Friday, September 24, 2010

Balancing Writing with Promotion

I've had a bit of a taste about what it will be like when I become published. After entering the Mills & Boon New Voices competition with HER PRISONER OF LOVE, I learned that the rankings DO matter if there is a tie. The person with the most "votes" wins the tie. I had a feeling this would be the case because being able to promote yourself, get your name out there, is important in the publishing world. If I can't get people to come to look at my book, then I won't sell any books.

Confession: I am not the type who can sell products like home based sales for makeup, jewelry or cooking implements. I don't want people to think I am contacting them ONLY because I want to sign them up for a sale.

I had to get over that mentality rather quickly after I posted my FIRST CHAPTER. The votes will matter, might matter in the M&B contest. I had to show the people there that I could generate some interest in my entry. So I stepped out onto the ledge and leapt into the self-promotion world.

I have a large network, but not a HUGE one. First I emailed friends who aren't writers with my link. A few of them came to vote. Yay. I posted the link onto Facebook a few times. A few more votes. I finally asked if I could put my link on my writing chapter's local social online loops. They said yes. I posted the link and asked for support. A few more votes. I posted it on my GIAM loop. I posted it on this blog. I linked this blog to my Twitter account, my FB account. I direct messaged people on my FB friend list again with the link to my chapter.

Confession: All this makes me very uncomfortable, but I have to step beyond my comfort zone. When I get published, I need to utilize every tool I have at  my disposal to promote my writing.

Well, all this is well and good. But it is eating into my writing time. This is not good. I have to find the balance and spend time doing both. Instead, I am becoming obsessed with the checking the site for votes. There is a gal with over 300 votes on it. I do not have 300 votes. I don't even  have a 100 votes. I have less than 40 votes. But I am in the top 100 in the rankings. I don't know if that means anything. Probably not. But that's okay. I am trying.

But I also need to walk away from the contest, the self-promotion, and the discussion to write. This is a good lesson for me. How will I balance my days in the future. How will I juggle all the responsibilities. My good writing friend, Amy Atwell, recently went from unpubbed to pubbed with her book LYING EYES/Carina Press. She's the best and on her way to a fabulous, well-deserved and hard won publishing career. She's juggling far more than I am, yet she's managing to get it all done. I will have to sit down with her at the Moonlight and Magnolia's Conference to ask about her day and how she schedules her life.

I have determined that the best way for me to write is to write first.

Confession: This is easier said than done. I work at a computer where there is easy access to the Internet. Oh, how tempting it is to check the competition site, to post a comment, to encourage someone to continue their writing journey, to ... oh oh....

So what have I done this morning? Did I write first after my darling Dowager Feline Clancy meowed and woke me up at 4:30AM to feed her and give her love time? Nope. I sat at this computer and FB messaged all my friends and asked them to come rank me. I replied to the social loops regarding my entry. I checked the Mills & Boon website and saw I had two more votes. Thanks! I blogged about my balancing act. I couldn't get my head into the pages.

But I will. I have my set of pages printed to read through and hard copy edit. Then I am taking my computer OFF LINE for two hours and beginning my edits on the file. Today is a bit chopped up, but that's okay. I am in a new territory. I am feeling my way around and learning about this world through a fun competition.

I am learning how important it will be to find the balance BEFORE I become an AFTER when I get the CALL.


Gwen Hernandez said...

If it comes down to a tie for me, I'm going to lose. I only have 11 votes. Oh well.

It's not just promotion, but maintaining my social networking presence that eats time. Plus the other "fun" stuff like checking email, etc.

I don't take myself offline, but I close my mail and Twitter so they're not easy to check. It's hard. It takes a lot of discipline. Some days are easier than others.

Writing at my boys' swim practice has been good. I'm away from the distractions of home and sort of stuck for 90 minutes.

Good luck with it!

Christine said...

Well I'm not as high as the 300 plus vote getters, but that is okay. It's a cool experience. I shut down all internet access today till I finished reading through my current WIP in hard copy. Lots of work to do in the edits, but feel good where I am leaving it.

I love writing in places where no one can find me via the Internet.

It does take discipline! I am working on getting refocused. Big weekend for me. I plan to write a lot while my girl is away to a college football team.


Cheri LaClaire said...

Did you notice that 5/10 submissions in the top ten were posted on the last day of the contest? I have no idea what that means. But it was interesting.

Christine said...

Hi Cheri: I did not notice that at all! Wow--interesting. i did say to my Darling Hubby that I figured the panel of judges had already vetted a HUGE amount of entries prior to the deadline. But that is JMO. I am happy for Carrie Spencer. We'll have to practice our rose ranking tech!