I'm a writer--and what I want to do is sit at my desk and write books. But I'm just back from vacation and the next two months have a schedule that would make the queen of England turn pale. Because these days writing is only half of an author's life. The other half involves selling the books.
Now you might naively think that selling the books is the job of the publisher and bookseller. Unfortunately it's also become a requirement of the author. When you have time check out my schedule at http://www.rhysbowen.com/ and click on Events. See what I mean?
I have two white boards next to my desk which started off as tools for me to jot down ideas and plot points as I wrote. They have been taken over as to-do lists. What I see before me at the moment is:
send out paper invitations to 50 people for launch party
send out email invites next week to about another hundred
make sure store has specially requested advance copies Royal Blood for event at Festival of Wales
coordinate with friend who want to fit in lunch at Festival of Wales in Portland
Coordinate with man who wants to fit in Welsh Society after event in Kansas City
Hair appointment before launch party.
Get handouts printed for fall events.
Arrange prizes for various events (vampire themed?)
2 guest blogs, 2 interviews, one radio as of now.
This doesn't include daily Facebook and Twitter stuff and regular fan letters.
And this is before I am on the road and doing pretty much an event a night for the month of September.
You might tell me that all this is my choice, and in a way that's true. There are some writers who never leave home, who hate to travel and hate meeting people. Some of them do pretty well. However when one is not Sue Grafton or Janet Evanovich the object is to try and make some of those bestseller lists so that the publisher sits up and takes notice. And unless that publisher is prepared to spend a hundred thousand or so on publicity the only way to be noticed is by personal contact and word of mouth. Someone finds my book, reads it and recommends it to a friend. It's building readers one at a time and it takes a lot of effort.
However in today's brutal world of publishing writers whose readership is not constantly growing find themselves axed. Besides, I have to confess that the personal contact with readers is one of the things I have come to cherish. To be in a strange city and have someone come up to me with all my books and ask if I mind signing the whole lot--well, that is special. When someone tells me that my book just got them through a difficult time, it makes the getting up at 4 a.m. to catch the 6 a.m. flight worthwile.
Once September starts I'll try to blog daily about my travels and I look foward to meeting many of you.