For Readers & Writers
from Susan Dennard
M&D Issue #133

February 8, 2018

What's in this heart-to-heart?

Recent Goings On:

This is a week late. Sorry about that. I had my D&C last Thursday, so I wasn't in any real condition to write a newsletter.

At least this miscarriage saga is over. Now I can properly grieve...while on book tour.

Ha. The glam life of an author.

But seriously: if you see me on tour and I break down in the middle of an event, I apologize. I really do. I am unable to predict when the grief will bowl into me, and it always seems to be at the most inopportune times. Like at the dentist's office yesterday. Or in the middle of a Trader Joe's last weekend.

Again, glam life indeed.

For the Misfits & Witchlanders:


Bloodwitch is out in 4 days!

It was put to my attention that I completely failed to mention my Chicago area tour stop on Feb. 18 in the last newsletter. SORRY, CHICAGO. I swear I love you!

Fortunately, I have a handy graphic now, so no events will be forgotten.

PLEASE COME SEE ME, M'KAY? There might just be some extra special, extra exclusive items available at each stop. ;)

Want some supremely cool Witchlands swag? Well, you'll definitely want to check out this epic SWEEPSTAKES Tor Teen has going on.

There's something for each element! 
  • Wooden keepsake box (Earth)
  • Silver mug (Water)
  • Folding hand fan (Air)
  • Sandalwood-scented candle (Fire)
  • Custom cross-stitch sign (Void)
  • Threadstone soap (Aether)
The coolest part is that you do't have to buy Bloodwitch to enter the giveaway! So there is literally NO REASON AT ALL not to sign up.

You're welcome.

You have 4 more days until the Bloodwitch releases, and then no more preorder gifts for you! So be sure to get in that preorder and submit your receipt before Tuesday. Then you'll get TWO enamel pins designed by Alex Castellanos!

Just be sure to preorder a hardcover or ebook of Bloodwitch before the release day (February 12, 2018), and submit your receipts to this website. (If you have trouble uploading your receipt, please email!)

And abracadabra! That's all you have to do! After the book releases, you'll get your pins!*


*Note: Unfortunately, the campaign is US/Canada (minus Quebec) only. I'm sorry! That is not in my control. But if you want to get the goodies and you're abroad, then you can order from Good Choice Reading! Not only will you get the enamel pins, but you'll also get a signed copy too!

For the Daydreamers:

Writing Is the Priority


This will be a short post. What with grief and all (see above) and tour...and oh yeah, book release on Tuesday.

Book release is the busiest time for an author, possibly even more so than deadline.

Or rather, book deadline is a single task that can be supremely intense. But book release is a million little tasks (interviews, blog posts, street team management, more interviews) that all contribute to a book's smooth launch.

Although, let's be real: it's rarely ever smooth. My second book, A Darkness Strange & Lovely, didn't get shipped to B&N until two weeks after it's release. Last year, Sightwitch didn't make it to my first tour stop, so I had nothing to sign. And a glitch in the B&N computers said the book wasn't in stock anywhere, so no readers were able to go in stores and find it.

This year, the UK export edition of Bloodwitch got sent out weeks early. And oh yeah, every Australian store has already put copies on shelves...And Canadian stores too. *facepalm*

But as annoying as all the hiccups are, the ones that happen with every book release ever, they are what they are. All an author can do is keep their head down and keep promoting.

And honestly, I'm really grateful to have so much work on my plate right now. My brain is not in Deep Work Mode, and self-promo is all surface work. That is about all I'm up for right now.

Which brings me to the main point of all this.
Self-promo isn't my bread and butter.
I think it is very, very easy to get caught up in all the key peripheral jobs that aren't writing. I am so guilty of this myself. It feels like work; it furthers my career; and most important of all, it's a lot less scary than writing the next book.

But at the end of the day, promoting books isn't important if I then run out of books to promote. Writing is what will actually sustain my career. Meanwhile, self-promo, is what will grow my readership.

And you can't grow a readership without something for them to read.

It's actually similar to a phenomenon I see regularly: someone will ask me about querying agents...when they haven't finished a first draft. Good on you for looking ahead, but honestly, there's no point in nailing a query letter if you don't have a polished book yet.

And there is also no need to worry about designing bookmarks when the more pressing issue is actually finishing the next book.


I am faced with this very dilemma right now: I need to be getting words down in the next Witchlands book. But I have a lot of things on my plate, some coming in from multiple publishers, but most of my own creation for self-promo.

For better or worse, though, my miscarriage has put a few things into stark relief: namely, my own priorities here.

You see, I had a million promotional things I had planned to do before the release of Bloodwitch. I'd also planned to finish The Executioners Three and start drafting the next Witchlands book. And it was all supposed to have happened before the holidays.

Then the 3 month trauma of my miscarriage began, and I was faced with the reality that I couldn't do it all. Both the physical difficulties of the miscarriage on top of the emotional toll...It was more than I could handle while still trying to finish my endless To-Do list.

So I had to choose which items on the massive list were most important and which simply weren't worth the effort right now. And what was at the top?

You guessed it: writing the next Witchlands book.

To make sure that I prioritized the book, I set a rule for myself: I would spend the first 2 hours of every morning working only on the next book. No phone, no internet, no distractions.

2 hours might not seem like much. It doesn't seem like much to me, honestly, considering I write full time.

But I can actually get a lot of brainstorming (and drafting) done in 2 hours of absolute focus. Add all of that together over days and weeks, and eventually I'll have a finished book.

I also chose "2 hours" as my Witchlands-focus time because that is all I can manage right now, emotionally speaking. Creative work can be both an escape from real life...or it can be the thing that opens up the pain more widely.

I find that the more pressure a book has around it, then the harder it is to write. The Executioners Three had no pressure, so it was a wonderful escape during IVF.

The Witchlands, however...Well, there's a lot of pressure there. Both the pressure to live up to fans' expectations + the sheer mental gymnastics needed to keep track of the story, and then also, the pressure to hit publisher deadlines.

As you might imagine, my current mourning state isn't super conducive to getting Witchlands Deep Work done. But it has to happen...

So 2 hours a day, I stay focused on only that -- and I have high hopes that focus will pay off.

No matter what, though, it feels good to know I'm giving the Deep Work devoted time amidst all the hectic busy work of book release.

Now you tell me: how do you make sure you get the important work done amidst all the distraction other side hustle?

Upcoming Events:


Powell's in Beaverton, OR
with author Kristen Simmons
February 12 @ 7PM

Kepler's in Menlo Park, CA
February 13 @ 7PM

Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, MA
February 14 @ 7PM

Barnes & Noble in Bensalem, PA
with authors Elise Kova and Brigid Kemmerer
February 15 @ 6PM
Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington, KY
with authors Kristen Simmons and Sara Raasch
February 16 @ 4PM

St. Charles City-County Library in St. Peters, MO
February 17 @ 5PM

Anderson's in La Grange, IL
with Brigid Kemmerer
February 18 @ 7PM
Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, MN
with author Kristen Simmons
February 19 @ 6:30PM

Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, MI
February 20 @ 7PM

Watermark Books in Wichita, KS
February 21 @ 6PM

Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver, CO
February 22 @ 7PM!
Have a wonderful weekend! I hope I see you on tour, and please consider purchasing Bloodwitch if you haven't already. The best way to support me and this newsletter is through book sales. :D

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Copyright © 2019
Susan Dennard
All rights reserved.

110 West 40th St.
Suite 2201
New York, NY 10018

I'm a misfit, a daydreamer,
a fangirl, an animal-lover,
a feminist killjoy,
and a gluten-free
cookie-eater. 🐙
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