needs men and their broken promises? Especially Pierce Karson’s! Years ago, his desertion shattered her. Now he’s trying to steal the property she targeted to expand her florist shop! Pierce only wants to belong…and for Quinn to choose him. His Valentine Promise…

Deadlines, Platform, Life Commitments, Oh My!

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Have you ever felt so frazzled, you couldn’t find the panic button?

You may even ask, “How could this happen? I’m an organized person.”

Last week as I shuffled through my Writer’s Digest magazines, I spotted the February 2017 issue’s article, “Map Your Writing Time” by Sage Cohen. I gauged Ms. Cohen’s suggestions with how I use them.

Ms. Cohen’s Suggestions

1. Articulate your destination. I prioritize my writing and personal goals every week. I divvy up tasks then enter them on my scheduling template, which already displays regular tasks. I put an * next to writing, platform, speaking, and marketing tasks. On the side, l record future tasks to schedule. If I can, I include some padding. Then I report my goals with an * to my accountability partners.

2.  Make one goal inform another to “allocate your time in a way that delivers the greatest value.” I often use the projects I’m working on as subjects of my blogs. For example, when I did a book signing for my first book, I wrote a blog post from my research and experience. Reviewing that post while I write this one, reminded me of tasks I need for the bookstore signing I’m doing this Saturday.

3.  Set timers so you don’t spend too much time on nonwriting tasks. No problem. I have two devices in my office, but I’ll now use the timers more on nonwriting tasks.

4,  Use nonwriting commitments to service your writing. I always mull writing ideas during long drives to scheduled obligations. I’ll brainstorm my protagonist’s goals on my half-hour drive to my writers’ group tomorrow.

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5.  If you’re repeatedly drawn toward a project that’s not a top priority, consider moving it there. Although I scheduled work on my new novel, my non-fiction kept calling me to finish it ahead of deadline and send it. After reading this suggestion, I’m doing that.

6.  Don’t waste perfectly good slivers of time. I’m writing now while my husband attends an evening meeting.

7. Rise an hour earlier when it’s quiet. I get up at 5:30, but I’m considering 5:00 for a short duration while I’m under two deadlines and know galleys are coming soon for a third book.

8.  Leave notes where you stop working. I suppose I should expand on “STOPPED HERE.”

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9.  Track your time on tasks and learn how much time you need so you’ll know better what tasks and projects you can take on. Good idea, but I don’t have time. :0)

10.  Stop panicking and appreciate the time you have and the progress you’re making in that time. I’ll appreciate my time and progress more. I’m already thankful for a husband who takes over housework so I can write. He’s also taken over some marketing tasks.

Reading Ms. Cohen’s suggestions showed me I do many of the right activities. When I start to feel overwhelmed, I need to forget the pileup and just do what I’ve scheduled.

Writers, are you so panicked you can’t find the panic button? Click to tweet.

What do you do to make your writing, platform, and life commitments mesh?