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Monday, 26 September 2016

Settling into life as a published author

Just over six weeks ago, SAVING SOPHIE was published as an ebook by Maze/HarperCollins.

And wow, what a six weeks it's been!

Was I prepared for becoming a published author? 

Possibly not.

I had the dream of writing a novel, which I accomplished. Then I moved on to the next part of the dream: getting an agent. After that it was all about getting a publisher, which also happened. Each part of the journey brought with it different emotions, different challenges, and different expectations. 

One thing I have learnt since that wonderful day on the 12th August, is that when your book releases into the wild, it's a really, really busy time! And even though I am at home full-time (as in I don't go out to work, I do have other commitments so I'm not IN the house 24/7) I have still struggled to successfully fit everything in.

So, what is the 'everything' I need to fit in?

For starters there's the social media side of things, i.e. Twitter and Facebook. Keeping visible on my Twitter feed and Facebook author page can take up quite a lot of time. Especially if, like me, Twitter is your window to the rest of the human race! I've been on Twitter for a number of years, prior to writing, and love nothing more than to have a virtual natter with the many wonderful people I know. When you don't get out much, it really is where you can reach out and feel sociable. 

Then there's blogging. Not only on your own blog, but guest posting on other's sites too. I received an amazing amount of support from book bloggers when Saving Sophie was released, and wrote what felt like a lot of blog posts for the book tour and for other bloggers who were kind enough to offer a spot to help me promote my debut novel. But again, all of this takes time.

And what about reading? As Stephen King is quoted as saying: If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.  Reading is my first love - I need to read! Plus, now I'm also trying to read books in order to review, or give a quote for. I mostly read at bedtime, so usually it's not a huge issue to fit in. But, as I seem to be permanently tired, I tend to be reading a few chapters and falling asleep, so not getting a lot of reading done. Although when it's a great book that you can't put down... well, then it does eat into writing time!

Then there's the family. Lots of taxiing the boys around, college pick-ups, and general 'being a mum and wife' things. This can be the most difficult as it's still not sinking in for them that writing is my job now. Because I'm at home, visible in the lounge/diner (because it's all open plan) everyone wants to chat, ask me questions, get me to do something for them, etc, etc. And they wonder why I'm vague, or sometimes 'lost' and don't answer... argh!

So, where does book two fit in?

Well, quite. This has been my problem really, and one which is likely to cause a number of sleepless nights! Add to the pot the fact I currently have my husband at home recuperating after a heart operation, and my writing time has taken quite a knock. 

And what am I doing about it?


Not helpful.

There are lots of writing tips, articles and blogs that cover 'time management'. Of course, that brings the problem of spending hours trawling through them thinking you're getting good tips but in actual fact YOU ARE PROCRASTINATING and wasting valuable writing time!

Therefore, my advice to myself is simple:

Stop going on the internet in search of a magical tip that is going to miraculously sort me and my rubbish time management out and allow me to be successful in fitting everything in.

Just use common sense and get on with it:

  •  Decide when the best times to check in with social media are, and stick to those slots - and use tweet deck to schedule tweets outside of those times
  •  Write blog posts, guest posts and Q&As when I know writing on book 2 is likely to be more challenging (like just before meal times, and in the evening when everyone's watching TV)
  • Continue to read before bed, and even if the book is unputdownable - put it down anyway! I can always pick it up if I've had a good writing session. I WILL get around to reading all of the books on my TBR. Or I might die trying...
  • As for the family. I'm going to have to take a tough line. I have a deadline. I have to be left alone to get on with it. 

All of this has been written with the TV blaring, the dogs running up and down behind me as my 'at-home' husband throws a ball for them, and him asking me if I know the questions that are on Eggheads...and the usual cries from the 'kids' of "When's tea ready?"

Writers retreat anyone? 

You can buy the ebook of SAVING SOPHIE here


  1. Good luck with the second novel - so glad Saving Sophie is going so well - it is brilliant!

    1. Thanks so much, Janet! I'm going to need a bit of luck to hit my agent's deadline - haha! Lovely of you to drop by :)

  2. Great post, Sam. Phew! I'm tired just reading it. Seriously, we sometimes forget that as well as being a successful debut novelist you have all the other 'life'things, too. It sounds as it you're thinking it through. So pleased that 'Saving Sophie' has taken off like it has. :-) Good luck with novel number 2.

    1. Thank you, Jan! It's a juggling act, but hopefully it'll all come together and I will begin to navigate through a bit more smoothly (hah!) It's my dream job, so I'll have to make more effort to be organised! Thank you for your support and for dropping by to comment. Hope your own writing journey is progressing well :)

  3. Good luck with the new novel- I'm so impressed that you manage to juggle so much! Hope you have enough brain space to complete novel 2- I can't wait !!

    1. Than you Katherine! Ah, don't be impressed, I've not juggled well at all up to this point! But, am confident I'm going to from now on (that's in writing now - eek!) Novel 2 has to take priority - deadline is looming... Thanks for popping by and commenting :)