300 Seconds

IndieNext Nominations

Have you read any books lately that you’re excited to recommend? Do any of them have release dates of August or beyond?

We’re approaching the nomination deadline for the August 2015 IndieNext List. Take 5 minutes today and make a list of books you want to nominate to the list. Choose your favorite, and then take a few minutes between now and Tuesday to write a little blurb about why you love the book. (If you have time to nominate more than one book, do so.)

You do not have to be the store owner, the book buyer, or the floor manager to submit nominations to the list. Any bookseller can do it.

The ABA makes it easy. You can either complete this online form, or send an email to indienextlist@bookweb.org. If the book you’re nominating will be published months from now, they’ll hang onto your submission until the appropriate time. The ABA recommends that you write conversationally, as though you’re handselling to a customer in the store. And they’ll even fix any spelling or grammatical errors.

If you’ve never nominated a book to the list, this is a good time to start.

Repeat After Me. “It’s Tuesday.”

Sometimes a long weekend can feel like a mixed blessing. You need the extra day to feel rested and relaxed, but now you feel like you’re a day behind.

If you’re feeling out of sorts, take 300 Seconds to perform these tasks:

  1. Repeat after me. “It’s Tuesday.” Now you hopefully will not feel disoriented the rest of the day.
  2. Remove any signs, answering machine messages, auto-replies, etc., that might still say you are closed for the holiday. (Do you have your list?)
  3. Make a list of what you want to accomplish today. Now divide that list into what you want to accomplish vs. what you need to accomplish. Focus first on the need to accomplish list.
  4. Breathe.
  5. Tackle your list with the renewed energy gained from the long weekend. And if necessary, repeat, “It’s Tuesday.”

Memorial Day Plans?

Memorial Day is early this year, so it’s a good idea to begin sharing your Memorial Day hours. Especially if you plan to be open over the holiday weekend.

Here’s a simple checklist of locations you should place your announcement. Each should take no more than 300 Seconds to accomplish.

  • Front door. A simple sign stating special hours or closing for Memorial Day works fine.
  • Answering machine. It’s not too early to let people know ahead of time. In your message, encourage them to pick up some extra reading materials for the weekend. Remind them that you’re always open on the web.
  • On your website. This can either be a “banner” announcement or a listing on your event calendar. Or both.
  • In your email newsletter.
  • At the bottom of your receipts.
  • On Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You remember that sign you created for the front door? Snap a photo and use it socially. In fact, change your cover image to include store hours for the weekend, so it’s the first thing they see while visiting your page.
  • As you’re checking out customers. “Do you have enough to read for the long weekend?”
  • And if your staff has individual email accounts, don’t forget to place a statement in the message footer or in the auto reply message.

Keep a list of the places you note holiday hours, and then on Tuesday use that list to revert to your original messages.

Let the Scheduler Remember

How would you behave in this scenario?

You stumbled upon an interview featuring an author scheduled to visit your store in September. Do you:

A. think “I should post a link to this in September” and move on?

B. bookmark the interview to post in September, but then forget about it?

C. schedule social media posts for August, with links to the article?

If your answer is not C, then this 300 Seconds task is for you. It might not happen today. It might not happen this week. But the next time you’re faced with information you want to share about an upcoming event, but the timing is wrong, say to yourself, “I should take 5 minutes and schedule that now.” And then do it.

The tools exist to make planning easier. They exist to make our lives easier. We just need to let them work for us.

300 Seconds: Change Your Receipt Message

If you haven’t changed the message on your receipts since the last time I suggested it, it’s probably time to take 300 Seconds to do so again.

Receipt messages can be used to promote just about anything. If you want to call attention to a single booksigning event, list the author along with the date and time they’ll be there. If you have more than one event in the coming weeks, provide a litany of author names along with the URL of your events page. If morning coffee sales have dropped, add a “come-back” message and convert it to a coupon. “Bring this receipt in before 9:00 a.m. to receive 20% off your next coffee purchase. (Expires 14 days after receipt date.)”

As you hand the receipt to customers, be sure to point out the information you’ve placed there. “We have a lot of great events coming up. Here’s where you can find the calendar on our website.” … or “Here’s a coupon for the cafe if you are a morning coffee drinker!”