The Glamourous Side of Writing–NOT!

Filed under: Check-it-out, Marketing, Touching the Surface, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Today I’d like to give you a sneak peak into the not-so-glamourous side of a soon to be published, debut author. I know that some days it seems like it’s all “cover reveals” and “fabulous blurbs” but there are tons of little things in the publishing world that are the equivalent of doing those endless loads of laundry or scrubbing the toilet. Right now I’m pretty obsessed with sending postcards out to as many Independent Booksellers as I possibly can. It is lots of fun seeing all the cool names for the Indie Bookstores. It makes me want to go visit each and every one of them, but that’s impossible so the best I can do is reach out to them and hope that they like TOUCHING THE SURFACE and that they can see my enthusiasm for trying to help this book be a success.

The first thing you need to do when sending out postcards…is to get postcards. I had mine made by the very talented Jeff Fielder. After that it’s time to compile the list of bookstores you want to contact. I was very fortunate to win a pre-compiled list from Saundra Mitchell in a charity auction. I thank my lucky stars EVERY NIGHT! Even with everything already researched, it took me over two hours just to attach the pre-printed labels. *head thunk* We are talking about 760 bookstores here. *head thunk again*


Once your labels are on, you need to HANDWRITE a message on EACH postcard. Let the hand cramps commence. The most I’ve been able to do in one sitting is around the fifty card mark. But I also think it’s worth it. I want those booksellers to know how hard I’m willing to work and how important personal connections are to me. Every time I get a little free time I jot off a couple cards or if I’m lucky, sometimes I  have an hour or two where I go for it and write as many as I can. I’ve sent out over three hundred cards so far YAY!!!!

But unfortunately, I’ve got this many left to go…

Yeah…that’s like 400+ postcards left to go. And don’t forget that some labels get cut off accidentally so I have those in a pile to fix when I’m done. And the hardest part of all…when they come back RETURN TO SENDER. Those go in another pile to see if I can find the bookstore on line and resend. So far out of the 300+ I’ve sent–I’ve gotten back 28 but I expect a few more soon because I just recently sent out my last batch.

And don’t forget the stamps. Postcard stamps are cheaper than regular stamps but every 100 stamps costs $32.

And of course–the truly hard part is not really knowing if the all the effort is worth it. I’m hoping it is, but for all I know, all my hard work could end up being a coaster under someone’s drink. But then again…they’re book lovers!!!! Besides, I’ve got to believe that a purple Sharpie pen is a magic wand in disguise.

What do you think is the most un-glamourous side of being a writer? Any fabulous tips to share about the not-so-glamourous tasks a writer must tackle? Do you like doing something that you think most people hate? Any questions on postcards or preparing for a book launch? I’ll do my best to answer them.

But for now, off to write more postcards…

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  1. Your poor writing-hand!! That is a crazy amount of postcards (they look wonderful!) and writing involved! Purple Sharpie pens are magical 🙂

    • Phew…glad for the magical confirmation! *grin*

  2. Ouch. That’s much worse than handwriting my sister’s bridal shower invitations (I vow to never complain again.) Think of it as practice for long booksignings! 🙂

    You have the indie bookstore near my office, right? (Ridgewood, NJ?) Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help spread the word in prep for your release!

    • You are the best! I’ll double check to make sure I have it!!!!

  3. Love those postcards! You are one hard-working writer, lady. I smell success in your future. 🙂

    The most un-glamorous part of being a writer? Hmm. Probably sitting in my PJs, no makeup, hair a mess, while trying to pound out the pages. Of course, it’s also the most fun part. 😉

  4. Love the post cards! Do all debut authors do that?

    • I don’t think they all do. I recommend you do as much self promotion as you’re comfortable with. If you get to the point that you’re miserable and burnt out then that’s now fun. But if you plan long term then it’s not as bad as it could be. I recommend stopping over to Saundra Mitchell’s website and looking over her extremely helpful tips and time lines for writers. She is amazing! http://saundramitchell.com/tools-for-writers/marketing-for-writers/

  5. @ Linda: That definitely sounds like me most days! Sometimes I think my husband is surprised to see me wear actual clothing…

    …I think the postcards are awesome, you are such a hard worker! And I’m sure it’ll pay off. With a great story, and a magic sharpie, how can it not?

    • We are a sight with magic sharpies and PJ’s LOL! Thanks so much.

  6. Wow! That is A LOT of postcards to hand write! You’re so dedicated. I bet this brings you success 🙂 I’d love to hear more about what you write to each bookseller offline someday. I find this whole process of selling books to be fascinating!

  7. Kim, thanks for a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes for a dedicated and hard-working author to help launch a debut book! I always tell everyone that you are a tireless and enthusiastic promoter – not just of your own book, but of so many other writers’ books, too! That will surely help pave the way for success.

    The postcards look beautiful, and I think it’s so cool that you won the indie bookstore mailing list at that auction. How did you find out about it? And your poor cramped hand! But I agree that the personal handwritten messages will be worth it and that reaching out and making a personal connection is always so important to you.

    Maybe you could also compile an email list and send out a thank you video to the stores for stocking and selling your book? I think you’d be a natural for video. And your hand will surely need a rest after writing 760 postcards! 🙂

    And even though it’s not glamorous, I would definitely prefer writing out hundreds of postcards to doing endless loads of laundry or scrubbing the toilet! And I know that when I am able to finish my book, and if I’m ever able to get published, I would handwrite thousands and thousands of postcards if they would help me get closer to writing success and further away from the drudgery of standing at a cash register all day at the store! 🙂

    By the way, the store got your ARC!! Sabrina is passing it along to me as soon as she finishes it. I can’t wait to read it!!


    • Awwww thanks Linda!!!!! That’s a great idea. I’ll have to figure out how to do that. Can’t wait for you to read it. <3

  8. You really ARE working hard, Kim! Wow! I’m impressed. I’ve only known a handful of authors (K.M. Walton is one) who went to that much trouble to promote their own book. I’m sure it will pay off.

    Oh, and um, Kim, I work at an Indie bookstore, so I hope we get one of those postcards!

    • I LOVE Kate!!!! My Wednesday blog post is all about her and her wonderful book CRACKED. Which one are you at Joanne?

  9. Wow, that sounds like a huge task! Good luck with that. <3
    And the postcards seem lovely. I'm sure those booksellers will be SO happy to get them!

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