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It’s easy to make resolutions to do something – anything – better at the start of a new year. For most of us, though, actually making that specific change is a lot harder.
2020 resolutions for many authors include doing more book marketing. These authors have realized that if their book is going to make a difference, they need to promote it well beyond the launch period.
I’ve got my own short list of things I want to change, improve, or accomplish this year, too. That’s why a Wall Street Journal essay based on a new book about creating habits, Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything, caught my eye. (If you have an online subscription, here’s a link to the essay.)
Get ready to establish new habits
In addition to explaining the research behind his approach to helping people build new habits, the book’s author, B.J. Fogg, offered specifics on how to do it.
What he shared surprised me.
Any of us looking to make positive changes in 2020 should visit our favorite retailer and buy this book. In the meantime, here’s what I learned from the article about how to create new habits.
1. Select a habit that you’re already motivated to create.
Start with something that doesn’t require you to find the motivation to do it. For example, chose a new habit you want, rather than one somebody else wants for you.
Let’s say that you want to do at least one thing a day to promote your book. Your challenge is turning that desire into a daily habit.
2. Start small.
Creating new habits takes time and effort, so don’t start with a massive overhaul. Select something smaller that you can see yourself mastering.
That’s why I’ve chosen doing one thing daily to promote your book as our book marketing example for this process rather than, “Start using an email newsletter to stay in touch with readers.”
If you aren’t gathering email addresses and sending messages to them already, you know that getting to an email newsletter will involved multiple steps. It will be a process. That’s a lot to ask of a single day, isn’t it?
But asking an author friend what email service provider she uses as one of your daily book marketing tasks is doable and will get you started on the bigger email newsletter process. (By the way, see what authors are doing with email in my free download, “Author Email Newsletter Samples.”)
3. Identify a prompt for your new habit.
This means that you want to link the new habit’s activity to a habit that’s already in your routine. For example, if your goal is to floss daily, the prompt you respond to might be putting your toothbrush back in its holder.
I want to build a daily meditation habit, so I use a meditation app that sends me a reminder on my smartphone at the same time every day. That’s my prompt. Consider doing the same thing for your new habit – set up a daily reminder on your phone.
What prompt will work for your daily book marketing activity? Perhaps it’s pouring that first cup of coffee, turning on your computer, or closing the bedroom door after you’ve said “good night” to your children.
It could also be the email prompt from my 365 Daily Book Marketing Tips email series. Hundreds of authors rely on my daily email message with a book marketing activity to trigger their daily habit. (Smart of them, right?)
4. Celebrate your victories.
Fogg writes in his WSJ essay: “As you try each new habit, celebrate immediately.” Allowing yourself to pause and do your version of high-fiving yourself will help reinforce your new habit by linking it to your brain’s reward circuitry.
What small acknowledgement will you use as your positive reinforcement each time you hit your daily book marketing goal? Maybe it’s petting the dog or doing a fist pump. It just needs to be something that feels positive to you.
This step is important, the author says, because the emotion you attach to a new habit from the beginning will help you maintain it. This works even better than repetition.
Create book marketing habits
The steps outlined here from Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything will help you start. Reading the book will take you farther.
What new book marketing habit do you want to create? What’s stopping you? Please tell us in a comment.
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