Monday, January 6, 2014


When I read an article that particularly strikes me as ‘good information,’ I save it in my articles file.  Then, like today, when I’m blogging, I will go to this file and find a gem or two for the month and share them with you.

Jane Friedman's August 17, 2009 article below on five questions for those who don’t have time to market/promote is a great read.  I hope it impacts you – as it did me.  Rita
(Pictured: Writer’s Digest and HOW editors/designers, promoting “Art of Manliness” project)
“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both.” —James A. Michener

Early in my career, I often read articles and heard people talk about the mystical “work-life balance.”
More recently, I’ve heard a term that makes a lot more sense: “work-life blend.”
It is hard to answer people when they ask what I do for fun or how I spend my spare time. Much of what I do off the clock is the same exact thing I do on the clock. I’m reading, writing, engaging online, talking about transformational issues that are confronting creative people, particularly in the publishing industry, and the interesting solopreneur-reject-the-cube-life phenomenon.
So it always brings me back to earth when I speak to writers about marketing/ promotion (especially when it comes to social media), and they say, “But how can I find the time for that!”
Here are five questions that occur to me when faced with this dilemma. I wish there were an easy answer, but everyone has to figure it out for themselves.
1. Why are you writing? If it’s just for validation, catharsis, family/friends, or money, then of course you’ll be worried about the time it takes to do everything required to be a successfully published author. It takes enormous time and energy—not to mention the patience of a saint—and only those prepared to devote everything will make it. And I can assure you the reward will NOT be monetary.
2. If you don’t like the idea of spending time online with social media or figuring out new technologies, then what other strengths do you bring to the table? Hands down, online tools are the fastest and easiest way for unknown writers to begin building an audience, get better at their craft, and network with others who can make a difference in their careers. You don’t want to spend time doing that? Then you’ll likely have to find another area of your life (another strength area) that can help give you an advantage in the publishing landscape. For instance, do you have a phenomenal network through churches or a wide-reaching organization? Do you have expertise in a media channel that will help you spread the message about you and your work? Do you have friends in high places? You need something other than
luck and a fool’s hope to help you in the publishing journey. (As the
F+W CEO likes to say, “Hope is not a business strategy.”)
3. If you don’t have time to spread the message about you and your work, then who will? The best promoter of any book is its author. Period. And unless you are best friends with Oprah or TV/radio producers, the best tool you have to spread your message is through online channels.

4. Are you willing to make sacrifices for your writing and publishing career? I often tell writers that getting involved with marketing/promotion doesn’t take nearly as much time as they might be imagining. On the other hand: Yes, it will require an investment, and maybe your time is extremely limited and precious. In that case, decide what you’re willing to give up. Sleep? Exercise? TV shows? We’re all given the same amount of time in the day. You decide and control how you spend that time. (For advice on getting more stuff done, visit
Zen Habits.)
5. Do you have discipline? This blog is no stranger to the words “persistence,” “passion,” even “chance.” These can all be essential for every writer. But the most boring secret of best-selling writers I know is discipline. Discipline to put in the time it takes, and discipline not to get sucked into time-wasting activities. (Discipline
means checking e-mail at predetermined times each day and keeping it a focused
activity. Same with Facebook, Twitter, and other online media.) Being able to focus on a task to the exclusion of all else is
fast becoming a rare trait.
Finally, for me, there is an intangible element here of work as play. Authentic author marketing and promotion, the kind that builds on your strengths, should be a labor of love.
Your audience/readers shouldn’t feel like you are “working” when you are interacting and communicating with them. They should feel like you’re at play.

That’s what you’re shooting for. Or that’s what I shoot for.

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