How to Turn Publishing and Marketing Advice into Action
by Dana Lynn Smith
How many educational books and e-books have you purchased and never finished reading, or never read at all? How many times have you read a book, taken a class, or attended a webinar, but never implemented what you learned? Have you ever returned from an educational seminar all pumped up, but failed to put your new knowledge into action? We’ve all done it.
Even if the instruction is free, you’re investing your valuable time in it. Here are eight tips for getting the most from your investment.
1. Start with a goal. Educational materials and programs can be incredibly valuable in your publishing journey, but make sure that you’re using your resources wisely. Ask yourself why you want to read this particular book or take this class. What are you hoping to learn, and how will that help you meet your publishing goals? If you don’t have good answers to these questions, maybe your time and money would be better spent elsewhere.
2. Take account of your learning style. Are you a visual or an auditory learner? I won’t sign up for a teleclass unless I can get a transcript, because I learn better by reading, and I can read a transcript in much less time than I would spend at the class. Other people retain information better when they hear it spoken, or prefer to manage their time by listening as they work out or commute. Some educational programs include both written and audio materials, to help reinforce the message and to cater to different learning styles.
3. Consider printing out e-books. While I appreciate the importance of saving paper and ink, I find it difficult to absorb and learn from material on a screen. I have several shelves full of three-ring binders filled with e-books and articles, and they make a great reference library. Save paper by printing on both sides. You can also skim an e-book on screen and print out just the pages you’re most interested in studying.
4. Take notes. Whether you’re reading or listening to a presentation, focus on how the material applies to you and make notes. I always read with a highlighter to mark important points and a pen to jot down action items.
5. Review what you’ve learned. If you’re reading a book or transcript, go back through it a second time and review the important points that you have highlighted. By ignoring all the other stuff, you’ll be able to focus on those crucial points and how you can benefit from them.
6. Use the buddy system. When you attend a class or educational program such as IBPA’s Publishing University, discuss the program content with other attendees and kick around ideas on how you can use what you’ve learned. As a bonus, you’ll make new friends you can continue to network with once you get home.
7. Relate what you have learned to your publishing and marketing plan. Make a list of specific steps you can take to move toward your goals. If you don’t have a written marketing plan for your book or business, I recommend developing one before you do anything else. (For ideas, see my marketing plan outline at CreateYourBookMarketingPlan.com.)
8. Take action. Prioritize the new ideas you want to implement, and schedule time on your calendar to take action on each item. If your project is complex, break it down into manageable chunks and schedule each part.
Next time you invest in an educational resource, following these steps should help ensure that you get your time and money’s worth.
Dana Lynn Smith, author of the Savvy Book Marketer Guide series at SavvyBookMarketer.com, has 15 years of publishing experience. Her Book Marketing Maven blog (BookMarketingMaven.com) offers marketing tips for authors, and her Top Book Marketing Tips e-book is free when you sign up for her free e-zine.