Wednesday, August 10, 2022

A matter of mindset

There's a lot to being a self-published author beyond the obvious writing and publishing aspects. Not all of it was even obvious to me when I started, and I'm sure there are still many surprises waiting down the line. 

One hurdle I've just hopefully overcome recently is my ability to convince myself that I need to learn how to do something completely before attempting it. Part of that is because I am a fiend for input. I love to learn new things and to read about all the different ways those new things can be done. 

But the problem there is that you can read and read and read, and never do. 

On the flip side, sometimes I decide to try something without knowing anything about it, and it either works - at which point I discount what I've done - or it flames out spectacularly, and I don't do it again. 

As an example, advertising. I've tried Facebook ads. They spend my money, and I've never gotten any sales from them. At the end of April, after speaking with a friend, I decided to try Amazon ads. There are a ton of books and courses on how to do this, but I just went to my publishing dashboard, clicked marketing, and set automatic targeted ads for Songbird on Amazon US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Automatic targeting means you let Amazon choose the people who see the ad. 

The US ad made a few sales. Canada and Australia never even got shown to people. And the UK? That did really well. 

So I recently decided to take a highly regarded free course on Amazon ads. The first three days talked about easier ad forms: automatic, keyword, and category ads. I understood them, I made my test ads, and I sat back to wait. Days four and five, however, were about deep category and keyword research, data scraping, and the dreaded spreadsheet, a word which, after 30 years of office work, still makes my brain cramp. I was done. 

But I did three days of the work and produced 15 ads from that, some of which are starting to show results. So the work I need to do on myself is to realize that while I didn't finish the course, that does not discount the work that I did do, and the work that I have done that got me to the point of taking the course. It happens 2-3 times a year, so the next time it comes around I'll sign up again and see if I can face that final section. But I have to realize that sometimes doing the thing is more important been learning about the thing. If I had made it through all five days, there's a good chance I would still be a puddle on the floor of my office, not capable yet of doing any of the class work. Much less any writing. 

Learning how our minds work, how to deal with them, and occasionally how to give ourselves grace, is harder than you'd expect.

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