You don't just write a book nowadays. You have to go multimedia.
Well, I do, anyway. After years of working on the web, I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't use it to promote the books. So I've spent hours and hours putting together a website for kids (no, you can't look at it yet but soon it'll be live: swashbuckler.co.nz) with lots of historical background on real pirates and ships, and stuff to read - which I'm still writing.
But it can't just be any old website, you see. I've spent years being paid to nag people about style and usability, and indeed reworking old sites and intranets to make them better. So my website has to be a model of usability and readability. Except it's designed for kids, so my usually inflexible rules are slightly bent.
But because I haven't actually had to build a website for several years, just bossed around people who do, and because I do it in fits and starts in between real work, and because I can't remember any coding, I've spent four times longer than necessary faffing around with Dreamweaver and forgetting how to do things or where I've put files or what colours go where and changing my mind - it's damn fiddly.
OK, maybe it would have been better to read the software instructions first, but that goes against the grain.
Then there's another blog, aimed at kids who have read the books, so they can leave comments there instead of writing or emailing. I've just been posting an edited version of the Malta trip notes and the thing about ships over there. That's also in hiding at present, but it is live.
But now everything has to be done before the book is launched, and like all journalists I'm better with a deadline.
Still, it's better than sorting out the GST return or preparing funding submissions, which is what writers actually do all day.
PS Isn't that weird? "Blog" isn't in the Blogger spellcheck dictionary.