Cozy crime writer Sara Rosett has learned a thing or two after writing and publishing 17 books in three different series, both traditionally and indie-published. She has collected her best time- and energy-saving hacks in her new book The Efficient Writer: Simple Tips to Help You Save Time, Streamline Your Writing Routines, and Increase Your Productivity. In this week’s episode, I talk to Sara about how she got started in indie publishing, her favorite productivity tips, and the most important piece of advice she would offer new writers.
Sara started her publishing career as a traditionally published author in 2007, with her first cozy mystery Moving is Murder, featuring Ellie Avery, “a military spouse who is constantly unpacking boxes and finding an occasional dead body.” She continued to write and publish in the series, producing a book a year on average, until 2011, when she attended a conference and started hearing how well other authors were doing with self-publishing.
Intrigued by their success, Sara decided to give self-publishing a go with an international mystery series called On the Run, followed by her Murder on Location cozy mystery series, which “features a location scout whose life is complicated by murder and mayhem while searching the English countryside for stately homes for Jane Austen-inspired programs.”
Now a successful hybrid author, Sara continues to write in the Ellie Avery series for her publisher, with her 9th book, Marriage, Monsters-in-Law, and Murder, slated to be released June 2016. She also continues to write and publish in her popular indie serieses, which total nine titles so far. And now she’s sharing her best tips and strategies for indie authors in a new book.
The Efficient Writer is not a cozy mystery or international heist, but a helpful guide for indie authors who are just getting started in self-publishing. Sara describes it as “everything that I’ve learned over the last 17 books, how to just make things simpler and easier.”
There are certain tasks that indie authors must do over and over again that take up a lot of time and take away from creative work, and Sara has developed tricks to streamline some of those processes in her own career. In her book, she offers tips and tricks for writing, formatting, publishing, and marketing. She also provides readers downloadable checklists, spreadsheets, and templates that she uses in her own author business.
Here are a few of the great strategies Sara shared in this episode:
- Use the Pomodoro Technique to limit the time spent on tasks. In her book, The Efficient Writer, Sara cites Parkinson’s Law, which states, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Working in 25-minute “pomodoros” will establish time limitations for tasks like research and social media and will help keep you on task and keep you from falling down rabbit holes.
- Eliminate distractions! Sara recommends turning off notifications, keeping only one window in view (the one you’re working in!), and utilizing apps such as Anti-Social or Freedom to block the allure of the internet and social media while you’re working.
- Use IFTTT or Zapier to connect your social media apps. These applications allow you to share content once and have it automatically appear in all your social media platforms, saving you the time of having to re-post to different platforms manually.
- Create consistent file-naming patterns. This will save you tons of time in trying to locate particular files.
- “Just get it down on paper, and then we’ll see what to do with it.” This is Sara’s favorite quote by Maxwell Perkins, and she credits it helping her finish her first novel.
What’s your best time-saving tip for indie authors?
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