How do you stay productive as an indie author? Over the past year I’ve written and published three novels, stayed up to date on book marketing, built new relationships and dodged the black hole of social media. As of late, I’ve had many writers and authors ask me, how do you do? How do you manage your time and stay productive?
The short answer is, you have to choose what’s most important to you and focus on it.
Staying productive while writing.
As an indie author, I have limited time because I’m not a full-time author. I don’t write every single day, but when I write, I make it count. Even if I have 1 hour a day, I can typically churn out 1,000 words without batting an eye (just kidding, I do blink now and then).
It’s been four years since I got serious about writing and the phrase “practice makes perfect” is quite true. I’ve been practicing for the last four years and it’s paid off. I’m a much better writer now, the ideas flow and it’s easier to pull together a full-length novel in a short period of time.
For example, my first novel took me 2 years to write. My second novel only took 13 months. My third novel took 5 months. Practice makes perfect.
Staying productive with time limitations.
As for time, my days are filled working on website updates for a law firm. As a digital marketer, I find it’s important to keep my mind sharp by working with leading industry experts. The team I work with comes from a different perspective which keeps me on my toes. Besides contract work, I also work with authors on their book launches and ongoing book marketing strategies. Since most of the time in my day is filled up, I make the most of every single minute. As one of my college professors told me: You don’t have to do everything, but do what you do well.
Staying productive with book marketing.
Marketing is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for indie authors. Since I have a background in technology and digital marketing, I have an advantage, however, I warn you, anyone can become a pro from practicing. I’ve taken courses and classes in both traditional and digital marketing which helps me approach my research from a marketing point of view.
There are two main issues with marketing as an indie author:
- Lack of Consistency – I’ve seen indie authors try a marketing strategy once and give up when the end result doesn’t meet expectations. When you’re trying something new, it doesn’t always work out the first time, the second time or even the third time. It’s like learning how to ride a bike, or drive a car, the more practice and research you put into it, the better you’ll become.
- Wasting time on strategies that don’t work – Early in 2017 I made it my goal to focus on marketing strategies that don’t require too much time and energy on my part. The main reason is, I’m a writer and I don’t have 24 hours to devote to writing and marketing. Also, I have a budget. I’m willing to spend money on marketing which helps my promotions become more effective and eliminates the time spent on marketing, especially when you have a budget of $0.
Staying productive with social media.
One of the huge issues with social media is the obsession with notifications. Just read the book The Circle by Dave Eggers and you will get an entirely new perspective on social media. Unfortunately, many people use social media to push sales and marketing, when social media is a tool for relationship marketing.
This is key to note because social media is changing. A few years ago, it was much easier to build up a following and sell to people on social media, because it was new and people weren’t used to the marketing tactics of the digital age. However, instead of pushing your books on social media, the best way to get the most out of social media, is to use to make friends and build relationships.
One of the best ways to use social media, especially if you want to sell more books, is to make friends with authors in your genre. Use those friendships to swap marketing strategies, create giveaways and cross-promote with each other.
Tips on Staying Productive
In conclusion, there are several ways you can stay productive as an indie author. Here are my top tips.
Have self-control and patience with yourself – it’s easy to look and what everyone else is doing and assume you’ll never get there. Comparing yourself to others is dangerous, if you feel that way, separate yourself from the people or groups who make you feel unworthy.
You don’t have to do everything – as an indie author, you run the show, and sometimes you probably feel you’re lagging behind because you aren’t doing everything. There’s no need to be on every single social media platform, or record your audio book if you don’t have the time, or blog yourself to death because some expert told you to. If you’re struggling with marketing pick a strategy and stay consistent with it until you are a pro. If you have the money to hire someone, hire an expert to do it for you.
Stop wasting your time on things that don’t matter – it’s easy to procrastinate when you’re afraid or you don’t know what methods will work for you. If you need help with book marketing, schedule a consult with an expert and determine a way to move forward. If you need to create your welcome series for email marketing, write it. If you need to finish the next book in your series, get off the internet and write.
Keep it simple – there’s nothing like turning something simple into an overly complex process.
How do you keep your sanity and stay productive as an indie author? Share in the comments below.