So your book is written…and then what? More hard work!

Thank you for all the lovely comments and cheers as I spent some time in San Diego with my friend, author Andra Watkins.

Time with a friend in a prime location–what fun!

I might not have had the same opportunity to break away for the better part of a work week if it weren’t for the hospitality of Jim and Laura Stewart who very graciously encouraged me to “tag team” with Andra.

The bonus wasn’t simply lodging in a lovely home with a gorgeous view of San Diego and the Coronado Bay Bridge, but also the space to leisurely breathe in the pleasure of extended conversation and sharing with interest in the stories detailing the weeks and months of travel and commitment–the business end of being an author.

It was ALL ease and a vacation from responsibility for me…


…while Andra was balancing her time between the pleasures of socializing while at the same time monitoring multiple appointments and conversations with librarians at the San Diego Central Library.

Stephen King is quoted as saying, “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us get up and go to work.” That may describe the writing process, but it also fits with the many steps that come after the book is written.


Jim is also an author with a “fresh from the press” book nearing release, and listening to two authors discuss the business of book promotion reminded me of an awareness I’ve been forming since earlier this summer.

Angelenos are in close contact with entertainers from all sectors of the arts and entertainment business. It sometimes seems to me that we admire the musicians, actors, athletes, authors and celebrities, often envying their public recognition and status, but rarely considering the less glamorous business of maintaining that place in the public eye.

In May I mentioned attending a Neil Diamond concert and that it was simultaneously being broadcast around the world through the social media tool Periscope.  Following the Hollywood Bowl concert I couldn’t help but notice that every few days my Periscope app would signal Diamond was ready to go on stage–in Munich, Antwerp, Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin, Glasgow, Manchester, London, Birmingham, Leeds, and on it goes!

How many nights on the road and away from home?

I shared these impressions with Andra and Jim in recognition of the hard work that follows a book’s publication. I admire the talent and dedication to the writing process, but I am equally impressed with the time and energy absorbing focus comprising the “business end.”

With work an element of necessity, we still had time to slow down.

The day before the main library event we decompressed over a leisurely lunch at the historic Hotel del Coronado.


And then the beach time and leisure were put on the back burner and the focus shifted to the “Make a Memory” speaking event at the library.

And some library it is!

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Even though by “library time” we’d spent hours talking about the events leading up to this wider conversation, all I knew for sure was this was not to be a book reading, but a sharing of stories about how her book, “Not Without My Father, One Woman’s 444-Mile walk of the Natchez Trace” was also a personal invitation encouraging others to follow Andra’s enthusiasm and  example by choosing someone special and daring to have a unique adventure of one’s own.


After regular library hours it gets a bit quiet. Will anyone be interested in attending?

Yes! There was interest! Andra both entertained and inspired the audience, and judging by the lively volley of questions, the conversation was in itself memorable! And after hours of  preparation and delivery it was now time to whisk the author off to the airport, for a brief stopover at home in Charleston, and then to more “book chats” and “Make a Memory” events in Texas.

That’s focus!

You can find out more about Andra’s speaking schedule and her delightful and entertaining books by checking out her website HERE and if you haven’t yet purchased her books, read this review and see what you’ve been missing.

Perhaps my own enthusiasm will encourage you to follow this author’s journey. I hope so. It’s going to be a long and exciting one, I’m certain!



33 thoughts on “So your book is written…and then what? More hard work!

    1. The perfect description of Andra! You have said it well. I don’t just not have her energy at this stage of my life, I don’t think I ever did! But it’s a beautifully focused energy, and that impresses me. She’s a lovely person!

  1. Cheers to you for being able to get away from work, construction, LA traffic, and a feisty tortoise – let alone being able to spend time with friends in a wonderful SoCal city. Just so you know, Act 4 isn’t the same without you, so the following are some of the available at the time I write this: Salsa, Dougie, Lindy, Merengue, Shag, Two-Step, Can-Can, Cupid Shuffle, and more. …. but I didn’t tell you. 😉

    1. So maybe it’s not too late for me to stop by and see what I can add to Act 4! I did miss participating, Frank. I really did. 🙂 And yes, getting away for just a few days was good for me in more ways than I can count. I think the long hot summer did kind of do me in! Thank you!

    1. Thanks so much, Nancy! I enjoyed myself so much! San Diego is a wonderful city. It is one of those cities that everyone in Southern California secretly, or maybe openly, would gladly live in if we could. So nice destination. And yes that library really impressed me. It’s relatively new and I’d not seen it before last week. It was so light and open and VERY inviting. 🙂

  2. What an inspiring post, Debra, and a wee glimpse into a writer’s life (this writer being one we both know and care about) and the business of books. The library looks spectacular, from your views here and, of course, Andra’s own (love those bookish sinks in the loo 🙂 ) How exciting it was that you were able to get away, especially after you dusty summer, and spend time with Andra in San Diego. We have some fond memories of brunch at the Hotel Coronado with the girls. Green with envy, was I. 🙂 Well done – well done.

