ON WRITING

Remember writing doesn't love you. It doesn't care. Nevertheless, it can behave with remarkable generosity. Speak well of it, encourage others, pass it on. A. L. Kennedy

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

#IWSG post - What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

Happy New Year and welcome to the first IWSG posting for 2018! Here we encourage each other monthly on our writing journey.


The brainchild of Alex J Cavanaugh, his awesome co-hosts for the January 3 posting of the IWSG are Tyrean Martinson, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Megan Morgan, Jennifer Lane, and Rachna Chhabria! Please visit if you can.

Today I'm going to answer the set question:

January 3 question - What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

I apologize in advance if this is a bit garbled. I had a very small window to get this done...

My writing schedule is pretty awesome at the best of times, and woeful at the worst of times.  Soon the Christmas holidays will be over -- for me the end of this week -- so I can begin my routine of heading to my office (called Den's Den) early in the morning when I'm at the beach and going early to the State Library on teaching days when I'm in Brisbane. Usually this gets me up to 4 - 6 hours a day at the laptop.

But it's not just about the writing, is it? I also have to factor in sending my work to beta readers, editing, paying an editor, rewriting, attending meetings with my critters and sending them chapters routinely to be discussed together. I'm never going to be one of those writers who write a book a month. How do you do that if you edit/rewrite? Please do tell. 

And then there's the reciprocal critiques I do for other writers. 

This year I need to factor into my schedule more book reviews of blogger books.

I'm planning to de-list my vampire novel on Amazon and republish in its new-beaut version through Draft2Digital who now have Amazon on their list of distributors, too!! My critters have been too busy over Christmas to re-read, but I have it with one beta reader who has already made suggestions, good ones.

  • So, my Paris romance (75,000+ words) is still with Avon and Tule. Waiting to hear.
  • It seems to be generally accepted that you need to self-publish more than one novel or it's not worthwhile, so I'm also working on getting the next vampire novel in the series finished and at least Chapter One on the third before I publish. We'll see.
  • I've decided to go with a pen name for my vamp trilogy. I checked out the top-selling vampire novels on Amazon and the authors have very apt names. I started a thread in the facebook group I mention below and got 250 useful comments on the ways and means of pen names. So that means an author page on facebook, and a newsletter I guess, (jury's out on this one), all to garner interest before I self-publish.
I've been haunting the 20Booksto50K Facebook group which is a boon to see what successful authors are doing re self-publishing and marketing. A great place to lurk and learn. Can't sing their praises highly enough.

So, I won't hold you up. You can see I have a plan for 2018. You need to head to more posts for the IWSG. Go HERE for the list...

And over at WEP we have announced the winners for those who wrote for us in December. Please visit and congratulate them if you can. Also check out the awesome challenges for 2018! 

WEP CHALLENGE FOR DECEMBER ............THE END IS THE BEGINNINGS

Now I'm looking forward to hearing all about your writing goals for 2018!

And please, if you have a newsletter, would you answer the following:

  • who did you choose to go with? 
  • how did you grow your reader base?
  • how often do you send out your newsletter?
  • er, do you actually recommend a newsletter? I know heavyweights like Anne R Allen say it's old hat, but that's not what I'm hearing elsewhere.
Thanks a mille!!




52 comments:

  1. I have no idea how people put out books so fast.
    Good luck with the pen name.
    Elizabeth S. Craig still swears by her newsletter. I don't have one, but the IWSG newsletter is with MailChimp, we have signups on the site and through Facebook and Twitter, plus anyone who signs up for the monthly blog hop is told they will be signed up, and finally, we send it once a month.

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    1. Thanks for the newsletter advice, Alex. Seems I"m not getting the newsletter vibe here. Some authors cannot imaging life without one. Hmmmmmmmm...

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  2. I love your plans and it reminds me I have to look into more options for publishing my books. I gotten lazy and really need to put the effort in. The reason I haven't is simply due to time. But also, when I have time, all I really want to do is write. But writing isn't enough if you really want to sell...
    Calmness in my personal life would be a huge plus for my writing life. Working to make that so.
    Wishing you all the best for the New Year and with all your goals!

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    1. Thanks Renee. Yes. I can't write when I'm surrounded by chaos. Luckily that's for a relatively short part of the year. But if you really want to sell, you have to promote. And that's what I hate, but I'm going to do it. I'll feel better under a pen name...

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  3. Hi Denise, and Happy New Year to you!

    The actual writing part (IMO that means getting that first draft down on paper) is certainly not the whole. By the time I factor in editing/rewriting, reciprocal critiquing, and a load of other things needed to self-publish I reckon the writing is maybe a third of the total effort. The biggest thing I do to plan is to keep track of time spent on all these activities, and aim to find an hour a day on average to manage them. Exactly what I spend my time on depends on where I am with a project, but simply showing up productively each day is more than half the battle IMO.

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    1. Hi! Thanks for your advice. This FB group I recommend is all about marketing. I have personal experience that if you leave your book on Amazon and do no promo, it will languish there.

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  4. That's awesome how many hours you devote to writing each day. You're right that self-published authors try to publish frequently. And I don't have a newsletter but many use mail chimp. As someone who gets quite a few, watch not to send them out unless you really have news. People only have so much time to read them.

