The Tasks Ahead of Me
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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

The Tasks Ahead of Me

I've been fussing at myself about the total inertia that has settled over my life in the last few days. I have a bazillion things to get done and can't force myself to do any of them.  Part of the problem,  of course, is the fact that it's January and the first anniversary of Floyd's last illness and death. I had expected to feel wretched, but not totally immobile.  

The rest of the problem, however, has to do with the whole business of being an indie author with a brand new book just launched. Knowing that I am the only one responsible for getting it noticed is a heavy burden.  Marketing has never been my strong point, but a new launch brings demands that I've been finding overwhelming. So I have taken comfort today in discovering that I am not alone in this particular struggle. Joanna Penn passed on this link to a blog post that makes the size of the problem more understandable. Elizabeth Craig's suggestion is to start doing more outsourcing of responsibilities, which probably isn't going to happen, but at least seeing this list reassures me that I'm not losing it. I really AM overworked.

Here's what Elizabeth Craig has to say about how indie authors spend their time:

I was reflecting on the past year with a friend and I admitted that a lot of my problem is that I can do (nearly) everything myself.  I can do rudimentary (not cover) design. I can format books. I can update my website. I can create newsletters and schedule updates on social media. I know how to upload to retail platforms, share my calendar, create a slideshow for a lecture.
And, because I know how to do it, because I have the skills, and I’ve a tendency toward frugality, I do it all myself.
There were a few exceptions.  I hit the wall with my own accounting ability and stopped doing my own taxes a couple of years ago.  I’ve always had freelancers to help me out with covers, narrating audio books, formatting print and digital books, and editing. Sometimes I need help with my website issues (or just don’t have the time to figure out how to fix the issue myself).

I’ve mentioned in other posts that I’m something of a control freak. I don’t think I wasalways this way, but over the past 5-10 years, it’s definitely become more obvious.  I like things done a particular way. To ensure it’s done this way, I do it myself.

I’m frequently advised by both writer friends and non-writer friends to outsource some of what I do.  I have been very hesitant to do this. But, in 2016, I’m going to give it a go.

I made a list of as many different things that I could think of that I do on a regular basis (daily, weekly, monthly, annually).  I kept saying I felt overwhelmed, but I also couldn’t completely account for my time or what I was spending it on. Some of the tasks on my list I almost enjoy. Some I dread doing—and the dread frequently isn’t equivalent to the size of the task….I dread updating Facebook, for instance. Where are my readers? They’re on Facebook.
Some of these tasks overlap. Some take only a minute or two (after I remember to do them). Some can take many hours to complete.  See if this list sounds familiar to you.

Update Amazon Author Central (US and worldwide)
Update my website with new books, new copy, new author photos, new bios.
Update Goodreads books and author info.
Run Goodreads giveaways
Update Facebook
Update Google Plus
Curate and schedule content for Twitter. Collect it and share on the blog.
Blog (3x weekly). Respond to comments. Visit other blogs
Promote my author newsletter
Send newsletters out to readers
Advertise on Facebook.
Respond to reader emails

Create author notes for Amazon and for the backs of my books
Update end matter in my digital books. Keep a copy
Mentor
Respond to guest post requests
Learn new software
Watch webinars for business-related information (promo, learning software like Scrivener, etc.)
Respond to emailed requests for me to beta test software
Connect with and coordinate with editors, formatters, cover designers
Track sales and run promotions
Distribute new books to each platform: ACX, Amazon, Draft2Digital, Smashwords, IngramSpark, CreateSpace, etc.
Update stories weekly on Wattpad
Secure narrator for audiobooks. Listen to finished audiobook for errors. Upload to ACX.
Send promo copies and signed copies to readers.
Participate in Skype/podcast/written interviews. YouTube interviews
Update social media banners
Coordinate speaking engagements
Write guest posts and respond to comments when the post runs
Set up annual headshot and update social media with the new picture
Create PowerPoints for speaking engagements
Count 4 and 5 star reviews on both active series to use in the Editorial Reviews section of my book pages
Write blurbs for other authors
Write cover copy and ad copy
Update series bibles with each book

Pull tax-related items together. Pull year-end things together for accountant.
Organize items on the computer:  Covers in one folder.  Manuscripts in format-specific folders.
Back up. Back up my backups.
Maintain and use Amazon Affiliate links for all my books
Research for books and for promo