A week in the crazy life of an author, part 3

Writer's FrustrationWriting takes precedence over everything. My daily writing goal is 1,500 words per day, six days a week. I always strive to do more, and often I do.  On the seventh day, I write my blogs for the week.

However, this schedule goes out the window when a new book is published. The weeks before, during, and after a book release are nothing short of crazy-making. I kept a diary the week before the launch of The Goddess’s Curse, my new fantasy/sci-fi romance, to chronicle what my work life is like.

I am usually at the computer by 5 or 5:30 a.m. and work until about 4 or 5 p.m seven days a week – but with breaks in between. I have a tacit agreement with my husband that I will quit work by 4 or 5 p.m., so if I have a middle-of-the day appointment that cuts into my work time, I can’t play catch-up in the evening. However, if there is something urgent, I’ll make an exception.

The week I chronicled coincided with the change to Daylight Savings Time and  the start of physical therapy for a torn rotator cuff. I live an average of 45 minutes from anything in town, so any errands or appointment cost me an hour and half in drive time, plus the time required to complete the errand itself.

Read part 1 

Read part 2

Thursday March 12

TPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00014]hree days til launch. My goal is to write some more on Rod and Cane 6 since I’m not expecting to receive the formats to The Goddess’s Curse until tomorrow. However, when I check email first thing in the morning, I see that the formatter has sent me all the ebook and print formats (despite the fact that my last instruction was that I’d look it over again this morning). So much for writing. Everything shifts.

I review the formats, note a few changes and email the formatter to make the changes. I pre-load the mobi version onto Amazon with the plan of clicking publish Saturday morning so that the book will be live by Sunday. Timing is by-guess-and-by-golly. I’ve had books go live in 4 hours, and I’ve had them take 24. Usually it’s 6-8.

I load and click publish on Barnes & Noble and All Romance because I want them available on launch day too. BN typically takes longer than Amazon.  I recognize that I am too Amazon-dependent, and it is not good to have all (or most) of my eggs in one basket, so I recently decided to expand my distribution. I’ve heard that Smashwords is a pain-in-ass to use, and I don’t want to hassle it, so I open a Draft2Digital account, and upload my book on D2D to be distributed to Kobo, Apple, and Scribd. D2D is completely new me, yet the entire process from opening the account to uploading all my book information takes less than 10 minutes. There is zero learning curve. I am very impressed with D2D, and contrast them with ARe, where it took me 45 minutes to do what should have taken 10 because ARe kept deleting my previously inputted data.

After getting all my books readied for launch, I go to Creatspace to create a template for the print wrap (cover) of the paperback version of The Goddess’s Curse. The cover artist “needs” a template. The cover artist of Naughty Words for Nice Writers did everything for me (love her!), but this one wants me to provide the template. I click all around on Createspace searching for the template generator, but can’t find it. Finally I go to the Createspace Community and run a search. Fortunately some helpful souls who ran into the same problem posted the link. Once I find the template generator, the template is a snap to create. Time to find it: 15-20 minutes. Time to create the template: less than a minute.

I email the template and other needed information to the cover artist.

Now that I have the formatted ebooks, I send Advance Review Copies to my Street Team and to a handful of reviewers who are waiting for them.

I decide I want to change nearly everything in my New Release Newsletter that I already have written, so I do that. By now, it’s noon. I’ve been at the computer since 5:30 a.m. (with an hour break for breakfast/shower). I take a half hour break for lunch. I read a friend’s book while I eat, and I catch a mistake in the first chapter that I’m pretty sure she’d want to know about. After lunch, I email her, then I write my release day blog, and my Weekend Writing Warrior’s blog. I decide to post the first chapters of all my books on my blog on a special page. I don’t have time to do all the books, but I create a new page for The Goddess’s Curse and upload chapter one. I want to exercise, but I’m running out of time. At 1:40, my husband and I go for 20-minute walk. Not as much as I want, but it’s better than nothing. At 2 p.m. I leave for my 3 p.m. physical therapy appointment. Afterwards, I pick up my income taxes from the accountant. I get home at 5 p.m. I check email. The Goddess’s Curse is LIVE on Kobo, Apple, Scribd, ARe, and BN. At 5:30, I call it good, and quit to cook dinner.

Friday, March 13

NaughtyWords200x300Two days til the official launch. I’m at the computer at 5:15 a.m. With The Goddess’s Curse already live on so many sites, I create bitly links so I can track how many clicks I get on each link, and I update my release day blogs, my new Chapter One page, and my newsletter. The only thing left to add are the Amazon links. I proofread the newsletter, catch a few boo-boos, and tweak the release contest info. I also make a few announcements of the BN launch on Facebook, Google +, and Tsu. I buy four thesauruses on Amazon, including my own, in hopes of getting Naughty Words linked as “also boughts.” I got an email about advertising on the website for the Lori Foster Reader and Author Get Together I’m attending in June. I can buy a book cover ad that will run (rotate with other ads) on the site all year for $80. Problem? The ads are 144 x 144 pixels –square! Book covers are rectangular. For half an hour, I play around with Naughty Words and The Goddess’s Curse, cropping and resizing, but can’t get something that works, that doesn’t cut either my name or the title off the cover. I decide I’m going to have to pass on the opportunity.

