I was browsing the Internet looking for wise words on book marketing when I came across a blog by an agent and book publicist which seemed very good. He used the phrase 'opportunity cost' and pointed out that whatever you spend time doing, you are not doing something else. It seems obvious, but clearly lots of writers spend a frightening amount of their time networking on the Kindle boards, Linked-in author's groups and similar activity. Why not, suggested this agent, spend that time writing a new book? There's a kind of anxiety when you see other people doing something, especially when they all swear they are making money (buy their e-book to find out how) and yet I was coming to the conclusion that a good deal of so-called networking actually goes around in circles. I was pleased to find someone in the business who agreed. So, that let's me off the hook! I can go back to being a grumpy old anti-social writer who writes books.
The other reason that the phrase 'opportunity cost' is resonating with me this week is that I am in the middle of proof-reading all my published books. It didn't seem right to leave them them up for sale when I knew there was a problem, but after doing seven in a row (and not writing any new books) my poor eyes gave out. Physically the muscles around them are so tired they are simply refusing to scan any more lines, so I'll have to wait until they recover. I had three days off, and did one more chapter today, so they are slowly coming good. I keep reminding myself that this is a once only task, once the old titles are up they will never need doing again.
I also had another good idea that will have to wait. Public Bookshelf emailed to say that the response from their readers had been positive about Kingfisher Days, and did I have any other titles I wanted to publish free? Like many authors, I do have a couple of unsold novels. Looking for Griffin being one of them. I made the cover before I decided that it wouldn't be worth rewriting. It's a shame to waste all that work - I found my notes for it and might do another post discussing them, because I worked so HARD on that book! So, I thought, well, I could post it for free with a note at the front saying that my editor hadn't liked it, and asking readers for their feedback. I could put a few chapters from a better book at the end so that they could see if they thought I'd improved!
And of course, term has started so I'm teaching again. By great good fortune nearly all of my hours are for the same course - that means one lot of prep and then delivering the same material over and over. I love that idea! I was a bit sorry at first not to have a group doing the new A-level this year, because I love teaching literature, but it takes even longer to deliver an A-level than it does to study for one, so now I feel that someone has taken a burden off my shoulders! It's that opportunity cost again. Instead of preparing lessons on other people's books, I'll be writing my own.
It is worth thinking about though, because there are so many things I could be doing with my time right now. The blog is definitely worth it, because it helps clear my mind. I'm going to give my eyes a break and do a bit of cooking now.