300 Seconds

Return the Love

Take 5 minutes today and look to see who’s followed or liked you lately on social media. Take some time to follow them back.

While you’re there, make a little extra effort and start a conversation. Instead of saying, “Thanks for the like,” message them with something like, “Your shopping cart tweet had me rolling…” or “Dying to hear what you think of the new Amy Bloom…”

Finally, take a little time to “like” or “favorite” posts and tweets. We all like to be liked.

Freshen the Restrooms

Since a bookstore is a retail establishment, your restroom becomes public whether you want it to or not. Especially if you have a children’s section. Take 300 seconds today to make sure that it’s ready for visitors.

I suggested this task once before, and I proposed taking advantage of the “captive” audience by placing items on the walls. Event posters. Children’s story time announcements. Publisher provided posters. Even signage with a long shelf life.

If the items on your walls have no expiration, it’s still a good idea to change them out. You could create a rotation of “seasonal” signage, or just take the opportunity to be creative every 4 to 6 months. And if you don’t want to mar your walls with an abundance of tape, consider hanging an understated frame. Then any signage you create can be produced to meet those specifications.

IndieNext nomination reminders.

It’s time to plan for your next IndieNext nomination. Remind the staff that nominations for books published in November will be due in just over 2 weeks on September 5. That leaves plenty of time to both finish a book and write a nomination.

With Labor Day falling between now and then, the September 5 deadline could be easily forgotten.

If you have a stack of ARCs you plan to read, check the publication date and its corresponding IndieNext nomination deadline.

  • November 2014 – nominations due September 5, 2014
  • December 2014 – nominations due October 3, 2014
  • January 2015 – nominations due November 4, 2014
  • February 2015 – nominations due December 5, 2014

Now take 5 minutes to write a nomination deadline reminder on a sticky note and place it on the front cover.If the book doesn’t live up to your expectations, then don’t nominate it. This is just a good way to not only prioritize your reading stack, but also ensure you never suffer from post-deadline regret again.

Remember the Mail

It used to be that we worked from desktops. Not the type-of-computer-that’s-big-and-difficult-to-carry desktop; I mean actual, literal, top-of-desk desktops. It used to be that if we read something that we wanted to keep, we would clip it out of the newspaper or magazine we read it in and put it on our desktop.

Today, not so much.

I work out of my inbox. People send requests there now, so if I have a to-do, what better way to manage my own requests of myself than to send to my inbox. Keep everything in the same place. If I find something I like, while on Twitter or Reddit, I email it to myself. Or more often that not, I email it to Beth.

There are other apps to manage the clippings of the web. (Hey, that’s a great name for a startup. Eh, probably already taken.) Things like Evernote and Pocket, but in my opinion, email is prolific and universal. It works from almost any place, and I will never forget to check it. The problem comes in its ease of use. My inbox is already too full, so adding to the madness won’t help me get things done.

Enter Mailreminder

Instead of putting every message in my inbox at the same time, Mailreminder lets me choose

It’s time to change your receipt message.

Messages on the bottom of your receipt can be timely or timeless. Timely messages should be changed, well… , when they’re no longer timely. Timeless messages should be changed when people stop reading them. The frequency of customer visits is one factor to consider, but always cater to the frequent visitor.

Receipt messages can be changed as often as every 2 weeks, but I wouldn’t lapse longer than 6 weeks.

At a loss for what to say on your receipt? Just look around the store:

  • You have an author coming soon? – “Tickets for the August 31st Bill Rohrbach are available now. Your ticket number is your signing number, so get yours today.”
  • Are you heavy in one particular section? – “We’re less likely to repeat history if we’re aware of it. Save our future. All history books are 20% off through the end of August.”
  • Do you stock text books? – “Whatnot Bookstore carries required reading texts for 8 area schools. Is your school on the list? www.booksandwhatnot.com”
  • Or have fun. – “Because you bought what you bought, we recommend Friendswood by René Steinke. (Kidding. We don’t have an algorithm analyzing your purchases. We just like the book.)

If your message is timely, create a little reminder in your calendar or on your task list to change it out when it becomes tired.