Monday, January 2, 2023

Energizing Your Marketing &Technical Strategies by Jeanne Burrows-Johnson


In my last article, I discussed operational organization for authors and artists with focus on our physical environment, including office contents and their arrangement, assessment of hardware and electronic gadgets, evaluation and updating of relevant software, and the backing up of files and folders. Today I’ll offer an overview of organizing books and other reference materials, as well as files and folders and the documents within them.


I have found that the key to optimizing organization of the many aspects of our daily operations lies in consistent review. Depending on your methods, simple cleaning can provide opportunities for determining whether all that greets your eyes is worthy of retention. One category of review that requires my regular attention is examination of the shelves of books that reside in four rooms of my home. While that may sound as if I possess a massive number of bookcases, that is not the case; I simply like to position the varied works where they will be most accessible.

Living in Hawaiʻi for twenty-five years, I had the sad experience of having to discard countless books due to the infestation of mold and mildew. In addition, when preparing to move back to the mainland in mid-life, I realized that many of my reading materials were no longer relevant to either my recreational taste or required professional reading. At the end of the life of each collection of books, I have given items to friends and colleagues who would enjoy and benefit from them. At one point, my husband and I realized we had far too many cookbooks. Professionally, for both fiction and nonfiction projects, I’ve found it easier to research food and recipes on-line than to go through my library. In this case, I again checked with friends and found new homes for books I no longer needed. Interestingly, these people have sometimes returned the gift of recipes by providing ones for visitors to my author website!

At the onset of each project I author, I gather new and used reference materials, often relevant foreign language and multicultural resources. With a degree in American history and experience as a teaching assistant in world civilizations, I have accumulated many historical encyclopedias and dictionaries. In addition, I have a number of books on World War II, which are proving useful as I am now writing a mystery on ramifications of prostitution in Honolulu at that time. As I look these items over, I realize I should soon donate many of them to other authors and Friends of the Library, as they do not seem pertinent to work I may undertake during the last years of my life. You might find it useful to consider the topics and themes of your books and reference files when contemplating which will be appropriate for your current and future purposes...personally and professionally.

Please know that I’m not suggesting you unduly burden yourself in accomplishing such tasks. For instance, I’ve found that watching television, streaming shows, and movies provide ideal opportunities for determining the continuing usefulness of reading and reference materials. By placing boxes nearby to hold items to be discarded (plus paper or electronic means for taking notes) you can browse at a leisurely pace while keeping track of your evaluations. Another method I suggest for evaluating the continuing usefulness of reading material is joining with one or more authors or artists. Such a joint venture can simplify both the removal of items no longer deemed suitable to your library and the gathering of new ones that may prove vital to a new project.


In the life of a wordsmith or artist today, one’s work accumulates in both electronic and hardcopy forms. To maintain an organized reference system, I find it useful to review storage methodology as well as the actual contents of files and folders. Sometimes making appropriate upgrades is as easy as selecting new file/folder colors and tabs. For example, I use burgundy colored files and folders for my work, turquoise for clients, and yellow for general reference materials— along with utilizing corresponding tabs that feature appropriate titles and dates.

Unfortunately, determining the value of the contents of one’s files and folders can prove more trying. Sometimes you’ll find that the original method for organizing those contents is no longer useful. In the decades of executing marketing assignments for clients, I generally kept folders of my work for them filed under their individual or organizational names. Once I shifted the focus of my writing to fiction and nonfiction pieces under my own name, I began reorganizing assignments for clients under categorical titles such as insurance, non-profit organizations, and newsletters. It’s been interesting to note that with the passage of time, I sometimes forget a client’s name ...


When a project has been completed (usually meaning that it has been published), maintaining fail-safe backups of the original text or images may still be necessary. This is especially true if I continue my connection with a partner, editor, or publisher. You may also find it useful to create parallel files and folders under additional names/titles for future work. For example, I have electronic files of possible titles and plot descriptions for potential mysteries. I also have files with text I have removed from projects but have kept due to its detail or flow. Again, you might find a joint venture with a salon of authors familiar with your writing an ideal way to determine the fate of some of your unpublished work.

I hope these simple suggestions will prove suitable to refining your operational organization. In our next conversation, I’ll address the issue of editing documents for the completion of current work and planning for future usage.

Wishing you the best in your creative endeavors, Jeanne Burrows-Johnson, author, narrator, consultant, and motivational speaker.

For more ideas to aid your career as an author or artist, visit:
Author Website:
Author Blog:
Marketing Website:
You can email me at 

Jeanne Burrows-Johnson is an author, narrator, consultant, and motivational speaker who writes works of fiction and nonfiction. She is the author of the award-winning Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian Mysteries, featuring pan-Pacific multiculturalism and history in a classic literary form that is educational as well as entertaining. She was art director, indexer, and a co-author of the anthology Under Sonoran Skies: Prose and Poetry from the High Desert. Drawing on her interdisciplinary experience in the performing arts, education, and marketing, her authored and co-authored articles have appeared in literary, professional, and general readership publications such as Newport This Week, Broker World, the Hawai`i Medical Journal, and The Rotarian.

No comments:

Post a Comment