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    1. Well, I think the self-pub route is flourishing now that it's got its act together. Trad takes years! Thanks for the newsletter info...

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  5. Hi Denise - there's always useful advice around this blogosphere and here with your blog - it's reassuring to see ... and we get useful answers too - good luck with 2018 ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Yes, ask and you shall receive around here, which is awesome!

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  6. You are always so busy! Seems it keeps you humming though. Awesome you can get in a good 6 hours a day of laptop time. A new laptop would likely give me incentive to spend more time on it - and not playing games, lol.

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    1. Ha Ha. Playing games never interested me, LOL. So why not write/edit?

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  7. Happy New Year, Denise! Good point about scheduling all of the OTHER stuff beyond writing, which deserves some time, too. Best of luck with your romance.

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  8. I count editing time as writing time, so if I can get either done on any given day, I'm happy. Sounds like you're very productive in any case. Good luck with all those plans! I started a newsletter, but I've only sent one issue so far, so I'm still building I guess. One good idea is to offer readers some exclusive content - a novel or story they can't get elsewhere.

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    1. Yep, I"ve heard about the free offer or an instafreebie which helps apparently.

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  9. When my 5-book series was coming out, I had a newsletter. It was fun, but once the series stopped, I gradually phased it out.

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  10. You have so much to do in 2018, and it sounds exciting. Hope to see your Paris romance out and about this year. That would be wonderful.

    I don't have a newsletter because I don't have much news, but I do send out what I call Email Connect messages two times a month--more or less. I use Mail Chimp and they are so much simpler than Constant Contact.

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    1. So do I, Lee. Email Connect...not heard of it, but I tend to be blind when it comes to emails.

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  11. Looks like you have it all under control. I envy you. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  12. Finding advice through lurking never hurts. A fun pen name can be grand too, but yeah, more work.

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    1. Lurking is working in this case Pat. Love the idea of the pen name but not the idea of the time soak...

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  13. Great plans, Denise. Good luck with all of them. I can't wait to learn what your pen name is going to be.

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    1. I'll let you know if you're interested, Olga.

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  14. I am not convinced by newsletters. Too many people are doing it now and it has become like every other outlet and you end up with the same problem: how do you stand out from the crowd? No matter what you do, consistency is key. Best wishes for 2018

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    1. That FB group really pushes them. I hate getting emails, especially too often. I usually don't read them, so that should tell me something. But successful authors/marketers say they make all the difference. But Draft2Digital alerts anyone who bought your book when you publish the next.

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  15. I sure don’t know how people can write a novel in a month, but one author told me she does this and doesn’t care if it’s crap. She just wants to get it out there. I was surprised to hear this. And she has a LOT of readers, too. *shrugs* For me, though, I could write one of my Disaster Crimes books on a year, just not last year. Other books took me about two years, I think. Those aren’t polished or published, though.

    All the best to you for 2018!

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    1. Yep. One guy on 20booksto50k published 12 in a year, no lie. And 10 of the 12 are best sellers. OMG! Crazy! Obviously, no job, no kids, no housework. I'd be happy if I could write/publish a book a year, but I'm a painstaking editor and it's never good enough, LOL! But I plan to hit the PUBLISH button multiple times this year. Look out!

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  16. Lots of plans! Sounds like you've structured it well. A book of month would zap me dry.

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  17. Happy New Year, Denise! You sound very organised and systematic with writing goals and schedules. Wish you every success with each one your projects.

    Btw, love 'Den's den,' awesomeness! :)

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  18. I also don't see myself producing a book a month. I mean I could write that fast, but it's the editing and production that slows me down more.

    So I'm aiming for 3 books published this year. We'll see, though.

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    1. HNY Misha! I’d be chuffed to write 3 books a year!

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  19. I'm really interested in the comments/discussion around newsletters. It seems like you're supposed to have one, but it also seems like a lot of work. Ugh. No idea if I should start one or not.

    All the best for the New Year - Ellen

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    1. I hate the idea but I can see why it’s important to have a newsletter but it would have to be entertaining. And a lot of work.

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  20. My writing goal for the year is a modest one: keep up with the blog. Too many other pots on the stove to aim much higher for now.

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    1. That’s the thing isn’t it? We can only do what we can manage.

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  21. For a garbled response you did a pretty darn good job. here's to a healthy and prosperous 2018 for you and yours.

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  22. My goals for 2018? Trying to keep up with blog posts, short-story writing, preparing local writing presentations, and trying to return to my full-length memoir about attending college as a mother of 5. Nuts! I'm tired already. All the best to you, Denise!

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  23. Hi,
    I would never commit myself to writing a book a month. Like you, I have my writing, then critiquing, then reviewing and the list goes on and on. All the best for 2018 and I hope you get that book contract you're expecting.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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    1. Yes this writing life is demanding enough without adding ridiculous expectations. Thanks Pat.

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  24. Sounds like a great plan all the way around. It will be interesting to see how it goes with the pen name - I've thought about doing that but as with everything I seem to never get past the thinking stage lately.
    I can't even begin to imagine how people put out books so frequently. If I can finish just one this year I will be happy.
    Happy 2018!!

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  25. Hi Denise!

    All the best with your 2018 goals! And it would be an interesting experience to see how the Vampire series do.

    All the best!

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  26. Wow--good luck on your goals for 2018! I envy your organization, for sure.

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