Clearing Out Information Overload

The other night, I was browsing through one of my bookmarked file folders on publishing and marketing. It was a shock to find nearly 200 articles going back to 2013 and I wound up deleting plenty. Some links no longer worked. Some of the information had been saved more than once at different time periods, and some was simply irrelevant now.

A number of how-to articles bragged about how easy it is to self-publish. Hmm. While writing and producing a book might not be rocket science for some, it’s incredibly challenging for others. For me, production is a months-long process that requires a lot of attention to detail.

I was also struck by the contradiction in marketing strategies. Again, many of the articles and blogs made their ‘5 steps to successful marketing’ sound simple. Some articles recommended getting on as many platforms as possible. Others said don’t bother with social media at all, just create a website and a mail list. As I write this, I’m still trying to sort through the articles which resonate with my current needs.

One thing is clear. The number of how-to articles on self-publishing and marketing articles is mind boggling. If authors are confused and overwhelmed, I get it. Because I have a clear understanding of my objectives, my budget, and the time it takes me to write, produce and market a book, I’ve also become more realistic and less patient with the ‘5 easy steps to self-publishing’ guides.

I imagine many of you are inundated with information on social media or blogs popping into your inbox. I’d love to know if you find any publishing or marketing articles that have been especially useful for you. Or are you paring down like I am?

Organizing All Those Blogs, Tips, and Notes

OrganizingWriting colleagues think of me as a disciplined writer, but there’s an area where I’m a huge procrastinator, which is in organizing the how-to writing articles, blogs, and notes I’ve accumulated for over thirty years.

I have oodles of them, including a thick accordion folder crammed with old Writers Digest articles about writing in general. There’s another folder filled with notes on mystery writing, as well as files on setting, characters, etc. Now that I’m working on my first full-length fantasy novel, I’m also collecting lots of great how-to tips about that genre.

The way I’ve collected material has changed over the years. Rather than read paper magazines on writing like I used to, I read blogs and visit useful sites. I now have a growing collection of bookmarked folders containing all sorts of things about writing, research, marketing, and so forth.

A couple of years back, I purged my accordion files while looking for a specific article, which I eventually found, but I still kept quite a few pieces because the information might still be useful. Who knows what type of writing I’ll gravitate to ten years from now?

The thing is, while writing and editing new novels, I often forget about the great editing tips and articles I’ve collected. I even have a green file folder on top of my fantasy manuscript with the most relevant info. After the second draft was completed, I realized that I’d barely looked at that folder, and that’s a mistake.

I need to come up with a useful way to make all this information more accessible. The task will probably start with paring down the folders again (admittedly several cover the same topic and give similar advice).

Second, I’ll need to create a binder or something with tabs that focus on specific topics and editing tips. I don’t always edit at my computer, so having a cheat sheet of key editing points might prove useful. It also means that I’ll probably need to print out the most useful of those many bookmarked pieces.

But all this will take a lot of time and effort, as I have a lot of sorting to do. Thus the procrastination. Maybe I’ll set aside a couple of hours per week and see how it goes, but if you have any tips on organizing all those great articles and tips you come across I’d love to hear how you manage them.