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I’ll start this week’s post by saying that my desk is bare, my office relatively clean, and a giant purple 3-ring binder is filled with the pages of my printed chronology for my work-in-progress. That can only mean one thing—I reached my stretch goal of completing the “keying in” phase of my WIP research, just in time for my solo creative retreat that I leave for in 2 short days. But before I get into things, here’s a quick recap of my goals from last week and how I did:

Writing Goals from Last Week:

  • Devote a minimum of 10 hours on my WIP, specifically uploading more curated content into Scrivener. My goal is to have all of this material in so I can print out the chronology and bring with me on my upcoming solo writing retreat on November 20 — YES (15+ hours)
  • Follow my week-by-week schedule for my author site leading up to my Doable launch — YES
  • Complete 2 more book-related freebies for my author site / book launch — NO

And here’s my Writing Tracking Log for the week (CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE IT):

Week 5 Time Tracker


So, overall another good week, but you’ll note that I didn’t complete my last goal which was getting two more freebies up on my author website. I think this was because of some launch paralysis I experienced following my phone call with my publicist last Tuesday night. But more on that later. I’ll start by reporting in on the WIP:

Work-in-Progress Chronology: Completed!

If last week I was obsessed trying to finish keying in content, this week I was completely consumed by it. I’m so ready to start figuring out what this book is, but I’ve not allowed myself to spend much time thinking about that because I wanted to avoid being in a situation where I’ve developed a solid outline, started writing, and then realized that there are huge gaps that, had I factored them in initially, would have completely altered my approach. Of course, the reality is, this might happen anyway (probably will, in fact), but I wanted to give myself the best chances of that not occurring. Hence the detailed chronology.

Paris PrepLate yesterday afternoon, I set my printer to double-sided, printed out all 195,000 words, broke in my hole-punch, and stuffed a 3-ring binder with material that covers my ten-year journey with my son. I’m usually a binder clip kind of gal, but having all this content in a notebook where I could easily mark things with tabs and flip back and forth seemed important for some reason. As soon as I finished organizing the binder, I set it aside, along with a stack of post-its, two new notebooks, and a pack of small sticky flags. I’m all set for my creative retreat on Thursday.

And about that — my husband offered to be a (homeschool) substitute teacher for me for a few days, plus solo parent over the weekend, so I could have some time to myself in Paris, which is undoubtedly my most favorite city. The trip started out as a pure getaway where I could explore museums, flea markets, churches, and basically do whatever I want to do on my own schedule. (Just writing about it is making me a wee bit giddy!)

But now that I’m at this stage in my WIP, my getaway also seems like an ideal opportunity to start brainstorming the structure of my book and consider how exactly I want to unfold the material. If you’re familiar with Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, I’m going to consider my 5-day trip to the City of Lights as one big artist’s date.

I don’t have a goal of what I’ll accomplish while I’m away because that would defeat the purpose of a no-agenda, follow-the-feel-good sabbatical. But I do have an intention: to remain open and to notice ideas and inspiration as they come to me. I’ll write if I want to write. I’ll read if I want to read. But more than anything, I’m going to be present and trust in this phase of the writing process. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The DOABLE Launch Plan

As you know, the other big project on my plate is gearing up for the publication of my new book for teen girls, Doable: The Girls’ Guide to Accomplishing Just About Anything. As I mentioned earlier, I had a phone meeting with my publicist, Whitney, last week about how we could build buzz and prepare for the best launch possible.

I’ve written before about how the month or two surrounding the publication of a book is the most critical time to promote from a publisher’s perspective, and Whitney reiterated this. Here are some of the updates Whitney shared:

