300 Seconds: Brain Dump

I was on a commuter train recently, heading to a Chicago suburb for drinks with friends. As I settled into my book, a young woman took the seat beside me. It was the 5 o’clock express train, and she was one of the many business professionals heading home at the end of the day. She took out a notebook, sighed a couple of times, and started writing. The heading on the page read, “July 12, 2018: Brain Dump.”

Now, I admit that I’m a curious over-the-shoulder-reader. (And if you are the guy who felt ogled at the Kansas City airport, I truly just wanted to see which Paul Auster book you were reading.) But this time my over-the-shoulder-glances didn’t register any content. I was too wrapped up in the idea of a “brain dump”—freeing items, thoughts, tasks, etc. from the mind by moving it to paper.

Think about it. The best time to remember anything is when it’s fresh in your mind and before you’ve moved on to something else, and for me that something else could be as mundane as, “Where did I park my car?”

On the train, as my seat mate penned her list, the sighs became fewer. I don’t know if she later used that list to create a plan of attack, but I know that’s what I’d do. Since I use TeuxDeux, my brain dump becomes to-do items, assigned to a specific day according to deadline or realistic expectations. (I don’t like lofty to-do items that follow me, unfinished, day to day. They become dead weight.)

So before you walk out of the store today, take 300 seconds to try your own brain dump. Remembering to share The New Yorker’s adaptation of Knausgaard’s “The Trouble With Dogs for a Writer” with the proven fans in your database might mean more sales of Summer this week.

And now that that’s out of my brain, I can search for my car.

Wanna Launch a Podcast?

You might recall that I was part of a team invited to be a part of NPR’s StoryLab a couple of months ago. The podcast we worked on is almost to its launching stage, as is another one I’ve been working on for about a year. Since I seem to have some breathing room–and because I am a fool–I decided to take an online course on podcasts from the Knight Center at the University of Austin at Texas.

My instructor emailed me yesterday and encouraged me to spread the word that it’s not too late to sign up for this free course. (This sounds like it was a personal message from my instructor. No, this is a MOOC: massive open online course. There are more than 2000 participants. But the sentiment felt personal.)

I’ve noticed an uptick in bookstore podcasting lately, so if your store has tossed the idea around, you might want to sign up for this free 5-week online course. It’s called “Listen up! How to Launch and Grow a Hit Podcast” and it runs from August 20 – September 23.

Maybe we can start a study group.

Say As I Do: Kate Christensen

Say As I Do: Kate Christensen

I recently spoke with Kate Christensen about her new release–The Last Cruise–for KMUW’s Marginalia podcast. I thought I knew how to pronounce her name. Wow, was I ever wrong!

Here she is:
 

The Struggle is Real

Here’s a cute little video from Penguin Random House titled, “The Struggles of Reading in an Apartment.” Whether it’s reading in an apartment, a house, an office, or a coffee shop–I think we can agree that sometimes the struggle is real.

If you’d like to share the video with your readers, you can find it here: https://youtu.be/wpt1J6I3NZU

Mid-Year Goal Audit

How is it already July?

Okay, I’m going to halt the direction I was initially heading and take my own advice. Instead of adopting a “glass half empty” attitude, I’m going to say to myself, “I still have 6 months to accomplish my 2018 goals.”

What’s on your list of goals for the year that you want to tackle? The beginning of the fiscal year, for some, is a good time to look at financial goals, but this mid-year check-in could also audit marketing goals, reading goals, goals for your own personal health, and so much more.

Mid-year is a great time to schedule employee performance reviews, especially if you ask for a list of goals at the beginning of the year.

And this is a great time to reach out to customers through the store newsletter or social media to check on their reading goals. Ask for feedback on any challenges in which they might be participating. Offer category suggestions. Ask about a favorite read so far this year. And perhaps offer a look at the books you’re anticipating the most for the second half of the year. If this last idea seems daunting, spread the wealth a bit and solicit ideas from your staff. That way you’ll get a variety of reading preferences to better mesh with customer preferences.

With a goal list check-in, it’s easy to focus on what remains on the list. But it’s also beneficial to look back at everything you have accomplished. How many events did you put on? How many newsletters did you write? How many recommendation cards did you display?

We have six more months of 2018! Promising, isn’t it?