Rock n Roll Writer advice: Never Release a book in summer @westofmars

The Demo Tapes Year 3 by Susan Helene Gottfried

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Guest Post by Susan Helene Gottfried

­Back in June — it feels like a lifetime ago! — I released my fourth book, ShapeShifter: The Demo Tapes (Year 3). It’s my third short story anthology, and the fourth in the famed Trevor Wolff/ShapeShifter series. The Trevolution, as I call it, continues to rock on.

Remind me never to release another book in the summer. This is the second year I’ve made the same mistake. It’s a biggie.

Oh, sure. I know what you’re thinking. It’s not a mistake! People read more in the summer, beside the pool. I get to include this new book in the Smashwords Summer Sale, which only has a few days left, so get over there and check out some good stuff. Releasing a book in the summer ought to be the way to go.

For me, ever the rebel, a summer release is a huge mistake. Know why? My kids are still young enough that, as soon as school gets out, I become the Mom Entertainment Unit.

Now, I genuinely like being the MEU. I like my kids. They are fun, smart, eager to embrace life and new things… oh, wait. That last one is me. My kids are more cautious than I am.

So now I have two problems. The first is that I ought to spend my summers here at my desk, making sure the world knows I’ve put out a new book. I ought to be writing new fiction, revising old. I ought to be doing this and that, all at my desk, all in the name of working and selling books so we have money to do these fun adventures. (and donating part of my royalties to charity. Don’t forget I like to do that, too.)

The second problem is that I’m more adventurous than my kids. Granted, that will probably change as my kids get older. They may be a bit on the young side for things like hanging off zip lines and the world’s best wooden roller coaster and deep sea fishing and all the other things they back away from when I give them the chance to realize their ambitions.

I’m not sure I have the time to wait for my kids to catch up to their mom. Daily, I’m falling apart. Not like a zombie — I don’t go to unclip my bike shoe from a spin bike at the Hoity Toity Health Club and find I’ve left my entire foot and shoe attached to the bike. Rather, despite being rather young for such a thing, I’ve got some osteoarthritis that’s developed. I’m that creature yoga and pilates instructors hate: my joints are hyper-mobile. That leaves me more prone to injury, even as it protects me from breaking bones.

So between now and when I can’t anymore, I want to get out there and do stuff. Live, not merely exist, as my favorite modern-day wise man once said.

For that reason, I don’t begrudge days spent at the pool, or adventures with the kids. People tell me they aren’t this age forever and while I know that’s true, part of me remains convinced I’ll be that rare parent who is so utterly cool, the kids — and their friends — will want me around forever.

That’s why summers are hard for me. I miss being here at my desk, writing. I love what I do, or else I wouldn’t do it. I often say I need to write the way I need to breathe, and maybe that means I’m a writer first and a mother second.

I don’t tend to look at it that way. To me, they’re both equal.

So… Demo Tapes: Year 3 is my last summer release, at least until the kids are old enough to not want or need much more than the car keys. After all, any book needs publicity. If I’m off with my kids all summer long, there goes my publicity department, off to the science center or a bike ride or whatever else it is I’m taking them.

I can’t begrudge it. I really can’t, even as I see my newest literary child struggle to be heard in the deluge of other books released this summer. After all, if we writers never come out from behind the computer screen, if we never experience life, what will we have to write about?

Still, it’d make me feel a lot better if you’d go take a look at Demo Tapes: Year 3. Like I said at the beginning of this post, it’s on sale at Smashwords for another few days yet. I’ve marked it down to half price, which means for $3, you can have all four of the books in the Trevolution. $3 will let you hang with a rock band and as old and falling apart as I am, not even I remember when a concert ticket was that cheap.

I’m glad of that last part. Heck, I’m glad of all of it. To be a writer, to be here visiting with Thea’s readers today, to have made the time to write this post in between hikes in the woods and trips to the library. Heck, I’m probably at one of these locations I’ve mentioned today, but I still welcome you to chat with me in the comments. As I dart in and out, I’ll stop in and see what you guys have to say. If you love/hate summer book releases, if you read more in the summer, or even what you do to fill your summer days. Let’s talk. It’ll make me feel better about telling the kids we gotta cut it short so I can make some new friends.

Stay cool for the rest of the summer — and read some great books!



Susan Helene Gottfried is the author of ShapeShifter: The Demo Tapes — Year 1, ShapeShifter: The Demo Tapes — Year 2, Trevor’s Song, and ShapeShifter: The Demo Tapes — Year 3. She can be found online at, where you can find The Meet and Greet, among other goodies.

A tone-deaf rocker-at-heart, Susan worked in retail record stores, in radio stations, as stage crew, and as a promoter while earning two college degrees in creative writing.

Susan walked away from a continued career in the music industry in order to write books, so it makes sense that most of her fiction revolves around rock bands. Once you get those record stores, radio stations, and fellow roadies and promoters under your skin, they never leave.

When not writing, Susan captains the team at Win a Book, a promotional site for authors and book bloggers — and readers like yourself.

Buy links for Year 3

BTW by Thea:

Free short story by Thea Atkinson

God in the Machine is free. totally free

I met Susan on Facebook and then we started chatting on Twitter. I’d love to meet you too on Twitter (I’m @theaatkinson) and I’m sure

she’d love a follow (@westofmars)

No rock gods were harmed in the making of God in the Machine: a free short on Feedbook and Smashwords. You’re welcome to grab it

up and enjoy for your Kindle, Nook, or whatever.

Thea Atkinson is a writer of character driven fiction.

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2 comments on “Rock n Roll Writer advice: Never Release a book in summer @westofmars
  1. […] Rock n Roll Writer advice: Never Release a book in summer @westofmars ( […]

  2. what is kindle?…

    Rock n Roll Writer advice: Never Release a book in summer @westofmars « Thea Atkinson…

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