What do writers do all day (when they’ve just published a book)? 

A writing den…

Well, I shall disclose what I do — and you can imagine that others may do similar.  For example, today about 20 snails were removed from the garden wall, where they had been hibernating… 

But, I digress…As an Indie* writer, like others I’ve not only scribbled and tapped my way to completing writing another book, I’ve dialogued with my designer and approved her gorgeous cover design. I’ve been involved with lots of editing, and checking, and then, there’s the publication stuff. I’ve carefully filled in the Ingram Spark requirements on their on-line form, which will include adding the ISBN(International Standard Book Number, which identifies it as itself and no other book), and a Book Description which will go out to everywhere the book might be sold (Amazon of course, and also catalogues and other outlets), to help with shelving and inform marketing. Also an author bio, and a suggested category (one or more) of target readers… and some other admin… Really, simply all the things trade publishers do. Only we do it ourselves!

From this – old ‘dot matrix’ files to this – a book of short stories…

And after that…we go into recovery mode. Or, we hope to. We flop, we make an effort to pick up life where we left it, before writing the book — or more like, before we had to really tidy up the original idea with re-writes, maybe send it out to beta readers, do a bit more thinking, creating, editing, typing, and begin to think about the publication pilgrimage. So, we then pick up life, and rediscover all the lovely hobby-type things, and fun type things, and relax type things, that we’d being doing. Before. 

We also maybe pay some attention to our second string.

Mine is oil painting. Painting on the whole doesn’t feel like work, even though it’s also a creative task. I also enjoy drawing, and I need to draw, to sharpen my observational skills. Which can feel like study or learning or practice — but is enormously satisfying. (At present it’s bit sad to be missing those life classes!) I’m constantly discovering how many writers are also artists, or artists are writers. Although oddly, it’s not like that for musicians — musicians’ second strings seem to be playing other kinds of strings (violinists who play the ‘cello, viola players who occasionally pick up the double bass…) or a flute, a  bassoon, a harp — sometimes more than one other instrument, or other music (jazz, blues…) or they sing… And of course for me gardening comes to the fore again, pottering among the plants. And photography — almost an addiction on any walk remotely featuring nature. I wake up and realise I could actually do more yoga between my scheduled classes, and make more contact with my friends, and have less resentment about the the passing of time, and not getting things done. I could even enjoy doing the ironing!

Recovery mode is necessary for slowing down! Do writers read?  Yes!  we all need to read widely — and that shouldn’t be a chore, even reading for ‘research’ is fun to do, if like me you’re curious. I love reading books by fellow writers whom I know, as well as poking about in a bookshop seeking out who is new and being promoted, to uncover current trends. As a slow reader, I take a while reading a long book. And notably I find myself reading with pencil in hand, underlining clever sentences, or slants on the story, ready to write a review. 

Reader, you may think we writers are a lazy bunch, and self-absorbed. You mayn’t realise quite how many hours it takes to write a book, let alone the publishing, and the marketing… Rather than self-absorbed, we mostly have over-active brains, brimming with ideas, surging with excitement over ideas, in the thrall of the creative urge/addiction/problem. Reader, I’d have preferred to be a non-creative: but as a supportive kind of friend used to reply whenever I complained about this, ‘So you think you’d rather be a pig, happy, than Socrates, unhappy?’, and then add, ‘I don’t think you would!’ (But who’d want to be Socrates, happy or not?)

And, you do see why we’re so utterly overjoyed when you buy — and read — and maybe even review — our productions! ***

  • ‘Indie authors’ are those of us who undertake to do all the usual editing etc work of a publisher independently – so we shall indeed be finding and using a cover/interior designer, editor(s) to provide copy, continuity and other editing, printer, etc – maybe Ingram Spark, or possibly use Amazon via KDP… The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) keeps lists of competent professionals, and advice can be found via their website, their blog, and by webinars.

* *Suggested reading (!) : “My Friend has Self-Published her Book. (Does that mean it isn’t very good?)” – a short blogpost by ‘Joy V’ the writer Joy Velykorodnyy, where she explains why and how Indie writers publish their own works, and why these books are worth buying and reading.

** *My books can be bought from the Hodge Publishing website, at: https://hodgepublishing.co.uk/    (Or, of course, on Amazon, or via your local Indie Bookshop, Bookshop UK etc…)

4 thoughts on “What do writers do all day (when they’ve just published a book)? 

  1. Griselda Heppel February 22, 2022 / 7:40 pm

    Who DARES to think writers are lazy? Jolly unfair, I say. Because we want to make our works read as easily and pleasantly as possible, I suppose some people think that the story just uncurls itself and the words flow and boom, there it is. As you say, no one can imagine the effort involved of thinking up a plot that grabs the reader and holds them to a satisfying conclusion, with characters who feel real and well-rounded, taut, cliche-free writing, realistic dialogue etc etc unless they’ve tried to do it themselves. And then us indie authors have all the extra work of supervising editing, production, design, marketing…. but it’s fun or we wouldn’t do it!

    Anyway, CONGRATULATIONS on your new book – it looks super!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. MariHoward February 23, 2022 / 9:09 am

    All very true, Griselda! This month I’ve put this on the AU blog as well – brain needed a rest from writing another just now!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pam Lazos February 25, 2022 / 5:00 pm

    Love the cover, Mari. Did you do the painting for it? I try to get time to paint or draw, but find I barely have time to write these days so the process is very frustrating.
    Just bought your book. Looking forward to reading it. Maybe you’ll come on my blog for a little interview, eh?
    Have a wonderful day!

    Liked by 2 people

    • MariHoward June 29, 2022 / 12:33 pm

      Sorry didn’t respond earlier: that’s not one of mine, it was all done by my wonderful cover designer! But yes, I do paint and like you other stuff has tried to push the painting/drawing out of the way recently – I’m trying to find it some space. And yes, a little interview would be lovely, thanks for the thought…

      Liked by 1 person

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