Allan Mayer’s Weblog

Planning for Success

Posted on: November 9, 2008

So, you have published your book, got your ISBN and a link to Amazon. And that’s where it ends if nobody knows a thing about it. So what happens next?

This is new territory to me, and I am not venturing into it from any position of expertise, but as one who is learning. But one thing I do know from other areas of my life experience is that the old cliche is true: ‘fail to plan… and you plan to fail.’

It is essential that you have some sort of goal and a plan of how you are going to reach it. Everest was climbed in stages- so set up your base camp, plan your route and make sure you have the best sherpas (to use an analogy from and about the ‘Writers’ and artists’ yearbook,’) before you begin your ascent.

I know of three methods of planning which I have found useful for various projects in the past, both personally and professionally.

The first is the ‘web’ or ‘spider’ diagram.

Take a large piece of paper, draw a circle in the middle and write in it what it is you want to achieve. For example: ‘sell x number of books.’ Next you brainstorm on all of the ways in which you can make it known that you have a book for sale. Draw lines from the central circle and at the end of them write words such as ‘local papers,’ ‘websites.’ ’email contacts,’ etc.

Once you have thought of all of the general groups, go to each one in turn and develop it. For instance, from ‘websites’ you could draw a line which says ‘design own website,’ another which says ‘friends’ websites’ and a further one to ‘social networking sites.’

Break those down even further. For instance, you can draw lines from ‘social networking sites’ to ‘MySpace,’ ‘Facebook,’ Bebo, etc.

If you develop each line you will soon have a plan of all of the places where you can promote your book.

The second method I have used is the PATH. In my profession, which is working with people with learning disabilities,  the ‘Path’ method has been developed from Strategic Path Analysis to help  people to have better lives. I won’t describe the method here, as I have already written about how I applied the ‘Path’ method to writing at : .

 I think that the method would be equally applicable to promoting your novel. For those of you who like to set deadlines to your work it is useful, because you set your goal for, say, one year from now, then work back, asking yourself ‘if I am to achieve my goal in twelve months, where should I be after nine months? To get to that stage, where should I be in six months… in three months, then what do I need to do now? 

My third, and favoured planning method is one that I was shown recently in a course on confidence coaching: the pyramid. It is similar to the web method, but visually more goal-oriented and a good way of viewing your progress.

Q: How do you eat an elephant?

A: One piece at a time.

That is what the pyramid is about.

Draw the final stone on the top of the pyramid and write in it your goal. You can’t achive that goal in one fell swoop. You need to break it down into small, easily achievable ‘bricks.’ So at the base of your pyramid draw in bricks and put in the first things that you need to achieve. Above these add the tasks you need to do- the contacts you need to make, the places where you can leave a link to you book on Amazon- linking them together if you need to with arrows. (You can draw this, or create it on your computer using text boxes.)

Always have more bricks than you need, because later in the process other things will come to you.

Then  make sure that you do one thing each day. That one thing could just be a phonecall, or a piece of research, but that one thing is one step toward your goal. Every time you achieve a step, cross it off, or fill the brick in with highlighter pen: you are progressing toward your goal.

I have added a sample pyramid here:


In later blogs I will be looking closer at some of the things on those bricks.

Hope you find this useful,


9 Responses to "Planning for Success"

For anyone that doesn’t know about Stretch Development and David Hyners seminars on Massive Goals check out see massive goal principle.

As I said in another post somewhere never forget the key traits in a great achevier. Massive Goals is one, Determination is another and Self Belief is certainly a third.

Plannings important but remember, don’t get stuck into the rut where all you do is plan, in your head or on paper, that won’t work either. In my opinion, i’m not bias, because I know this works in practice. Setting a massive goal, WILL be more productive than a plan that has many smaller facets.

The pyramid is another great example of how to dissect all that up so you don’t feel as if you’re going to fall over. But skills like time management and stress management can be as much life skills (learned over time sometimes) as anything else. But as with all things, anything can be learnt at any time, if the effort is there.

Nice post Allan,

Dominic Took

[…] 1)   […]

Hi Allan,

couldn’t read the whole article here –

Any help as it looks interesting?



just found a way to open it ( through clicking the ‘Show summary’ link which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but there you go!



My wife Desarae has a unique and original book and would like to get some ideas on getting it out to the public

Thanks for all these useful tips, Allan.
As a newbie POD publisher myself this is all really helpful, especially the links to internet marketing and promoting your book.
I’m also a YWOner and have just started creating a WordPress blog so once I’ve figured it all out I’ll add you in my blogroll.

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Americans who don’t in elections that are held as often as the Olympics.
Wild animals on the Kansas plains include pronghorn antelope, deer,
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