Promo Work, Sequels, and Sanity Checks

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I feel a bit like Emerson lately. Squinting at the sun because I’ve been chained to my desk so much.

I’ve been so busy with promo work, you might have noticed I missed last week’s blog post. It was Monday afternoon when I noticed the lack of a post (because I hadn’t written one), so I figured the contest post would have to sustain you two weeks.

So here’s what’s been going on here.

Reagan, our 9 years old golden, has been recovering from a massive sinus infection that thank goodness wasn’t cancer.

My uncle had major spine surgery that involved fusion and rods last week.

The second draft of Six Train’s sequel is done and in the hands of beta readers.

I took a week to focus solely on promo stuff, during which I pounded out 8 guest blog posts, worked on an essay, paid for ad space and weighed in on ad designs for TGWIG, scheduled a library workshop, booked the venue for a cocktail party for the book (September 17th at Bin 300 in Wolcott), and finalized the script for the book trailer.

I have a brand new workshop I had to create for October. I spent several weeks in May drafting and fine tuning that. I also created podcasts to go with it. Laying down those three 3 minute tracks took hours.

Then last week, I started my summer writing project: the sequel to TGWIG. I had a 3 page outline I did in March. With Six Train’s sequel, I wrote a 90 page outline that took forever and then I didn’t really follow it because as I got into the story it didn’t feel right.

So on this sequel, I went back to what I did for the first book in a series–a short 3 page synopsis. I’m on tight deadlines because of Six Train’s sequel, so I have 3 months to lay down a first draft of TGWIG’s sequel and clean it up. That means I’m drafting 2000 words (10 pages) every day for a while. So far I’ve got 10k words on the page.

I’m finding the easiest way to face that word count is to go back over yesterday’s pages and start adding to the word count. Then when I get to the blank page, I’m in the flow of the story and I’m ready to go. It takes me 2-3 hours to knock out that word count.

Then it’s back to promo stuff. I set up three ads on Goodreads to start running. I’m working on another workshop for the library event in August.

And I’m gearing up to start offering school visits this year. Which means I have to figure out what I will charge and how to get the word out to schools and fine tune my workshops for teens.

Yes, it’s going to be a very busy summer!

There are some amazing entries to the Tell Me Your Ghost Story contest. I am so impressed by your writing skills. This is going to be a hard contest to judge! Thanks to everyone who has entered. We’ve got one month left on the contest,ย so make sure you get your entry in before July 15th at 11 p.m. EST!

On the good news front, The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts has some really awesome reviews coming in on Goodreads!

If you plan to order TGWIG from Amazon, please preorder it–it really helps jump my author ranking on the release day and will helpย my book hit the Amazon bestseller list!

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29 Responses to Promo Work, Sequels, and Sanity Checks

  1. Holy cow what a newsy update! I saw your posts on Reagan on Facebook; what a relief to know the diagnosis. I love hearing about your writing process. Amazing that you put that much time into Six Train sequel’s outline and then ended up trashing it. But I know what you mean about it not feeling right. You have to go with your gut. I’ve been fighting a terrible virus for over a week now (more on this in my blog post tomorrow), but suffice it to say I’ve only put one hour into my beta read. I’ll have it back to you by the deadline though, I promise ๐Ÿ™‚ After I finish the beta read, I’ll be on to TGWIG.

    • LOL. Two weeks without a post makes that happen. Yes, it was a nail biting week. They were so certain it was the worst. Because it’s rare to have a sinus infection that awful. I thought I had to have it all laid out, but the thing is I can’t tell if the story really works until I’m in it. So I need a synopsis but even now, major things changed between synopsis and draft. Scenes went away. Scenes were rearranged. I think I have to have an overview but that I have to write it fast. I overthought Six Train’s sequel. I waffled on things. Even between first and second draft so much changed. Oh no! I hope you feel better soon. It’s okay, it’s only June. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yay, I can’t wait to hear what you think of Six Train’s sequel and TGWIG! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Kourtney… You are AMAZING!… in that you manage to keep track of everything.. I admire your work schedule and disciplined routine..
    Sounds like a VERY Busy Summer.. Please make sure you make time for some relaxation time.. Remember how ill you got recently!..
    Take care, And I have had a break from visiting on WP of late.. Since Summer and the allotments are taking my time..
    Love and Hugs your way.. and Great to know all is well with you..
    Love and Hugs
    Sue xxxx

    • Thanks Sue. Sometimes things slip, a blog post doesn’t get written, or an eyebrow waxing is missed. If I stay on top of 95% of things, I’m thrilled. Yes, I do my best to get some me time. I work out every day and I squeeze in tv time every night. One or two hangouts with friend too. ๐Ÿ™‚ Lots of people take breaks in the summer. I think I will break over the winter when things slow down. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Love seeing you whenever you have time to drop by! Hugs!
      Kourtney

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    Wow, so busy! Gone are the days writers can simply write their books, aren’t they? Now there’s so many promotional tasks, it’s a wonder books get finished at all. Good luck with everything and take care of yourself so you stay sane. So glad to hear Reagan was okay.

    • I’d say I get to write 40% of the time and 60% is promo related. Of course this is also right before the book launch. In the winter, I’ll be writing 60-70% and promoting less. I could do promo stuff 12 hours every day. But I’m really trying to keep the writing happening. It’s always a challenge. Some days, promo stuff gets pushed back. Aw thank you. With Reagan on the mend, it’s a bit easier to stay on top of things. I’m also accepting that there are days that somethings have to slide. And I am rarely going to knock everything off my to do list. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Yeah Kourtney! You’re kicking butt! *waves pom poms*

    • Thanks Liz. When I focus on the tasks, I feel good about my work. When I think about how it might or might not translate into sales, it can be really hard to stay the course. Your recent post really resonated with me. Hugs!

