What Does a Recently Published Author Do All Day?
Posted by: harmonybookreviews
The first blog I ever wrote, for my own website, was titled, “So what does a soon-to-be published writer do all day?” http://www.dianarodriguezwallach.com/blog/2008_03_01_archive.html
At the time, it was my attempt to answer the people who came up to me at cocktail parties asking, “So now that your book sold, what do you do to fill your time?” Many of them actually thought that a writer simply pens a book, sends it to the publisher and then—Poof!—your work is magically done. You can eat bon bons now. Don’t we wish. Hehe.
There’s a lot more to it than that. But thankfully if you love what you’re doing it, doesn’t feel like work—that’s one thing both Donald Trump and Oprah agree on (though they’re also both workoholics. Hhmmm, I wonder if that’s a coincidence?).
Since I now have two books published, and another set to debut in January, I’m in the “Promotional Madness” stage of the game. This is very different from the “Editing Madness” stage I was in six months ago. During that prior stage, I would spend my summer vacations doing line edits of page proofs that miraculously showed up at my door, unannounced, the day before I was headed to the beach (with a 10-day turnaround time).
There were times during the “Editing Madness” stage where I was getting the first round of edits for my third book, Adios to All the Drama, the day after I turned in the second round of edits for book two, Amigas and School Scandals. Oh, and I was writing an entirely new book at the same time. I think I have a masochistic streak.
But alas, the crazy editing days are done, and now I’m in the “Promotional Madness” stage. This is when you do interviews, spend inordinate amounts of time on the Internet, speak at schools, speak at book clubs, stalk your Amazon rankings, create book trailers, and think of clever contests to post on your blog, all to bring awareness that out of the millions of books out there—one of them is YOURS.
So, I figure it’s time I update the world with the daily activities of a recently published author. Here goes:
I still typically wake up at 9am (sorry, I don’t have kids and my cat lets me sleep in). Though there was a stretch of about two months when I was working on my WIP and editing two novels simultaneously, so I was waking up at 7:30am. I can be a morning person! But I don’t recommend it. I was a very unpleasant person during this period.
After eating my Special K bar, I flick on my laptop and head straight to the Internet. First I check my email (two accounts), then I check MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/dianarodriguezwallach), then I add a plucky little message to Twitter (http://twitter.com/dianarwallach). I haven’t figured out why I’m on Twitter, or who’s reading my posts, but I drank the cyber Kool-Aid regardless. And I’ve met some cool people there.
What I do next varies greatly. Right now, I’m promoting Amigas and School Scandals, the sequel in my YA series that launched in November. I have my first signing for the book on Friday, November 7th, so I’m trying to drum up as much publicity as possible. I’ve had a couple of news articles run in the local papers. I’ve spoken at my former high school. An announcement was sent to all Boston University alumni in the PA/NJ area. I’ve contacted the local schools, librarians, and teachers who have reached out to me about speaking engagements. And I’ve sent a bunch of emails to my mailing list. Let’s hope someone shows up! (Isn’t every author’s fear a signing in an empty bookstore? It’s worse than the “showing up at school naked” nightmare.)
This brings me to my next item of publicity—workshops. At the end of October, I had my first speaking engagement with students. I drove myself to the high school (this is no small feat, I’m a terrible driver), and spoke for 20 minutes about how I became an author. Then I answered questions from ninth graders for another 40 minutes. It was a lot of fun. The students asked great questions, and it’s made me more excited for other school events I have scheduled. Oh, to be back in the classroom.
Additionally, I conduct lots of interviews for bloggers and reporters. Right now, I have three sets of questions (from different reviewers) piled up in my inbox waiting to be answered. I also read a lot of author and book-related blogs to stay on top of what other authors are working on, as well as to remain aware of what possible marketing opportunities lay out there for me.
And, of course, I write. Though right now, my writing consists mostly of blogs. I try to blog at least twice a week on my website, sometimes three times, as well as Twitter and an occasional post on YA for Obama.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not working on a new project. I’m in the “research” stage of a WIP, and I currently have three library books sitting on my desk. I’m actually taking notes in a college-ruled spiral notebook—I feel like I’m back in BU’s library cramming for midterms. Who reads about the Cold War for fun? Um, I do.
I’m also reading War and Peace, just for kicks. I figure if I take in a chapter or two a day, I might finish before I head into retirement.
At night, I do consulting for the educational nonprofit that used to employ me full-time. Presently, I’m working on a PowerPoint for them while helping to create marketing materials for an upcoming awards ceremony that they’re hosting (which I will attend). It’s completely unrelated to my novels, but I like to continue to contribute—even in a small way—to the promotion of improved public schools in our cities.
I also spend most of my evenings answering emails. I am thrilled to report that I get several inquiries through the Contact Me form on my website daily, and I try to respond to each one personally. It’s very surreal to hear from strangers who’ve read my books and took the time to seek out my website just to tell me that they liked them. Though I’m still debating whether those emails are real or whether one my friends is punking me. (It would be a cruel, cruel joke.)
And typically, I don’t turn my laptop off until midnight with my husband tapping away on his keyboard right beside me—hence my late mornings. But that’s it. That’s what I do.
I’m a writer. I’m a book promoter. And I love it.