Before I was published, before I even attended a writer’s contest, seminar, or read a craft book, I thought I knew how the writing life would go.
Step one: Write a story you like
Step two: Mail it off to editors
Step three: Sort through the various offers and sign a contract
Step four: Lather, rinse, repeat.
Okay, you can stop laughing now.
In the intervening years, I’ve acquired some experience, some knowledge, and a fair few bumps and bruises doled out by this writing life. I’ve learned that writing the book isn’t enough. There’s so much more to do, requirements to meet, obligations to fulfill.
So, I thought I’d talk about “The Other Stuff.” Things that a published writer has to do/should do/can do in addition to writing books. Things the publisher expects you to do to help market the book and get your name and self out there to potential readers.
These things can be broken down into categories.
Communications. You must conquer the tyranny of your business email. It’s so easy to neglect your email, and suddenly it’s an avalanche ready to bury you. Prioritize your email so you don’t waste time on the less important and leave the urgent to go begging.
- Editors and Agents first. NEVER ghost your agent or editors. Communication is key to your relationship!
- Other professional emails, from fellow writers, agency mates, whomever, who may be looking for a reply from you. Bookstore managers, bloggers, review sites, magazine editors, etc.
- Reader emails and messages. Don’t skip these. Sew a little kindness and attention to people who have read and enjoyed your books.
The Writing that Isn’t Writing
- Plotting and proposals. Working on that next idea to propose to your agent/editor. The publishing world is a fodder machine, and there is no time to rest on your laurels. You need to work on the next idea.
- Edits. Edits of various sorts will arrive in your inbox while you are currently writing one story and marketing another. Prioritize your edits as you did your emails. Set up a calendar to ensure you finish your edits on time, and remember that Communication comes first. Communicate with your editors and your agent about editing deadline expectations.
- Blog posts, interviews, articles. You will find yourself doing a lot of writing that isn’t actually on one of your books. You’ll write about writing, about your process, about your characters, about the history and setting of your book, about your favorite tea and movies. And while you may fell all this writing takes your focus off your book, remember that this extra writing is what helps people learn about you and your work. It can be time consuming, and it tends to cluster around when you are releasing a new book. (Hint: pre-write some of these articles and blog posts. As you write your book, take some notes on your research, write up a blog post or magazine article. You can bring it out when you need a post in a pinch.) Also, consider a group blog rather than an individual blog to lessen your load. Here at Seekerville, we each blog once a month with the occasional guest post, which is much more manageable for all of us than each writer blogging 3-5 times per week on her individual blog.
Marketing and Social Media
Beware of this one. It can be a HUGE time-suck and reason for not getting your other work done. And yet, it needs to be part of your professional life. Much like publishing, social media is a content machine. New pictures, posts, pins, tweets, grams…It can be daunting and time consuming.
Pick one or two. You cannot possibly keep up with every social media platform out there. I know, because I tried. I burned my twitter account for a couple of reasons. 1. I didn’t enjoy composing tweets. And 2. The atmosphere on twitter is so rancorous. Acidic and mean, and I had little control over what I saw in my twitter feed. But I very much enjoy Facebook and Instagram. So I decided to concentrate on those.
Narrow your focus on social media. Not just your platform, but the content you’re creating for it. At the moment, most of my efforts on social media go into a public group created with fellow Regency authors that focuses on the era we write and the lovely readers who enjoy that era. Polls, games, photos, questions. Interaction daily with people who read what I write.
As to Instagram, I don’t really use Insta to market my books much. I use it to follow the people I want to follow. Which will show in my follows/followed by numbers. Many more people follow my Instagram than I follow. I made the mistake on Twitter years ago of automatically following back anyone who followed me, and yowza, there turned out to be lots of people who were putting out content I didn’t want to see, but I had felt obligated to ‘return follow.’
It can be daunting to think about all the non-writing obligations that can come along with that dreamed-of contract, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Prioritize, triage your projects, take things in little bites, discipline yourself when it comes to social media. And above all, keep the writing first, the non-writing obligations second.
What part of the writing journey has surprised you the most? What misconception did you have that you now know is false? How do you manage your social media time?
Captain Charles Wyvern owes a great debt to the man who saved his life--especially since Major Richardson lost his own life in the process. The best way to honor that hero's dying wish is for Wyvern to escort the man’s grieving fiancée and mother safely to a new cottage home by the sea. But along the way, he learns of another obligation that has fallen on his shoulders: his uncle has died and the captain is now the Earl of Rothwell.
When he and the ladies arrive at his new manor house in Devon, they discover an estate in need of a leader and a gaggle of girls, all wards of the former earl. War the new earl knows; young ladies and properties he does not. Still wishing to provide for the bereaved Lady Sophia Haverly, Charles proposes a marriage of convenience.
Sophie is surprised to find she isn't opposed to the idea. It will help her care for her betrothed's elderly mother, and she's already fallen in love with the wayward girls on the Rothwell estate. This alliance is a chance to repay the captain who has done so much for her care, as well as divert her attention from her grief. When Wyvern returns to his sea commission, she'll stay behind to oversee his property and wards.
It sounds so simple. Until the stalwart captain is arrested on suspicion of smuggling, and Sophie realizes how much he's come to mean to her. Now she'll have to learn to fight, not only for his freedom but also for his love.
www.ericavetsch.com where you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at https://www.facebook.com/EricaVetschAuthor/ where she spends way too much time!