As I continue to add new maps to my Content Dashboard, like the Book Planner and Competing Books Tracker described below, I find myself more and more enthusiastic about MindManager’s Map Parts feature.
Map Parts are combinations of topics and subtopics that you can easily create, save, and reuse to create new maps or update older maps. You can view MindManager’s default Map Parts by clicking Task Panes on the Status Bar (lower right of your screen).
You can easily create a Map Part from any topic, by either dragging it to the Map Parts pane, or by selecting a topic and clicking Add Selected Topics.
Using Map Parts to Research Competing Books
Map Parts save time by providing a structure for adding information to maps like the author’s Competing Book Tracker, above. Each time I want to add a new book, all I have to do is select, copy, and paste — or simply drag the desired map part — to my map of competing books.
The Map Part ensures consistency, making sure that I always address the critical issues authors need to pay attention to, like the often-overlooked Amazon.com categories where competing books are displayed.
The arrangement of Map Part topics and subtopics offers other advantages, too. For example:
– Links. Separating the author’s name from the book title permits me to include links to the book’s catalog page on Amazon.com, as well as the author’s blog or website. It also simplifies the process of tracking multiple books by the same author.
– Notes. The Notes pane next to the author’s name provides space to discuss the author’s background, and how they are marketing and profiting from their book. The Notes pane next to the book title permits me to show a thumbnail image of the book cover, and discuss the book’s content and positioning compared to other books on the same topic.
When the map is collapsed, however, its efficient layout can accommodate numerous books. When the Competing Books Tracker map becomes too crowded, the map can be rearranged the same way I increased the capacity of my Expert Tracker — by using my custom Map Part to organize authors by last name into four groups, (A-F, G-M, N-S, and T-Z).
Using Map Parts to Plan Your Book
You can also use MindManager’s Map Parts to save time planning the contents of each of the chapters in your book. In this case, the Book Planner Map Part includes questions about each chapter that need to be answered, as well as prompts for planning each chapter based on different text and graphic elements.
Experienced authors know that time spent planning a book is time saved writing a book! Creating a consistent content plan for each chapter helps you avoid false starts and the need to rearrange chapter contents after you’ve written the first draft of your book.
Again, the design of the Map Part, and MindManager’s topic numbering feature, will help you keep track of chapter numbers as you rearrange your book’s content before starting to write.
Saving Time by Inserting and Exporting
But wait…there’s more!
After creating and fine-tuning your Competing Book Tracker and Book Planner maps, you can either insert them into your Book Proposal Planner mind map. Or, you can export your maps to Microsoft Word for editing and formatting, saving you even more time.
Updating Your Expert Tracker
Finally, I’d like to discuss yet another time-saving benefit of Map Parts, which I discovered through my continuing development of my Expert Tracker mind map.
By creating a Map Part topic that contained subtopics for various major social media channels, I’ve been able to greatly enhance the utility of my Expert Tracker. When adding new experts, and by revisiting existing experts and updating their information with my Social Map Part, I can now easily locate each expert’s relevant Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, SlideShare, and YouTube links.
I find it faster and easier to locate an expert’s social media links through my Expert Tracker, than by visiting their websites and looking for the links manually.
Obviously, after adding the Social Map Parts, I delete unused subtopics. I also use MindManager’s CTRL+SHIFT+DELETE command to eliminate the unnecessary “Social” topic.
What about you?
How do you save time using a Mindjet Content Dashboard and MindManager’s Map Parts? Do you have any ideas for other Map Parts, or suggestions for future Content Dashboards? Share your favorite time saving tips in the comments, below.