Monday, September 24, 2007

Assembly line Lucy

Remember that classic scene with Lucille Ball of the "I Love Lucy" show in the candy factory?- She's working on the assembly line and can't keep up. Things go from bad to worse and she ends up stuffing candy in her mouth out of desperation.

A writer's assembly line isn't a uniform product, rather various products, each one needing a separate promo package. Bookmarks, newsletter mentions, chat hype, press releases, contests, giveaways, blogs, signings, conferences, interviews, public speaking. The list keeps going like that drum-pounding bunny on television commercials.

My point is that writing the book is a single aspect of having a writing career. Selling it is just as important. (There's editing in the middle of the process, but for the sake of sanity, I'm ignoring that today) You have to sell it to industry professionals, reviewers, peers, and strangers.

Selling it costs money. When I got into this a year ago, I wasn't aware of all the hidden costs. Websites. Author copies. Ads. More conferences. I'm not complaining, just remarking on the obvious.

With one book out, I was feeling my way along the production assembly line, plugging in for a bit at each stage in the show. With 3 more books contracted and coming out in the next 9 months, I'm starting to feel a bit like Lucy in the assembly line. The line isn't moving any faster, only now I need to be plugged in at 3 places. Make that 4 because I'm still promoting House of Lies.

I don't know how other writers manage all the promo. Since I have a day job, my promo time (including blogging) comes out of my writing time. So the next books will be longer in coming.

Would I change a single thing?

Absolutely not!

Maggie Toussaint


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