300 Seconds

300 Seconds: Regain Your Composure

Do you have just 300 seconds to devote to marketing today? Take those 5 minutes to regain your composure.

What items on your to-do list are weighing on your mind? Have they actually been added to your to-do list? Sometimes the act of writing down your tasks and prioritizing them allows you free your mind to focus on the task at hand.

If you’re on your way home from Winter Institute, this might mean looking through those business cards you collected and adding action items to your to-do list. Did you promise a publisher a review? Publishers, did you promise a bookseller a galley? Add these to your list and attach a deadline. (And if you can delegate, even better.)

If you have more time today beyond the 300 seconds, just attack the list one item at a time… and don’t allow the daunting size of your to-do list to become a distraction.

300 Seconds: Check Those Links

If you send out an electronic newsletter, take an extra 300 Seconds before you press send to double check the links.

I use several types of links in my newsletters. The most typical is the link away from B&Wn to a site with supplemental information, like Edelweiss, the ABA’s bookweb.org, or a publisher asset page.

I like to link to my site, booksandwhatnot.com, because that’s where I like to house hi-resolution images, embedded videos, and more information I would like to include in the newsletter if it wouldn’t make it too long.

I also link my article headlines and photos to the longer piece on my site. The majority of email is now read on a smart phone, and many users tend to fat-finger articles. If you accidentally click on a photo, I want you to be able to read the article instead of having to close the image you accidentally enlarged in order to get back to the article.

Occasionally, I leave the image unlinked so you can actually see the image better if enlarged. In Wednesday I actually unlinked the image of Cynthia Compton’s posts so you could better read the captions with the photo enlarged.

When I have ads, I always double check that they are pointing to the correct landing page.

You might have noticed the past several days an ad for Sourcebooks’s ‘Readers Recommend Your Bookstore’ Sweepstakes, promoting The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald. When I tested the link for that ad, I really liked some of the items they’ve included on their landing page that not only help booksellers with content, but it keeps them coming back.

The Beauty of Google Calendars

Allow me to say one last thing about the 2016 calendar, and then I’ll shut up about it. Once they are created, I love, love, love transferring my paper calendars to Google calendars, which are part of a free Google account.

I create multiple calendars based on subjects that I can then make visible or invisible at the click of the mouse. Then I can turn “on” any two I want to overlay to catch any double-bookings, staff requirements, etc.

For example, if I have created both an events calendar and an employee schedule calendar, I can turn them both on to see when I need to have more booksellers on the floor. Or I when I’m working in the employee schedule calendar, I can turn on the vacation requests calendar to see who is available to work. Or I can turn on the events calendar and the vacation requests calendar to see if I want to block out dates during a busy period for a vacation moratorium.

You could also create a calendar for book release dates, and change the color of an entry if it’s assigned out for review. This calendar would overlay nicely with the IndieNext Deadline calendar. Or just use it alone when you’re looking for content for store newsletter.

The number of calendar options are endless and can be created to fit your individual store. And another beautiful thing about the Google calendar is that since it lives in the cloud, it can be shared with your entire staff, and you can assign different permissions (viewing vs. editing) to each staff member for individual calendars.

If you have just 300 seconds to devote to marketing today, create a few Google calendars. You don’t have to complete them today. Instead, just think about different calendar scenarios which will help you in the bookstore.

300 Seconds: Look Up

I had planned to wrap up our 2016 calendar planning today and tomorrow, but I’m putting it off a day because I had to write about an event I attended last night.

At this event, the speakers were great and it was a standing-room-only crowd. Yet I kept finding myself looking up and staring at a single cobweb in the chandelier. Just one. But it was my main take-away.

So spend your 300 marketing seconds today looking up. Remove cobwebs from the nooks and crannies or dust from the return-air vents. If insects are trapped in your light fixtures, set them free. And while you’re near the lights, replace any light bulbs that have expired.

You might even try to do this task during different times of the day. Sometimes things you cannot see in the daylight are presented more clearly at dusk or dark.

300 Seconds: A Year of IndieNext Deadlines

Now that we have 2016 on the mind, we can start to fill in some of the blank calendars I provided yesterday. We’re going to begin with the 2016 IndieNext Deadlines, because our first one is quickly approaching: Tuesday, January 5, is the deadline for nominating books published in March 2016 and beyond.

Earlier this month, I shared my conversation with Mark Nichols with the ABA, who explained the details of how the IndieNext list is created. You can find that here.

But if you want the quick version: To nominate a title, either send an email to indienextlist@bookweb.org or complete the form online to submit up to six nominations. You can also submit nominations through Edelweiss or NetGalley:

  • On Edelweiss, navigate to the Edelweiss book page of your choice, click on “Your Review,” and select “Submit to Indie Next.”
  • On NetGalley, simply click the green “Title Feedback” button for any title in your account.

And back to our planning calendar… here’s a PDF from the ABA, which includes all of the 2016 IndieNext Nominating Deadlines. Use it to place deadlines on your own calendar, distribute it to other booksellers on staff, or post it by your stash of ARCs. Or keep it with a pad of sticky notes for when you’re unpacking freight. You can attach nomination deadlines to ARCs as they arrive.

If nominating titles to the IndieNext list is on your list of resolutions, this should make achieving that goal a little easier.