A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the . . . A writer rants about Rewrites, Edits, Deadlines, and Such.

Remember back during the Cold War when the USA (known as the “Good Guys”), and Russia (known as the Commies, or REDS), faced off for over three decades following our split as allies post-World War Two? No? Okay, so I’m showing my age here. But I remember it well. In grammar school and junior high (or, middle) school, we would have regular drills during school hours where we dropped to the floor and cowered under our desks with our hands clasped tightly behind our necks in the event of a nearby nuclear attack launched by our mortal enemy, Communist Russia. Never mind that we would’ve all been incinerated had we been within range of the blast (or blasts) delivered by those dastardly RED Commies. Believe me, I’m not making light of the aforementioned scenario—in fact, it almost came to fruition during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. And I was living in nearby Florida at the time.


What does the above have to do with writing? Well, after reading the above again, I’m not sure. Which is probably indicative of how screwy my brain has been of late. I recently came to the decision to STOP all personal promotion and marketing of Deadly Dunes: A Mac McClellan Mystery (#3). There comes a point in time when an author must let his baby go to venture into the cruel world of readership, relying on all you’ve done for him since his birth. Thus, with Deadly Dunes having reached its 3rd (month) birthday, I decided to force my latest fledgling out of the nest to fly and fare on its own. In this day and age where writers are forced to do most of the publicity, promoting, and marketing on our own, it’s never an easy decision to boot our loved ones out of the nest. But, at some point, it must be done. Our babies must learn to fly and feed on their own, and we can only wish them well and hope they not only survive, but flourish.


To backtrack a bit: I had been spending (most, if not all) of my valuable writing time with pre-publication promotion and hoopla (i.e., gathering endorsements, pre-pub reviews, and generally spreading the word about my upcoming release in every way possible) for three or four months prior to the birth of my latest offspring. Alas, that effort ALSO resulted in the loss of valuable writing time. (We are, first and foremost, supposed to be writers, correct?) So, in effect, I’ve devoted at least six months of my invaluable (I just upped its value) writing time to the pre-pub and post-pub promotion and marketing of Deadly Dunes! Loosen your fingers and add it up. That’s SIX (6) MONTHS MINIMUM of my (add you most precious jewel here) writing time to my latest novel which I turned in to the publisher well over a year ago. And GUESS WHAT???


Okay, I’ll answer that question! I’m now under a deadline to get the NEXT Mac McClellan Mystery written and delivered to the publisher. Want to know a secret? Okay, I’ll tell you. I had nearly half of the next manuscript completed when I was forced to stop and begin pre-pub marketing for Deadly Dunes (Mac #3). And just as I’m finally finding time to resume work on that manuscript (Deadly Verse, Mac # 5), here come the initial edits from the publisher for Mac #4, Deadly Spirits!

pulling out hair

Are you following me here? Deadly Verse (#5) is half-finished and on hold, while I spent pre and post time promoting Deadly Dunes(#3), and NOW Deadly Verse (#5) is once again on hold while I edit Deadly Spirits (#4)! ARRRGGHHH!!! And I’m still under contract for Mac #6, Deadly Rights!


No wonder so many writers turn to the “spirits” to find strength and consolation. If anyone has any idea about what I’ve just written, or has any advice, or can make heads or tails out of it, PLEASE contact me and lead me out of this fog-filled maze I’ve stumbled into! I will be forever grateful. Really! Honestly! Hey, I’m a writer, you can trust what I say. After all, I have it all outlined and ready to go!


Sane ego sum! (I think!)


14 thoughts on “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the . . . A writer rants about Rewrites, Edits, Deadlines, and Such.

  1. As an indie, I devote just a certain amount of marketing to my newest book. I do marginal stuff the rest of the time but mainly, I’m writing, re-writing, editing, and release the next dang book! I do some pre-advance stuff. Mention the book in my blog and newsletter. I do a cover reveal. I do some stuff leading up to. I do a push 10 days before and after. Then I move on. Occasional mentions after that. A regular bit at the bottom of blog and newsletter. The occasional, and I mean very! occasional mentions. Especially if the book is part of the series I’m working on.

    Other than that. Not a hell of a lot.

    Here’s the kicker. This method isn’t working. I make maybe one sale a month. So I’m taking a marketing course. I’m hoping the course will teach me what I need to know about marketing my books and balancing that time with what I’m supposed to be doing, writing.

