There is No Truth More Self-Evident...

... than the simple, unassailable fact that authors are losing writing, reading, and sanity time on the social networks.

The season of Lent is upon us. Though I consider myself to be much more spiritual than religious, Lent is a special time of year for me. It's always functioned as my version of a New Year's resolution - pick one thing that you'd really, truly miss, and give it up for six weeks.

Six weeks isn't a very long time.

But it really is. Six weeks can be a lifetime in the publishing industry. Traditionally, the first six-week sales are absolutely vital to the success of your novel. If you're a list author, the first week is crucial, for the rest of us, it's that first few weeks on sale that can determine future print runs, contracts, etc. After all the hoopla leading up to a book's release, the stress doesn't really start until the official release day, when the numbers become the focus.

We do what we can to help further these sales along. We tour. We do stock signings. We do interviews in print, radio and television stints. We blog about the book, and we Twitter and Facebook constantly, letting people know where we are at all times, our mental standing and our hotel room niceties.

In the long run though, distribution is the most important factor in how well a book does. If you're in Walmart, for example, you can really see some dramatic sales as compared to just being on Amazon. Distribution is one of the big dividers between self-published and traditionally published books.

What does all this have to do with Lent?

Last year, when social networking was entering its frenzy, I gave up Facebook except for Tuesdays and Fridays. What I realized was shocking - in the ensuing six weeks, I wrote 63,000 words. I had no idea just how much time I was spending on Facebook and Twitter until I was off of it for a while.

With THE COLD ROOM officially launching next week, I've been struggling with the fact that I'd like to repeat my sacrifice from last year with the fact that I need to promote my new book. But late last night, I found the solution.

The Tao of JT feeds into Twitter, Facebook and my Facebook fan page through a wonderful program called Twitterfeed. I'm going to use this blog to communicate with the outside world for the next six weeks. I've turned on the comments so if you have something to say, you can pop on here and let me know. If you like the book, hate the book, want me to post a picture we took at a tour event, anything goes. And I in turn will post tour stories, pictures, and my hotel niceties here, without being hampered by 140 character limits.

And since on Sundays we are allowed to cheat, as it were, I'll pop on Facebook and Twitter to do housekeeping - friend requests, clean my page of random meatballs thrown and angels promised. 

How's that sound to y'all? Oh, and I'm giving up sweets, too, just in case I slip. It's always good to have a backup plan, right?

If you need me, you can email me through the website here. Don't DM or Inbox me important things - heck, you shouldn't do that anyway. It's too easy to lose business information in the chatter - always go to the author's real email if you need something business-oriented. Let's see how this experiment works, and just how much work I can get done. I'll report on my progress as we go.

Have a wonderful Lent.