The key to making 30 minutes an effective use of time is to stay consistent and treat my daily marketing half hour like any other business appointment: I set a clock on the desk, start on time, and conclude the "meeting" as soon as 30 minutes is up. Penciling in an "appointment with myself" in my planner makes sure I show up for the meeting, and it also makes sure I don't go beyond the allotted minutes and into the burn-out zone--a surefire way to make me want to cancel tomorrow's meeting.
To help me get to work the minute I sit down to market, I've brainstormed a list of activities that can easily be accomplished in 30 minutes. As more ideas come to me I'll add them to the list, but so far this is what I've come up with:
- Make a list of 12 book reviewers with addresses, requirements, and policies.
- Package up 2-3 books to send for reviews, complete with cover letters, author bio and photo, and any other related materials.
- Spend 30 minutes finding new blogs for return visits or to follow.
- Visit 3 blogs, comment, and/or follow.
- Research and make a list of 12 agents for future manuscript submission; include notes about why I chose these people.
- Write my own review for one of my books. (This may sound strange--but it's not about praising yourself, it's closer to writing a good synopses that allows PR people to know what your book is about if they can only read--and comment--on a few pages.)
- Brainstorm 12 blog ideas with log-lines for future use.
- Pre-write a blog post to have on hand for emergency.
- Design a new trailer or video about either a book, workshop, or writing-related activity.
- Work on a trailer idea--get it finished.
- Make a list of 12 ways to use or place trailers or videos.
- Plan out a blog tour--what would it be about and what will I offer?
- Contact blogs to ask if they'd like to be on the tour, or simply would like a guest post at any time.
- Spend 30 minutes on one social network or author's site. Get to know the people I interact with.
- Design a 30-minute workshop based on one of my books that can also be expanded to 1 or 2 hours.
- Design a bookmark. Brainstorm a list of themes so I can have a variety for different groups, places, holidays, etc.
- Do the same with a postcard.
- Brainstorm a list of places to send cards, bookmarks, other freebies.
- Address, stamp, prepare cards for mailing.
- Brainstorm 12 new places to sell books, offer a workshop, or be of assistance in some way, e.g., volunteering at a writer's conference.
Tip of the Day: Because I'm a Libra and have trouble choosing which marketing idea I want to follow on any given day, I've written each idea on an index card which I then turned face down and put in a pile I keep shuffled. Every day I draw one of the cards from the top and follow the instructions provided. Not only has this turned my 30 minutes of marketing into something of a game to play, it's also brought in a nice element of surprise that keeps me from dreading (or avoiding) a particular task I might not like so much as the others.