On Productivity

It’s coming around to that time of year when book promotion gets done. I will probably be doing a bit of it myself. But then the objection always comes up in my head, But you’ve no new book.  Most of the authors I know don’t leave it too long between the first and the second book. Many who have more subsidiary obligations than I do have closed the deal. From my meetings with full-time writers at the Romantic Novelists Association, I see myself how hard, and fast, they work.

It’s not quite true to say I’ve no new book. I’m sitting here with a stack of pages on my left, marked with my own angry and indecipherable comments. That’s my first draft, while the words and deletions and table of contents revisions I’m slowly inputting into Word – they constitute my second. With any luck it will be off my desk before the year’s out. But it’s not a Book with a Cover. Maybe I shouldn’t keep promoting my existing book? Maybe I should shut up about it?

But, then again.

A book like mine needs publicity and I need to give it a bit of a push to make sure it reaches its audience. Isn’t “marketing” really just another way of saying “I have a story that has burst out of me and I want to share it with as many people as possible”? That feeling still stands. I still need to reach people. Those characters still won’t leave me alone – I feel the urge to re-enter their universe almost overwhelming and may have to follow it, once my WIP is out the door. We’ll see.

And productivity depends on what you’re producing. White Feathers took three years from my original draft to my agent’s amendments to the submitted manuscript, and then a thorough and comprehensive editing, because it is not a neat, self-contained, introspective, slim, elegant study favoured by Irish “good rooms” all over the country. No – It is intense, in scope and in temperature. “A big novel – like an opera” – as Arlene Hunt advised me. While I’ve probably gotten used to novel-writing now, a novel like that will still take time to write, especially when I’m working full-time. Thankfully, not all novels take that long, but still…

So damned if I’m not going to promote it, this year and every year, no matter what comes after or when 🙂


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