This week has been exciting for me with the launch of the new edition of Watery Ways (Boathooks Books by Sunpenny Publishing). I am very pleased with the new version, especially as it has Koos's photos in it to add to the interest. It has also been professionally edited and with its new cover, it feels as if it has finally come to maturity.
That being said, there is a side to publishing that I'm finding quite difficult to deal with, and that is the marketing. I come from a marketing background and spent several years as the marketing manager for a medical insurance company in South Africa. It's a world I know about and understand, and when it's for somebody else, it's a world I enjoy, but it's not really what I want to do now.
My problem is that I'm now a full-time teacher by day and a writer by whatever time I can scratch that's left. And that's not much. I always have huge amounts of marking to do (I teach academic writing, so that does not involve multiple choice testing...oh no!), and equally huge amounts of preparation for new courses (I'm freelance, so hardly ever do the same course twice). However, now I've managed - thanks to Sunpenny Publishing - to get published, the time that's left is being severely curtailed by the extent to which I have to try and promote the said published books. In itself, I don't mind doing it and as an exercise, I find it quite a challenge, but it's not really what I want to be doing with whatever time I can scratch etc. I want to be writing new stuff. I have a work in progress on the go, a series of children's stories to finish, plus a whole heap of short stories I want to write not to mention the sequel to Watery Ways. But when am I going to find the time to write them if I have to spend half the whatever time I can scratch tweeting myself silly?
It's a toss up in the end, isn't it? If I don't invest the time Tweeting, Facebooking and Blogging, I'll never sell enough books to have the independence to spend the time I want on writing. On the other hand, if I keep writing without doing all the marketing, I'll probably be a lot happier, but with no prospect of independence, so what's it to be?
What I do like on Twitter in particular is the contact with other writers. Through Twitter, I've made contact with Jo Carroll (see previous post), Carol Hedges (future post to be), Michelle Wheatley and Rosalind Adam (also bookmarked for future posts). This has been great as I'd been feeling a bit despondent about the demise of the blogging community and now I have some new contacts with the same interest and passion - writing.
What I like on Facebook is the contact with my dispersed family as well as old friends from former blogging circles and from my former lives (if that's what I can call the different phases of my life). I appreciate all the support and encouragement they give me immensely. But I lack the drive and compulsion to be a real social media success, so this will always be a bit of a struggle.
In the end, I suppose I shall have to try and find the balance between the writing and the marketing. I haven't found it yet, but I do know that above all, I have to keep on writing. That is what I do, what I want to do and what keeps me going. Without the creative output, none of the rest of it makes any sense at all. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way, though, and wonder how many other writers have the same dilemma....