A new writer has in mind one goal: getting published. Often they don’t think beyond that goal post. But once they get The Call, everything changes. I think it’s Fear of Success that keeps some folks from submitting because they don’t want to face what comes next. They will have to get a publicity photo, reserve a domain name, set up a website and blog. They’ll want to think about joining social networks and decide what to do to launch their debut book.
As a newly published author, you’ll also have to determine a reasonable date for your next deadline if book number two isn’t done yet. Figure out how many pages per day you can write. How much time do you need to complete the word count? Allow for vacations, sick days, unexpected crises, and additional work on book one. Thought you were finished with that project? Think again. Figure in two weeks for revisions and copy edits and another week for page proofs. Add an extra week if you want to do a final read through. That’s an added month tacked onto your deadline for the next book. Working on book one will interrupt your train of thought, and you’ll have extra deadlines to meet.
These days authors are often asked to submit marketing plans, art sheets, blurbs, endorsements, and back cover copy. Since when have we been trained in advertising and marketing? Writers not only have to take workshops on writing, but we must learn the principles of promotion. It’s probably hardest to write what the book is about in two paragraphs or less. For the blurb, you have to distill the story essence into a one-liner like a movie teaser. These things also take up your time.
Do you want to schedule a blog tour? You have to research which would be the best sites, garner invitations, announce the dates on your social networks, and write the blogs or interviews. More time gone out the window. Feeling frantic yet? Oh, and don’t forget printed materials. Once you have your book cover JPEG, you can design bookmarks, brochures, and/or postcards. Having a contest to add readers to your mailing list? Make up the rules, determine the prizes, post announcements, and keep track of entries.
Amidst this flurry of activity, you must stick to your daily writing schedule in order to complete book number two on time. This may necessitate retreating into your writer’s cave for days on end, only emerging to eat and perform other necessary tasks such as paying attention to your loved ones, dealing with household emergencies, and doing the laundry. Did anyone say this job would be easy? And yet it’s what we love to do. Despite the siren call of the Web, it’s still about writing the story, telling the tale that’s in your heart, and spending time with your characters.
Just make sure to allow yourself enough time with reasonable deadlines.