Tools for the business of writing

by Julie Hood

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Interview with the author, Julie Hood




Article courtesy of Xlibris Corporation 2002 from June 2002 Newsletter. 
more information about Xlibris, please visit

The Organized Writer ( is that most unusual thing: a website that helps authors handle the business side of being in the writing game. Host Julie Hood offers writers a 30-day plan for getting organized, in addition to weekly email of tips and reminders to keep you on track.

Xlibris caught up with Julie to talk about this useful new resource for authors, and ask her expert advice about how an author can move from writing a book to promoting it. Don’t miss her extremely helpful response to this one!

XNEWS: Why create a site called The Organized Writer?
OW: Organized almost sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it? But it doesn't have to be. Writers are small business owners without any employees to keep track of some of the details! A writer must be the accounting, marketing, sales, and operations departments rolled into one.

When I started writing, I found lots of resources on how to write, but not much on how to be efficient. I was spending so much time on each project my rate per hour was incredibly low. So I started looking for ways to speed up the process (in my former life I was a consultant/auditor). The Organized Writer website grew from that process.

XNEWS: What are the two biggest things writers do to sabotage themselves?
OW: First, writers tend to think of themselves as creative and unable to be organized. Even though most writing is a creative, right brain activity, getting organized is a skill you can learn (even if you have to use the other half of your brain!).

The second area I think writers have problems with is getting distracted and not finishing projects. We all know authors who have been working on their novel for the past ten years but never finish. We get excited about a project, start it, but then it loses its charm before we're done. Planning and creating is much more fun than editing and reworking.

XNEWS: How do you tell people to combat these problems?
OW: Three ways: writing down your goals so you don't lose sight of where you are going; rewarding yourself along the way to keep your motivation high; and using a timer to keep from getting distracted.

XNEWS: Who would find your free Writer-Reminders email service useful?
OW: Most of the tips, resources, and links in the weekly message work for both authors and freelancers. The weekly checklist is primarily for freelancers, but all writers will find the tips useful since they cover areas like how to organize your desk and files, how to set goals, how to find more time to write, and how to use the internet and email effectively. Subscribers also get The Sidetracked Writer's Planner ebook with 20 printable forms for getting organized.

XNEWS: Can you explain your DRAW method?
OW: DRAW stands for Declutter, Read, Assess and Write. It is a 20-minute daily routine to get you writing and keep you organized. We start by decluttering, but only for five minutes (it's easy to get stuck here!). Then, we warm up by reading for five minutes. Next, we take a few minutes to assess today's most important writing project. The final step is to write, even if we only have five minutes left. I found if I could write just 110 words a day, I'd have 40,000 words in a year.

XNEWS: What encouragement would you give to an author who is moving from the writing stage to the promotion stage?
OW: Half the battle of promotion is getting organized. If you can put together a simple marketing plan and have your marketing resources available when you need them, you are way ahead.

Start with a big three-ring binder and a bunch of dividers with the following sections:calendar, marketing plan, reviews, my website, book cover, signature, press release, blurbs, motivation, press kit, book signings, and marketing websites.

Print a calendar from PVS Calendar Maker (, and use it to track all your promotion activities. Include a copy of your marketing plan. The reviews section helps you track where you send review copies and what they said. The website section should list information you want on your site with a project list in the front. Place your book cover, email signatures, and press releases in their sections. The blurbs section is for those one- and two-liners you have describing your book. The motivation section is where you put every glowing comment and good review. In the press kit section, have copies of your press kit. Keep track of book signings (when, where, who and what you did) in its section. Finally, use the marketing websites section to list all the sites where you could send review copies, submit an article, or offer to chat.

Once you have collected all this information you will be amazed at how much time it saves.

Thanks, Julie!

You can find out more about The Organized Writer, Julie Hood’s DRAW method for organizing your writing day, and her upcoming e-book at


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