  • Pre-sales have been been strong for both Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Whitney was able to tell me buy-in numbers for these two important outlets (meaning how much they will have in-stock) and she said they were better than expected. Yay!
  • In addition to coming out in paperback, my book is being printed in hardcover specifically for educators, and these numbers have been strong, too. Whitney encouraged me to consider writing a curriculum guide for the book that meets Common Core standards as that can positively impact sales. I’m open to doing this, but I can’t afford to spend time researching and figuring out how to write it, and so am considering hiring someone to create this for me.
  • Pre-order bonuses are critical for sales numbers at B&N and Amazon. If you aren’t familiar with this concept, pre-order bonuses are exclusive bonuses that some authors create to encourage pre-order purchases. For example, if someone pre-orders, they can email the receipt to the author to verify the purchase, and then they will receive the bonuses which might be anything from a tangible product (bookmark, etc.) to free content (bonus chapters, recorded interviews, etc.). Because much of my marketing efforts are going to be focused on the longterm success of this book, I wasn’t planning to do a pre-order bonus, however, Whitney changed my mind. See below for my plan of what I’m going to do.
  • Advanced reviewer copies (ARCs) were sent to all the relevant media contacts in July. She forwarded me the list so I can follow up with personal emails (which I plan to do).

So that’s the scoop from Whitney. It was all good stuff, but it did throw me into a bit of a tailspin, specifically regarding the curriculum guide and the pre-order bonus. My lovely, calm launch plan that I organized a few weeks ago will have to be revised, and I’m once again feeling that pressure of a clock ticking and many, many moving parts.

Deep breaths.

But, there’s some good news that helps with the ticking clock. I learned just yesterday that the publication date for Doable, as well as the updated editions of both In Their Shoes and Chill, has been pushed from January 6 to January 20th. That was GREAT news, as it gives me an extra two weeks to promote and continue with my pre-publication efforts. Phew!

To keep you in the loop, I thought I’d list out all the various things I’m doing to support this launch. If you’ve heard that promoting a book is primarily an author’s job, you heard right. I think this list is evidence of that.

Doable Promotion Efforts: November – January:

  • Create the “Doable Interview Series” featuring short interviews with kick-ass women who answer 5 questions about their own “doable process.” These will be shared on YouTube, Pinterest, and other social media and will speak to the key themes in the book. (Currently recording interviews and hope to put the first one up next week!)
  • Solicit 40+ people to read the book in advance and post a review on Amazon on publication day. My marketing guru Tim Grahl says that this is the most important thing an author can do to support their Amazon ranking.
  • Write a blog series for parents on how they can support their girls in reaching their goals – weekly drip out until publication day
  • Create LOTS of free resources / bonus content (in addition to the workbook and one-sheeter that are already on my site), including a manifesto, Doable style cheat sheet, Podcast about how Doable became doable, etc.
  • Create a book trailer for the book (have to do soon!!)
  • Put together a short publicity video interview explaining the pre-order goodies, etc. (with the help of the fabulous Gia Duke)
  • Promote my pre-order bonuses, which will include 4 free group calls in early 2015 where people can call in and ask me anything, 3-minute personalized video responses to people who send me their Doable challenges, and the opportunity to win several individual coaching sessions with me to develop a doable plan for a big goal
  • Put together a list of additional people I’d like Beyond Words to send finished copies to (media, influencers, etc.)
  • Release pictures of the kick-ass girls I feature in Doable along with a quote for sharing on social media / build buzz
  • Craft emails for the girls I feature in the book providing suggestions for promoting the book among their network
  • Craft an email for my personal community letting them know specifically how they can support the book launch
  • Organize a blog tour with the help of Beyond Words (for YA book review blogs, mommy blogs, etc.)

And I think that’s it. For now. Don’t even get me started on the “long-term” promotional plans.

Will I get all of this completed? Probably not. But it’s a good list to start with and I’m going to do my best to check off as many items as possible. Every little bit helps. And with that, I think it’s time to share my…

Writing Goals for the Coming Week:

  • Devote a minimum of 4 hours on my WIP. Because I’m traveling, this can include reading, journaling, or anything else I’m inspired to do that will bring me one step closer to figuring out a structure for the book.
  • Follow my week-by-week schedule for my author site leading up to my Doable launch.
  • Conduct 3 more interviews for the Doable Interview series
  • Compile a list of contacts to send to Beyond Words for book mailings, as well as draft a personalized letter to accompany books
  • Stretch Goal: Edit the first Doable Interview Series video for sharing next week

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I hope you enjoyed this installment of Writer Unplugged!  If you aren’t already on my email list, I encourage you to sign up below so you don’t miss any of the series!

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