Promotional Burn Out

Yep – I’ve reached it.  It isn’t pretty either.  All desire to do…well anything has gone…somewhere without me.  I think I lost it in the Bermuda Triangle where our 5-day relaxing get away cruise turned into a 6-day hair-graying adventure, but that’s another blog.

Since Fire Study was released in late February, I have spent only 3 full weekends at home. The other weekends were filled with book signings, conventions, and trips to NC and NYC all with the goal of promoting my latest release.

I set my schedule, made the contacts, and called the bookstores well in advance.  The schedule was doable, let time for writing and family etc….

Then as the release date crept closer, I started to get emails from bookstores and libraries and schools.  Please come.  And…well…I can’t say no.  For two reasons.  The obvious one is I’m worried they won’t ask me again.  I spent over three years aggressively marketing my first two books, I had to make the contacts, visit the bookstores, ask for opportunities to do a poison tasting for a group (it’s fun…really!). And my efforts are helping.  My second book sold 42% more books than my first, and Fire Study reached the New York Times Best Sellers list for two weeks.  Now, I’m getting asked and it’s nice….very nice and easy….very easy.

The second reason is because I truly enjoy doing these events.  I’m the atypical writer—an extrovert.  Therefore, my schedule became a crowded hectic mess and I’m willing to admit it’s all my own fault.

The consequences are enduring my mother’s sarcastic comments on how my kids have turned feral (so they ate bark for supper one night – what’s the big deal?), missing multiple soccer games and fun weekend events with my family, and not getting any writing done.

Nope – not a whole lot of writing.  My current book is due July 1 – I’m a third of the way through and have no desire to work on it (see paragraph 1).  Thank fate I have a very nice editor who just gave me two more months – but they’re summer months and my kids will be home (I think we’ll be able to entice them out of the woods with chocolate bait).

Usually I kept my summers light, and I plan to cancel the one conference I had signed up for – good thing I’m not on the programming (although I tried).

But I’m in major need of Promotionalics Anonymous.  Does anyone have any advice?  Something you do to keep your schedule reasonable without feeling like you’re missing the big event?  Anyone?

PS: If you’d like to read the Bermuda triangle blog go to

Filed under Uncategorized. You can also use to trackback.

There are 7 comments. Get the RSS feed for comments on this entry.

  1. 1. Emily

    As a few published authors have told me: Set aside sometime everyday that you write. And Write. It shouldn’t necessarily matter if it is your book thats due, but just something to get you into the writing swing again. This way, you can have some time that is designated as writing time and still have time to go running in the woods with the feral kids:)
    You have to get excited about your story again. I have found that when I don’t feel like writing, it is helpful to look ahead and do a little bit of outlining. Because, lets face it…sometimes there are boring parts to write and that makes it more difficult to write them. But past those parts there should be some fun.
    Hope this helps! And good Luck!

  2. 2. Jim C. Hines

    Happened to me with Goblin War this year, too. I don’t think I lasted as long as you have. I overbooked myself with interviews and events without enough of a break in between to recover my sanity.

    Advice? I wish I had some, but I’ll be watching the comments to see what other folks suggest.

  3. 3. Jeri

    I had to get an extension myself because I was so busy promoting Wicked Game (but my editor said it made a huge difference, and she wouldn’t have had time to read the sequel on the due date anyway, so it’s all good–so far).

    So like Jim, no advice, just curiosity, and awareness that veteran authors are probably shaking their heads at the three of us. ;-)

    As for getting the love back, I try to connect with the characters through some commonality. Usually for me it’s music (which songs they would like or would fit the scenes or mood), but it could also be food or art or other objects they would treasure. Something tangible that you can share with the characters.

  4. 4. Simon Haynes

    I divide my year up into writing, promo, family. (I’m always there for my family, but this is family-only-no-work time)

    Promo is usually Jan to April

    Writing & editing is usually April to November.

    December is family, and we take a week long holiday some time in April or May.

    The promo and writing months can slide around a bit, with overlap, and I don’t do solid promo for months on end. I get plot ideas which I note down, but I don’t actually force myself to write anything.

  5. 5. Maria V. Snyder

    Thanks for the help! All good advice.

    I think I’m going to sit down with my calendar and block out chunks of writing time so when someone invites me to an event I can say no I’m busy that day. I also plan to get my next book written before the new release so I can spend those months on promotion like Simon does.

    Jeri – My editor didn’t seem too upset by the delay either. I really don’t like having to write over the summer, but I’m hoping my new plan works, and I can get some play time in with the natives next summer ;>

  6. 6. Simon Haynes

    “so when someone invites me to an event I can say no I’m busy that day.”

    That’s a very good policy. Otherwise you can never go out and socialise because you always feel you should be writing instead.

  7. 7. Robert Walker

    Interesting discussion. While I am not yet in a position to talk about promotional tours and such, I certainly find myself spending a great deal of time on networking, reading blogs, staying up on what’s happening in the industry and the online SFF communities…. It can really add up. So, I find that I have to force myself to set work-time limits. Which don’t always stick. I can tend towards workaholism….

    It is also interesting to read how Simon divides up his year. I, too, decided on a similar tactic a little while ago. I wrote my recent novel (the actual sit down and type part) last winter, which worked out pretty well–since I don’t ski anymore, there’s not much to do outside, and winter was just the perfect time to “stay in” and focus on the book. I also didn’t read any fiction at all while writing, not only because of “style-osmosis,” but I find that a big story like this one is like juggling 5 or 6 balls. It requires a great deal of focus and concentration to keep them all in the air.

    Now that it’s summer here in New Mexico, I want to be outside more–hike, camp, and so forth, and I’m also reading fiction again, which is quite nice, actually. It’s also the perfect time to focus on all the other work surrounding this writing business. I am casually working out plot points in my mind, and plan to begin the actual writing process for the sequel this next winter. Not sure how this division will work if/when promotion/travel becomes an issue, but from what you all are saying, one can make it work.

Author Information

Maria V. Snyder

Maria V. Snyder has been writing fiction and nonfiction since 1995. She has published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers. Her first published novel, Poison Study appeared on the shelves in 2005, and chronicles Yelena’s challenges in surviving her dangerous job as a food taster. Magic Study follows with Yelena’s efforts to learn about her magic while searching for a rogue magician turned serial killer. Fire Study chronicles Yelena's adventures with a Fire Warper and was released in March 2008. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology at Penn State University. Much to Maria’s chagrin, forecasting the weather wasn’t one of her skills. Writing, however, proved to be more enjoyable and Maria earned a Master of Arts degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. As part of her research for her Study novels, Maria signed up for a glass blowing class to learn how to shape molten glass. The first thing she learned is it is considerably harder to sculpt glass than it looks. Maria now has an extensive collection of misshapened paperweights, tumblers, and bowls. When she’s not traveling, Maria lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, daughter and yellow Lab. She is working on her next MIRA novel, Storm Glass, due out Spring 2009. Readers are welcome to contact Maria by e-mail at, or they can find more information on her Web site at Visit site.



Browse our archives: