When I was first signed by Bookouture, I had no idea that just a couple of years later I would be writing a post about what it’s like to be a full-time author. Back then, I could not get enough of such articles, and they provided me with the inspiration I needed to keep going.
So what’s it like, writing for a digital publisher? Well, I work longer hours now than I did in the police, but thankfully, I love what I do. At the start of my day, I get up at around seven and quickly check my emails on my phone, before getting my youngest children out to school. Breakfast consists of a blended juice or smoothie, and I bring a coffee upstairs to my writing desk and open up my laptop to begin. I’m either editing or writing my forthcoming novel. If I’m writing, I dictate my first draft, and spend the next couple of hours talking into my microphone, while the house is quiet. I take pauses in between, usually to research online and make notes as I go. That brings me up to lunch time, and I check my social media – Twitter and Facebook, before going downstairs for a bite to eat.
Not For Everyone
Working for a digital publisher isn’t for everyone. If you’ve been contracted for more than one book, you’re expected to produce a decent manuscript every six months, as well as maintain an online presence. By the end of this year, I will have published three novels. It means working long hours, but since leaving my job I’ve been determined to make the most of every minute. I rely heavily on my planner in order to keep track of everything, so I don’t fall behind. After a quick bite, I return upstairs, where I work on either writing or editing, until I pick my son up from school. By then I’ve also addressed any important emails, and scheduled planned meetings for any forthcoming conferences. This week I’ve been invited to attend a conference in America, and I’ve also been in touch with my agent to ensure we meet up for a drink at the forthcoming Theakston’s Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.
Exercise is important if you make a living sitting on your bum all day. If I haven’t fit in forty minutes on the treadmill by the time the kids get home, I’ll make sure I bring the dogs for a long walk while hubby cooks dinner. Then I sit down for dinner and we chat about our day. After that, I’m back on the computer, but by now I’ll bring it downstairs and sit with the family in the living room while I work. If I’m editing, I can do that with background noise and it doesn’t bother me. If I’m writing, I’ll stick on my headphones and listen to some music, in order to stay focused. By now I’m checking Twitter and social media, and I might plan a blog. In the evening I might watch a movie if it’s a similar genre to what I’m writing, taking notes as I go. I try to squeeze in some reading time, although I find audio books great if I’m doing housework or driving to the shops. I squeeze in something into every minute of my day. Podcasts are good too, and I always make time to listen to Joanna Penn. I usually close my laptop around nine or ten o clock at night. I work less at weekends, and spend more time with my family, but I do work every day unless I’m away.
That’s an average day in a nutshell, but there is so much more. I carry a pen and paper in my bag where ever I go, and I love people watching. I keep in touch with my editor, Keshini Naidoo and now I’m working with Thomas & Mercer, I have regular contact with them too. I have two cover reveals coming up soon, so I’m constantly checking my emails to see what they’ve come up with. Seeing my manuscript take shape is very exciting, although it’s terrifying when the email attachment comes through. My finger hovers for few seconds before I click on it, as I bite on my bottom lip, praying I’ll love it. I pour a lot of energy into my characters, and they spend a great deal of time in my head. A book cover is a snapshot of my story, so it’s a very big deal for me when it arrives.
I love working for a digital publisher because there’s always something exciting coming up. No sooner have I recovered from my book launch, when I’m planning my next novel. I am in a constant round of edits, rewrites, cover reveals, social media events and meetups. Working to such tight deadlines, it’s incredibly important that I’m strict with myself. If I’m not, I get sucked into social media and fall behind. Every day is scheduled, and as busy as I am, I always set aside one day a week to write a blog post, and study my craft. Would I like to take my foot off the accelerator? Definitely, and I will, one day. The luxury of writing one book a year is something I look forward to (although my husband doesn’t believe I could stop working if I tried). But for now, I’m happy doing what I do, and count myself very lucky to be my own boss. There are so many fantastic things about being an author, but I’ll leave that for another post.
Did you enjoy reading about my day? How do you spend yours? Please comment below.
Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, E.C. Johnson.