Torn in Different Directions

Now that Forgotten is out, I’m no longer a one trick pony with just one book published. There are three more, in case you’ve forgotten – pardon the pun – Big Mother 40, Cherubs 2, and Render Harmless.

So what’s next and that’s where I’m torn. Right now as I look at my writing projects, I’ve got five more books coming:

Retribution – I’m about two thirds of the way through the first draft of the manuscript and hope to finish it by the end of the year.

            Manpads – My first pass is about sixty percent complete and I need to finish it. That effort has been put off until 2017.

Flight of the Pawnee – After I read it out loud to one of my dogs, it’ll be ready to go to a publisher.

The Kurile Wedge Incident – Ditto Flight of the Pawnee. In fact, it’ll be the next one to be sent a publisher.

Moscow Airlift – I’ve massaged/edited it several times and it is probably one more revision before it’ll be ready. That work comes after Manpads is finished and I’ve done an edit of Retribution.

So again, why I am I torn in different directions? Book sales! I want more of them which means I have to spend more time on promotion. Marketing takes time, it takes money and it doesn’t always work. In a perfect world, I’d just write the books, the publishers would bring them to life and you, the readers would by them in droves.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Unless you have an agent, PR agency and are with a major publisher who has a distribution engine and/or lots of money to spend, you got to do a lot of it yourself. That means reaching out to editors of publications for reviews, contacting organizations to see if they are interested in me as a speaker, selecting trade shows and association events to see if I can rent a booth, and the list goes on and on.

It all takes time. Lots of time. Most of it has to done during the day because that’s when people are in their offices. Unlike workaholic writers and former consultants/business executives like me who seemed to be glued to their laptops, you have to spend time on the phone between about 0830 and 1730. Emails can be written at night and in between calls, but the tracking down the right people has to be done during the day.

So, again, for the third time, why am I torn? Here’s the rub. I’m retired. I left the business world so I wouldn’t have to work 60 – 70 hours a week. I was hoping to be able to write a few hours a day and make a few calls to set up promotional events.

The ugly lesson is that it can’t be done part time if the goal is to sell more than a couple a books a month. I’m good for 3 – 4 hours a day at the creative part of writing a book. I can go for 5 – 6 if I am just editing. I’m finding that the promotional effort comes and goes, but it averages about 2 – 3 hours a day. So, let’s say I spend four hours writing and editing and two working on promotional stuff, that an average of seven hours a day which is at least 35 a week. Not exactly part time! And, I’m not accounting for ‘honeydos’ and stuff that my wife and family want me to do.

So, again, where do I spent my time, assuming I only want to work half-time, i.e. 20 hours a week? The compromise is that until the first of the year, or at least into January, I’m going to focus on two things – promotion and working a couple hours a day on Retribution to finish it. If I only have limited time, promotional efforts will win. That way I won’t feel guilty that I’m not spending the time I should promoting my books.

Marc Liebman

November, 2016