Monday, November 11, 2013

Publicity by the numbers, or Wow, did that really happen?

By Julie

Nine months out from publication of Calling Me Home (February 12, 2013), I'm about to take an eight-week break from most publicity efforts while I prepare for the paperback release (January 7, 2014). Not only do I need a break to rest my brain and my body, but I'm looking forward to focusing on my family and the holidays. Oh, and did I mention focusing on writing?

Signing books after event at Palouse, Washinton,
Public Library
I think lots of readers assume that being a published author involves day after day after day of sitting around in your pajamas staring into space and moving only when your fingers are inspired to record the images flitting in front of your imagination. I mean, that's what *I* pictured years ago as I dreamt of the romantic life of an author.

Speaking at
West Texas Book Festival
I'm not going to lie. I do spend a lot of time in my pajamas. I do spend a lot of time staring into space. And I do spend a certain amount of time dreaming about what I'm writing and attempting to put it down on paper. I wouldn't be doing this job or pursuing this career if not. What would be the point of being an author if you didn't write?

Phone in discussion with
Northwest Houston Bookclub
But the eye-opening thing about being an author is exactly how much time you spend NOT doing these things while you're promoting your published books. I thought it might be enlightening not just for readers, but for ME to take a look at what the last nine months have looked like for me from a publicity standpoint. Granted, I have sold my book into a lot of foreign countries, which has multiplied exponentially the time I've spend on certain activities. But it was still mind-boggling to discover how many hours I've spent doing these things. And it makes me feel a lot better about how exhausted I am mentally and physically, and a LOT less guilty about taking this break! In fact, I'm downright gleeful about it now.
I think it's important to take stock every now and then, even if you are a self-employed person with your own business, just like we do in traditional careers, where we receive statistics and evaluations, and ratings.

So here goes. By the numbers, here's what I've done in support of Calling Me Home that I was able to quantify:

Dinner with sales rep and booksellers in
Dublin, Ireland
250+ fan mails answered
23 nights in hotels in support of events
22 in-person book clubs attended in Dallas/Fort Worth
14 Blog Q&A interviews
12 book club discussions attended by Skype
12 Radio interviews, including several conducted with interpreters in Italy
10 Guest posts written for other people's blogs
7 Bookstore events, including talk and signing
7 Bookstore drop-ins to sign stock, including ones in Venice, Italy; Dublin, Ireland; and Lahinch, Ireland
6 Private events, including talk and signing
5 Library events, including talk and signing
4 Newspaper Interviews
4 Dinners or lunches with publishers/booksellers
4 Book festival events in Abilene, Buchanan Dam, and Austin, Texas, and one in Turin, Italy
3 Back-of-book interviews for various editions
3 Television interviews
3 Magazine interviews
3 Book club discussions by telephone
2 Video interviews
1 Book club discussion by Twitter
1 Library association signing

Meeting with book club at
The Ranch at Las Colinas
I know some of those are low estimates because I couldn't track every single thing (and didn't think of doing it ahead of time--I just looked at my calendar, email and document files, etc.). 

Here are the things I couldn't quantify, but are part of this career:

-Driving as a rule, because that's kind of like commuting, but there was a lot of it
-Answering general emails from my publishers, agents, etc.
Book signing at
A Real Bookstore
Allen, Texas
-Scheduling events
-Calculating numbers for and ordering extra books for private, non-bookstore events, including having extra books on hand for book club members to purchase if they wanted to
-Applying for state sales tax licenses and filing quarterly taxes for sales tax
-Answering emails from or talking to aspiring writers about publishing and writing
-Reading friends' novel manuscripts, blog posts, etc., for critique
-Regular blogging at What Women Write (2 per month, so about 18)
-Reading books for blurbs and composing blurbs (about 6 books)
-Reading books about writing (about 3)
-Attending other author's events (about 10)
-Social media in support of the book (posting statuses or links to blog posts and interviews, tweeting, replying to tweets with thank you's)
-Updating website and event schedules
-CHECKING AMAZON RANKINGS… (I don't even want to think about the time suck here, but it happens)

Signing stock at
Libreria Goldoni
Venice, Italy
And finally, writing, editing, and thinking about new books—woefully underrepresented here, which is why I'm taking a break before the paperback releases!

How long has it been since you took stock of your activities and accomplishments, even if you are self-employed or aren't earning money from a creative field yet? How do you feel when you realize how much time and effort you're pouring into something like writing?

I adore this career. I think all this time and effort is paying off, and that makes me very happy!


  1. Good job, Julie! What a year!

  2. Okay, Jules, what is the next book about. You know I cannot wait to read it!

    1. Thanks, Donna! Hope I can tell before too long!

  3. Amazing and exciting statistics, Julie. I'm so happy for your success. Best wishes for a restful and productive deserve it!

    1. Thanks, Cindy! I'm going to enjoy the next few months for sure!

  4. Love the blog have bookmarked it

  5. Julie, I simply love, love, love your blog. Thank you again for attending U.S. G.I.R.L.S. book club meeting via Skype in October of 2013. The ladies are still talking about it!! Your excitement and energy with regards to emails and other communications AMAZES me!! Keep doing what you are doing and I wish God's blessing on everything you do.

  6. Jay Bee, it was my pleasure! Thank you so much for the invitation and for your kind words here! :)


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