Thursday, September 3, 2015

Writers: What do you do all day?

I've been asked a number of times... my answers vary from watch porn and masturbate to WRITE! Then you get well if you're writing all the time why haven't you published more books? 

It's a valid question because I really did think writers wrote more… instead I find myself doing many other things that will assist me in publishing. 

Let's take it from the beginning:

You have written the song of your heart… a fabulous book… now what? Well, you don't exactly type THE END and head off to the best seller's list (I've heard rumors those exist... I wouldn't know personality LOL)

*Self-edit (or try to):
Usually I put the manuscript I've just written through an editing programming, make the corrections and re-read it. (This might be the 10th time I've gone through my work) Then I pass it to my beta/critique partners to shred my words. Then I sort through their feedback and improve the story.

*Submit to a publisher:
Write a query letter, and a synopsis = imagine a book report that boils down your blood sweat and tears into a couple of pages… then you WAIT  (bypass if you have an editor who adopts you as theirs)
(If accepted):
Edits: With editor 1, editor 2, and possibly a third or fourth go round, lines 1-2x, proofing

Cover Art  : Working with an artist to come up with a good representation of your book that’s marketable. 

Blurb: Boiling down your stories into a jazzy two hundred word blip to entice readers to give your story a try. 
(If not accepted>>> it’s back to the drawing board with re-writes based on feedback, court a new publisher)

You get to bypass the publisher stuff but you want to make damned sure you do the edits, proofing and you commission your cover art directly.

*Beta/critique for others because 1) it’s nice to return the favor 2) it helps you become a better writer to READ for another author.

*Read articles on the craft of writing, trends in the market, grammar, style...

*Social media
It can be a useful way to get your name out there. Yes, I’m talking about branding (who are you as an author and getting your message to your audience). It allows you to tell the world you birthed a new book. (Hopefully, without overselling cause EVERYONE including the authors HATE when that happens) But you can’t just rely on one place nope! You need to get the word out at different times and in different places.

Your own blog should be updated on a regular basis. Some writers are able to do this once a day, every few days… me I’ve committed to once a week. We’ve been told you’re not writing the blog for today but for the future… meaning someone will come across a tag that leads them to you & your magical books. So blogs are important!

No surprise to some of you that Facebook is my favorite venue! Maybe it was not being allowed to use it when I lived in China… but I ADORE playing with my Facebook Pretties! I love what people post on my wall, the PMs, the responses to my posts and the answers to my questions. It’s my way of staying connected. My Pretties make me think, smile and giggle! So Facebook is a joy to me. (I bop on and off of it while I’m writing to touch base so if you PM me & I’m not online I’ll probably be there soon).

I’ve met with people about how to make Twitter work, I’ve even watched YouTube videos on tweeting. I’m able to do #TravelTuesday & good LBGTQ+ news… but I’m still not comfortable with it.

*Insta-graming: Haven’t attempted it… Know Thy Limits. I simply can’t do it all.

*Pinteresting: I try to pin things to my boards about travel since my books are based partly on my travel experiences. I’m even using the secret board option to work on my works in progress.

*Website: Make sure your website is up to date… oh and if you put your website on your writer banner the one you plan to put on your table at Upstate Pride>>> you might want to make sure it works… GRRRRRRR!!!! Most of my week has been devoted to making a new website.

*Keeping up E-mail

*Conventions s
Preparation (swag can take weeks to order and longer to figure out what makes sense with you and your books). Attending the classes/panels usually gives you more to dos while you try  not to implode in a nervous wreck. Of course there's the travel time and dealing with the illness in the aftermath.... But I LOVE THEM!!! It's where my tribe meets.

Your book is releasing: 

Blog Tour: You can pay for assistance or schedule it yourself (=scheduling takes time and you usually want to contact 8-15 blogs) Either way you should pull together a media package (all the information on your book, cover art, blurb, excerpt & buy links) and you need to write 8-15 blogs, announce where you will be when, and follow up with commenters.

Giveaways: Request to do them, schedule them, publicize, follow-up and give out prizes.

Reviews: You need to ask review sites if they would be interested in reviewing your book. If a review is scheduled make sure you know when so you can publicize it.

Your Rights Are Yours Again: Books are under contract for 1-5 years with automatic renewals in some contracts. You need to manage this. If the rights are returned to you the choice is they go out off all bookshelves or you get them with another publisher or learn to get them on Amazon, All Romance Books, Kobo, Apple, Draft 2 Digital, etc. (Did you need to re-write them first? If so, beta/critique partners, editing, etc. all need to be re-done.)

There’s a number of other things that come up but those are some of the basics I spend my writing time doing. Trust me when I say I'm not complaining but I wanted to share.

So if you’re wondering why your favorite author hasn’t gotten the next book out… these are some of the things a writer’s time is spent doing.

Hugs, Z. Allora

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