Tell Me Again Why I Can’t Just Write?
The first full week of promotion on STEALING FIRE (official promotion efforts on FORWARD TO CAMELOT: 50th Anniversary Edition begin in late October), and I’m already exhausted. “Don’t stress,” I’m being told. “This is supposed to be fun.”
Last Thursday I finally faced my most daunting giant–revamping my author website. The Super Book Blast for STEALING FIRE began the next morning. I couldn’t have interested readers coming to a site that hadn’t really been overhauled since 2004. But GoDaddy’s new Website Builder was not particularly intuitive. However, having been a GoDaddy customer since 2003, I also know they have among the best customer-service people in the world. So I sat on the phone for about three hours, with 3 different GoDaddy Tech Support guys (all wonderful), and by golly, when I finally went to bed that night (understanding Web Builder MUCH better by then), not only was the site completely written and re-designed, it had been published and re-directed to my original domain, where anyone could find me. (Yes, please, check out my updated website!) It’s much simpler, but contains all the important information about me, my books and my upcoming events.
And hey, updating it should be a lot simpler. (I found out this morning that wasn’t necessarily true–turns out some revisions I made on the site now don’t show up in the behind-the-scenes Website Builder, though they DO show up on the published site. Another call to GoDaddy in my future, I guess.)
Friday was the Super Book Blast for STEALING FIRE (through Goddess Fish Promotions). This involved visiting 34 sites (and a separate blog on the Book ‘Em NC blogspot, which brought it up to 35), which I did 3 times on Friday and again on Saturday, to check for comments from readers and respond to them. I got the hang of that pretty quick, so while it took 2 hours the first time I checked them all, I was able to do later checks in 40 minutes or so. I answered all comments and at the end of the Blast Day awarded a gift to one person who commented. Since I got to pick the person, I chose the person who had followed the Blast so assiduously that she left a comment on something like 20 different sites! How can you not reward enterprise like that?
Monday began my first virtual book tour (hereafter referred to as VBT) with Goddess Fish Promotions – 22 stops in 30 days (weekdays only), at pre-arranged sites. So I was checking the site of my first stop, Christine Young Romance Writer, before 7 am to make sure all was well and leaving my first comment. Sunday night, I had tweeted this, along with posting it on LinkedIn and on both my Facebook personal page and my Facebook Author page.
I spent the better part of that day driving to Myrtle Beach to meet with media people about upcoming appearances on radio and TV shows. (This is about a two-hour drive from Mount Pleasant.) When I came home I re-checked Christine’s site for comments, answered email and worked on promotional stuff I needed to send out, along with interview questions and other material for upcoming blog sites where I was appearing. I also queried other bloggers with big followings, hoping to get a book review or interview spot with them.
Tuesday I did some follow-ups for the Myrtle Beach meeting, followed my 2nd book tour stop–Teena in Toronto — wrote some new promo material and finished the electronic press kit for CAMELOT. I also looked at a novel-in-progress (with longing), wanting to dive into work on that, but feeling I needed to devote most of my time for awhile to getting promotional efforts up and running. (The good news here is that I try to mention FORWARD TO CAMELOT in every promo I do for STEALING FIRE. And my promo efforts for FORWARD TO CAMELOT will of course also include mentions of STEALING FIRE.) When I unchained myself from the computer for a short break, I spent that time running to the post office to mail out the gift I awarded in the Super Book Blast plus other promo-related packages.
Wednesday I had two tour stops. Reviewer Julie Whiteley, who’d given STEALING FIRE a fantastic review, hosted me (her first author interview!!) on her blog, Clue Review. (Thank you, Julie!) And my Goddess Fish tour stop that day was Farm Girl Books, who also did a great job. Each night I’ve been tweeting my next day’s stop, plus posting that information on both Facebook pages and LinkedIn.
I also continued the Myrtle Beach followups, plus more inquiries to other bloggers, plus inquiries to other media outlets. My writing partner on CAMELOT, Kevin, phoned at 11:30 pm because ‘it’s not okay to call other people at this time of night, but you’re a writer, so I knew you’d be up’. Uh-huh. We talked for an hour about book promotion for CAMELOT.
I’m beginning to side with those writers who say they’d love a writing career, as long as it’s just writing. The other stuff–this stuff–is what they dread.
I so totally get that.
But to be fair, I should also say that what I really dread is the admin work. I LOVE going on radio and TV. I love speaking in front of live audiences. Interviews are so much more fun than sitting at the computer for endless hours, looking up email addresses, radio stations and TV outlets and begging people to have you on. That is not fun. Even writing, with those moments where you’re so lost in the forest you have no idea which way is up, is more fun than this. (Though also to be fair, I would say that the most flying moments I’ve ever experienced in my career are those moments when I’m in the middle of writing, totally lost in what I’m doing, with complete clarity of thought and totally focused on the road ahead. NOTHING is better than that.)
So part of living the writer’s life–at the time of a new release–involves all this promo work. I did try to hire a PA, but the woman I hired had to drop out, for personal reasons. I know having her, or someone like her, working with me would have made a big difference. I still don’t despair totally of finding someone to help me, but right now, there’s no one on the radar. I’d love to turn over all this stuff to someone else, and you know what? At some point, I will.
At that point, the writing life will go back to being a lot of fun. Because I love the writing and I love the appearances afterward. I just don’t like all the organization in between. And I’ve just decided–while writing this post to you–that I’m not gonna do it anymore, as soon as someone else can take it over. The lesson here, I think, is to do only what YOU as a writer really have to do–bring your unique point of view and sense of life to your writing, and show up to have your picture taken and talk to readers, so they get to know you. No one else can do that, but on the other hand, why would you want them to? That’s the fun part.
Remember that scene in JULIA (assuming you remember the 1977 film) where Jane Fonda as Lillian Hellman gets so fed up with her writing that she throws her manual typewriter out the window? I remember that scene with great fondness.
And right about now, I feel like doing the same thing.
Obviously, I need to get back to writing, folks.
See you on the other side of more promotion–and please, do visit my website for upcoming stops on my book tour–really would love to see you there!