Continuing my Debuting 101 series, here are the questions I received about expectations and writing while marketing:
How to retain creative drive while promoting a book?
Individual strategies may vary, but for me, it's keeping a routine. I always write in the morning, and only after my hours are up do I allow myself to obsess about things like my next marketing post or Twitter. This is much easier to do if I physically turn off the internet. Otherwise I'm too tempted to check Amazon or Goodreads and Google posts like this very blog topic in an effort to figure out if I'm on the right track.
I'll be honest - the more time I spend away from social media, the more energized and creative I feel. The internet is full of distractions, and you're bound to come across a triggering news story or someone who just wrote 10,000 words in three hours or any number of things that raise your stress levels. If you're worrying about those things, you aren't worrying about your writing.
What realistic, unexpected (not necessarily bad) things should we be prepared for?
Let's start with the good things: your book is going to be doing things behind the scenes that you can't even guess at. You're going to stress that you can't possibly have as many sales as [this book], and then you're going to find out you've just been highlighted in USA Today.You're going to fret that you don't have any starred reviews, and then someone's going to nominate your book for a national award that makes your jaw drop.
More good things: You're going to meet people who think you are the bomb-diggity. They might even hand you a water bottle upside down or struggle with what to say because they are meeting You, a Published Author, and they honor what you do so much. These moments are incredibly cool, and incredibly humbling. Be prepared for people to ask you for advice - about writing, about not giving up - and to take every word you say to heart.
The not-so-good: There are going to be moments where things fall through. Whether it's a marketing effort or a cover you feel is wrong for your book, this business is not perfect. Your publicist or marketing manager (or editor!) might leave the company. They might leave the week before your book comes out. Their leaving might mean the support for your book changes. Your editor might decline your next project, and it might only be because your debut isn't selling as well as they'd hoped.
It's important to remember that this is an industry you have little control over, and so it's best to focus on what you can control: your writing and your next book.
Stay tuned for the next series post - sales process and everything in-between!