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Now is the time to get started

“I wish I had started this five years ago!”

I was talking with an author who had recently signed his first book contract. In about a year he would be releasing it.

The author had been writing and working in his field for years but hadn’t taken the time to start building his platform. It didn’t seem necessary at the time. But now that he was faced with coming out with a book, he was realizing all of the opportunities he had missed.

I get the following questions all the time…

“I’m just starting the first draft of my novel, when should I start building my author platform?”

“I’m trying to get the final edits done on my book, when should I start building my email list?”

“My book came out six months ago and I’m working on the next one. I’m pretty busy with it. When should I start my blog?”

My answer?

“Yesterday. Now. Immediately.”

Every day that slips by without working on your platform is a missed opportunity.

There’s a lot of reasons to put it off though. Trust me, I’ve used them myself and heard them from other people:

  • I’m really busy right now writing my book.
  • I’ve tried before and it hasn’t worked
  • Maybe I should just work on my next book
  • I don’t have time
  • I don’t know where to start

Here’s what I can promise you:

When it’s time to release your book, you’ll regret putting it off.

I do understand why it gets put off. It’s often not the thing that seems most pressing. Your job is busy. Writing is more fun. You’re on deadline. There really are a thousand reasons to do something else with your time.

So how can you possibly fit it into your schedule?

Here’s the things I’ve learned:

  1. Think small instead of big. You’re not going to be able to get 1000 new readers in a week, but you can get 10 and feel accomplished.
  2. Think system instead of goal. Can you do something every week that will move you forward? I focus on doing two things a week to promote my book. If I do that long enough, they will stack up and be successful. Forget some big, lofty goal. Focus on what you can do week in and week out.
  3. Think learning instead of failing. Especially at the beginning, you’ll probably have more mistakes than successes, but that’s ok. It’s normal. Focus on the fact that you’re learning as you go. As the great Zig Ziglar said so many times, “Failure is an event, not a person.”

If you focus on small things that you can experiment with every week, you’ll turn around in a few months and realize you’ve made a ton of progress!

But this naturally leads to the next question…

What should I focus on?

This is the next thing that so often locks us down and keeps us from making progress… we don’t know where to start!

There’s just too much advice swirling around out there about blogging, Twitter, Facebook, email, forums, Pinterest, Google+ and so much more, it’s just hard to know what you should be spending your time on.

I know this is true because every single day I have authors reaching out to me for help and direction. I’ve developed some very useful tools and programs to help writers — no matter where you are in the journey.

Where are you going to be in six months?

It’s easy to put off. It’s easy to say you’ll get started later… after work slows down, you finish your manuscript or the kids are out for summer.

But don’t wait.

Act now. Thank yourself later.

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