    1. We talked about your time together, Penny, and how fun it would be if the three of us could enjoy a visit. Some day! 🙂 I was so impressed with how many “moving parts” are involved in promoting a book. It certainly is clear to me now why some people find success as writers and other talented people do not. It is very hard work requiring commitment that not everyone is willing to undertake. I know that Andra will continue on as successful because she is talented AND focused. The library is something special. It is such a light and open structure with gorgeous views of the city and plenty of places to sit privately and enjoy the quiet! And you’ve been to the hotel, too! I hadn’t been in the hotel for years, so that was a nice treat, too. And I was thinking of you again tonight, Penny. PBS is airing Simon & Garfunkel in Central Park and I have it playing. Whenever I see them in their youth I recall that you said you and Tom had seen them perform I think while you were in college. I never did, and would have loved to have that memory! I taped this episode and I’m thinking I may not delete it any too soon! 🙂

      1. You have a good memory, Debra. Yes, we saw them our sophomore year in college in St. Louis. It was their last big tour together for a long time (I think the Central Park concert is when they got back together).The tour was their Bridge Over Troubled Waters introduction and it bowled us over.
        Seeing Andra in action is phenomenal, isn’t it? I really grained a deep respect for authors in general, and Andra in particular, for all the work that goes into selling one’s book. You had a good time together. I’m so glad for both of you. Yes. Someday, we will make a visit with all of together. Take care.

    1. Thank you, Lori. I think to promote a book (or any creative work) requires a particular energy and focus that certainly weeds out those who aren’t “all in” and for the long-haul at that! For me it was quite an education! And this library is quite a beautiful modern structure. I usually like the older more classic architecture for libraries, but this turned my head. 🙂

      1. I do Debra. I actually was in the Carolina’s and purposefully did not buy her last book because I was going to pick it up there. Then I didn’t get to. So now I need to get it. I’m looking forward to it!!

    1. If there is anyone who would appreciate the adventure of Andra’s 444-mile walk I think it would be you, Jo! How lovely that you’ve been to the Hotel del Coronado, too! You have had some wonderful travels, haven’t you! 🙂

  3. Your images of your holiday are stunning. I love the look of the beach and the hotel. I love and hate that quote by Stephen King. Love it because it’s true, hate it because I’m guilty of behaving like an amateur! I so admire people who have the discipline to sit down and write a book because we all know it’s not fun and games – it’s a long, hard slog xx

  4. Two of my favourite people together enjoying themselves. In a library. What could be better?
    So pleased you both had a great time, Debra. I’ve been following Andra’s adventures avidly on social media: it looks as though this has been an incredible visit. All my best to you both.

  5. Please send my congratulations to your friend on her success! That was a really fun visit you had. My daughter just published her first book and is in the process of doing all the social media and publicity for it, plus arranging for appearances. It’s overwhelming!

  6. So glad you enjoyed your getaway Debra. It sounds like it was an amazing experience. I have a feeling it’s only the beginning for your friend as well. Thanks for sharing it with us! 🙂

  7. Dear Debra, it’s so good to be back to blogging and to read again your always generous postings about people, places, and things, I did order the book last year when you first introduced us to it. I got the e-book and truth be told it sits on my iPad, unread. I need to open the first page and become engrossed.

    I, too, am learning about writing today and the effort of getting published. I wonder if Andra had a “platform” before she got a publisher interested in her book on the trail. Recently I was in touch with Dr. Kathy McCoy and she shared with me all that she’s done these past few months to establish a platform. Real work!

    I’m not sure what kind of platform is needed for a memoir. I hope I get a chance to find out. I hope also that all is well with you. I’m wondering, after reading the ending of your posting, if you are going to begin to write a book for publication and if so what genre it will be. Take care. Peace.

  8. My son went on a field trip to this library and he still talks about i!. We past it tonight from the highway and he pointed out the dome that lit the night sky to us. Cheers to bringing people together near and far!

  9. I can see how trying a writer’s life can be, especially in this electronic world. Certainly, in the days of Hemingway, it was essentially word of mouth and best seller lists, I think. I hope she finds continued success… and another wonderful story and pictorial!

    1. My friend, Andra, just “showed up” on the New York Times Bestseller List for e-books! All that work has brought some fine attention. I’m very proud of her. 🙂

  10. Pingback: Is it possible to be a book glutton? | breathelighter

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