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Saturday, 19 June 2021

✉ A Writer’s Guide to Time Management by Jeff Bond

Today returning author takes over our blog to share with us "A Writer’s Guide to Time Management"

Jeff's latest novel  is The Begonia Killer (, Jeff Bond, 183 pages), a Cosy Mystery Romance, book three in the Third Chance Enterprises series, and the first in the McGill Investigators stories.

"An entertaining private-eye yarn with off-kilter skulduggery and domestic comedy ... nerve-wracking scenes ... raucous humor ... (Bond) tells the story with his usual well-paced plotting, sharply etched characters, and atmospheric prose ... a diverting mystery with a beguiling, shrewd, and tough hero." ~ Kirkus Reviews (starred)

"Short, fun, and easy to read - from its pulp-inspired cover to its dramatic ending, THE BEGONIA KILLER is an entertaining escapade with a good narrative flow, quirky but believable characters, and plenty of intrigue - perfect for fans of crime fiction, female protagonists and intriguing mystery stories." ~ IndieReader (IR Approved, 4.1 stars)

|| Synopsis || Teaser: KCR Preview || The Series || Author Guest Post || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

A Writer’s Guide to Time Management

by Jeff Bond

Authors have a ton of control over their careers nowadays — how they publish, how they promote, whether they reach readers by social media, email, newsletter, or hologram. (That last one is rare, I’ll admit.) They can set up online events. They can parse out a Facebook ad for people who’re enthusiastic about technothrillers and air fryer cooking. They can make their books available on Amazon or IngramSpark, or both, as an audiobook, for free through Kindle Unlimited, with DRM or without…

Confused yet? Join the club. There are experts out there who seem to do nothing but blog about these varied and sundry choices. Occasionally I try to read one of these posts and will pick up a few pointers before my head starts hurting and I have to stop.

Perhaps the most seductive part of the writing life — or its popular conception — is freedom. Writing a novel takes a while, and you’ve got plenty of wriggle room around those eighteen/twelve/six/four months to do it how you like. Having a rotten day at the keyboard? No sweat, just make it up tomorrow.

What if you have three rotten days in a row?

Or three rotten weeks?

It doesn’t take long for angst to creep in, along with her friends procrastination and doubt. These are formidable enough opponents on their own, but when you toss in the new twenty-first-century writing to-dos — promotion, social media, et cetera — and questions about how to allocate time between so many competing pursuits, you have a recipe for paralysis.

Although my output has been fairly steady, six books in the roughly three years I’ve been publishing, I still have moments of insecurity about my pace. It always feels like I could be more productive. I’ve tried gaming myself with various schemes — setting a goal of X words per hour, plotting out hourly schedules, creating small incentives for hitting milestones. Like any artificial construct, these work for exactly as long as they work. If one of my daughters gets stuck home sick for a week, or a brand new story idea captures my imagination, or some fresh promotional opportunity arises that strikes me as authentic and not wildly expensive, my previous schedule is shot — I’m working on whatever needs working on.

My frameworks are like New Years resolutions. Maybe they’ll help in the short run or instill good long-range habits, but I’m not counting on them to fix my life.

Writing books is always number one in my queue, but even this task has nuance from a time management perspective. I can be spooling out character backstories or plowing ahead with chapter drafts. I can be head-down on my current work in progress or noodling around with future books, sketching plots and themes, imagining my career direction in broader terms. I like to be working on two or three books at once, and in different genres if possible. This keeps my ideas fresh and helps my writing from becoming too one note, either overheated plotwise or esoterically character-focused.

Promotions compete for my time, too. Authors need to continue exposing their work to new readers in order to maintain a healthy audience, and the best way to do that in 2021 is through discounts and giveaways. I rotate my five books through several of the largest sites (i.e. BookBub, Fussy Librarian), and as I have time, stack promotions from smaller sites as well. The better job I do with this, the higher my Amazon rank will be that day — which produces more organic views and sales, creating a virtuous cycle. This is an area of the profession where there’s plenty of opportunity to use those expert bloggers’ tips — if you have time.

Another aspect that needs tending is social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram - to cultivate a following on any or all of these platforms, you need to invest time. While everyone nowadays gets told that social media is vital to an author’s career, its effect is less immediate than direct promotions, which can make it harder to justify the effort. With just a couple hundred followers on each platform, I’m certainly no rockstar here but I put in work when I can, sharing short stories starring my series’ protagonists, announcing discounts and guest blog entries I’ve written. There are other things I should be doing like retweeting and boosting other authors, but I haven’t managed to do much of it — which I always feel guilty about.

Time allocation can also hinge on where you are in your career. For authors with an existing series that’s all ready to monetize — say, eight books in a well-defined genre that readers are just waiting to find — honing a promotional strategy with Facebook and Amazon ads and a steady stream of virtual events can pay large dividends. For newer authors with only a book or two out, this makes less sense because each reader you hook can only buy so many of your books. In this case, it probably makes more sense to focus on writing and building up your backlist.

I’m somewhere in the middle of that range myself, having released six books but only three in a series — and all three books within that series of different genres. I’ve tried splitting the difference, saving the majority of my time to write while dipping my toe into these marketing efforts.

In the end, every author has to balance their passions against the realities of reaching readers. Even at the upper echelon, people will make different choices. Don Winslow is going to tweet about politics in his spare time. James Patterson will forge partnerships and expand his brand relentlessly. Joyce Carol Oates will write, write, and write some more. There’s no magic formula or golden ratio. The best you can do is wake up every morning and make it go, somehow.

Pull back the curtain.
Is that odd neighbour holding two missing boys hostage?

Not your grandparents’ cozy mystery...

The Begonia Killer
Available NOW!

purchase from purchase from purchase from Barnes & Noble find on Goodreads


Wall-to-wall books said...

I don't normally always read guest posts, but when I saw - Guide to Time Management... I knew I had to read this!
I am kinda sad to say that I am a little disappointed you didn't have some miraculous secret answer! LOL I am always looking for a quick fix.
Great guest post though! :-)

Jeff Bond said...

Thanks so much for hosting me here, and for featuring The Begonia Killer!

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