Monday, April 26, 2021

All The Other Stuff


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?

Can Captain Wyvern keep his new marriage of convenience all business--or will it turn into something more?

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 fiancĂ©e 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.

Best-selling, award-winning author Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. You can connect with her at her website, where you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at where she spends way too much time!


  1. I don't use Twitter a lot either. Can you imagine THIS voice with a limitation on characters?

  2. You had me at "sort through the various offers and sign a contract." I had one. Offer, that is.
    You are right. We need to keep up the business end of writing so we can, well, write. I knew some of this before I was published because I hung out at Seekerville before I was published, and also because it took me so long to GET published that I was willing to do the grunt work. It's a privilege to do this, but there is still a great amount of detail work.
    Out for Bible study, may be back later.
    Kathy Bailey
    Your Kaybee
    Connecting the dots in New Hampshire

    1. I hung out at Seekerville pre-publication, too, and I am so grateful for all that I learned during that time.

      What Bible study curriculum are you doing? My ladies' study is going through Revelation right now.

    2. We are working our way through Thomas A Kempis, "The Imitation of Christ."

  3. I'm still in the "you need to sit down and write a great book" stage LOL but I know that this is really just one step. I'm really having fixed feelings about social media. I used to love Facebook, but now I'm longing for the days when all we did was post pictures of our lunches and what shoes we were wearing. Social media is necessary, but everything just feels so icky these days.

    1. That was supposed to be "mixed feelings" :)

    2. LOL, Glynis! My feelings are definitely "fixed" when it comes to social media!

    3. GLynis, I feel you! That's why I think you need to find the social media that works for you! And I feel free to use the 'block' 'mute' and 'unfriend' features if I have to. I decided that I need to exercise more control over what I see in my FB feed, for my own mental health.

  4. After a long talk with God...weeks...I've laid aside any writing projects and will concentrate on my freelance editing business from now on. Boy, did I feel a load lift off my shoulders when I made that decision. I don't know if I'll ever write again. I love encouraging other authors and helping them achieve their best work as I edit. My clients are my friends. Frankly, I hate social media and have for several years now. It's nice keeping up with friends (authors, editors, family) but the tech industry is far too invasive and addictive for me. That's just my opinion. Erica is absolutely right about the business side of writing, but I've lost the "fire in my belly" to run that gauntlet. If you're looking for a good fiction editor, I'm at your service, but don't look for my name on any new books. I'd rather see yours instead because I'm a voracious reader. Finally, bless you all. I pray your writing journey will bring you much success!

    1. Barb, it takes a wise woman to identify her strengths and pursue them. I'll keep you in mind when I need an editor!

    2. That had to be a tough decision, but it sounds like you came at it with wisdom, weighing the good and the bad and what God was laying on your heart. You have a great ministry and a viable business rolled into one!

  5. Erica, this post is a great reminder of all the plates writers need to juggle.

    Before I started writing for publication (and long before I found Seekerville) I thought being an author would be an introvert's dream job. No demands to do anything beyond the printed page. :-)

    Well, I still think this is an introvert's dream job, especially as I learn to negotiate "all the other stuff."

    I've found it easier for me to compartmentalize tasks (see Pam's post from last Friday!) I set aside an hour each day, and the entire afternoon on Wednesday to deal with the other stuff. That's when I show up on social media, answer emails, comment on blog posts, write blog posts, and spend time planning the fun stuff (aka working on my WIP.)

    Thanks for the great post!

    1. That is a great, well-disciplined approach to the 'other stuff' especially social media!

      And yeah, it's a great job for an introvert! :)

  6. Im nowhere near being published, but one thing I thought is that I'd know if something I wrote was good or bad & I would know when editing was finished. Truth is, I have no idea how to gauge my writing.

    1. It's so hard to be objective about our own writing, and it's invaluable to get sound critiques. I recommend entering writing contests!

  7. I completely agree, Erica. The time spent writing is nothing compared to the time spent doing all the other stuff. But it's all worth it. :-) And I have been enjoying your Regency page on FB.

    1. It was such a shock to my system to learn how much there was to do! And I'm so glad you're enjoying the IRR. I hope you like the new activity we're launching! :)

  8. Erica, this post is spot-on. I never realized there was so much more writing involved in being an author outside of storying. My husband always asks if I'm storying or blogging when I'm at the computer. He's definitely unaware of all the other stuff we need to do. And yes, beware of the time-sucks.

    1. :) Some days I write a few thousand words, and none of them are on my WIP! :)

  9. Great post, Erica. There is so much involved with writing, that finding time to do the actual writing can be tricky. I agree that social media can be a time suck. I am only on Facebook. I joined so I could keep up with old and new friends and what is going on in their lives, but all the political stuff gets old. But I have learned to just scroll through quickly, and only stop on posts of real interest. I have also become friends with so many writers and I try to follow all their pages, too, but I feel like I can't really do that justice.

    I have not started on this series yet but it is on my list of books to get!

    1. Hi, Sandy, well done keeping your social media down to the one you feel is best for you, and for scrolling past all the political stuff. I wish more people would!

  10. Hi Erica:

    I believe that the book description for, "The Indebted Earl", is one of the best I've ever read. It mentioned four things I really love in a Regency: a marriage of convienence, a naval officer hero, being a guardian, and having a title. Everything!

    I checked the library here in Tulsa and they have the print book but not in large print. They do have your other books in large print so it may be on its way. They also offer two electronic books, Hoopla which I use for BBC mysteries TV shows but never an ebook and Freading which I tried to use but so far I can't make any sense of the instructions -- if I could find the instructions. :(

    I have three questions: one, is the hero a Captain by rank or is he a Captain by position -- that is, commanding a ship. Two, how old is he? It can take a very long time to make Captain. Third, you seem to have a great number of characters in the story. Is this typical of Regency romances or is it unique to the story?

    No problem. I'll get to read the book one way or another. I just want it to be sooner rather than later.

  11. Great post, Erica! Writers need to juggle the demands on their time. Sometimes I keep too many balls in the air. At other times, I drop most of them!

    You mentioned choosing what works for you. Good advice. We can't do it all so we have to decide early on which marketing strategies are important as well as the tasks that can go by the wayside. It's a learning process. I'm still learning! :)

    Hugs and congrats on another great story!

  12. I have one day set aside in the month to do all my scheduled social media posts. A second day to work on guest posts. It has helped a lot. I used to think it wouldn't take much time until I tried posting every week! I call it the black hole... lol
    I didn't expect the business writing aspect - queries, proposals and synopses. I'm thankful for my background as I used to have to do a lot of proposals and business communications.
    Thanks for this post, Erica!


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