  5. Ally Bean says:

    I’m exhausted by, and impressed with, all that you do! Wouldn’t it be lovely to just write a book then sit back and watch all the positive reviews + money come rolling in? Seems like it should be that way, but of course I’m a dreamer. Keep up the great work.

    • Aw thank you. I forgot to mention that I taught a Skype writing workshop one night too. ๐Ÿ˜‰ That was the dream. And for a select few it still happens. But the rest of us have to get down in the promo trenches. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks!

  6. Maxine says:

    You sound BUSY! So I guess that means you won’t be coming for Pioneer Days. Folks have started to expect Kourtney for Pioneer Days.

    • I’m treading water. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Unfortunately, I can’t make it out this year. Hopefully next year though! Aw, I’m going to miss everyone so much. I especially love Pioneer Days with you!

  7. EllaDee says:

    Wow, so busy, productive and self motivated. You always impress me, and I try to take some inspiration from it. I’ve been reading the entries for Tell Me Your Ghost Story contest… such a great theme and writers, I thought you’d held over to give it space.
    Glad things have calmed down… a little.

    • Thanks. I love to be challenged. I think that’s why I love this writing career. Because I am constantly having to step out my comfort zone and learn something new!The writers are blowing me away with their talent. LOL. Sure let’s go with that. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Nope, just an item that I didn’t put on the to do list, so it didn’t get done. Doesn’t matter that I do it every week, if it isn’t on the list, it might not happen. Yes. I still can’t believe 6 weeks until the release date. It was so long away and now it’s coming up fast!

  8. TBM says:

    Gosh you have your hands full. Hope everyone is doing better. And I’m impressed with how much work you’ve pounded out.

    • Thanks. Reagan the golden continues to improve slowly. My uncle just got out of the hospital Saturday so it will be weeks and months of healing. But he’s healing. Thanks. I just keep going like the darn Energizer bunny. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Goodness, I’m exhausted just reading all this! The promotion part is such a huge amount of work isn’t it, that’s certainly something I had no idea about before I started blogging. I like your tip about how you manage the word count, I’m going to note that somewhere!

    • LOL. Some days I don’t know how I’ll get it all done. Then I think just do x and then I do x. Then I say now y. And slowly it all gets done. Yes, it’s a major part of the author career. And there are times I can pull back but with the launch coming up this is not one of them! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks. Glad you found it helpful.

  10. Mayumi-H says:

    Wow! You have got to be the busiest author I know, Kourtney! I really appreciate your insight into all aspects of it, too. Your experiences really highlight the ups and downs of being an author in these days and times.

    I love what you said about the story changing from the 90-page outline. Did you find over the course of the actual writing that you grew to know the story better than that outline did, and it took your words in a different direction? Or, did you find that the more detailed outline pigeonholed your characters’ voices in some way, and that’s why it didn’t work? Or, did it just not sing to you by the time you were ready to write your pages? (Obviously, don’t feel like you have to answer – I can see how busy your schedule is! I’m just thinking out loud.)

    Good luck with the summer planning and writing! It sounds like you are off to a roaring start, so far! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • LOL. It’s good to be able to talk about it and share some of the things I’ve learned. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think it’s the problem of sequels. Your world is already laid out so you need to stay within the structure of it. But there’s this intense pressure to live up to and top the first book. And then you worry about readers. You can’t help it.

      For some reason, I tend to write scene by scene outlines for sequels. That wouldn’t be a bad thing, except I chickened out on doing what I wanted to do and let myself be swayed by what I thought readers would want. I structured the whole outline well. But only if it was leading to that decision. As I was writing it, it felt forced. Like I wasn’t letting the story go where it needed to go. Things always change from outline to first draft. Unfortunately, I changed major plot points as I worked on the first and then the second draft. I think the story is now where it needs to be and I think the outline helped me write faster. Many of those scenes made it to the first draft. ๐Ÿ™‚

      LOL. Thanks. It’s go time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Lori says:

    Whew! I’m busy enough with my cross-country move and reading your schedule put me over the edge. Think I’ll go take a nap. I hope to get back to writing and blogging this week. Keep up the good work, Kourtney.

  12. jmmcdowell says:

    I’m exhausted just reading about everything you’re doing! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m thrilled to hear the second draft of Six Train is done and you’ll be writing the TGWIG sequel this summer! Here’s to a summer conducive to writingโ€”and promo workโ€”but also to recharging your batteries!

    • I feel like I may lose my mind. I had to stop drinking on weekends because I am working round the clock and need a clear head. Yes, it is off to betas so after 3 months of constantly thinking about it, I can take a break. I’m not sure what made me think I could do all the promo stuff of a book launch and draft a brand new book with the tightest time frame I’ve ever attempted at the same time. But once I say I’ll do it, I do it. Batteries. Yes, they need to be recharged. Soon. I have Readercon in 3 weeks. That is my next break. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. Pingback: Summer Reading Giveaway | Sheila Hurst

  14. Yikes, you do have a busy summer lined up — and you don’t even have kids! ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck with all you have to do, but don’t forget to take your me-time!

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