I  answer email, check all the usual things. I’ve been at the computer 2.5 hours; it’s now 7:45. I take a shower, have breakfast, and head back to the computer by 8:30. I write yesterday’s diary and today’s to this point. It’s 9:15 am. NOW, I’m going to work on Rod and Cane 6. I write until 12:15, with a half hour break in between to talk to my husband and brush the cat. I log 2K, a good amount considering my daily goal is 1.5 K, but I’m short for the week because I didn’t write for three days. I take a half hour social media break then quit for lunch at 12:45. I resume at 1:15 and write until 3 p.m. I end the day’s writing session with a respectable 3k overall. Woot! With most everything done for the release and a good writing day under my belt, I feel pretty good. I decide to reward myself by knocking off early and reading for a while.

Saturday, March 14

One day til launch of The Goddess’s Curse! I’ve been awake since 4 a.m., so I get up at 5 and hit the computer. First order of the day: click publish on Amazon.  I’m in a quandary when to do this. If I click publish now, and Amazon approves the book quickly, it will launch too soon. If I wait until later in the day, and Amazon lags, the book won’t be available tomorrow morning. I play around on the computer doing all the usual stuff and click publish at 6 a.m.

Then I start writing Rod and Cane 6. I get a 1K done, and I break for a shower, breakfast, and pick up a few things around the house. Then I’m back at the computer. I open an account and upload The Goddess’s Curse to Review Alley, add it to Goodreads (should have done this sooner), and update the blurb for Breeder on Amazon. (When Breeder landed in the Amazon dungeon last October, my publisher changed the blurb to just a couple of innocuous sentences. With a new SFR coming out, I figured Breeder needed a catchier blurb).  At 11 a.m., I check my Kindle Direct Publishing dashboard to see if The Goddess’s Curse is live yet. I don’t want it to be, and it’s not, but I’m disappointed.

Back to writing. I put in another hour, then I break for a 45 minute lunch. I don’t feel like writing anymore, and I want to call it quits, but my husband is gone for day and I don’t want to squander the alone time. I keep plugging away, and by 1:30, I’ve logged 2.2K for the day and I ‘ve reached the end of the chapter. As I consider what comes next, I realize I have one chapter left before I write the chapter with the “dark moment.” I’m in the home stretch! It kind of snuck up on me. But I don’t feel like writing anymore. It’s Saturday, for goodness sake. I’ll have a busy day tomorrow when the book launches. I decide to grant myself the afternoon off. I go for a 45 minute walk, but my mind plots out the next chapter and a half of Rod and Cane 6 . As soon as I get home at 2:30, I rush to my desk and write it  down before I forget. I check the status of The Goddess’s Curse on Amazon. Oh. My. God. It’s live! I update all my links on my blog posts, update my newsletter, email the buy links to the hosts of my book tour for the coming week, and make a couple of “pre-release” announcements on Facebook.

And that was the week before launch. The real work is yet to come.

By the Numbers

  • Estimated time  working (writing or promoting) during the week: 44.5 hours
  • Time spent away on errands, appointments, social engagements: 15.5 hours
  • Word count for the week: 8.2 K
  • Word count the previous week (when not in prelaunch mode): 12.5 K
  • Word count the week OF the release (full launch mode): 5.4 K

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Patricia Green will be here with info about business plans for authors on April 6! To be notified, “subscribe to my posts.” The signup is located in the sidebar, under the picture of Naughty Words, and above the comment listing.

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10 Responses to A week in the crazy life of an author, part 3

  1. Livia Grant says:

    As usual, I’m loving your sharing. So nice to get a glimpse behind the curtain. 🙂

  2. Roz Harrison says:

    Phew! Enjoyed these posts Cara, a wonderful insight into the work involved in publishing a book. The real work is yet to come? I thought that was crazy enough! LoL


    • Cara Bristol says:

      Yes, it get’s crazier before it gets better. But it does get better. Maybe later I’ll write another (briefer) installment of what it’s like when I don’t have a book coming out. Thank you for visiting, and commenting, Roz. I appreciate it.

  3. S.J. Maylee says:

    No wonder you get so much done. I love your discipline, Cara. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Really enjoyed this glimpse into your week. Mine is so haphazard, it’s no wonder I dont get more done, but you’ve inspired me to be more focused. 🙂

    • Cara Bristol says:

      As you can tell from the stats below, it is a full-time job & that’s how I treat it. Working at home allows me the flexibility to handle personal stuff in the middle of the work week, but I still have to put in the time writing/promoting.

  5. Laurel Lasky says:

    Your posts covering your weeks are incredible and funny. I don’t know how you do it. When do you sleep? Actually you are an inspiration to me. I finally finished my book with my co author and have submitted it to Blushingbooks. I’m awed that I actually did it. If I knew before what it was like I probably would have given up. Now that I know I might retire from writing. It’s hard work. Your posts have helped me to focus and I thank you for all the wonderful advice and tips.
    I never did go to a meeting of the procrastinating club of America. Maybe next year.
    Big hugs and thanks, Laurel

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