Mise en place (meez ahn plass) is a great French phrase used in cooking. It means “everything in its place” or “putting in place.” It’s used to explain the task of preparing all of your ingredients before you start cooking: chop the garlic, measure out the herbs, set out the pots and pans.

Anthony Bourdain called mise en place “the religion of all good line cooks,” “an extension of your nervous system.”

The New Professional Chef puts it this way: “mise en place means far more than simply assembling all of the ingredients…it is also a state of mind. Someone who has truly grasped the concept is able to keep many tasks in mind simultaneously, weighing and assigning each its proper value and priority.”

Now you may be wondering: what does a French culinary term have to do with you and your book?

Plenty!

Think of it this way: your book is like your dinner party. Now your task is to get folks to come to the table to enjoy what you’ve created. The way to do that is to promote your book. And the best and most efficient way to promote your book is…mise en place.

Getting everything in place. For example, do you have:

  • a short and long description of your book?
  • your “elevator speech” prepared?
  • a professional bio and head shot?
  • a high-resolution JPG of your cover?
  • a press release?
  • a sell-sheet/flyer?
  • sales options in place?
  • your website and online presence in order?
  • a plan for events, publicity, and promotions?

[ Deep breath.]

An episode of NPR’s The Salt — “For a More Ordered Life, Organize Like A Chef” — explained that the benefit of mise en place is that it helps chefs “coordinate vast amounts of labor and material, and transforms the lives of its practitioners through focus and self-discipline…. it’s a way of concentrating your mind to only focus on the aspects that you need to be working on at that moment.”

It can do the same for you and your book And that’s a good thing because the not-a-sprint-but-a-marathon effort of putting your book out into the world can seem overwhelming if you don’t have your ingredients in good order, if you aren’t focused on the tasks ahead.

Have questions? Shoot me an email and let me know if I can be of assistance as you get things in order for your book! I’d be happy to help!

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