The Urge to Ostrich

- by Eileen Dreyer

I’ve been in this business over twenty years. I don’t admit that to just anyone, mind. But I know you won’t tell anybody. To be perfectly frank, while I have spent my time doing careful research on the market and trying my best to keep up, things have recently sped right by me like a bullet train, while I sat on my plow horse.  I don’t want to think it’s my age that makes me less capable of keeping up. I think it’s the chaos that’s too much.

As anybody from the good old days can tell you, it was enough to write a good book. How many times have you heard that? And actually, there was merit to the cliche. Oh, we knew we could help our case if we made bookmarks or took out an ad in Romantic Times. Give-aways were a wonderful thing. And book signings. If you could do a booksigning, you were golden.But it always came down to the work, and those who lost that message in the bright lights of publicity usually didn’t last.

But book signings have gone the way of the car phone. Bookmarks are nice, but what you really need is a web site, Facebook, Netscape, Twitter, Amazon author page, ebook rights, a constant eye to the state of Amazon vs. the World, a brand coordinater and platform constructer. You need not just write the book, but assure your publishing house, long before you put the first word to paper that you will be able to support it with the most unique blog ever written,(along with the four other blogs you’ve organized with friends), cute pics and quips shared among a huge Facebook community, all of whom are now your friends and want to ask you to join Friends for Acupuncture and Change. You have to bring the quotes and reviews and  pre-approved audience.

Here’s the sad truth. About four years ago, I was finally diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder(I know. I seem to be the last one to know). Most days I can barely remember to bring my usb key to the coffee shop to back up my writing. Even more days I struggle to keep up with mail. I belong to the Ninc looop and Beau Monde and DorothyL and a host of others, and usually don’t read any of them. I simply can’t manage. I need a manager to coordinate doctors’ appointments. Imagine how impossible it is to negotiate all the web time I’m supposed to put in.

It comes down to the fact that I can either write or I can do all that other stuff. Which means that I write. Which also means that I’m starting out already lapped on the racetrack. I’m sitting at the train crossing on my plow horse. Which is why, most days I emulate the noble ostrich and keep my head buried in my books. After all, I can control my heroine’s capture and release from the nefarious spies who want to assassinate Wellington. But I can’t do it while I’m coordinating eight blogs, forty-eight tweets and a cute posting about the Donner Party on Facebook.I guess I’m just going to have to get a faster plow horse.

Where did I leave my heroine again?


  1. Oh, Eileen, I so sympathize! I’m just starting out as a published author and am already finding that the “other stuff” is *not* my forte. Sigh. There’s just SO much to keep track of…and there were never enough hours in a day before, lol!

    Hope you find your heroine soon…and good luck with locating a faster plow horse, too. Maybe you could upgrade to one of those fancy, high-stepping carriage horses…I think those might travel at least a little faster!

    Linda (who can be found in the blogging world, but only reluctantly)

  2. Eileen, only 20 plus years in this insane biz? I can trump that. Tell you what, you get your plow horse to the starting line and I’ll jump on my three legged mule and we’ll race to wherever in the hell we’re suppose to be racing on the Net today.
    Great post. Relate completely

  3. Oh, I’m so glad it isn’t just me. We’ll all go to Italy for a Slow Living party and….blog about it.

  4. You aren’t alone. I feel like I have become one of those two-in-one appliances that doesn’t do either task well. I think that maybe publishers haven’t heard that one about getting what you pay for. There hasn’t been a raise for a long time, so right now they pay for and get only a writer. I hope that’s enough.