Wonder Boi Writes

The Long Way Home Update

Hey Guys,

Oops, sorry. This was supposed to go up last week, but I forgot. Gimme a break. I’ve been busy (as you will see in the rest of this post).

I spent years telling you all about what I went through in the writing, editing, and production of The Long Way Home, and since the book was finally released last week, I’m sure you though we were all done with those behind-the-music sort of blogs, didn’t you?  Well we’re not, because my job isn’t over when a book gets released. It simply shifts.

True, I can’t do anything else to the actual books (In fact, I’m already 55,000 words into writing the next one), but I can do a great deal to make sure it gets out to as many people as possible.  Promotion is paramount, and it’s up to authors like me to “whore my wares” as we call it, and it’s up to dedicated readers like you to help out in any way you can.

In that vein I’ve spent the last few weeks doing things just like this blog.  I’m blogging about it, posting excerpts, talking about it on Facebook and Twitter and to every person I meet on the street.  Seriously, I’m sure my friends are so sick of hearing it by now, but they are good friends, so they smile and nod politely.

I’m also working through more formalized channels to get the book reviewed around the print and internet sites that deal in lesbian fiction. My publisher has a list of reviewers they send copies to, and I have my own connections that I try to pull the strings on. Getting a book reviewed (hopefully favorably) is a big deal because it not only alerts new readers who don’t follow me that closely that a) I have a new book out and b) it’s worth reading, but also reviews don’t just fall out of the sky. A lot of the times authors have to work to get their books to reviewers and then do a lot of praying that the reviewers actually decide to review it.  Then when I do actually start to get some reviews, its my job to collect them, because the (hopefully) favorable reviews from this book will likely go directly into my next book as part of the front or back matter so that when I reader picks up that next book they will have evidence that yes, I am capable of writing a book worthy of their time and money.

The arena of reviews is also an area where I call on my readers a lot because in this digital age you don’t have to be a paid reviewer to help sell  book.  Readers can post reviews on sites like Amazon or any other number of online retailers as well as on sites and listservs dedicated to the topics of lesbians and the books we love.   Readers also help by posting their thoughts and reactions on social networking sites or by sending them directly to me.  These sort of direct responses not only keep me going instead of surrendering to the massive bouts of insecurity that plague every author following a new release, but I also use them to help drum up interest in other readers by thanking the reviews publicly or pointing potential readers to my comment sections to see reviews from “real folks.”

Finally I hit the road, both physically and digitally.  Right now I’m working on my plans for Women’s Week in Provincetown and anywhere else I plan on visiting in the hopes that I can make some good face-to-face connections with readers who may have never heard of me before as well as cement connections with those awesome folks who’ve supported me for a while now.  This isn’t as easy as it may seem, in that we’ve lost so many of our independent book stores over the last decade.  It’s getting hard to find venues that want to host a lesbian romance writer, and those that do are often overworked and strapped for advertising funds.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to support these cornerstones of our community because without them there may not be anyone left to support us.  So if you know of a great bookstore, community center, coffee house, etc. that would like a visit from a lesbian author, I’d sure appreciate you connecting with them and asking if they’d like to connect with me.

Still, all the work aside, releasing a new book is also a boat load of fun, and in this business, and in life in general, I think it’s really important to focus on the fun, so I’d like to share with you some of the fun I’ve has over the past few weeks starting off with the lead up to my release date with my super cool chance to do a guest blog over at Women and Words.  I love this blog, so I was really stoked when I got an e-mail from Andi Marquette asking me to do the guest spot.  If you want to see what I worked out, you can read it here http://lesbianauthors.wordpress.com/2010/08/27/guest-blog-rachel-spangler/#more-1996

Then when the book came out, I got to enjoy that super, chill-inducing moment where I hold my baby in my hands for the first time.  This is my third book, and let me tell you, that feeling never loses its thrill.  Plus you have to do that obligatory cheesy photo of author and book together in which said author (me) looks like a big goober. Here’s the evidence of that.

And while signing autographs still make me feel a little silly, I love that people care enough about my work and about me that they want me to sign their books for them.  I get a little blushy every time I give an autograph, and this time around my first autograph went to my friend Emily, who is currently reading The Long Way Home at a breakneck pace.

I also got some wonderful news this week that The Long Way Home topped both the lesbian romance and the lesbian fiction charts on Amazon.  I don’t generally watch the charts because that kind of thing could end up driving a boi crazy, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love getting that e-mail, so thank you to all of you who’ve bought the book, because you’re really the ones who send it to the best-seller list.

Finally, the very best, and I mean super cool-reason-why-I continue-to-write, best thing about releasing a book is hearing from readers who’ve liked it.  Over the past two weeks I’ve heard from several readers who’ve actually finished The Long Way Home and have taken the time to let me know that it resonated with them on some level.  I can’t even put into words what your feedback means to me. I keep every single e-mail I get from reader who tells me that they liked something (anything) about my work and when the time comes (and it always does) that I start to think that none of what I do matters, or that I can’t keep doing it, or that I shouldn’t keep doing it, I will read through those e-mails again, and find the strength and motivation to keep going.

So from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all your help, thank you for reading, and thank you for giving me the support I need to keep going.


September 17, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Great summary of the post-release work. You do a great job. See you in Ptown!

    Comment by Carsen Taite | September 17, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hey, Rachel, that’s all so true – writing the book is one thing – editing, promoting, and all the other things surrounding the publishing process, is something else! 🙂 All fun though, for the most part. (Perhaps not the umpteenth read-through, looking for faulty commas… LOL) I can be close to fed up with a story once it is ready for print, but that feeling fades fast, and I usually read my own books trying to imagine it wasn’t me who wrote it in the first place…Some paragraphs make me cringe a bit, but there are also those who make me go “wow – I wrote that? not bad!” 🙂 It is so easy to be overly self-critical, (hope that’s a word in English) so it is a nice feeling when you really feel appreciative of your own creation. And boy am I proud to be a writer at BSB – both for my own sake, and for meeting colleagues such as you for instant. I can’t wait to finally meet “in the flesh” in P-town. Whoohoo!!!! 🙂

    Comment by Gun Brooke | September 18, 2010 | Reply

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