Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Discover Productive Reading

In the life of every writer, there are seasons. Like I mentioned yesterday, I have been traveling and not writing. Yet I have been reading books, learning and absorbing information. 

What actions do you take when you read a book? Anything? For many years I read many books but did nothing productive or proactive with that reading. Today I want to give you some ideas of action steps to be more productive with your reading.

The first step is to have a consistent reading plan. Each evening I read for at least 15 minutes and often 30 to 45 minutes. Sometimes I'm reading a novel. Other days I'm reading a nonfiction book. I read in a variety of genres and types of books.

After I've read completed a book and before I start a new book, I go to my computer and write a short review of this book. These book reviews are a great way to capture some of the information you've learned from your reading.

At some point (often during the reading process), I go to Amazon and search for the book. I have a file with a list of books that I'm reading with short links using Bitly.com. I recommend you register or sign into Bitly.com, then you can keep your short links in one place online.

In the last few days, I read a new book and will be writing my review for this book later today, then posting it on Amazon. This book has been out since mid-2012. No one has written a single customer review. Every day people are making book buying decisions from these customer reviews. I've written over 450 customer reviews. It didn't happen overnight but happened through consistently reading, then writing about the books on Amazon.

After writing my review, I tell people about my review through social media like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. My Twitter following is over 78,000 now and my Facebook friends are over 4,700 and my LinkedIn connections are over 3,100. This step tells many people about my review. As a reminder, I believe every author should continually be expanding their connections through social media. That consistency will pay off for you. I didn't instantly achieve these numbers but have been working at them on a regular basis for years. You can do it too.

Here's the final step that I take with my productive reading: I reach out to the author or publicist for the book to tell them about my review and how I've told other people. I don't have a connection to the author or publicist for every book that I read but many of them I do have this connection. It confirms my involvement as a journalist and an author of reviews. It shows I care about their book and I'm spreading the word that others need to read the book as well.

These actions are not time consuming yet the consistency and regular nature of it pays off. I'm doing much more than simply reading book after book. I hope I've stirred some ideas for your reading habits. 

How are you being productive with your reading?

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