Friday, October 18, 2019

End of Year Planning

Ten weeks today, Christmas will be over.

Eleven weeks today, it will be January 2, 2020.

For anyone like me who thinks it's still's not. I mean, I know it's not mid-July - it's dark by 6:30 pm now, and getting earlier every day - but in my head the year can't possibly be careening wildly to an end already. Yet, here we are.

Which means it's time to prioritize and plan. Now. Before the stress of the holidays comes in.

Do you do something special for your readers to coincide with Thanksgiving/Hanukkah/Christmas/New Year/Kwanzaa? Now's the time to plan it, which means: 

  • Make or commission the necessary graphics. 
  • Schedule your posts. Yes, really. (Facebook seems inconsistent with allowing scheduled posts on author pages. I had this option last week and now it's gone. Maybe it will come back. Maybe it won't. Either way, you can use a 3rd party scheduler to set it and forget it. I like Buffer for this.)
  • If you're giving away prizes - particularly signed paperbacks - order them now and put them on a shelf to collect dust for a month or so. You'll be happy you did.
Are you planning a sale or a freebie?
  • If you're in KU, schedule your price change. If you're not in KU, put a date on your calendar at least a week in advance of when you want the price changed on Amazon to start changing on other vendors and request the change from the Zon. The closer it is to Black Friday, the slower they'll be.
  • Schedule your promo, including newsletter promotions, Facebook and Amazon ads.
  • Hit up author friends now for cross-promotion/newsletter swaps. Lots of us will be sending out a holiday newsletter and a sale/freebie is in the giving spirit, right?
Not planning a sale/freebie and no gifts for readers doesn't mean you won't feel overwhelmed, unfortunately. Which means it's time to think about what you want to STOP doing. (This coincides with 2020 planning for me, as well.)
  • How many social media platforms do you REALLY need to be on? It might be time to Marie Kondo your time online.
  • Same with your advertising. This one is very math-intensive, but when you sit down and actually plug numbers into a spreadsheet, it can be illuminating. It's worthy of its own post, but opening up Excel is a good first step.
  • Decide how many hours per week you can REALISTICALLY devote to writing with the holidays approaching. Then give yourself permission to work those hours.
  • FOMO has ruined more days for me than I care to admit, but I sat down and had a long talk with myself a few years ago about being happy in my lane, and it's better now. Curtailing social media helps with this.
  • Teachers, coaches, assistants and babysitters like gift cards. I know it feels like a cop-out, but I swear gift cards are decent gifts. If you're short on funds, see if anyone else wants to go in on it with you. Then set a deadline for contributions.
  • Lastly - decide which healthy habit is going to get you through. Maybe it's a lunchtime walk, more veg, curtailing alcohol/caffeine/junk food consumption when you can so the times you overindulge don't feel so frequent. Or, maybe it's spending more time with supportive friends, reading to escape or binging Hallmark Christmas movies. 
Whatever you do to get yourself through the end of the year, I hope the next ten weeks are as stress-free as possible. And I'd love to hear your tips for dealing with end of year madness!

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