Ah, the first month of the new year. There's that crisp morning air, the sense that everything is starting fresh, and, of course, the chance to make a resolution. A lot of authors we know resolve something like, "I'm going to write more." And that's great—more books make us happy! But, from one book geek on the couch with a tin full of Christmas cookie crumbles and a carton of eggnog to another, it's not enough. One of your resolutions needs to be:
"In 2014, I will develop my author platform."
In the coming weeks, we'll be looking at different ways you can do that. Today, let's talk about shipping.
Stop Talking… Ship!
But wait, you say, this post is about online platform development—like blogging and social media and stuff, right? Yes, it is. But the backbone of any platform, and the purpose of having that platform in the first place, is the actual work you create.
In the new year, we all make lists of the new projects we plan to start. But before you start too many new projects, take some of that refreshed energy you have after the holidays and commit to finishing the most important one.
1. Take Inventory. Write down all of the projects, big and small, that you're working on right now or were working on over the last few months of 2013. Not the novel you've been working on for years, but the shorter projects you were making progress on—the meaningful blog post you know your readers will love, the new story you've been playing with, the eBook you've been endlessly drafting, the supplemental videos or worksheets for your book, or maybe that email newsletter you've been meaning to send out.
2. Choose. Pick one of them that you can finish in a month, or even by the end of this week. The key in this step is to narrow the list down to just one thing. That's your focus. Make sure it's a project you can prioritize and one that you'll be psyched to finish. You will ship it in February.
3. Finish it. Do what you need to do to make it happen. There are many potential reasons why you didn't finish this project last year. If your big demon is fear of failure, read Seth Godin on dealing with resistance. If it's time management, Zen Habits has a great post on some simple-but-effective approaches. If it's productivity in general, check out this list of the 20 best productivity apps from last year.
4. Ship It! Get it out to your readers. Imagine the boost to your online author platform if you start the year off by sending everyone something that's complete rather than sending them a list of what you're thinking about starting to work on.
(This post is the first in a series of three devoted to platform development in the new year. Look for the next installment in February!)
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How are you gauging the value of your LinkedIn experience? By the number of your connections? How many people view your profile each week? The frequency of your updates? Or maybe you’re waiting for your “profile strength” indicator to creep up to All-Star status? By no means are these meaningless metrics—it’s just that they’re data points, not relationships, and building relationships is where you’ll discover the real value of LinkedIn.
Here are just a few ways to get the conversation going:
- Ask for Recommendations – No, not the professional endorsements related to your stellar performance. Rather, consider asking the people in your network for hotel or restaurant recommendations the next time you’re faced with business travel to a new city. (Although, for privacy and security reasons, I’d not publicly broadcast your travel dates.) Need a web developer, an illustrator, a great creative team, or a rock-star publicist—ask your contacts. Not comfortable posting an inquiry to your entire network? Simply sort your contacts by location, company, or title and send messages to just the folks on those lists. When your contacts respond with recommendations, offer to discuss over coffee or lunch—it’s a great way to catch up!
- Share the Media Spotlight – Use Google Alerts or Newsle to keep track of when your close contacts or significant clients are mentioned in the media, then post a congratulatory update and a link to the coverage. Use the @ sign to highlight your contact’s name and then select how broadly you’d like to share the post—publicly, with your LinkedIn connections and Twitter followers, or with just your LinkedIn network. In most cases, the person whose media coverage you’ve highlighted will respond with a thank you and that’s a perfect opportunity to schedule an in-person meeting—another great way to keep in touch!
- Celebrate a Milestone – I’m sure you notice when business associates, former colleagues, and current clients post updates related to new jobs and promotions. While it may be tempting to just click the “like” button, take a few moments to send a handwritten card with a brief congratulatory message. The recipient will appreciate your thoughtfulness—and it’s another great way to create a meaningful connection.
LinkedIn is tremendously valuable in helping busy professionals maintain a constant stream of information and updates about contacts in their network but, to really use it to your advantage, do what most people don’t. Take the conversation offline to build stronger business partnerships with your online connections.
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So you’re new to book publishing and have no idea where to begin in this fast-paced and, at times, confusing industry. There are a lot of great resources out there for authors who are new to publishing. It doesn’t have to be the scary endeavor of venturing into the great unknown plus the daunting task of authoring your first book.
Publishing newsletters are a must for new authors. They will help you stay on top of all the latest industry news and trends, learn from the triumphs and mistakes of your fellow authors and, most importantly, give you insight into the process of publishing and promoting your new book. We’ve compiled a list of key industry newsletters that will help you get a clear picture of the industry you’re entering and how to navigate it.
Greenleaf Book Group
Big Bad Book Nerds
Our monthly newsletter is packed with great publishing tips for authors, updates on key industry news stories, Greenleaf news, and awards and conference opportunities for authors to expand their reach.
A daily report of the industry’s most important news, including big deals, personnel moves, sales information, and technology developments
PW Tip Sheet
An overview of the book market, reports on the next week’s book releases, PW editors' picks for the best new books, interviews with authors, original essays from bestselling writers, and exclusive excerpts
The PW Select Report
Self-publishing news, reviews, author interviews, tips, and insider know-how
PW Book It
Updates from PW’s sales and marketing staff about opportunities to promote your brand in PW
American Booksellers Association
Bookselling this Week
Weekly updates of breaking news in the publishing industry from the leaders of ABA
Daily Enlightenment for the Book Trade
Daily updates on heavy hitters in the marketplace, new titles, fast-selling titles, major author tours, and book reviews
Digital Book World
Daily updates on all facets of digital book publishing and eBooks, including relevant conferences, seminars, and webinars
Publishing Perspectives Newsletter
Cutting-edge international publishing news and opinion on traditional, digital, and self-publishing from correspondents around the globe
Author Marketing Experts
Book Marketing Expert
Your go-to guide on book marketing, packed with promotion and publicity tips to boost success and profitability
Open Horizons: Book Marketing and Book Promotion
John Kremer’s Book Marketing Tip
Author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, John Kremer provides insight into savvy marketing tactics that tip the publishing scales in your favor
This list is, of course, just a starting point to discovering the multi-faceted world of publishing, but these are great resources that will help you equip yourself with insight into publishing industry success. So whether you’re looking into self-publishing, traditional publishing, or a hybrid of the two, these newsletters will help you on your path to getting your books into readers’ hands.
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All of us at Greenleaf Book Group send congratulations and best wishes to our authors who have books launching in January.
Travels with Gannon and Wyatt: Egypt by Patti Wheeler and Keith Hemstreet
The Great Katie Kate Offers Answers About Asthma by M. Maitland DeLand, M.D.
The Great Katie Kate Explains Epilepsy by M. Maitland DeLand, M.D.
Mission to Heal by Glenn W. Geelhoed, M.D.
Winning Fantasy Baseball by Larry Schecter
Summit by F. Scott Addis
In the Common Interest by John Carona
Live Long, Die Short by Roger Landry, M.D., M.P.H.
Water Music by Georgette Gouveia
Leading with Honor (paperback edition) by Lee Ellis
Unpredictable Webs (paperback edition) by Darlene Quinn
Well done! Your hard work and dedication has paid off and we're honored to be partners in your latest and greatest work.
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We at Greenleaf Book Group would like to take a moment to congratulate our authors who published this December.
A Journey of Body and Soul by Trach Ba Vu
Well done! All your hard work and dedication has paid off, and we’re honored to be partners in your latest and greatest work.