Monday, July 6, 2015

What I Write When I’m Not Writing My Novel

Though I’m a fiction writer, I bet the number of words I write each day in the service of promotion and communication far surpass the daily output of my WIP. We writers are a garrulous group and keep in touch with one another via email, listservs, Facebook, blogs, twitter, Pinterest, et al. 

I start every day off reading my emails. One reason is I can’t resist the urge to find out what miraculous bit of good news has come my way. I’m ever optimistic despite the fact that most emails are advertisements offering me free and discounted books, items of clothing, and trips to faraway places. Still, my writing groups/ listservs keep me informed regarding who’s winning prizes, signing new contracts, reporting on various conferences. Gladly, I send out many congratulations to my colleagues. They also keep me informed re what’s new in the ever-changing publishing industry. I skip through the many offers to promote my books, noting how many companies have recently formed to “help” authors as a way of making money for themselves. If only they could really achieve the wonderful results they promis.
Still, almost every day I come upon a valuable piece of information regarding promotion and book sales. I take the time to read the Book Marketing Expert Newsletter and Joan Stewart’s The Publicity Hound because of their wonderful offer wonderful promotion ideas. Other emails might include an invitation to write a guest blog, a free way to publicize my books, or an invitation to take part in a book fair. Blog posts and articles related to writing or promotion are wonderful sources of information. I often tweet those I find most helpful to share with my fellow writers. Sometimes I read the article on the spot. Doing this is like turning down new paths in the forest. I always have to remember to return to the main road. Or in this case, be aware of how much time is passing, time I’m not working on my novel.

Like most authors I read and review friends’ novels as well as novels I’ve gotten from sites like Net Galley and Shelf Awareness. And I when I post a blog of my own, I have to announce it to the writing world and respond to readers’ comments.

Promoting a new book means getting the word out to readers—tweeting, writing guest blogs, doing interviews, and talking up your book on social media. Communicating with readers and fellow writers, in person or online, is a lovely reprise from the lonely pursuit of writing. Which makes it all the more difficult to get back to the nitty gritty of writing the next novel. 

10 comments:

Palmaltas said...

Wow! You are busy! Reading all that you do makes me tired. Congrats for all the hard work.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Sounds pretty much like what I do.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Pat,
Sometimes it gets me tired, too. Thanks for the congrats.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Marilyn,
I do my best, but I'm not as efficient as you are. I am learning not to procrastinate.

Kaye George said...

It's always something, isn't it? You sound so organized, though. Keep up the good work, and keep writing the novels!

Marilyn Levinson said...

Thanks, Kaye. I'm glad I sound organized. So often I feel that I'm not getting everything done.

Grace Topping said...

I read recently that a number of writers (including members of Sisters in Crime) have burned out because of the need to keep up with promoting their books, leaving little time to actually write, etc.. It all seems to become a bit overwhelming.

Eileen Obser said...

Very good post, Marilyn. I keep busy too, reading e-mails, looking at Facebook, making and answering phone calls -- in what some people would keep for writing time. It gets exhausting, and frustrating, when the hours have passed and the new writing is still waiting o be written. It's the age we live in, however, and so we do what we must do to not only write, but to promote our work.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

This is what I do as well, but I seem to spend way too much time doing! Thanks for sharing!

Marilyn Levinson said...

Eileen and Mary,
This is what most of us do, and it takes up a good deal of time. Thanks for stopping by.