This blog was featured on 07/07/2017
Staying "author active" until publication

My memoir, Under the Birch Tree, will be published June of next year. I relax knowing I have a year to work through the deadlines set on a timeline I received from my publisher, SWP. The manuscript isn’t due until the end of September and a copy edit is being completed. I’ve got time to work through a few items required by the end of the year: tip sheet, sample chapters, a proofread, with not much else to do, right? No way. Idle time is wasted time for an author. There is always something I can do to better position myself as author. 

Blank lines in a designated “memoir” notebook fill quickly with thoughts and research opportunities. As a newbie to the publishing world, I’ve listed the following to-do’s and reminders for my productivity, filling in the idle spaces between deadlines of my timeline:

-Read book reviews of local newspapers and magazines for reviewer names.

-Review, update, and respond to comments on social media accounts: Goodreads, Facebook, Pinterest, my author site and blog.

-Make list of media contacts: booksellers, libraries, local events, community organizations.

-Make contact list for blurb requests.

-Complete Tip Sheet: Sales hook, description, key selling points, audience, my bio, comp titles

-Read “blogs I follow”, participate with comments,

-Write post for Under the Birch Tree blog; revise for posting every two weeks.

-Online research – Google key words, memoirs with similar themes, authors.

-Read member sites: NAMW, SWP, CWA, Memoir Network  

-Subscribe to online newsletters – ongoing.

-Search appropriate author blogs and follow.

-Research call for submissions for print and online literary pubs.

-Develop/hone answers: What distinguishes my book from others? What is my book and who is it for? What is my pitch?

I learned my journey to publication is not just about following a timeline and meeting deadlines. It is about discovering more of myself and my memoir. As I work through my list, I generate more questions and though I don’t readily have the answers, I’ve learned to be committed to finding the answers. Reading memoirs, author blogs and engaging in online commentaries helps me to never give up on refining a response to my own questions, “What is my story about? What makes it different?” My answers continue to reveal more about me and my memoir.

Reminders and to-do’s keep me productive as an active author.

This self-study in all things memoir and Under the Birch Tree may also net the beginnings of a second book. 

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  • Janis Couvreux

    Perfect. Going through this same list myself!