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Feet on the Ground, or Butt in the Chair?

One of the crazy things about being an author is the wide disparity in what's expected of you. The writing part requires long hours of--well, writing. Composing, revising, re-writing, and editing take time and concentration. On the other side of the coin, you're expected to promote your work in order for publishers to have anything to do with you. That means public appearances where you smile a lot and try to stir up interest among readers. I don't mind the public stuff, but it often feels like time I might have spent writing. Let's say I sign up to visit a bookstore on Friday (This Friday it's Purple Tree Books in Cheboygan, MI.) There's no way to tell if there will be people in the bookstore. If the sun is shining or if it's raining really hard, probably not. There's no way to tell if they'll be mystery readers, either. So two or three hours plus travel time gets me no guarantees that I'll even meet a prospective buyer, much less convince him