Move Over, Procrastinators–Here I Come


24042412056_d5c3c25f59I get my Christmas shopping done early. I’m ready. I avoid the long lines. I get first pick of what’s in the stores—what’s new for the season.

In contrast, there are the procrastinators. They wait until the last minute, braving the crowds and getting amazing deals.

Often, the very items I bought two months before those shoppers ever showed their faces in the malls, are sometimes 50-70% off a few days before Christmas!

The procrastinators are getting rewarded!

Now, if you are one of them, don’t think I am having negative thoughts about you.

Quite the contrary.

I am in awe of you. And, next year, I am joining you.

Why not?  I’ve watched the trend for the last five years and I don’t see that it is going to be any different next season.

So…watch out. Next Christmas Eve (or perhaps just a day or two prior) I will be out there with the best of you, raking in those last-minute bargains…laughing all the way home!

But, as an author, I cannot recommend procrastinating. In fact, just the opposite.

Writers need to be organized and just one-step-ahead in order to get our product out there—and thus, into shoppers’ hands in time for gift-giving.

This year, I started seeing some books marketed for Christmas as early as August. That means, by the latest, an author needs to be wrapping up the editing process, cover selection, and started on pre-marketing by mid-summer.

So, you see, the winter/spring months should really be ones filled with hard work, if you are thinking about targeting the Christmas market. To be sure, though, December isn’t the only month that is profitable. Valentine’s, Easter, and Mother’s Day are times when lots of sales can be made. So, they are great markets to focus on, also. In fact, the summer season is also hot (ha!-I didn’t see that one coming, really…) Think about all of those beachy reads…

In the past, I have just written and published when a book was ready, giving no heed to seasons, holidays, and trends. But in 2018, I’m going to give this aspect of book marketing some serious consideration–perhaps even write something with a Christmas theme…

If that idea doesn’t appeal to you, an easier route would be to simply make a boxed set of your books, or tie a virtual ribbon around your existing series and market it at a special price.

Marketing is the hardest, most time-consuming aspect of writing for me. If it is for you, too, stay tuned. I will be sending tips your way in 2018. As I learn, I will be passing ideas along, in hopes that you will share those that you have found helpful, too.

Let’s make 2018 an amazing year of getting things done.

No procrastinating!

In Defense of Doodling


My husband is a doodler.        32010585111_840dc8b024

I guess it simply gives his hands something to do while he watches a football game on television or waits for his order at a restaurant.

But, I asked myself, “Could doodling actually have some kind of value?”

I recall teaching my elementary students to map and use webs to organize information. Could using simple visual language help people think and solve problems, focus, and retain information?

Turns out that good old doodling activates one’s mind’s eye to access creativity with the subconscious mind.

I put it to the test.

I recently made use of doodling to solve a difficult plot problem in the book I am writing.

So, don’t get stuck on plot, character description, or action scenes. If you need to “see” what you are writing for descriptive purposes or keeping track of details, why not try doodling?

You just might find it to be more than mindless scribbling.

Spring Cleaning!


It’s spring—at least where I live, in Arizona.

Friends that do what they call “spring cleaning,” disposing of the clutter and mess associated with the winters months. Me? Well, my husband and I love to buy homes and renovate them, so we are usually ready to find a new project house and move anywhere from March to May each year. We joke with each other and say, “The windows need cleaned. It’s about time to move!”

I know. I know. It would be so much easier just to get a bucket of water and squeegee those windows, huh?

At any rate, on a somewhat smaller scale, I need to focus on my home office. It is in dire need of reorganization—all to be done, of course, in the honor of my favorite season of the year—spring!

If you are like me, an organized desk and supply closet results in an organized mind, which results in more meaningful work accomplished.  You might not think so, but just little things like cleaning out and organizing my pen/pencil container can be the catalyst for a story about a…oops, I digress from the subject at hand.

A list should keep me focused:

1) Put all reference materials, including my Thesaurus, back on the same shelf.

2) Put marketing/publishing materials into folders and refile.

3) Take out bits of paper, napkins, and gum wrappers with story ideas collected all winter and add them to the master list in “Future Stories” file.

4) Go through writing-related books. Type notes from the ones I have read. Put the books I’ve not yet read into a stack, front and center on the shelf, so I see them every day.

5) Put books no longer needed/wanted into a box and into the trunk of the car headed for a Goodwill store or share with my critique group.

6) Go through my supply cupboard, making a list of supplies such as copy paper, ink, notepads, etc.

7) Treat myself for getting this far, by going to the mall to pick up items in #6 and then having a mid-week lunch with my sister before returning home.

8) Arrange supplies just purchased on closet shelves—oops, first organize shelves, putting things that are out of place back where they belong—now, for the addition of the new fashion-colored Post-it-notes…

9) Go through old phone messages, to-do-lists that are only half done, and throw away or consolidate onto one page, if possible.

10) Locate the “new” pictures of the grandkids received at Christmas and replace the framed ones on my desk.

11) Dust/vacuum.

There. Ready for the new year.

I sit for a minute, looking at my clean desk and organized shelves. The adrenaline starts to flow, just like clockwork. An idea for a new book chapter begins to take shape when my husband calls to me from the sofa where he has been putting in some serious time on the I-Pad. Seems he’s found a “fixer-upper” for sale just a few miles away.

I may not have to clean the windows this spring after all!!!!!