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Wednesday 25 March 2009


Ah, now a comment on the previous post has inspired a little PS ....

Two posts in one day - it's a record - I must be supposed to be writing: you can just tell from all the WAS (see here if you don't know what a WAS is ...)

Anyway, commenting on the last post, SueG said that she'd suggest adding one more piece of advice. She said, "be prepared to spend a year of your life doing more marketing than writing! I found it very difficult to work on the new novel while I was promoting the old one. It was frustrating but necessary, and now when I'm promoting book 2 (hopefully!) I'll be more prepared for the time commitment."

I completely agree that we may find ourselves doing more marketing than writing. And the comment about finding it hard to work on the second novel while promoting the first one is important, especially for those of you writing in genres which will expect or at least allow a novel a year, and therefore promoting a novel a year. And since I am in that category, let me share my experience and some words of caution about overdoing the marketing stuff:
  • the marketing goes on and on, gets easier and easier, but more productive and effective and therefore more and more tempting because the horrible truth dawns: that marketing is one hell of a lot easier than writing
  • similarly, because we crave feedback and affirmation and because the more marketing we do the more feedback and affirmation we get, it becomes even more tempting to do more and more, and lo and behold the writing becomes EVEN harder
  • we may come to a point (as I did last year) when the ability to write really suffers because of all the other stuff that's so much easier. It's a million times easier for me to fly or train somewhere and stand up for a few hours and speak to quantities of teenagers and then fly and train back to answer all their lovely emails, than it is for me to sit for two hours and WRITE. So we can end up filling our diaries, as I did, with Stuff That Is Not Writing.
So, beware everyone: remember that you are in this to be a writer and don't tangle yourself up too much in the other easier stuff. And one day you will get to the stage when you can say no to things - usually, you won't realise that you have reached that stage until you've said yes to far too much, and the symptom will be that you are suddenly writing less, and perhaps less happily.

And thanks, SueG, for your useful point.