Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I don’t write and promote so much these days as I juggle.  I juggle what I call my “job-job,” my two daughters, their schools, my husband, my dog, my deaf cat, my new puppy, housework, and writing.

Right now, I am trying to finish my third novel while trying to promote the first two.  I find this complicated. 

Promotion is easy when your first book comes out.  You can contact every blog, website, and reviewer under the sun and say, Hey, look at me, I’ve got a new book out.  You should review it or interview me or feature me somewhere. 

New books are interesting.  They could be the next 50 Shades of Gray. Or the next Dorian Gray for that matter.   The next Harry Potter or Sookie Stackhouse.  People want to know what a new book is all about and the story behind the mysterious writer who popped up out of nowhere to write such a compelling book.  It’s fun to have earned the bragging rights when that book first comes out.

I find it more difficult to shout from the rooftops, Hey, look at my year-and-a-half-old book. It didn’t make the NYT Bestseller’s list, but I still have my fingers crossed.  They’ve been crossed so hard and for so long in fact I think they may be arthritic.

After that initial buzz, you know, those first couple of weeks when your mama and your godfather and everyone you knew from high school buys your book, things slow down a little.  And now you’ve really got to start working on that next book before everyone who bought your first book forgets who you are and how much they enjoyed it.

So you have to figure out a way to expand your audience for your old book, while also cranking out the new one.  Dividing the time is a trick I have not yet quite mastered, although I spend a significant amount of time working on it and trying to figure it out.

And then there’s that juggling thing.  That thing I just call LIFE, that constantly interrupts my best of intentions.

As an example, today is my husband’s birthday. I told my girls yesterday they should make him a cake so he has one when we wake up in the morning and they agreed.  Then we all promptly forgot about it while I helped my 8th grader with a social studies project and my 5th grader with math homework.  So there will be no birthday cake for Julio this morning.  Sometimes you can't help it- you drop a ball.

On the plus side, I did manage to post this blog, finish a Supreme Court writ, and catch up the laundry, so I’ve still got a few balls in the air at least.  

Now if I could just get the puppy housetrained and Chocolate City Justice (my latest novel) to Billie...

Holli Castillo


Julie Luek said...

Loved reading this and am looking forward to the day when I can read it again and say, "Oh I can SO relate!"

Kit Sloane said...

Totally right, Holli. I have nine books in my series and can look back and see the dwindling enthusiasm from the nicest of my friends and family members as one after another came out and, naturally, they're expected to purchase it!
I love each individual story, but convincing people to continue with a series is a bit of a chore. Terrific post. Thanks for telling it like it is for a lot of us.

Holli said...

Julie and Kit, Trying to promote old works while writing new ones is tricky, but I should have added I can't really complain about having to choose or juggle things I really enjoy doing.


Billie Johnson said...

Good comments, Holli. I can relate too...but I really LOVE your puppy! So cute.

And please wish Big Who a happy b'day from me.


Kit Sloane said...

Have to add that we live on a working horse ranch and there is so much to do beyond my beloved computer. Sometimes I just give up and spend any free time reading instead of writing. Winter is most time-consuming, ranch-wise, keeping everyone and everything dry. Whew!


Beryl Reichenberg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beryl Reichenberg said...

You said it all, Holli. I never realized when I started writing children's stories that it would become a full-time job. I have so many ideas for new stories and books but find it challenging to find time to write. I do have a couple of new books for Billie. So it's just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and soldiering on. Beryl

Sunny Frazier said...

I don't seem to have a problem promoting my early novels. The trick is to find a new readership, which is easy with all the blogsites out there. I don't find interviewers particularly interested in WHEN the book came out, they aren't asking to be the first one in line.

But, my tactic is not to constantly talk about the book or plot per se. I prefer to talk about the publishing industry, law enforcement and astrology, all which attract first an audience and then readers. I write quippy, controversial posts and win over fans.

So, my advice is to be interesting and multi-layered. Holli, you live in a locale that has the focus of the world since Katrina. You live in an area that attracts tourists. You are a lawyer. I wish I had any one of those elements. I live in a town of 26,000 in an area that people avoid. But, you gotta work with what you got.

So, make finding fans a challenge.

James R. (Jim) Callan said...

Great post - that so many of can identify with. I'm pulling for you to get Chocolate City Justice finished and to Billie. The puppy? Turn that over to the girls. Best of luck to you on the novel.