    I wish you luck. If you find the magic balance, I, for one, would like to know what it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Mike, I can only send sympathies. I think this is why writers are such a generous group as a rule. We all understand the insane stresses, strains, and general insanity of the life we have chosen. GOOD LUCK!

    Connie, if there’s a magic formula, we’d all like to know it. I am secretly convinced that marketing is the key to success-well that and a well written book-but I am baffled by the marketing part.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Kait, now you’re talking. My favorite Scotch is The Dalmore, a single malt Highland. Their standard is a 12 year old. It only gets better from there, but it’s a little pricey. Sip, swirl, and s-l-o-w-l-y swallow. Ah, heaven. . . . 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re not alone, Michael. Authors always have to balance their time between what’s already out there (i.e. doing marketing and promos), what’s on the way (pre-pub marketing, final edits, galley reviews, etc..) and actually writing the next story. It can get crazy, and I think that’s where every author needs to come up with a sort of plan and schedule that works for her or him. But it’s different for all of us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Appreciate your comments, Margot. The problem is, I’m probably the world’s worst organizer and time manager. I’m no good at all with multi-tasking. I’ve been that way all my life. I actually wrote this as a humorous piece, but I suppose I didn’t accomplish that. Jeez, now everybody thinks I’m a “poor me” whiner. Drats! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. At this point looks like you better just write the books. Post the covers. Focus on the writing. The anxiety is coming from being pulled in numerous directions. The books have to be written or there is nothing to market so it looks like that is clearly number one. I found a twitter marketing helper that does add follows but is insanely boring and time consuming. It does give exposure to my friends when they re-tweet. Writers are notoriously full of angst in the first place and the marketing is a huge time suck. I am never able to finish all the marketing and write too. I read when the last shred of sanity feels like it is drifting off and that helps. However Michael your situation at the moment is clear cut. WRITE THE BOOKS POST THE COVERS RETWEET. It does not take long to post covers and retweet. Write during the time of the day or night when you have the most energy. Take half an hour and do the other. Getting under your desk with a bottle of pain killer is not an option, however your usual happy hour is fine. It will calm you down. You can do it. But you have to say no to some of the requests you get until this is sorted out. Just say “please wait” and post a picture of a puppy. That’s my best advice.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, MJ. Ooh, under my desk with a bottle of painkiller–I like that! As I said above, I was trying to inject this piece with a little humor, but I suppose comedy isn’t my forte. Yep, going to start getting a grip and learn to say “no” when I need to get things done. Posting a puppy, now there’s a good idea!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Mike, while I understand your frustration and I admire your hustle regarding promotions, I think you spent way more time and energy on marketing than is advisable. Again, I refer to the 80/20 rule: spend 80% of your time on writing new books, stories, etc and 20% on promotions of yourself and other writers you like. I find marketing, especially on social media, to be like chain smoking on a treadmill. Better to write reviews of other people’s books, write blog and guest posts to gain visibility. And if you want to sell a decent amount of books: get a big publisher. Period.

    My best advice, write your books, Mike. A) you have control over that, and B) it’s more fun. Oh and if you feel strongly about a point of editing, dig in; don’t give in to your publisher unless you really trust them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the advice, Max. I’ve never smoked on a treadmill, or anywhere else for that matter. That frees up time & money for my other vices (burp!). 🙂 I like your 80/20 rule. I’m not going to beat my head against the promotion/marketing wall anymore. There is very LITTLE return for the BIG amount of effort expended. I’ll write the books, do whatever I can do for a month before and after they launch, and then leave it up to the literature gods. And you’re right about big publishers. My first book has been with one good size publisher, and is now with one of the really BIG guys since 2004. It has sold over 60,000 copies (2nd publisher) and still going. I know it won’t last forever, but it sure has been a nice run.

      And please, didn’t anyone pick up on the smidgen of humor I tried to infuse into this post? Jeez, I’m a flop at reaching funny bones!


      1. Keys in what you said: Big effort for little reward. Really, until you start moving five, six hundred units in sales, you are making your publisher money, not yourself. Okay it probably isn’t a lot of money but it still goes to them and not the writer. And, of course, they do not give advances. Not even small ones. Fact: I got paid $250 to give a talk at a great library where I used to work and that is double what I’ve earned from my books. No, I am definitely not wasting time promoting.


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