We’ve been spending some time populating our 2016 calendars with events like trade shows, IndieNext deadlines and various holidays. Now it’s time to fill in the blanks on the calendar.
Begin with recurring events, like monthly book clubs, seasonal trunk shows, sales, or annual teacher appreciation or book club days. Getting these on the calendar now rather than later will help prevent double-booking or needing to shift a date away from what customers have come to expect.
And speaking of double-booking, now add any author events that you already have scheduled for the year.
Since we’re just coming off of the busy holiday season, it’s a good time to evaluate and adjust your holiday hours. Did staying open that extra hour help your bottom line? If you plan your holiday hours now, you won’t have to try to recall this 11 months from now.
Do you have a busy time when you cannot afford to have staff away? Block out those dates on the calendar as a vacation moratorium, and let the staff know now to plan vacations around those dates.
Have you been wanting to plan more events with kids, teachers, teens, or singles, but always run out of time? Go ahead and block out some dates on the calendar now. Whether it’s for a YA Trunk Show or a monthly newsletter. If it’s on your calendar, you’ll be more likely to accomplish your goal than if it just remains in your head.
Finally, look at some gaps in the calendar that are traditionally slow. Consider planning a temporary book club for those times. And if your staff is overtaxed, you could tap into your customer base to lead it. I’ve found that I receive more “yes” responses when those asked realize that the “favor” I’m asking of them has a set beginning and end.
There are so many books that lend themselves nicely to the idea of a temporary book club. Last fall, one of my book groups explored the idea of fairy tales, with Once Upon a Time by Marina Warner as our guide. We’ve moved on to The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles William by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski, as well as works by the Inklings. (Don’t scoff at those–i.e., me–who have not read The Hobbit. Instead give them the opportunity to cross it off of their to-be-read lists.) In another group, we’re taking our time with 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories edited by Lorrie Moore and co-edited by Heidi Pitlor. Still another is exploring Greatest Books You’ll Never Read: Unpublished masterpieces by the world’s greatest writers by Erica Jarnes.
One of the main benefits of temporary book clubs like these, besides the fact that they’re temporary, is that they all have so many associated titles that can be added to the supplemental reading list.
After you’ve placed all of these events on your 2016 calendar, take a look at it. Don’t be daunted. Instead, be proud that you have a plan of attack for the coming year.