Three ways to save time (and other peoples’ time)
Given the dire state of the economy (by which I mean publishing), I figured now might be a good time to post about being efficient. Now, if I were truly efficient, I would have organized the following points into categories / groups / sub-groups, but I didn’t get that far, so I’m just lumping them all together.
– The phone is inefficient. There’s just no other way to put it. I know many of you have come to the same conclusion because I get fewer calls / voicemail messages now than ever before. There’s no written record of a phone call, no way to file the contents of a voicemail message, no alarm to set to remind you to follow up on a request. You can’t call more than one person at a time and forwarding a voicemail is more cumbersome than pretty much anything except, well, checking voicemail. (Imagine if you had to log in every time you had to check an email message.) There are exceptions, of course — some issues are more quickly resolved / discussed with a phone call rather than (multiple) email messages or sometimes you have to call when you haven’t heard back via email. Also, when you already know someone and have their contact information, returning a phone call isn’t the chore it is when you have to spend five minutes listening to and writing down a voicemail message.
– I encounter multiple situations a day where I get an email message / phone call and because the request requires a “middle step” — like looking up something — when I’m already pressed for time, it gets bumped to the bottom of my list. If you’re a journalist requesting a book, for example, please don’t make me look up a title / author / pub date (given that I’m already fielding a couple dozen such requests daily). My imprint alone publishes dozens of books a month and if you can take 30 seconds to provide me with more information than just, say, a title, you really increase the chances of your getting the book.
– As much as I rail against using the “Reply All” function, sometimes you *should* use it. If a publicist emails an interview request to an author and copies the producer making the request, for example, then yes, please, utilize the Reply All function. Making publicists simply forward replies delays the request and creates more work.
Feel free to chime in with your time-saving suggestions!