Thursday, October 06, 2022

Sneaky Busy

It's been a busy week. But, like, sneaky busy, the kind of busy you don't notice until after the dust settles and you realize that you're not busy and that not being busy isn't what you've been doing for the past little while.

I'm sitting at my kitchen table with a cup of coffee, listening to the new Death Cab CD—which, by the way, is wonderful. It's very Transatlanticism meets Kintsugi with a dash of Plans and a reference to Saskatchewan thrown in there just for me. 

Just. For. Me


"What were you so sneaky busy with, Suzy?" you're asking (I hear you). 

Well the mainest main sneaky busy thing was that I sent off a very terrifying email to my literary agent on...Monday? Tuesday? Monday. 

It was Monday.

You're thinking, "You sent an email? You think that makes you a busy lady?" (I heard you again.)

Well, so, okay. The hitting of the send button was obviously a one second ordeal, but there was a lot of work leading up to that moment, and a lot of nerves, and a lot of double checking and second guessing. I'm the kind of writer who needs a fainting couch for those moments after I send emails of any import to any person of any import. I would faint the heck out of that fainting couch. 


I sent the email, the culmination of many many weeks' worth of stress and work, and then I had an hour of melodramatic fainting couch behavior (minus the couch), followed by a sudden, unexpected burst of creative energy like I haven't felt in ages. I looked around the room for somewhere to channel that energy, and my eyes fell upon the ARC piles in the corner of the living room.

If you haven't been in my house in the past couple of years, you probably don't know about the ARC piles. So: A few months before the pub date for Sorry I Missed You, my publisher sent me 72 ARCs, meant to be used for promo. Unfortunately, they sent me the boxes of books only a few short weeks before the world shut down for COVID, and I only ended up using some of them. So most of them still live here, in my living room, and I haven't known what to do with them. They're not polished, final copies, so I can't sell them. Book bloggers have long since moved onto the next shiny batch of books. And I'm not going to chuck them—they're still books, after all. My babies.

But in that burst of creative energy, I remembered a bit of advice I have been given over and over since I first started writing: the best thing you can put energy into as a writer, besides, obviously, writing books, is a newsletter. 

I have often thought about this advice and instantly felt very exhausted and fainting couch-y about it. I already have a blog I can't keep up with; now they want me to write an extra blog and manage an email list and try to compete with all the other people sending out newsletters into inboxes full of newsletters to people who don't even really want newsletters? Ugh. 

But, like I said, in that burst of creative energy I thought, does it have to be email inboxes? Does it have to be a blog post? Could it actual letter? On physical paper? How retro! How vintage! How fun! I thought, could I use the Little Free Libraries around the city as mailboxes? I thought of how fun it would be to open a book and find a letter tucked into it. Who among us doesn't love getting mail?

You? Get out.

It's amazing how, when you actually want to do something, when you feel excited about it, how quick and easy it can be. I wrote up that newsletter so fast. I printed off 20 copies and stuffed them into ARCs and then I took those ARCs and stuffed them into Little Free Libraries around my city. 

Those of you who have newsletters and are trying to use them to build a reliable audience are definitely weeping and gnashing your teeth at this point. You're yelling, "Suzy! The reason you use email newsletters is so that you can see the data! You can reliably reach the same people over and over and keep track of who's reading! There is a method to this madness!" (I heard you.)

But to you I say: It's like exercise. If you only do exercise you hate, you won't do exercise for very long. If you find something you enjoy, it'll be easier to build it into a habit that yields results longterm. You might not become a body builder that way, but you'll be healthy and happy and AS IF that's not worth something.

And that's how I'm viewing this newsletter thing, and book marketing in general. I'm going to do what feels fun. Maybe next time I'll ask people to send mailing addresses and send out twenty newsletters in real mailboxes. Maybe I'll think of something that has never been done in all of author history and I'll do that. Maybe I'll get all fainting couch-y and do nothing again for a while. 

I think that's just fine.

Anyway, that's one of the things I was busy with this week. Since you asked.

And now, I have to go fill a prescription for one of my dear asthmatic children and buy a new clothes horse. Fare. Thee. Well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love that you did this! I would FOR SURE love to get a letter in a book.