I’m not a mother yet, but I think I’m experiencing a hint of how it feels to have two kids.
On the one hand is Book 1. My firstborn. My toddler. Not even a year old, Book 1 was released in November 2014. It has barely started walking, with book sales that stumble some months and make a few strides the next.
On the other hand is Book 2. My infant. With only three chapters written, it needs my constant attention and care if I am going to meet the deadline to release it by Christmas.
Both need supervision. And both are competing for my time.
As an independent author, it’s difficult to strike a balance once focus gets split between two books. For the first book, it’s easy to invest all time and resources into that project. But after the book is released and it’s time to start writing Book 2, there’s still plenty of work to be done for Book 1.
Many days, I fall into the trap of platform building, branding, and promoting Book 1. My mornings before work are spent trying to keep up with my blog, Facebook page, and Twitter feed. I schedule school visits to give presentations about the first book. I work at being my own publicist.
After work, my attention is divided between planning for presentations and events (usually consisting of making baggies of “Book Worms,” a.k.a. gummy worms). Once that’s done, I handle life’s other necessities: dishes, laundry, emptying litter boxes, feeding the cat, making dinner, etc.
Before I know it, I’m in bed and I haven’t written a word.
The dilemma boils down to those common résumé buzzwords: Time management.
Knowing it’s easy to get sidetracked into promotion and branding, I’ve rearranged my daily approach. I leave Book 1 in it’s playpen first thing in the morning. It’s old enough to play by itself for a while (and maybe even sell a copy or two online) while I pay attention to Book 2.
By writing first, I reduce the amount of time I spend on branding and promotion. However, that forces me to use that time more efficiently. (And, by result, more effectively.)
I love them both equally, so it’s hard to set one aside to focus on the other. Thus is the challenge of being an independent author.
And, I suspect, a parent, too.