3 Fun Ways To Use The 2-Minute Rule To Write A Book

3 Fun Ways To Use The 2-Minute Rule To Write A Book

Writers — you gotta love them. Procrastination is without a doubt, the biggest hangup they face. “I’m writing a book,” a writer tells me. The writing and publishing plan I created for him lands in his Inbox…

Then… crickets. A week later, I contact him, and he hasn’t even read the plan, much less started on the book. Procrastination strikes again.

The 2-minute rule can help you to write a book

If you haven’t heard of the two-minute rule, it’s a technique popularized by productivity guru, David Allen. Basically, if some thing takes less than two minutes, you do it right away. You can use the rule on long tasks on which you procrastinate too — you give yourself two minutes to get started on the task. That two minutes breaks your inertia, and you’re likely to keep doing the task.

From How to Stop Procrastinating by Using the “2-Minute Rule”:

The 2–Minute Rule works for big goals as well as small goals because of the inertia of life. Once you start doing something, it’s easier to continue doing it. I love the 2–Minute Rule because it embraces the idea that all sorts of good things happen once you get started.

Let’s look at how you can use the two-minute rule when you’re writing a book.

1. Create a main character in your book in two minutes

I like Penny’s character-questioning process for fiction authors:

Here’s an important tip: your character interview gives you your character’s back story. You’ll discover who your character is, and what his greatest fear is. Your story (novel, novella, or short story) starts after the incidents which he tells you.

Think of a character (use Penny’s adjective and noun), then ask the question — hey presto, you’ve created a character.

2. No time? Maybe, but you’ve got two minutes

You’ve been meaning to work on your book, but over the past week, you haven’t even had time to open the computer file.

Give yourself two minutes to open the computer file, right now, and write a couple of sentences. They don’t need to be wonderful sentences. Don’t read what you’ve written, just write the sentences.

This simple strategy usually ensures that you carve a few minutes out of the busiest days to write a page of your book.

3. Two minute to a deadline: when you really, positively need to finish your book

Your book is due in a couple of weeks. You’re only at the 50% point. There’s no chance you’ll make your deadline, so you procrastinate. You haven’t written a word in days, and are frantic about your deadline.

I know the feeling. 🙂 You feel overwhelmed.

Open your book’s computer file, and spend two minutes with it. You can write sentences, or read a few pages, it doesn’t matter.

This simple tactic might be enough to overcome your procrastination. If it isn’t, open the file two more times today, and spend two minutes with it each time.

Chances are that you’ve conquered the feeling of overwhelm, and your procrastination, and you get to work on completing your book.

Can you think of ways YOU might use the two-minute rule to write a book?

My friend Penny uses the two-minute rule to research her historical fiction: “If I Google, something, and can’t find it in two minutes, I’ll put a large XXX in the manuscript. I’ll deal with it in rewrites.”

I use the two-minute rule to rough out an upcoming scene in my novel on an index card. Just who’s in the scene, what they want, and the purpose of the scene. Although I don’t force it, I write the first and last sentences of the scene too, if they occur to me.

Try the two-minute rule if you’re a procrastinator. 🙂

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Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income

Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income

What If You Were Twice As Successful, Or Even THREE Times More Successful Than You Are Today? There's No Ceiling On A Writer's Income... You Just Need To Be Prolific. More info →
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Self-Publishing: 3 Tips To Sell More Novels Via Short Stories

Self-Publishing: 3 Tips To Sell More Novels Via Short Stories

Self-publishing is becoming a lot more challenging. Things are changing quickly, and you need to change too, especially if you’re not having the success you want. Even if you’re thrilled with your sales, keep in mind that self-publishing changes quickly.

Our new self-publishing environment in 2017

Authors who have been self-publishing for years realize that today, self-publishing is mainstream.

In 2015, The Passive Voice published several posts on indie authors quitting their day jobs; they were the most commented-on posts in the history of the blog. Many thousands of authors revealed that they went full-time in 2015.

However in 2016, things got a lot tougher. Not only did Amazon tighten its spam-fighting algorithms, some authors found that their ebook sales were dropping off a cliff. I wrote blog posts on both those things…

More on Amazon tackling spammers here.

More on ebook sales’ slumps here.

One of the decisions I made for my own self-publishing plans this year was to publish shorter ebooks in addition to the novels I have planned. Short stories, and short nonfiction, can definitely help the sales of your longer ebooks.

Let’s look at the tips.

1. Use short stories as a valuable form of painless marketing

Sometimes when I suggest to an author that he publish some short stories, the response is: Yes, but short stories don’t sell. I’d take issue with that, because many authors are making a lot of money from short stories. In some cases, they’re making more money from a 5,000 word short story than they’re making from an 100,000 word novel.

Readers don’t care how long or short your story is, they just want a GOOD story.

In My Top 6 Tips for Self-publishing Fiction In 2017, I suggested:

Here’s the thing about self-publishing: your ebooks can be as long, or as short as you please. Strictly from a money angle, if you can get $2.99 for a 10,000 word short story, OR a 60,000 word novel, it makes sense to write more short stories.

When you write short stories, not only do you build your visibility, you also improve your fiction writing skills.

Short stories are brilliant for increasing your visibility on the ebook retailers. When you’re on Amazon’s Just Released lists, you’ll make sales of your other ebooks too.

2. Reward your fans’ loyalty: send them your short stories, then publish them

Your readers are GOLD. Treat them well.

Show your mailing list subscribers that they’re part of an exclusive club. When you’ve completed a short story, send it out to the fans on your mailing list first. A week or two later, you can publish the story on Amazon.

Several authors make their short stories available on their blogs for a week or two, and then they publish the stories.

Anything you can do to reward your fans is worth doing.

3. Create serials: use cliffhangers to get more readers

Some authors HATE cliffhangers and they refuse to use them. However, publishing short stories as a continuing story — as a serial — works. Just be sure that your short story is a real story, with a climax and resolution, otherwise you’ll annoy readers.

As I said in Kindle Publishing: Serialized Fiction Strategies:

Your challenge with serial fiction is to make each episode in the story satisfying. Yes, you want readers to read the whole thing. However, each episode has to deliver entertainment and value. So each episode has a throughline, with a setup, action, and climax.

Also, most importantly, add “A Short Story” both to the title, and to the description of your short fiction, so that readers know what they’re getting.

Add a few short stories to your own self-publishing plans for this year

I enjoy writing short stories; I like instant gratification. 🙂

You never know, you may find as I do that you sell more of your novels when you include short stories in your publishing plans.

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Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories

Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories

Want to write short stories? If you answered yes, that's excellent… Here's why. Today, you can make money writing short fiction. More info →
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Ebook Publishing: Kindle Unlimited, Yes Or No?

Ebook Publishing: Kindle Unlimited, Yes Or No?

If you’re into ebook publishing, you’re wondering about KDP Select, and Kindle Unlimited (KU). Several authors asked me whether or not they “should” enroll their books in Select, and thus make them free to KU subscribers.

My answer? It depends.

Please keep this in mind: no one really KNOWS. We’re all just guessing, and tinkering with our books, hoping to increase sales.

Ebook publishing in 2017, same as 2016: still the right strategy for me with new novels

In this post, Kindle Unlimited: Back In, Sales Jump, I said:

Last week, I checked the sales on the new ebooks. They seemed slow. With established pen names, you have an audience, so I couldn’t work out why the slowdown occurred. With one ebook, I was entering a new genre. The pen name was completely new. Three weeks after publishing that ebook… crickets. Not a single sale for that ebook. How was that even possible?

That was last August. That’s still the process I’m following:

  • Enroll new fiction under pen names in KDP Select for the first three months, then take them out and go wide with them (publish to several of the most popular ebook retailers);
  • Already published ebooks: fiction and nonfiction, all wide. Of course, the ebooks sell more copies on Amazon than elsewhere, but for me, KU seemed to be cannibalizing sales — your mileage may vary.

The “perfect” strategy?

I’ve spoken with authors who are all-in with Amazon, and they’re selling huge numbers of their ebooks, as well as having a high KENPC (pages read.)

From what I can tell, these are authors who write novels in series, and publish regularly — either once a month, or once every couple of months, with shorter novels or short stories published intermittently. New ebooks experience a bump from Amazon’s “new” listings, and that bump helps you to make sales of older ebooks too. However, the bump lasts just a couple of weeks — it used to last a month, but not recently.

Other authors are going wide, with all ebooks, publishing everywhere they can, and are seeing good results too. By the way, if you haven’t read the self-publishing survey, read it.

There’s no perfect strategy for ebook publishing, there’s only what works for you.

By the way — consider pricing too.

Pricing affects sales, but no one’s sure how

One thing’s for sure, “free” ebooks, as your sole marketing strategy, is dead. Super-low prices — 99 cents — are dead too, IF you make every ebook in your catalogue 99 cents.

Readers won’t flinch if you start your pricing at $2.99. Indeed, you may sell more at that price.

Conclusion: in ebook publishing, KU is a very useful marketing tool

From what I can tell, KU can be very useful. You can use it as I do, to lift the visibility of new novels. I don’t use it for nonfiction, because it doesn’t work for my categories — it may work for yours, test, and see.

Alternatively, you can go all-in with Amazon, and enroll everything you publish in Select, so that it’s in KU. Amazon’s cracking down on scammers, so that helps with your KENPC income too.

Either way, it’s your choice. 🙂

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Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check our our ebooks for writers.

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction
You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels. More info →