Before I got my first contract with Samhain, I’d enviously watched my friends at the Toronto Romance Writers as they had books released.  They’d moan about the time the promotion took, so I sympathized and murmured all the proper supportive phrases. But I had no idea what went on behind the scenes.  Once you get published you’re faced with a ton of things you never realized would suck quite so much time away from your writing.

Do I take a cover ad spot with this site or that? Will it be worth it? Which site is best? Do I go on the number of hits they have per months? Or that they’re specialized for my genre?” I still ask myself that question.

Of course, once you make the decision, then you realize…”Akk, I need a banner that’s XXX x XX pixels — how the @#$* do I use Photoshop? Help!” (Thank goodness my two sons both have extensive training in Photoshop thanks to their courses in high school Media Arts and Guitar Hero’s college Computer Animation courses.) 

Dear Leah, here are your developmental edits for (insert title here). Can you get them back to me by this time next week please?” OMG, I thought I’d have two weeks and I’ve only got one. (Developmental edits are where the editor makes suggestions to change the story–fix plot holes, strengthen characters, strengthen the bones of the story, in other words.)  I’m going to have to cut a scene/add two scenes/change everything. Or not. To be honest, Private Property’s edits were fairly light, but Texas Tangle took a lot more attention. Follow this up with copy edits (that’s where the editor catches all the repetitive phrases and awkward sentences–the actual writing.) Which can still be time consuming. The line edits soon follow — they’re done by a different editor who is a grammar geek (I love them because, although they’d never believe it from my manuscripts, I’m a grammar geek too) This is where the commas get added/deleted, dangling participles, misplaced modifiers and more repetitions get fine combed out of the manuscript.

The edits are now out of the way but now I’ve got to concentrate on the blog hops I’ve arranged. Now you know that I invite guest authors here to my blog, but I go visit other blogs too. The idea behind hosting an author is to bring their readers to your site so you gain a new audience, and to be a guest, you hope that you’ll gain the attention of a few of that author’s regular readers and lure them over to the dark side your books. So it should be a win all around. BUT it takes time away from writing. As the guest, you have to come up with a post that introduces you to the people who have never heard of you before. If I talk about Gizmo Guy on my blog, if you’re a regular reader you know who I’m talking about. If I mention Gizmo Guy on someone else’s blog? Yeah, blank stares and confusion ensues. The blogs my guests send me also take time away from writing as it takes time to format them and download/upload the graphics and make sure all their links work. Not to mention all the back-and-forth emails as you’re arranging the dates.

And finally there’s real life. The non-writing side of my life. I have two sons who still live at home, and a husband who I like to pay attention to every now and then. After all, there’s only so long I can spend at my desk before he starts feeling neglected. Then there’s just all the other things life throws your way.

In the past month, life’s been pulling me away from my desk a lot. A little under a month ago, my father died. It wasn’t a shock, he’d been ill for a long time and had been living in a nursing home for the last two years. But it’s not something you can pencil into a schedule, or tell your mom or your sister “can I get to that next week?” It has to be dealt with right then with all the ensuring drama death brings with it. All the papers that the government requires to be filed, phone calls, emails, and…of course the emotional aspect of it all.

To make the drama complete, last week Guitar Hero borrowed my car as he had an appointment with a local employment center. I got a text a little while later “I’ve had an accident…” It was a parking lot accident, low speed–the air bag of the lady who hit Guitar Hero didn’t even go off, and everyone was fine, which is more important than anything. But it meant calls to the insurance company, calls to the adjuster, calls and trips to the bodyshop.

(Does that photo look like there’s enough damage to write off the car? The headlight’s not even busted. However, the bodyshop says it’s going to cost $1600 to repair and so the insurance company has deemed our car so old it wasn’t worth fixing up.)

Anyway, it looks like I’ll be stuck to my desk more than I’d wanted. Now I have to schedule any trips out of the house around Gizmo Guy’s schedule, and since he works in another town, that means shopping etc now has to be done in the evenings. I’ll deal. Ideally it means I’ll have more time to write. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

The Glamor of a Writer’s Life
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5 thoughts on “The Glamor of a Writer’s Life

  • May 21, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Hey Leah,
    I'm a blogger not a writer, but I often wonder how writers manage it all.

    Especially when you start to factor in all of the other social media you are expected to do as well (Facebook, Twitter…)

    I have a lot of guest authors too, and it takes an ENORMOUS amount of time to put everything together for a post. I honestly don't know how a lot of you manage to write, do the social media, and have a life. But I'm glad that you do 🙂

    Love your books and can't wait for more!

  • May 21, 2010 at 11:09 am


    I'm so sorry to hear about your father. At the very least, I'm glad to hear it wasn't unexpected, although that doesn't much ease the pain.

    I know exactly what you mean about the huge "time-suck" that is the marketing/social aspect of being a writer. I'm having a really hard time balancing everything and keeping my priorities in order…and I'm not even published yet! But, everyone says that even before you finish your book and search for an agent you must have a platform, so it's a platform I'm building.

    It's a constant tug of war not to let my platform building get in the way of my writing and my writing not get in the way of time with my family. Plus I have a full time job. Ugh.

    At any rate, keep on doin' what you're doin', Leah. You have a long list of successful books that prove you're on the right path. 🙂

  • May 21, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Gina — the social platform is important. I know my editor — it was Angela James when she was at Samhain back then — did Google me and check my website/blog etc before she offered me a contract. (They not only look to see if you have a platform but to see what type of personality you are–there are those who rant and rave and call editors & agents bad names. They like to know who those people are in advance because who would want to work with someone like that?)

    BUT the best piece of advice I've ever had, and I'll pass on here, even though I'm pretty sure you've heard it before: the best way to increase sales is to write the next one and sell it too. You do see a bump in sales of your old books when a new book comes out, and word of mouth counts for a lot. Good luck!

    Booklover1335: there are days when I long for the 90s again, before the days of blogging and Twitter and Facebook. But then again, my stories likely wouldn't have found a home like Samhain or Carina because digital books didn't exist back then. But it is a juggling act balancing all the various social medias and still finding time to write and live!

  • May 21, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Leah, kudos to you because you make it look so easy! 🙂

  • May 22, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Lordy! Seems to me you need to take a break, cuddle in a comfy chair and read a good book!

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