what we do when we aren't writing

For being a "fulltime" writer, I got remarkably little done in the way of writing last week. Part of that problem is summertime, kids about frequently, and helping manage their schedules and entertainment. But most of it was duties in support of my writing. Writers do A LOT of stuff behind the scenes, and this doesn't even include people who are self-publishing and doing all the work for that. Even a writer with a tiny readership is still a public person, and that entails some work. This list is hardly exhaustive, but I've done all of it in the past few weeks and months.

Social Media. Facebook. Twitter. Goodreads. This is not just fucking around on the internet for someone in the public eye. This is about keeping your name and your brand current in people's minds. It's about connecting with readers and networking with others in the industry. Outsiders often chide me for being online too much. But being "out there" is part of my life as a writer who wants to sell books. Incidentally, my facebook page is completely open with no restrictions and I friend people when I have time on Twitter. I have public emails and I answer IMs (when I get time) from people I don't know.

Interviews. Written interviews, I find, take some time. There are usually a slew of them around book release time. I also will be doing a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) soon.

Blogging. My blog is old and well established in the Googles. I'm lucky in that regard; having been blogging since 2004 gives me a TON of hits when someone searches me. Also blogging collectives are cool.

Selling short stories. I spread my efforts between print, pro-rate, electronic, independent and anthologies. Anthologies are nice but they often have the shelf-life interest of real books. However the first story I ever sold is still available to read online. Selling short stories, when you have a book a year coming out, is a great way to keep your name current.

Cover consultation, maps, extras. For EXILE I spent a whole day drawing a legible map upon request of my publisher. I also have spent quite a few emails on my covers for all my books, as well as designing a pronunciation guide for the audiobook. Several emails over the course of several days went into that.

Publisher Paperwork. Forms for publishing house marketing departments and cover artists.

Critique. Always valuable, whether in beta reading or short piece critique. I've almost always been a member of a critique group and I have a couple of betas lined up to read books. Remember, one must give in order to receive. 

Editing. I'm a longtime editor of Electric Spec, and many writers I know do similar things, either with anthologies or magazines, or even freelance paid editing services.

Invitations. I'm nobody and I still get them. Invites to blog, to submit stories, to write articles, to contribute everything from editing to advice to actual content. My last two sales to anthologies were personal invitations.

Publicity Collectives. BookSworn is mine, a group of fantasy writers who decided to combine forces to cross-promote. So far it's been pretty successful and really fun!

Private Writers Collectives. I belong to a couple of email loops and private facebook groups, and they are invaluable for information sharing, for advice, for industry discussions, for quick beta reads, and for plain old stress relief. I never regret hooking up with writers.

Professional Organization Volunteering. I belong to two,  Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and Science Fiction Writers of America. I  was on the board for a number of years with RMFW and may consider some kind of volunteering for SFWA in the future. At any rate, I do small volunteering duties for RMFW still. The connections I've made with my local writer friends have been invaluable and sanity-saving.

Talking at Cons. Not for everyone, but I enjoy it. I like getting in with my fellow geeks and geeking out over geekery. Also, I think nothing but nothing beats personal, face-to-face interaction. I make between 4-6 appearances at cons a year.

Readings/Signings. Always worth the time. Readings and Signings support bookstores and booksellers, who really are our best allies in the business.

Sending out notices and invites. Sometimes snail mail is the best way. People are inundated with Facebook Invites, so while it's generally "required" nothing beats a flyer with a handwritten note.

Donations.  Most recently I handled BookSworn's donation for the Brenda Novak Auction, plus I donated a book for my agency. While I was writing this post a friend just asked me to donate a book for another auction.

Giveaways. Goodreads. Blogs. Contests. More trips to the Post Office.

Submitting to Reviewers. This is like submitting to agents and editors. Each have their own submission regs. 'Nuff said.

Contract negotiations, business stuff. This is where I am so glad I have an agent (and a meticulous husband!) Even with no head for business, I still have to spend time pouring over contracts and we email regularly. Plus, I'm responsible for taxes, organizing receipts, and keeping records of advances and royalties.

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