Saturday, April 11, 2015

Things Authors Do (Besides Write Stories)

My home is full of stacks of reading material, sigh

I get tired of writing about writing. I get tired of thinking about my book stuff. I'm always thinking about my book stuff and my writing. This makes blogging a challenge sometimes.

So, I thought I'd make a list of Other Things Authors Do Besides Write. This will make me feel better because sometimes I feel embarrassed that making up fake people is my job, that I'm some sort of airy-fairy ding-dong.

This list excludes what authors who have dayjobs do (which most authors do). This should make you even more impressed with those folks, as holy shit, that's a lot of work.

Things Authors Do Besides Write Stories

- Read current titles in their genre
- Update their website/blog/Tumblr/whatever the hell
- Write posts for group blogs or review sites
- Read forthcoming titles for other authors in order to blurb their work
- Answer interview questions, on the phone or in email, from various parties (blogs, newspapers, magazines, etc.)
- Rewrite author bios for 476 different organizations requesting such
- Promote any public events they are organizing or participating in
- Complete proposals for various conferences, panels, & literary fairs that they might want to attend
- Read and respond to others' writing (friends, critique partners, writing groups)
- Create & order various bits of promotional swag for books/events (bookmarks, business cards, buttons)
- Promote current book/projects via social media
- Read current titles outside their genre so they're not stale & insular in their worldview
- Buy office supplies for mailing ARCs & books 
- Stand in line at post-office to mail ARCs & books (can you do Media Mail w/ home pick-up? Somebody SAVE ME)
- Return library books and pick up fresh library books
- Request permission to use various copyrighted materials in their own books
- Research weird shit that their characters might be into 
- Writing retreats or residencies
- Classroom visits or Skype talks with schools
- side projects! so many authors have great sideprojects! podcasts on sex & YA, YouTube videos on diversity in YA or sexual violence in YA
- cleaning off one's desk (I do mine about every 3 months. It's mostly library books & recycling, but it's always an abyss of chaos)
- reading query letters for friends to give feedback
- buying paper for printer
- buying toner for printer
- buying a new printer for when you throw your printer out a goddamn window
- saving every receipt and invoice for tax time
- reading trade reviews of books in your genre
- learning technical stuff (WordPress blog navigation, Google Hangout preparation, close-captioning your YouTube videos, podcast uploading and editing, building a Tumblr or Pinterest site, setting up domain names and custom email addresses)
- try to understand royalty statements
- email agent and bug him/her about royalty statements and any other inscrutable business crap
- pretend to not read reviews of your own books
- read reviews of your own books and bitch about them to your friends and family
- talk to well-meaning strangers, family members or neighbors about "how to get published" (as if you yourself know anything about this)

Here is what I'd like to do most of my waking moments

In addition to all this stuff, I also teach writing to teenagers. That's not really a dayjob, because I don't do it weekly, but I have to promote and prep for it often enough that it's a constant consideration.

I also have to do laundry, fret about what I might wear to public events, time my hair-cuts/colors to coincide with said public events, exercise so I can sleep properly, raise my child, attend to my spouse, clean my house, walk my dog and have leisure.

And I don't even do half of the stuff some authors do for promotions - hire a street team, organize blog tours, market direct to indie booksellers, schedule in-person appearances at bookstores, create curricula to use along with their books as tie-in materials, use Instagram (I hate taking pictures).

Being an author is more than writing. And you can work on it 24 hours a day. But, really you should not.

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