Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Rule of Five for Writers by Misty M. Beller

John Maxwell, the great leadership guru, has taught for years about his "Rule of 5" daily practice. The Rule of 5 is simply a series of activities that you do EVERY DAY that are fundamental to your success. For John, his Rule of 5 are as follows: every day he reads, every day he files, every day he thinks, every day he asks questions, and every day he writes.

Picture a forest of trees in your backyard - massive pecans and oaks. If you choose one tree to strike at with five swings of an ax every day, eventually you'll cut down that tree. If you take five swings at five random trees each day, what will you end up with? An ugly forest full of scarred trees.

I love this concept for so many reasons, but mostly because it makes succeeding at huge tasks manageable, and helps build productive habits. When you write a book, you most likely use the Rule of 5 concept to make it to The End. Breaking those 75,000 words into a daily count makes the long haul less daunting, right?

This same concept applies so well when growing your email list, or even getting approved for a Bookbub Featured Deal. It's all about being Intentional and Consistent (in that order).

So what are my Rule of 5 for writing and marketing books? What are the 5 things I do every day that help me write books and grow my readership?

1. Time with God. I’ve recently shifted my devotional time to just before I begin writing (instead of first thing in the morning). This new time is when my mind is clearest and I don’t have the craziness of a morning with three kids under the age of 11. The change has been so refreshing!

2. Work on my WIP. Whether I'm in the plotting/planning stage, writing the first draft, or editing, I always touch the book I'm currently writing, because that's what I must do to make forward progress with it. I always have goals for how much progress I should make daily, so it's great if I meet that goal. But even if I don't meet the goal, I need to do something. Because producing regular content is critical to keeping (and growing) a happy fan base.

3. Answer emails. For me, I need to set aside time for this so I can give my responses the focus the recipient deserves. It's just the way my brain works. :) So to give this task the priority it needs, I've made this one of my 5.

4. Prepare for my upcoming book release. When I'm in typical book production mode, I try to always have a book available for pre-order with a firm release date. At the beginning of a pre-order, I create a plan to market the book, although the plan is very flexible! I implement the marketing plan as I go, and it's best done in small, daily pieces. So for today, maybe I need to schedule a blog tour, or maybe I need to schedule free days for the previous book in the series, or maybe I need to write an email to my list. The possibilities are endless, but I should already have a list of my planned actions for the book release, and every day I need to accomplish a small something from that list.

5. Think about Advertising or Email List growth opportunities. Separate from a new release, do I need to submit for a Bookbub or ENT ad for a backlist book? I put reminders in my calendar for when each book is likely due for one of these larger ads, but it's not completely auto-pilot. I still need to tweak submission timing by number of reviews on a particular book or my release plan for other books. For my reader email list, do I have specific list-building tools in process that need attention (like FB Lead Gen ads)? Or do I need to sign up for group giveaways? Maybe my automated welcome sequence needs to be updated.
So there you have it, my Rule of 5 for writing and marketing books this year.

And how about you? What are some of the things you do intentionally each day to keep yourself on track? Please share!


Misty M. Beller writes romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love, including her latest release, This Treacherous Journey.
She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and daughters now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.
Connect with Misty at her website, marketing blog for authors, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, Bookbub, and Pinterest. 

Widowed and with child, Emma Malcom is fleeing from the reward offered for her arrest. She’s innocent of the dirty dealings her deceased husband orchestrated, but the angry townspeople didn’t stop to listen to her defense before she narrowly escaped with her life. Now, she and her twin brother, Joseph, must battle the mountain wilderness of the Rockies to reach Canada and the clean start she craves. But when a fall from the rocky cliff leaves Joseph wounded and weak, could the strange mountain man they encounter be God’s gift to see them to safety?

Simeon Grant makes bad choices. His deceased wife and twin babies are lost to him now because of his reckless decisions, and the penance he pays by living alone in this mountain wilderness is only a small piece of what he thinks he deserves. When a city woman, heavy with child, appears on his doorstep with her injured brother, her presence resurrects the memories he’s worked so hard to forget. And when she asks for his help to travel deeper into the mountain country, he can’t help wonder why God would force him to relive the same mistakes he’s already suffered through. Or maybe taking these two to safety could be the way to redeem himself.

But when their travels prove more treacherous than he imagined, Simeon finds himself pressing the limits of his ability to keep Emma and her brother safe. Can he overcome the past that haunts him to be the man she needs? Will Emma break through the walls around Simeon’s heart before it’s too late, or will the dangers of these mountains be the end of them all?