The other day, I saw a book in the bookstore called The Organized Mind. It was written by cognitive psychologist Daniel Levitin, and his focus was on thinking straight in an age of information overload. It sounded like just what I needed: A brain expert explaining how to get myself organized.
I ordered a hazelnut latte and took this tome to a table to glance through it. Ironically, it wasn’t long before the abundance of information further cluttered my already pressurized mind. It was over 500 pages long! I’m sure it has lots of great information, but I don’t have that kind of time.
I like to think of myself as organized, but my office contradicts me … with attitude. No matter how much I recycle and redistribute, there’s always more on the floor. This is partly my fault, as I take on many diverse projects, each of which has its own enormous stash of paperwork. Even my desktop computer screen has so many projects in and out of “organizing” folders that it looks like the day each fall when my trees drop their all their leaves on my deck.
So then I looked at another book, for a different purpose. I needed advice on promotion.
Rebecca Dahlke offered an e-book, Jump Start Your Book Promotion, to a writing group and I snapped it up. It’s based on her experiences selling her books on Amazon. But she’s not just a writer. She’s also owned two successful businesses and she’s been in sales.
Yet more clutter, right? That’s what I was prepared to see. Yet, surprisingly, Dahlke must know something about human cognition. She doesn’t bother with the typical explanatory narratives. She goes right to the meat. Everything is delivered in the short snippets in which my brain seems to work these days. And this book is only 34 pages long!
Right up front, Dahlke guaranteed that if I don’t find two things that were worth my time and money, she’d refund the price of the book. She must be pretty confident, I thought. I’ve started and stopped reading quite a few of these types of books. I was skeptical. But she’d challenged me.
To my surprise, Dahlke grasps how busy we all are. This book is brief, organized, undemanding, and, yes, I found some useful information I did not know. There are a lot of lists that you can zip right through. She provides links to websites, shows examples of good blurbs, and talks about how to get readers. And she knows how annoying it can be when all you see from an author, day in and day out, is “This is my book. Buy it.”
Authors need to find creative ways to showcase their work, and Dahlke provides a few ideas.
She also understands that the publishing climate changes, so she updates the book, too. There’s plenty of sensible advice, as well as ways to help you figure out what you need and how much it will likely cost. She does make it clear that writers today must work at promotion. They also have to find effective avenues and discard those that offer nothing.
I was grateful that Dahlke made her book easy to read, organized, and succinct. It’s a nice source book to which I can easily return without having to sort through a lot of excess narrative. I got what I needed, and then some.
So, Jump Start Your Book Promotion really is a jump-start. It’s a writer helping other writers, and doing it in a way that sidesteps clutter.