My first novel A Human Element releases in March. Yes, it’s exciting and scary all at the same time. I find it funny that many non-writing friends now think “that’s it!” for me. I’ve “made it” and I’ve hit “the end” of the road and all the hard work is over. I can now quit my job and let the money roll in and travel the country on book tour, all expenses paid!
If you are a new author you know that the work has just begun and that first royalty check is far, far away. And that book tours paid by publishers don’t often exist for most writers anymore. Why should they pay you to promote when author’s can do it all themselves now at no expense to the publisher? And if you’re lucky enough to get an advance as a debut author the average advance is only $2,000 dollars these days, according to some best selling authors I’ve spoken to. This is what debut authors were paid back in the 1970s they say. Yep. For all those months of work.
I think back a year ago to when I had just finished writing this book. Before I joined a writer’s organization. Before I went to my first writer’s conference, or took my first fiction writing class, or participated in my first reading, or became active in social media. I look back on that time as mellow and easy. My days consisted of my part time freelance writing job for an advertising agency and editing my one manuscript.
Now that mellow life has changed. For once your book is on the way to publication you must promote it. Start a blog and be active on it. Network amongst peers and readers. Keep honing your craft. Become active in writer organizations. Help other writers. Present on author panels. Oh, yes and the most important part – write another book! And another. And let’s not forget that your paycheck job still awaits you every day.
In my former life as a marketing manager and business owner, my jobs were full of time management with short deadlines. My job as an author is the most juggling job I’ve had yet. I discovered that writers are the hardest working people ever. And if you want to keep being an author there are no short cuts. No easy streets. There is NEVER enough time in the day to do all you want to do.
Once the “author” bug hits it carries you racing down a mad stream. You are no longer anonymous. You are a public figure and need to brand yourself in how you want to come across. There is no such thing anymore as the solitary anti-social writer hunched over alone in his cave. If you want the world to know your books you must promote yourself and become part of the writing community. Like it or not.
Want to go down that road? Here’s a day in the life of one-trying-to-make-it-author as I get a book to market, edit another book, start a new book, do assignments for my writing class, and fit in that day job.
Alarm blares. Editing work to be done on middle grade adventure book just completed. COFFEE. Reach out to authors to be a guest on my blog. Register for writers conference.
6:30am – 8:30am
Freelance work. Facebook/Goodreads/Twitter/Email check. Lunches made and son off to school.
9:00am – 1:30pm
Table at Wegman’s cafe and lots of iced tea. Sixteen blog posts to be written for upcoming book blog tour just finalizes. Get two done. Work on chapter outline and preliminary synopsis for new novel, sequel to A Human Element. Write answers to interview requested for writer’s group newsletter. Set book launch date at local bookstore. Craft middle grade book pitch.
2:00pm – 3:00pm
Social media/email connect. Build connections and comment on groups/forums/blogs. Freelance work. Start new post for blog tour.
3:00pm – 3:30pm
Quick get in exercise!
3:30pm – 4:30pm
School pick up. Home work time. Play time. Doze on couch with Sponge Bob.
4:30pm – 5:30pm
5:30pm – 7:00pm
Game time. Tickle time. Snuggle time. Dinner with family.
7:00pm – 9:30pm
While hubby gets kid time in I do my freelance job. Work on author bio and press release. Edit scene for writing class. Get new website ready to launch. Design and order new business cards. Read to son and get him off to bed.
9:30pm – 10:30pm
Vegge! Law & Order SVU and wine. Ahhhh.
10:30pm – 11:15pm
Last email/social media check. Read books on to-read list. Pass out.
Next day it’s all day in the office for my freelance job. 4:45am wake up call means start first chapter of new novel. Only two hours writing time. No hitting the snooze button!
Then again there’s always Saturday and Sunday. At least I can sleep in then, but my table at Wegman’s still awaits. And six months until my first royalty check. But there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.