Friday – yesterday, the day after my book launch for Empire’s Hostage – I was an exhausted wreck. Partly due to only four hours sleep (more on that later); partly due to the adrenaline-overload aftermath. The launch was beyond-my-expectations successful. The room was full, the applause after the readings generous, and I sold a lot of books.
So how did this happen? I put posters up in all the cafes downtown, and did lots of Twitter and Facebook promotions, which were generously retweeted and shared by a lot of people and organizations in our town. The local arts council put the event on their calendar, and did their share of advertising. The bookstore in whose upstairs bar the event was being held did their share with an in-store display and advertising on their website. And then I crossed my fingers, ordered nibbles for twenty-five people, and hoped for the best.
I had asked a couple of my writing friends, one a poet with a newly-published book, one an established writer of genre fiction, to read that night as well. That broadened the appeal a bit, I hope, and provided some new exposure for both of them, as well. Anyhow…it all worked. I could have ordered a lot more food; the beer and wine flowed nicely at the bar, people stayed for the whole evening. I signed my name on title pages many times. It felt like a good night.
But I am not a night person. I start falling asleep about 8:30 most nights, and struggle to stay awake till 10 pm. The first thing I’d done when arriving to set up at 6:30 was order a coffee. It was quite a large coffee, and I drank it all. So I was very awake for the whole evening…and the late evening….and the early morning…. Even the pint of beer I’d had after my reading didn’t help. I finally fell asleep about 2 am, and slept till 6 am. Yesterday felt like the day after an overnight flight. I managed to send thank-you emails and twitters and facebook posts. I organized breakfast for my overnight guests (even baking muffins); I remembered our appointment with our lawyer to sign our wills. I went grocery shopping (and didn’t forget anything). And then I crashed. The day is a blur from early afternoon onward.
Would I do it again? Definitely! But next time (perhaps when Empire’s Exile comes out) I won’t drink a large coffee at 6:30 pm. Mid-afternoon might be better….
Here’s the link to the books on Amazon. The e-books are free through Sunday the 28th.
(The less-than-wonderful photo is a friend’s phone shot.)
It’s the first of the month, the day my Amazon payments show up in my bank account. T.S. Eliot wrote “I have measured out my life in coffee spoons,”….well, I measure my royalties by how many cups of coffee I can buy. This month it’s two, as long as they’re from Tim Horton’s or McDonalds, and nowhere fancier.
I’m not complaining…. I knew I’d never make a lot of money at this, and if a few people are still buying one of the books each month, that’s good. There are a few more dollars trickling in from paperback sales at different sources too. This afternoon I’m heading downtown to a couple of other stores that I’ve heard are open to carrying indie author books, and to give a few copies away to the annual books-for-kids (up to 18 years, so Empire’s Daughter, as a young adult book, qualifies). And I’ll probably stop at my favourite coffee shop….and blow my entire month’s Amazon royalties on one cup of coffee!
How many of us could write without it? Not me!
Follow this link to some wonderful literary quotes about coffee.
Saturday and Sundays are my days to really focus on the new book, Empire’s Hostage. These are the days I work at the university library for the afternoon. I started this when I was still working and weekends were really the only time I could write; now it’s a combination of habit and the fact parking is free on the university on weekends (and expensive other times.) Plus, as I said in a different post on a different blog, I’ve been writing there for thirty years, and the environment is conducive to work.
The library incorporated a cafe last year – good and bad for me – it’s a Starbucks, which I really don’t like, but then again I want a coffee during my writing hours. But I’m also trying not to spend money unnecessarily now I’m retired (although I still have a Starbucks card that was a retirement present.)
Right now I don’t have the dilemma, because it’s still the summer and the cafe isn’t open on weekends. The library opens at eleven, so even if I have a late breakfast before heading out, I’ll still want the coffee at some point. I like coffee when I’m reviewing what I’ve written, or pondering the next scene…whether or not it really enhances creativity or I just think it does doesn’t really matter – it’s just one of my rituals now.
At this point in the year I have only one choice – to take a thermos with me. The library (unusually?) has no restrictions on food and drink in the building, so I can drink my coffee at my study carrel. Once the school year starts again I have a plethora of choices – there are a dozen places on campus to get coffee then. But that means packing up my laptop and walking somewhere; that too has its positive side, movement being good for my body and the creative process, even if I just walk over to the University Centre, buy a coffee, and walk back to the library.
So will I give in to the convenience (and better taste?) of purchased coffee or stay frugal and drink thermos coffee? Now I’ve set myself the goal of writing at least three thousand words a week of Empire’s Hostage I need all the rituals (and discipline) I have. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m also curious – what writing rituals do you have?