Home Again, Solid Food, and a Desperate Need for an Assistant

I had such a lovely ten days on the west coast! It was beyond wonderful to visit my brother and his family on their home turf for the first time in nearly two decades (!) and to meet my beautiful granddaughter and spend time with her and her parents. CC is one gorgeous, good-natured baby! Having had no little ones of my own, I feel particularly blessed to experience the joy of getting to know my stepdaughters’ children. Here’s CC getting her first

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taste of “solid” food, which she was not crazy about.

I got absolutely no work done on this trip! Well, four pages of revisions on After the Storm, with many, many more pages to go. And actually, I did work on some blog fixes and other non-writing tasks. That’s where the need for an assistant comes in.

I’ve mentioned before how much book promotion has come to rest on the writers’ shoulders. It’s become quite a conundrum for many authors, in part because there are so many opportunities that it’s difficult to sort out where to put ones energy. It’s also a matter of “keeping up with the Jones’s”: if other authors are promoting their books, will mine lose out if I don’t get the word out?

Here is what I’ve opted to do in conjunction with the release of Before the Storm:

Revamp my website (I don’t even want to think about the hours and hours this took, but I love the result)

Hire a promotion company to help field media requests, set up radio interviews, etc.


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Design these postcards to send to readers in the geographical areas where I’m doing signings. (I actually got a kick out of doing this, but what a time sink!)

Work with Circle of Seven Productions to develop the book trailer (another enjoyable time sink).

Work with a designer on an e-newsletter to announce the release of Before the Storm (if you signed up here or on my previous website, you’ll be receiving the newsletter shortly).  

Package and mail copies of Before the Storm to all the people who helped me with my research (this was a definite labor of love).

Write the discussion questions for Before the Storm.

Create ads for blogs that relate to the topics in my story (blogs on parenting teens, for example).

Write the extra material for the special Target release of The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes. (I would do anything to make the Target release a success!)

Package information about Before the Storm for booksellers and librarians at Shelf-Awareness.com, for readers at DearReader.com and for bookclubs at BookMovement.com. (If people don’t know the book exists, they’ll never get to read it).

I’d also love to increase my web presence through sites such as Facebook, RedRoom, and Amazon Connect, but doubt I’ll have the time.

See why I need an assistant? I’m a writer, not a marketer, but it’s a circular process: without marketing, books don’t sell. Without sales, there won’t be another contract. Without another contract, it’s time to look for a different line of work.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining. Much of the above is fun and a different way to use my creativity. I wish, though, that it didn’t come at the cost of writing time. I need to find a balance, as we all do in our professions and our lives. Toward that end, I think I’ll work on my revisions this afternoon. . . right after I draft an ad for an assistant.   



  1. Gina on May 28, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Diane – your granddaughter is just precious! I love those blue eyes. So beautiful.
    Are you planning more tour sites for your book? Would love to see Houston on the list if you plan on coming to Texas. It would be nice to meet you.
    You are one busy woman, you definitely need an assistant. I’m sure it will help to take some of the load off, especially the marketing.
    Thanks again for writing such wonderful books.

  2. Ann on May 28, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    I don’t know how you do it all but I do know that you will not regret the time you spend with your new granddaughter [or any of your grandchildren].

  3. Liz Johnson on May 29, 2008 at 1:01 am

    So, Diane – with my non-stop week,I’ve had no chance to check into Before the Storm. There were 9 “key players”, assorted friends, children, grandchildren, step-children, fiances, etc., etc., so I could not pursue my own agenda during this glorious wedding. Not a problem, but couldn’t indulge my book search in Seattle. I don’t mind, because it is something to look forward to – getting to Iowa City to the best independent book store in the area and they will have it for me. Hey – what do you need for an assistant? I will volunteer for the job!

  4. Margo on May 29, 2008 at 9:01 am

    CC is a beautiful baby girl Diane and I’m so happy you were able to spend quality time with her. How exciting for your entire family! I think you accomplished what was most important while on vacation…the work will always be there but family time is precious. I started BEFORE THE STORM last nite and that’s all I want to do is read, read, read!…I carry it with me everywhere to enjoy during any free moment I have. We had dinner with my mother and 8 friends last nite and I showed all of them your book…the 3 other women are off to Border’s today to purchase it and I was sure to tell them ‘just look on the front table & you’ll see the gorgeous cover with Diane’s name’…they are all readers so of course they can’t wait to start it! An assistant for Diane Chamberlain, well HERE I AM!…sigh, if only I lived in NC. What a great opportunity for someone.

  5. Krysia on May 29, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Well I went to the “big city” yesturday with the hopes of getting 4 things. A pack-n-play, decorations for the nursery, a door lock and your new book. I succeeded in 3 of the 4. I was disappointed when I wasn’t able to find the book. I will have to order it. I thought it would be something nice to read while in the hospital. I interlibrary loaned Cypress point 2 weeks ago and I am still waiting for it, so I will have to read that one first. But I will have to keep looking, or wait and just order it online.

  6. Diane Chamberlain on May 29, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Gina, I only plan on doing a couple of signings in NC this time around. I have to admit, traveling through a bunch of time zones with RA was pretty grueling.
    Ann, you’re so right that I’ll never regret time spent with family. I’d like MORE of that, not less.
    Liz, I’d love one of my faithful readers to be my assistant, but I need someone who can run to the post office for me and pick up the dry cleaning, as well as be a computer wizard. 🙂 If you ever move here, let me know!
    Margo, I’m so glad you’re enjoying Before the Storm!
    Krysia, sorry you couldn’t find the book, but you found the pack-n-play, and I know from having three grandbabies, that’s much more important!
    Hugs to you all.

  7. brenda on May 29, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Diane-lovely grandchild…as to the traveling for the book-I know it is important…however, with traveling costs now, I’ll bet authors stop doing as much. I choose my books by how the author writes…with computers today-we can get the word out to many…
    Good luck with the places you do go…
    Great author–great books…

  8. Denise on May 31, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Adorable baby girl! I bet you hated to leave her!
    Diane, I always assumed that publishers paid an author’s expenses to ‘make the rounds’ for their new books and took care of marketing, et cetera. Guess I was wrong!
    My cousin (who I just turned on to your books) has worked as a manager in marketing (internet and otherwise) and advertising for May Co. and Macy’s. It’s too bad she doesn’t live in NC because I bet she would love to help you.

  9. Registered User on May 31, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Sometimes publishers do pay expenses, Denise, but less and less, especially for authors who are not “big names.” I’m grateful to my publisher this time around because the Target selection of CeeCee Wilkes does require some extra effort on the publisher’s part and they have really come through with that.

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